Citizens of 43 countries can now apply for their Indian tourist visas online.
Under the new scheme, which was launched on Thursday by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of Tourism & Culture Mahesh Sharma, eligible tourists will be able to apply and pay for an Indian visa online, without having to visit the Indian embassy.
Once approved, the applicant will receive an email notification authorising them to travel to India. This notification will then be presented to immigration authorities at one of nine Indian airports, allowing the visitor to obtain a visa-on-arrival.
The Times of India reported Mahesh Sharma as saying that the scheme was a “dream come true” for the Indian tourism industry, and that it would send a “clear message” to the world that India is now serious about welcoming international tourists.
The online visa system will be available for the nationals of 43 countries. These include key markets like the US, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Korea, Japan, the UAE, Germany, Kenya, Israel and Russia, plus all the majority of Southeast Asian and South Pacific nations.
Not on the list however, are neighbouring Sri Lanka, China and Bangladesh, while the UK, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, Malaysia and South Africa are also omitted.
Visitors using the scheme will be able to enter India through nine international airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Goa. But the facility can be used no more than twice during calendar year.