E-visa on arrival available for people from 43 countries

E-visa on arrival available for people from 43 countries

Foreign tourists can now have a hassle-free entry into India with the Centre on Thursday launching e-visa facility for people from 43 countries, a move that is tipped to give a boost to the country’s tourism sector.

Tourists from countries like the US and Israel can land at nine airports — Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Goa — using this facility.

They can use the Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA) enabled with Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme, launched by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma, to apply and pay for an Indian Visa from their home country online.

Once approved, the applicant will receive an email authorising him to travel to India. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities, who would then stamp the entry into the country.

However, the facility could not be availed for more than twice in a calender year. This facility is available to foreigners whose sole objective of visiting India is “recreation, sightseeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, casual visit to meet friends or relatives and not valid for any other purpose or activities,” an official statement said.

Tourists will be allowed entry into India within 30 days from the date of approval of ETA and will be valid for a 30-day stay in India from the date of arrival in India. The government believes this facility would encourage people to travel with short-term planning, take via routes while travelling to other countries and bring family members while on business visits.

At the launch function, the Home Minister said, “Currently we have included 43 countries in the first phase. Barring those who are ‘high-risk’ countries, we will extend this facility to almost every country in the world phase-wise.”

Earlier, he acknowledged, the visa-on-arrival facility was available for a few countries but the manual system was causing delay and hence the decision to go online. “The government wants to promote tourism in the country in a big way. The contribution of tourism in the GDP is approximately 7 per cent and we want to double it up,” he added.

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