e-visa validity for tourist and business goes up from 60 days to 1 year
In an effort to increase the number of foreign tourists and facilitate the process of e-visa, the government has decided to increase the validity of e-tourist and e- business visas from 60 days to one year with multiple entries.
“Keeping in view the huge popularity of e-visa regime among foreigners, the matter regarding further liberalization of the e-visa regime has been considered. It has accordingly been decided with the approval of the competent authority to increase the duration of e tourist and e business visas from 60 days with double entry to one year with multiple entries subject to stay stipulations and registration requirements. It has also been decided to remove the restriction that a foreigner can be allowed e visa for a maximum of three times in a calendar year,” according to a circular of the Ministry of Home Affairs dated January 22.
According to the latest statistics available on the website of tourism ministry, during January-November 2018, a total of 20,61,511 tourist arrived on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 14,56,615 during January-November 2017, registering a growth of 41.5%.
“This had been a long standing demand from us. It will boost regional tourism,” says Subhash Goyal, General Secretary, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality.
On e-tourist visa, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days in case of nationals eligible for grant of e-visa except US, UK, Japan and Canada.
In case of nationals of US, UK, Japan and Canada, continuous stay during each visit should not exceed 180 days. In all cases no registration will be required. On e-business visa, continuous stay during each visit should not exceed 180 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa and no registration will be required if the stay is for less than 180 days.
Dipak Deva, Managing Director Travel Corporation (India) TCI-SITA describes the new rule as a fantastic move. “This is really a very positive development. Now the focus should also be on the visa fees, which at this stage, is high. It should not be more than 25 dollars.”
The e-visa was scheme launched in November 2014 with 43 countries and is now open to foreign tourists of 166 countries. Besides tourist and business e-visas, there are three more categories including medical, medical attendant and conference.