India launches e-visa facility for 43 nations

Indian tourism industry will never be the same again. In a move which will give a major boost to the tourism sector, the Government launched the much-awaited electronic visa facility for visitors from 43 countries including US, Japan, Germany and Israel.

This move has been taken to overcome the difficulties witnessed in the implementation of the earlier system of visa-on-arrival facility which was available only for a few countries including South Korea, Japan, Finland, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos.

Now, a visitor from these 43 countries will just have to apply for an e-visa on the designated website and pay the fee of $60 online to get an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) within 96 hours via email. All that is needed is a valid passport and a photograph.

Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Cambodia, Palestine, UAE, Jordan, Kenya, Fiji, Finland, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Oman and Philippines are among the countries which have got the e-visa facility in the first phase.

E-visa will be valid for 30 days and a tourist can avail the facility twice a year.

Congratulating all those involved in the launching of e-visa system, Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said, “This is a historic day for tourism sector. The facility has opened the country to a vast world.”

Barring a few in the “high-risk list” like Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia, all the countries will be covered under the e-visa regime in phases, the official said.

With the launch, the e-visa facility has become operational at nine international airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Goa. Those traveling on leisure, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit or to meet friends and relatives will be eligible to apply.

“We are formulating a legal framework for this. We will ensure safety and security for all tourists,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said after launching the e-visa facility in New Delhi, taking into note the security risk involved in the process.