Israel eases visa policy for Indian businessmen

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Jerusalem | Updated: April 6, 2017 7:41:59 PM

Israel will offer five-year multiple entry visa for Indian businessmen to increase the bilateral trade ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's planned visit to the Jewish state later this year.

The Tourism Ministry has also submitted a request to ease visa restrictions on Indian tour groups wishing to visit the country given its importance as an emerging market for incoming tourism to Israel. (Reuters)Israel will offer five-year multiple entry visa for Indian businessmen to increase the bilateral trade ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s planned visit to the Jewish state later this year. Visa issuance to Indians wishing to come to Israel has been an issue of discussion between the two sides for many years. Several Indian businessmen who have visited Israel in the past as part of business delegations have raised concerns regarding Israel’s visa policy and Indian officials have pursued the same with relevant Israeli ministries. Official sources said the decision comes amid “growing partnership between the two countries” as they celebrate “25 years of establishment of diplomatic relations.”

The Director General of Israel’s Tourism Ministry recently said the country was looking to ease visa norms for Indians planning to come to Israel and would be even open to issuing paper visas to those who have concerns regarding future travel to the Arab world.

“The visa process is now better and hopefully would be even easier. A tourist from India looking to get visa stamped on paper can get it that way and there will really be no problem with that,” Amir Halevi, Director General of Tourism ministry, told PTI.

The Tourism Ministry has also submitted a request to ease visa restrictions on Indian tour groups wishing to visit the country given its importance as an emerging market for incoming tourism to Israel.

“It is hoped that this request will be granted in the near future, reducing the wait time for a group visa to five working days,” a spokesperson at the tourism ministry said.

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Bilateral trade between the two countries has registered a remarkable increase touching a figure of around USD 4.5 million, starting from a humble figure of USD 200 million at the time of establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992.

However, the growth has seen stagnation in the recent past with some connecting it to visa regulations being a factor.

The bilateral trade figures do not include defence deals.

Prime Minister Modi’s much-anticipated visit to Israel is expected to take place in July.

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