India is working on a proposal for Visa on Arrival (VoA) facility for US tourists, one of the big-ticket announcements expected to be made during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's high-profile visit to the US beginning September 26.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is working overtime to finish the work on the VoA proposal to finalise it in time for the Prime Minister's visit, according to government sources.
MHA in consultation with the tourism ministry is working on the Tourist VoA (ToVA) under which visa can be granted to US citizens who do not have a residence or occupation in India and whose sole objective of visiting India would be recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends and relatives, etc, the sources said.
Under the new proposal, which is still being worked out, the stay limit is expected to be 30 days.
Initially, in January 2010 TvoA scheme was introduced for citizens of five countries and now, the facility is available for citizens of 11 countries Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and South Korea.
However, even despite being strategic partners, there is no TVoA facility for the citizens of India and the US in each other's country. As per some estimates, the annual flow of US tourists stand around 10 lakh, currently.
The Prime Minister will be on a five-day visit to the US during which he will address the UN General Assembly in New York and then travel to Washington where he would hold bilateral talks with US President Barack Obama, who invited Modi for a meeting during a call to wish him on his victory in the Lok Sabha polls nearly four months ago.