New Delhi: The Union home ministry on Wednesday reviewed India’s visa regime, stating that it had facilitated smooth entry, stay and movement of foreigners in India for legitimate purposes “while ensuring the security of the country.

“The Electronic Visa Facility now covers practically all the countries of the world. Foreign nationals of 166 countries can now enjoy this facility at 26 airports and 05 seaports. The foreigner does not have to interact with any Indian official till his arrival at the immigration counter," the ministry said in a statement.

While the Bureau of Immigration (BoI) generally decides within 24-48 hours whether or not to grant an e-visa to a foreigner, the Centre said popularity of e-visas had been growing.

“The number of foreigners who visited India on e-visa has gone up from 4.47 lakhs in 2015 to 17.00 lakhs in 2017. The figure for 2018 is 18.78 lakhs up to 30th October," the ministry added.

At present, e-visa is available for five categories - tourist, business, medical, conference and medical attendant.