All you need to know about e-Tourist visa for India
For 150 countries, the government has made it possible to apply for a tourist visa to India online.
Which means, the prospective traveller will not have to go to the Indian embassy at all to apply for the visa, pay for it or even pick it up.
As of February 26, 2016, this facility is available for 150 countries.
In this regard, the Ministry of Tourism is working along with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs to ease the tourist visa application process.
In April this year, the number of foreign tourists to India grew 10.7%, with most coming from Bangaladesh. Nearly 6 lakh people tourists visited India in the month against 5.42 lakh in April 2015.
E-tourist visa facility will make it easier for those looking to travel to India for travelling or recreation, boosting tourism in the country. The government is also looking to encourage busienss travellers to bring their family members along while there are here on work.
What is an E-Tourist Visa?
Quite literally, an electronic-Tourist visa facility, lets the prospective visitor apply for an Indian visa from his/her home country online without visiting the Indian embassy. He/she will also be able to pay the visa fee online.
Once approved, the person will get an email authorising him/her to travel to India. You can now take a print out of the e-Tourist visa and travel to India.
You will have to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities on arrival who would stamp your entry into the country.
However, it's important remember that the e-tourist visa is only applicable if you're looking to travel to India for recreational purposes or for a short vacation. The e-tourist visa is also eligible if you're planning to come to India for a short-term medical treatment or on a casual business trip.
The e-tourist visa lets you travel within 30 days of approval and is only valid for a 30-day stay in India from the date of arrival. It cannot be availed more than twice a year.
The e-Tourist Visa application fee is $60, exclusing a bank charge of $2 which is uniform for all the countries.
Which countries are eligible for e-Tourist visas?
As of February 26, 2016, the e-Tourist visa facility is available to citizens of 150 countries.
This includes, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Fiji, France, Greece, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, New Zealand, Oman, Palestine, Romania, South Africa, Thailand, USA, Vatican City & Zimbabwe. To see the complete list click here.
List of Airports where e-Tourist Visa facility is available
The e-Tourist Visa facility is now available in the following 16 airports (as on 26.02.2016) - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Goa, Varanasi, Gaya, Ahmadabad, Amritsar, Tiruchirapalli, Jaipur and Lucknow.
Difference between Visa on arrival and E-Tourist Visas
Visa on arrival (VOA) means that on arrival, you will need to queue up at a visa counter, apply and pay for a visa, which gets pasted onto your passport on the spot, before you go on to immigration.
VOA is often limited to certain entry points (eg. international airports, major land borders). It is not applicable for border crossings, which means, if you're planning to cross a border, you will need to apply for a regular visa in advance.
e-Tourist Visas will lets you apply and pay for visas online rather than going through the cumbersome waiting period of physical application.