Foreign nationals intending to visit India for commissioning surrogacy will not be allowed to come on a tourist visa from Friday with the home ministry ordering strict adherence of surrogacy laws.
In an order, the home ministry said several instances of foreign nationals visiting India on tourist visa for commissioning surrogacy have been reported and no such relaxation would be allowed after November 1.
"This is (tourist visa) not the appropriate visa category and such foreigners will be liable for action for violation of visa conditions. The appropriate visa category will be a medical visa," the order said.
The ministry said it is also necessary in such cases to ensure that the surrogate mother is not cheated and therefore, such a visa may only be granted if certain conditions are fulfilled.
The conditions include that the foreign man and woman are duly married and the marriage should have sustained at least for two years.
A letter from the embassy of the foreign country in India or the foreign ministry of the country should be enclosed with the visa application stating clearly that the country recognises surrogacy and the child/ children to be born to the commissioning couple through the Indian surrogate mother will be permitted entry into their country as a biological child/children of the couple commissioning surrogacy.
The couple will have to furnish an undertaking that they would take care of the child/ children born through surrogacy, the treatment should be done only at one of the registered Assisted Reproductive Treatment clinics recognised by Indian Council of Medical Research.
Besides, the couple should produce a duly notarised agreement between the applicant couple and the prospective Indian surrogate mother.
"If any of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the visa application shall be rejected," the home ministry said. The ministry also told Indian missions abroad that before the grant of visa, the foreign couple need to be told that before leaving India for their return journey, "exit" permission from the foreigner regional registration offices/foreigner regional registration offices (FRRO/FRO) would be required.
Before granting "exit", the FRRO/ FRO will see whether the foreign couple is carrying a certificate from the ART clinic concerned regarding the fact that the child/ children have been duly taken custody of by the foreigner and that the liabilities towards the Indian surrogate mother have been fully discharged as per the agreement.
A copy of the birth certificate(s) of the surrogate child/children will be retained by the FRRO/ FRO along with photocopies of the passport and visa of the foreign parents.
"It may be noted that for drawing up and executing the agreement, the foreign couple can be permitted to visit India on a reconnaissance trip on tourist visa, but no samples may be given to any clinic during such preliminary visit," the order said.