India further streamlines visa-on-arrival process

25 Apr 2013

The Indian government has revised its Tourist Visa-on-Arrival (TVoA) process, extending the benefit to foreign visitors in groups of four or more.

These groups can obtain a “collective landing permit” and stay in the country for a period not exceeding 60 days. To be eligible, travellers must be working with a Tourism Ministry-approved Indian tour operator and submit their itinerary beforehand. Applications must be filled in online.

This group visa is applicable to most countries, except for a few such as Pakistan and Iran.

Earlier, the programme made it possible for individual travellers of 11 countries – Finland, New Zealand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Cambodia and Laos – to secure a tourist visa upon landing and stay for 30 days. The number of airports issuing these permits have also recently been increased from the original set of New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata to now include Bangalore, Hyderabad, Amirtsar, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Goa and Lucknow.

Boosting tourism revenue is clearly behind this further simplification of procedures. Tourism minister K Chiranjeevi met recently with home affairs minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and was assured of more improvements in the entry experience. Chiranjeevi told local media: "This latest move will go a long way to raising India's profile as a destination that welcomes all kinds of travellers."

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Margie T Logarta

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