India is much more than just a developing country. Going by the travel records, India welcomed about 6.29 million tourists in the year 2011 from across the globe. It was a direct increase of 8.9% from the 5.78 million of the year 2010. This speaks volume about the growth and development that the Indian economy is making today. Commercially, travel and tourism trade has witnessed a boom. Seeking an entry into India was a time consuming and expensive affair earlier. But now it is ready to open the gates for a simpler, wiser and standardized process to welcome other nationalities with the â€˜Visa on Arrivalâ€™ scheme especially for short term visits.
The Gist - Visa on Arrival Scheme
It was on the 27th of November 2014, that the Indian Government introduced Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). More than 40 nations worldwide will be eligible to avail this offer. Some of these countries have already been enjoying the â€˜Visa on Arrivalâ€™ Scheme. An ETA will be issued to travelers for reasons of travel, business visits, short duration medical treatment and visits to friends and families. The Union budget 2015 delivered by the Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley proposes to extend the facility of visa on arrival scheme to 150 countries, a significant increase from the below mentioned 43 countries.
The lucky 43 recipients of this scheme
The current list of 43 countries that can avail visa on arrival are as follows:
|Laos ||South Korea||Djibouti||Papua New Guinea||USA|
|Philippines ||Indonesia||Kenya||Republic of Korea||Brazil|
|Singapore||Japan||Marshall Islands||Samoa||Cook Islands|
|Finland||New Zealand||Mexico||Solomon Islands||Fiji|
|Tuvalu||Ukraine||Vanuatu || || |
Procedure for Visa on Arrival Application:
In order to make an application for visa on arrival, the visitor will be required to go through the following steps-
- Each such traveler who desires to visit India will be required to apply for the same not less than 4 days prior to or before 30 days from the date of travel.
- The visitor will have to upload his or her photograph with a background that is white in colour and meet all the requisite specifications mentioned on the government website.
- The page containing details of name, the date of birth, nationality, expiry date of the passport will also have to be uploaded.
- The fees can be payable online via a debit or credit card. Once the payment is made, an application ID will be received by the applicant.
- The ETA will be sent as an email within 3 to 5 days from the date of application.
- A copy of this ETA will have to be presented once the traveler reaches the particular airport in India.
- The passenger can further track the application process of Visa through the online system.
- The Visa will be valid for 30 days from the date of the arrival of the traveler.
- Once the visitor has applied for the Visa, it is necessary for him or her to touch one of the airports of Bengaluru, Delhi, Kochi, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Goa, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
- These airports will the designated points from where their Visa will be issued.
- The biometric details of the visitor will be captured at Indian Airport in the Immigration Division.
Under visa on arrival scheme, a traveler can choose a maximum twice to travel India. At any point of time for further information, a traveler can visit https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html to clarify doubts, if any.
The fee of this Visa or ETA is a non-refundable amount of USD 60 excluding other bank fees. Recently, the Ministry of Tourism has proposed to extend this facility to other nations of China, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, France and Malaysia. However, nationalities with origin or citizenship of Pakistan cannot apply for ETA and hence will have to apply for a regular tourist visa to enter India.
Additionally, the traveler must not hold any residential property in India but must have passports with a validity of a minimum six months along with the necessary financial soundness for purchasing a return ticket to his or her native place. The Visa under ETA cannot be extended or converted into any other kind. Travelers holding ordinary passports but Diplomatic and Official passports can avail this scheme.
India may have been late in launching the â€˜Visa on Arrivalâ€™ Scheme, but has definitely sparked speculation and witnessed increased interest from travelers worldwide. At a time when technology is so advanced and the world is becoming a smaller place, indeed, this scheme is a highly considerate and timely move to pace up with the rest of the nations.