Seven more airports to be declared entry points for e-visa

Seven more airports to be declared entry points for e-visa

Seven more airports, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi and Ahmedabad in his home state, will soon be declared as entry points along with the existing nine where citizens from eligible countries can land with an e-tourist visa.

Besides these two, Jaipur, Amritsar, Gaya, Lucknow and Trichy will be declared as entry points as government is expecting rush of Chinese tourists to India when the e-tourist visa facility will be finally rolled out to the citizens of the neighbouring country.

The existing nine airports where one can land with an e-tourist visa are Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram.
"We are also planning to set up additional counters in the existing nine airports as we are expecting rush of Chinese tourists," a Home Ministry official said.

As promised by the Prime Minister, India is all set to roll out e-tourist visa facility to Chinese nationals along with citizens of 31 more countries soon.

Issues related to e-visa to be offered to citizens of the 31 countries were discussed threadbare at a high-level meeting attended by representatives of ministries of Home, External Affairs and Tourism today.

"Preparations are going on smoothly. We want to announce some more countries along with China whose citizens will be offered e-tourist visa," the official said.

Among the countries that will benefit from the extension are the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Malaysia, Tanzania and Argentina.

Other countries whose citizens will also be eligible for e-visas are Armenia, Aruba, Belgium, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, Mongolia, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Surinam, Sweden, East Timor, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uruguay and Venezuela.  

During his visit to China last month, Modi had announced that the e-tourist visa facility will be offered to Chinese nationals.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had in the Budget 2015-16 proposed extension of e-visa scheme to 150 countries.

India had last year launched e-tourist visa facility (which was earlier called 'tourist visa on arrival enabled by electronic travel authorisation') for more than 40 countries, including the US. The scheme was later extended to 36 more countries with effect from last month.

Under the e-visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a print-out of this authorisation. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.

The number of foreign tourists availing e-tourist visa facility has increased by over 700 per cent in May as compared to the same period last year.

A total of 15,659 tourists arrived in May availing e-Tourist visa facility this year as compared to 1,833 during the same month last year, registering a growth of 754.3 per cent. 

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