India relaxes e-visas programme

India has relaxed its e-visa programme since the beginning of April by increasing the window time for applications from the current 30-day limit to four months.

The duration of stay for foreigners entering through select categories of e-visas has also been extended from one month to two, the Union Home Ministry said in a statement.

Since April 1, there are three new sub-categories of e-visas: an e-tourist visa, an e-business visa and an e-medical visa. Both business and medical visas will be granted within 48 hours of application upon urgent request, the statement said.

“The liberalisation of the visa regime will considerably facilitate entry of foreigners into India for tourism, business and medical purposes. Consequently, the arrival of foreigners in India is expected to go up substantially in the coming years,” the statement said.

Under the e-visa scheme, following approval, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India. The tourist may travel with a print-out of this authorisation.

Upon arrival, the visitor must present the authorisation to immigration authorities, who will then allow entry into the country.Biometric details of the applicant will be mandatorily captured by Immigration on arrival in India.

The e-visa is valid for entry through 24 designated airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum and Varanasi as well as three designated seaports: Cochin, Goa, Mangalore.

The e-visa is now applicable for 163 countries, including South Africa.

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