Visa rules strengthened: Foreign nationals visiting India have to declare criminal records

New Delhi: Now, foreigners with a criminal history will not be allowed to visit India. The government is set to revise the visa application process for foreign nationals traveling to India to declare any criminal record, to prevent sexual abuse of children.

Now an appropriate questionnaire and a declaration visa application will be incorporated in the visa application form which will have to be filled up by visa applications/foreign nationals.

Foreign nationals traveling to India have to declare the criminal cases pending against them or mention if their visa was denied in past due to their criminal record.

According to officials at the ministry of women and child development (WCD), the implementation started about a month back through the Bureau of Immigration that comes under the purview of the ministry of home affairs (MHA), reported TOI.

Maneka Gandhi, Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, announced the revisions in visa process on Twitter, “I am very pleased to inform you that our request to revise the Visa Application process for foreign nationals traveling to India to declare any criminal record, in view of prevention of sexual abuse of children, has been accepted.”

“It has now been decided that an appropriate questionnaire & a declaration will be incorporated in the visa application form which will have to be filled up by visa applicants/ foreign nationals.”

“I am thankful to Hon’ble HM Shri @rajnathsingh Ji for considering my request, which was based on complaints of serial child sexual abuse offenders managing to visit India. This step will certainly be a strong deterrent for perpetrators of such heinous crimes”, she said in a tweet.

Strengthening visa regulations will not let foreign nationals to visit the country with an objective of sexual abuse.

Gandhi has been asserting on stringent visa entry checks to prevent perpetrators from coming to India with the purpose of abusing children.

While the government is focusing on the protection of children from predatory behaviour of foreign nationals, 53 cases of rape of foreigners were registered in India between 2014-16, in which 76 people were arrested but just one person was convicted.