Starting from August 15, Britons will be among the 113 nationalities that can apply for “e-Tourist visa” of India. This will make the procedure of getting accurate entry documents cheaper and quicker.
UK passport holders can now apply and pay for an online visa with the Indian government’s tourist visa website by removing the need to schedule an appointment at the outsourced visa processing agency or create the postal application.
The cost will be lessened from the present fees of £89.44 to $60 (£39). Instead of booking an appointment at an application center, the applicants can now upload documents, pay the balance and check their application online.
According to visa customer services desk, the applicants may expect to pay a processing fee of $1-2.
However, visas will not be issued immediately and after an online application gets submitted, travelers can expect to receive entry documents through mail within the next four days. It is actually an improvement on previous arrangements that saw a typical postal application for almost two weeks.
e-Tourist visas will remain valid for travelers who want to visit India only for sightseeing, recreation, meeting family, friends or casual business visits (AP)
According to the Indian government website, e-visa applications have to be submitted within a minimum of four days before your arrival to India.
The arrival of visa for India for British citizens comes after several months of confusion and wrangling over the visa application process. In February, Indian authorities have announced that all travelers have to attend an appointment at an application center for fingerprinting, however, they are backed down after tour operators raised serious concerns about the negative impact on tourism.
The travelers who want to enter India on an e-visa need to arrive at one of 16 designated airports consisting of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai. The biometric data that includes fingerprinting will be taken on their arrival at the border.
Guide to visa application processes all over the world
Sue Livsey, who is the India manager for Cox & Kings, has welcomed the extension of e-visas to the UK travelers by saying it was, “great news for anyone planning to visit India.”
She has further added that the ability to apply online from home would be “far quicker and easier” and this would let people apply for visas nearer to the departure date.
The heritage hotels of India are among the main attractions for the tourists.
According to Specialist tour operator Greaves India, Indian tourist board had informed them of e-visa scheme extension and they were anticipating further details from a press conference that would be held in the next week.
The Best Heritage Palace Hotels in India
Mehra Dalton, the Managing director said: “After much lobbying by the UK travel industry, we are thrilled that travel to India will become more accessible and affordable, allowing travelers more flexibility than ever before.”
E-visas are subjected to different constraints and according to the official Indian government visa website, they may be used for only a maximum of two visits in a year, single-entry only, and their 30-day validity cannot be extended.
The website says that e-Tourist visas will remain valid for the travelers while they visit India for recreation, sightseeing, meeting family or friends, “casual business visit” or “short duration medical treatment” only.
It also gives advice that the passports must have at least six months’ validity from the date of their arrival in India and that applicants need to carry a copy of their e-visa at the time of travel.
A spokesperson for Abta, the Association of British Travel Agents, said they were coordinating with Foreign Office to what exactly would mean for the British travelers. Their experience was demanding and expensive visa processes deterred British travelers from visiting a country. She has further added, “ABTA welcomes measures to streamline the process for holidaymakers”.
The Indian government expects that the e-visa scheme extension will be attracting more tourists who would like to visit the second most populated country in the world.
India has already seen a steady increase in the number o visitors for the past decade and the official statistics have recorded 7.68 million foreign arrivals in the last year. However, according to tour operators, India has become a difficult destination for selling to tourists in the past year.
The UK Foreign Office says that almost 800,000 Britons travel to India each year, and most of these visits are “trouble-free”.
The visa India system had introduced for 77 nationalities in November last year. The Indian authorities have said that it has been used for issuing at least 200,000 visas. Nationalities are other than the UK that can use the e-visa scheme from this month consist of the citizens of Ireland, Portugal, and Spain.
Use My Baggage for Shipping Luggage around the World.