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Published On: Sat, Jul 28th, 2018

Bored of long queues and extensive paperwork? You should try the e-Visa for your holiday to India

photo Ged Carroll

Back in 2010, India first introduced the tourist visa-on-arrival scheme. It was earlier available to only about five countries, and the list later included six more countries by the beginning of 2014. On April 15, 2014, South Korea finally experienced the ease of traveling to the land of diversity when the Indian government eventually extended the visa on arrival service to the citizens. However, on November 27, 2014, the electronic travel authorization (ETA) replaced the visa on arrival process. Since then, the tourism department and the Ministry of Foreign affairs have been gradually enforcing the e-Tourist Visa scheme in place of the older visa on arrival process.

How did the e-Visa application change the tourism landscape in the Indian lands?

As per the new rules, a traveler has to apply for their travel permits in India. According to the current regulations, the process requires about three to four days. It is always safe to apply for the visa with at least four days in hand to accommodate any unprecedented delays in the process. It is ideal for spontaneous travel plans and quick getaways in the land of yoga and meditation. Over the last couple of years, promotions of the Incredible India and Made in India projects have drawn millions of tourists, spiritualists and soul seekers to the country for yoga retreats, detoxification, meditation classes, handicraft workshops and alternative medical therapy. The new almost-instant visa approval system has opened the doors of India to foreign nationals, who want to experience superior medical treatments at a lower price.  

What are the different types of e-Visa you can explore?

To include more diversity in the purpose of the visa, in 2017, the e-Tourist Visa became popular as the e-Visa. Right now, the India visa has three popular categories including –

  1. e-Business Visa
  2. e-Tourist Visa
  3. e-Medical Visa  

Public domain photo/Robin klein

Earlier, citizens of only 150 countries could apply for an e-Visa. As of 2018, people from a whopping 163 countries from across the world can apply for the e-Visa. However, you must note that citizens of these one-hundred and sixty-three countries with parents of Pakistani heritage (citizens of Pakistan) are not eligible to apply for e-Visa. These citizens need to apply for the traditional visa in the lengthy process.

How can you apply for an electronic travel authorization in India?

You can choose a reliable and reputable visa application guide site for complete instructions on how to apply for the visa. Keeping all the documents, photos and credit or debit card details within the arm’s reach is vital for ensuring a smooth transaction and approval process. Always ensure that you have at least four days before your travel commences and the boarding/arrival date is not more than hundred-and-twenty (120) days away from the time of application.

Upon paying the application fee online via your credit card or debit card, you will receive a unique application ID. You will receive the electronic travel authorization via email on the registered email ID. Keep an eye on the status of the application immediately before travel. If you have submitted the documents correctly, your visa should have a “GRANTED” status before you board that flight. Always carry a copy of the electronic visa approval documents with you when you travel to India. Present the copy at the immigration counter of the twenty-five registered airports of India (the count was sixteen till 2016). The immigration officer-in-charge will stamp your e-visa and passport for entry.

How much does the ETA visa cost?

The visa application fee varies between countries. It does not depend on the distance between the travel source and destination. For example – the fee is $75 for citizens of the USA, UK, Mozambique, and Russia, but the fee is only $25 for the residents of Singapore, Sri Lanka and Japan. Always remember that there is a surcharge of 2.5% that you need to pay during the online transaction. If you are paying via debit card, ensure that you have enough cash to pay for the visa application fee and the surcharge.

What’s the validity of the e-Visa?

When you are applying for e-Visas, you should know that they are valid for sixty days only. If you are entering the country with an e-Tourist visa or an e-Business visa, you should be able to reapply for the same visa once more. You can apply for e-Medical visas thrice within the same year. All the three categories of visas are non-convertible, non-transferable and non-extendable. So, if you are planning to stay longer than 60 days or planning to visit the country more than twice this year, you should consider going for the conventional visa application and approval process.

Where are the e-Visas not valid?

It is imperative for tourists to know that e-Visas are not enough for permitted entry into Arunachal Pradesh (Northeast India). You will require additional Inner Line Permit (ILP) and Protected Area Permit (PAP) for these regions. It is also not enough for entry into certain parts of the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands. You should apply for PAP or ILP via efficient travel agents for traveling to the lesser-seen parts of the beautiful country.

Author: Charlie Brown

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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