The government of India is taking an important step towards relaxing the visa regime. Two initiatives have been cleared on February 5, 2014, which include visa on arrival and electronic travel authorization for all the countries excluding eight ‘prior reference’ countries, such as Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and China.
The Electronics Travel Authorization (ETA) will allow foreign travelers to apply for a visa from home and get an online confirmation in just five working days. Rajiv Shukla, the planning minister said, “We have decided to extend visa-on-arrival to tourists from 180 nations. It will take 5-6 months to put the infrastructure in place. We hope to implement this from the next tourist session beginning October”.
The visa-on-arrival facility and electronic travel authorization to citizens of 180 countries is scheduled to be implemented at nine airports in the country, which include Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Kolkata, Goa, Hyderabad and Trivandrum. Both facilities are most likely going to be implemented by the end of 2014. For now, India offers visa-on-arrival facility for 11 countries, including the Philippines, Finland, Japan and Singapore.
The ETA will be available for a period of 30 days from the date of the arrival of tourists in India, while VoA will also be available for a single entry for 30 days.
Photo Credits: The Hindu Businessline