New visa requirements oblige travelers on tourist visas for more than 90 days to take a mandatory two-month “time-out” before returning to the country. The unexpected visa rule changes were prompted by revelations that Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley and his associate Tahawwur Rana had visited India on fake multiple-entry visas. The duo were arraigned in October in Chicago on charges of plotting an attack on India that killed 160 people in Mumbai. Foreign governments have protested at the new rules. The US issued an advisory asking its citizens to review their travel plans to India. Permission to re-enter without a 2-month gap may be granted on the submission of a detailed itinerary and supporting documents such as ticket bookings, but it may take most of the gap period to process the documentation. The new visa rules will apply to anyone needing a visa to come to India, even to people of Indian origin. Although there is a system of medical visas, the process is complex and off-putting, so most medical tourists come on normal tourist visas.
The new rules will also have an impact on medical tourism, as many medical procedures that people go to India for require time, often with treatment over several months, so will affect those needing several visits.