Contributed by Toukan Corporate Services Limited, Mauritius

The travel industry has taken a big hit with as the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world. However, along with the downsides came new opportunities, namely for tourist destinations like Mauritius. The introduction of a Premium Travel Visa to a safe haven from the virus is now available to non-citizens who wish to carry out business or work remotely while enjoying the perks the island offers. The Visa is valid for a year with the possibility of renewal and is completely free of charge.

  • Who qualifies for the Visa?

Any non-citizen (from countries listed on the EDB portal) tourist, retiree, professional wishing to spend more than 180 days in Mauritius to carry out their business or work remotely can apply for the Visa. The applicant should provide proof of long stay plans, sufficient funds alongside their main source of income and should not enter the Mauritian labour market.

  • How to apply for the Premium Travel Visa?

It is an easy 5-steps procedure. Once the flight is booked, the application should be done online via the EDB portal and all supporting documents should be provided. The Visa would then be sent via e-mail to the applicant within, 48-hours, who then will be able to proceed to finalise the booking for their stay in the country. The applicant is expected to produce a COVID-19 PCR negative test result of no more than 7 days prior to the departure date at the embarkation point. To be noted that the online application is completely free of charge.

  • Switching to a different Visa

A Premium Travel Visa holder can apply for an occupational/work permit or a residence permit providing all requirements for the said Visas are met. The acquisition of property is also allowed under specific schemes available to foreigners.

For stays of less than 180 days, a tourist Visa is granted upon arrival. A holder of a tourist Visa can apply for a Premium Travel Visa.

A person becomes a tax resident in the country if the stay goes beyond 183 days. Use of foreign credit and debit cards for purchases in Mauritius are not liable to tax.

  • What is different now but still compulsory?

All passengers, regardless the type of Visa will have to go through the sanitary and health protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. A compulsory 14 days quarantine in a hotel should be pre-booked and a negative PCR test taken less than 7 days prior to the departure date are mandatory.

Upon arrival, 3 PCR tests will be administered at 7 days interval. Should a test result be positive, the person will be transferred to a public medical institution for treatment.

It is safe to say this Visa is taking the whole tourism industry of Mauritius a notch higher. It is a novelty brought amidst a pandemic which would undoubtedly bring more visibility to the country and encourage long term stays of Tourists. The process is a fairly simple one requiring mostly basic immigration procedures.

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