People from 180 countries can get online India visa

Formal visa will be issued on arrival

People from 180 countries can get online India visa

Tourists from almost all countries, barring Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and a few others, will soon find it easier to seek and get visas to travel to India.

The government has decided to put in place a mechanism, which would make it possible for the tourists from 180 countries around the world to seek and receive visas for travels to India without even visiting the Indian Missions in their respective countries. The tourists will apply for visas and make online payments on a designated website and the Electronic Travel Authorisations will be sent to them within a few days. They will be issued formal visas once they land at the airports in India.

“This is a very good step. The visa-on-arrival for 180 countries will definitely boost the foreign tourist arrivals in the country. It will help growth in tourism sector,” Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, K Chiranjeevi, said on Thursday.

The decision to ease the procedure for issuing tourist visas was taken at a meeting at the Planning Commission on Wednesday.

“We have decided to extend the visa-on-arrival facility to tourists from 180 nations. It will take 5-6 months for the respective departments to put the required infrastructure in place. We hope to implement this from the next tourist season beginning October,” Minister of State for Planning Rajeev Shukla told journalists after the meeting, which was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs.

Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said it had given its nod to the proposal of easing procedures for issuing visas after studying its implications on the national security and considering inputs from the intelligence agencies.

The nationals of Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia, however, will not be able to avail the benefits of the new procedures. While nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not require visas to travel to India, New Delhi at present offers visa-on-arrival for the tourists from 11 countries, including Indonesia, Japan, Myanmar, Vietnam, New Zealand and Singapore. The facility is currently offered to tourists at the airports in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram.

The new procedure being put in place is a more modified version of the visa-on-arrival scheme and developed on the Electronic Travel Authority of Australia.

“The facility will provide a major boost to the country’s tourism sector. This is historic,” said Shukla.

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