The new Narendra Modi government’s push to project “Incredible India” and “Make in India” has seen an expansion of the limited Indian “visa on arrival scheme”. In an attempt to make India an attractive tourist and business destination and to boost the number of tourist and short term business travelers to India, the Modi Government recently introduced the “Tourist Visa on Arrival Enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)” Scheme. There is a list of countries, including the United States, whose citizens are eligible for this new visa service. With the launch of the new scheme, these countries include Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Guyana, 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. International travelers from these eligible countries may avail of this visa on arrival program for visiting India for recreation , sight -seeing , casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit purposes such as short term business meetings.
The application process for an Indian Tourist visa on arrival (“TVoA”) involves completion and submission of an on-line application. The visa fees is US$ 60/- per passenger excluding interchange charge for credit/debit cards and the fee must be paid 4 days before the expected date of travel. Upon making payment, the applicant will receive a confirmatory email within 72 hours, allotting a visa number to him or her, and the Electronic Travel Authorization (“ETA”), which they must carry along with them on their trip to India. This must be shown to the immigration officer at the port of entry, along with their passport and their return ticket from India.
Currently, the TVoA is valid for entry through 9 designated Airports i.e. Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi ,Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai & Trivandrum. The traveler’s biometrics will be captured by Indian immigration at the port of entry.The TVoA is valid for a 30 day period and is issued for a maximum of 2 visits per calendar year. It is issued on arrival as only a single entry visa, non-extendable , non-convertible & not valid for visiting Protected/Restricted and Cantonment Areas.
The new visa on arrival strategy, with India progressively opening its doors for visa on arrival to passport holders of several countries - from just 11 two years ago, to currently 44 countries, has yielded clear positive results with an increase in tourism and business travel inflow into India. In light of this positive development and to provide a greater impetus to the increased business interest in India as a profitable investment destination, the Indian Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley, announced in his presentation of the Indian budget last month, that the visa on arrival scheme will be progressively extended to 150 countries in the near future.