Unauthorized websites are allegedly attempting to facilitate the fraudulent issuance of India e-visas

The government has taken many efforts to stop certain unauthorized and unrecognized private websites from trying to enable the issuing of an India e-visa via intermediary and fraudulent ways, the Lok Sabha was told on Tuesday.

Nityanand Rai, a Union Minister of State for the Interior, said that with regard to e-Visas, the government has sometimes been made aware that certain unofficial and unrecognized private websites attempt to act as an intermediary and enable the issuing of an India e-visa.

Some of them even show via search engines and resemble the official Indian visa website (indianvisaonline.gov.in). To reduce this behavior, the Indian government has taken a number of actions. In order to make sure that the official URL for the Indian Visa is prominently shown in the search engine, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has teamed up with Google in this respect, he said in response to a written inquiry.

Second, according to Rai, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is periodically given a list of these unapproved websites by the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) in order to prevent them from being able to access the official Indian visa portal.

Thirdly, he added, the government has instructed all Indian Missions and Posts overseas to post a warning or advisory message on their websites or on social media platforms for the benefit of foreign nationals seeking Indian visas.

Bulk applications from touts or unauthorized agencies are not permitted or accepted for visa processing at Indian Missions Abroad in order to stop fraudulent activities. According to the minister, if information about such unauthorized agents is brought to the attention of Indian Missions and Posts overseas, it is brought up with the local authorities for action.

According to him, the Indian Missions under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) employ visa service providers.

The contract and Request for Proposals (RFPs) for tenders specifically state that Outsourced Service Providers (OSPs) will thoroughly examine the application forms submitted before sending them to Indian Missions and Posts abroad, the expert continued.