The Indian e-Visa scheme was originally launched in 2014. It gradually saw an increase in tourist visa petitions for travel to India. Nearly three years later the Indian Government have decided to make some amendments to the e-Visa program. These changes aim to further promote tourism and business travel to the country while also attracting potential investors.
The Home Minister Rajnath Singh indicated that the various modifications to the Indian electronic visa system have made it a more liberal regime. Thus, allowing travelers certain rights that they were not previously permitted.
Indian eVisa Changes
- The electronic visa for tourists to India has now been separated into three categories: the Tourist eVisa, the Business eVisa and the Medical eVisa.
- This allows the authorities to know the purpose of each applicant’s visit.
- All three eVisas allow eligible foreign nationals to apply for stays of up to two months (60 days), whereas the previous system only permitted visits of up to one month (30 days).
- The tourist and business eVisas have been converted to double-entry visas and the medical eVisa into triple-entry.
- This means that tourists and business travelers will be able to make two separate entries into India within the stated time frame of two months. Those foreign citizens traveling to India for medical treatment however can leave and enter up to three separate times within the same two months.
- In addition to the lengthening of the duration of stay, the Indian Government has also extended the window of application: From just 30 days prior to departure to 120.
- This enables applicants to ensure they organize their eVisa for India at the same time as their other travel plans.
- The list of eligible countries has also been amplified to a total of 161 countries whose citizens are now eligible to apply for a tourist eVisa for India.
- Nearly all of these are also able to apply for the Medical or Business eVisas.
- The three eVisas are now accepted in 24 Indian airports and 3 seaports: Cochin, Goa and Mangalore.
- In six of the 24 participating airports, the Indian government has installed Immigration counters and Facilitation desks. These have been included to assist medical tourists and aid the general influx of travelers with eVisas.
- Finally the Government of India has also decided to instigate two new visas for different purposes:
- Film Visa: allowing foreign nationals to travel to and within India for a maximum duration of one year with the possibility of multiple entries;
- Intern Visa: promoting the pursuit of internships in India by foreigners.
When do the changes to the eVisa for India come into effect?
These changes became effective as of April 1st, 2017 and apply to all those e-Visas solicited from this date onwards. Applications for the Indian eVisa can be made easily and quickly online.
Once the applicant receives their approved eVisa via e-mail, they must print out at least one copy. They will then present it to the immigration authorities on arrival in order to be granted permission into India.