Most American tourists can soon obtain visas to travel to India much more easily. The new plan does not help business travelers.
According to media reports, this single-entry tourist visa is valid for 30 days, and a traveler may apply twice in a year. You submit an online application, pay $60, and upload an electronic copy of your passport and a photograph. A screening process follows, and within 72 hours, you will know if your visa application has been approved. Once that’s done, print a copy of the “electronic travel authorization” you receive via email, and take it with you to present when you land at one of nine international airports across India. At the airport, an immigration official will take your fingerprint and, everything being in order, you’ll be cleared to enter the country.
To the India Expert, this won’t smell like a visa on arrival, of the kind offered to American tourists by most countries, where the traveler just shows up at any border checkpoint with their passport and is let in within a few minutes and some onsite paperwork.
But it will still go a long way in boosting tourist travel to the country. Besides the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, much of Northern and Eastern Europe, most of South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea are also part of the expanded plan for the new e-visa process. The United Kingdom, France and Canada are not included at this point.
Only nine of India’s 20 airports will offer visas on arrival, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.