The Maldivian government has agreed to relax its visa policy for its citizens visiting India. The Indian High Commission in Male had earlier advised its citizens to obtain a tourist visa before arriving in India. People from the Maldives were facing difficulties as they once enjoyed free on arrival visa policy but India recently made alterations in its guidelines. According to the Indian High Commission, the Indian government has slightly changed the interpretation of the agreement signed between India and the Maldives in 1979 to grant 90 days free visa on arrival.
In addition, issues such as insufficient visa requirements, overstay and excessive fine on visa breaches are com- mon. Indian officials believe that changes in the fee structure will also bring some relief to the Indians who have to pay a fine of MVR15,000 for overstaying in the Maldives. The authorities in the Maldives have informed employers not to seize the passports of Indian expatriates while the Maldives Foreign Ministry will resolve the issues in obtaining visas for dependents. The decision to relax the visa policy comes at a time when India and the Maldives are having a row over the former ousting India’s GMR Infrastructure from constructing the Male International Airport. Following the decision, India halted trade ties with the Maldives. The decision to ease visa policies is expected to bring the temperatures down between the two