The days of complicated visa applications are a thing of the past for travellers with their sights on India. With the news from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the visa rules will now become easier, the country is preparing for an influx in travellers.
Travellers from the US, Australia, Brazil, Germany and Japan can now get their visas for India upon arrival at the airport. Visitors from 43 countries won’t have to tackle the long queues at Indian consulates but instead apply for their visas online and collect them at airports when they arrive on flights to Delhi, or elsewhere.
Previously, travellers would have had to wait several weeks before knowing whether or not they would be allowed to enter India. Now that’s a sure-fire way to kill the joys of spontaneous travel! Luckily, that’s all changing in the government’s new visa scheme, which sees visas-upon-arrival available at nine major airports around the country: Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Trivandrum.
Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma is excited about the change,
“This scheme… is a dream come true for the entire tourism industry of India and is bound to positively impact the economy. The government’s objective is to boost tourism and this scheme’s implementation will send out a clear message that India is serious about making travel to the country easy.”
The fine print:
Only citizens from the following countries can take advantage of the “visas upon arrival” scheme: Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
Upon-arrival-visas are valid for 30 days. Applicants will still need to apply and pay online at least four days before travelling. Visas are single-entry and cannot be extended.
UK travellers will still have to fill out their visa application forms online, print them out to be signed and mail them off with their passports to one of the India Visa Application centres in the UK. Processing times vary, so it’s best to do this well in advance.