From Tom Cruise starrer Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol to Matt Damon starrer The Bourne Supremacy , many Hollywood producers have fallen for the charms of Indian locales. Cashing on this, the government has decided to offer ‘Film Visas’ to shoot films and TV shows in the country.

This is part of the government’s strategy to rationalise the visa mechanism and promote ease-of-doing-business in India.

The process

The prospective international film-makers will need to send their proposal and scripts for clearance to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, either directly or through an Indian mission abroad. The Ministry will scrutinise the proposal within 60 days and give its clearance to the Indian missions abroad.

The I&B Ministry had been urging the Ministry of Home Affairs to create a separate category of visas for international film-makers. If the film-makers are nationals of China, North Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan, they will be required to get a prior clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Sources said the move is expected to give a huge boost to India as a filming destination as foreign film-makers can avail themselves of this visa for a duration of a year with multiple entry facilities. “Given the fact that film productions involve various processes such as technical and location recces before finalising shooting schedules, Film Visas will significantly ease the visa regime for prospective foreign film-makers ,” an official said.

Additionally, the I&B Ministry will now be able to make recommendations to the Customs authorities to exempt temporary import of equipment, required by the international film production crew, from Customs Duty.

The Ministry has been taking several measures to boost India’s soft power as a filming destination.

In November 2015, a Film Facilitation Office was opened for a single-window clearance mechanism that works closely with Central Ministries and State governments. In 2016-17, the FFO granted 33 shooting permissions. The FFO will soon be setting up a portal for online applications.