What is an Indian E-Visa?
As the name suggests, E Visa stands for Electronic Visa. By the virtue of being Electronic, no label or stamp ever appears in your passport. The visa is accessible for viewing by an electronic system managed by the Indian Government, your airline, or at port, and other related agencies.
Electronic travel authority is a tourist and travel visa for India. Earlier it was called as Visa on Arrival (VOA), which was later renamed as Electronic Tourist Visa (ETV). It allows travelers to get an Indian Visa online and quickly without any hassles. All people of foreign origin traveling to India must possess a valid Visa along with passport.
Citizens from over 150 countries can now apply for an Indian Visa before arriving which is valid for 60 days. You can visit this page for information on the countries that are eligible for E Visa https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html
The launch of E-Visa:
The E-Visa system was launched in November 2014 by the Indian Government. Citizens of eligible countries may apply online to receive a double entry visa before traveling to India. The duration of stay shall not exceed 60 consecutive days. This step brought a revolution in the tourism industry. It was a great achievement as it increased the tourists flow in India by about 1040% in the first year.
How it works:
Foreign nationals are required to submit an application for an online visa before traveling to India. Once the application process is completed, the E-Visa is issued and sent via email.
You can check if you are eligible for e-Visa by clicking “Main Page > Apply” and select your country/region of travel document.
Below is the step by step guide on the process of applying for Indian E Visa online.
1. To Apply for a Visa, you would need the following:
- Valid Passport.
- A digital photo of yourself.
- A passport scan of the information page.
- Answer a set of personal questions.
- Proof of travel arrangements.
- Credit/debit card.
- Business Card copy and Invitation Letter (if applicable) for the Business eVisa
- Letter from the Hospital in India for Medical eVisa
2. Complete the online form (Link: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/Registration)
The information entered will be sent to the Ministry of External Affairs of India and they will send your E-Visa via email within a selected time span.
Please remember: The India online visa application must be submitted no later than 4 days prior to departure for India, and no earlier than 120 days before the date of arrival in India.
The Cost factor:
State Bank of India and Axis Bank allows you to make the payment through their world class internet Payment Gateway solutions. You can make the payment on a 24*7 basis around the world. It accepts any debit/credit card issued by Visa, Master card, Maestro cards issued in and outside India. Transactions are secure and safe. Kindly make sure that your card has “3D Secure System” and is open to international transactions.
The e-Visa fees are divided into four slabs of zero, US$25, US$50 and US$75, depending on nationality, plus a bank fee of 2.5% of the visa fee. You can find out about the e-Visa fee by clicking “Main Page > Apply” and selecting your nationality.
After you receive the “e-mail address verification message”, you must click the “approve” button and proceed with the payment within 24 hours. Otherwise, your application will expire & the system will not accept any payment. You will then need to create a new application.
Should you encounter any suspended or unsuccessful transactions during the application procedure, kindly inform the e-Visa Support Desk (Main Page > Contact Us > Contact Form) immediately. Please do not create a new application or make a new payment unless otherwise advised.
Visa Processing time:
The process is quite speedy and you will receive your visa via email within 72 hours of completing the application. Also, there is a window for arrival of 120 days which means that if you apply for your visa on the 1st of January then your arrival date will be from the 5th of January to the 2nd of May. However, The Consulates of India across the U.S. have announced unspecified visa fee increases effective April 1, 2017. Because of these changes, the consulates have warned of the delays in submission and processing.
The visitor must arrive in India before the expiration of the E Visa. It is valid for 60 days and is issued for a double entry for the tourists and business travelers and triple entry for people traveling for medical reasons, from the date of arrival. It cannot be extended and is also not valid for travel to restricted areas.
Travelers who wish longer visa validity or multiple entries or who do not wish to avoid delays at the airport must apply for a traditional visa.
Arrival in India:
Print your Visa and Present upon arrival. You must always carry the document while traveling in India.
The e-visa can only be used at the following airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi.
And 3 seaports: Cochin, Goa and Mangalore.
Few Things to take care of:
- Passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India. The passport should have at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer.
- Travelers with the sole intention of visiting India for recreation, sight-seeing, medical treatment or business trip are eligible for E Visa.
- Travelers should have a return ticket and adequate money to provide for themselves during their stay in India.
- Travelers of Pakistani Origin would need to apply for the traditional visa.
- Indian E-Visa is not available for Diplomats/International Travel document holder and also it can’t be endorsed or shared.
- Biometric details of the applicant will be mandatorily captured at Immigration on arrival in India.
Services of e-Visa involve completely online application for which no facilitation is required by any intermediary/agents etc. The website is very user-friendly and quite easy to understand. It has emerged as one of the most beneficial measures taken by the Government of India and also one of the safest, fastest and smarter ways to travel. However, the current system is also suffering from few shortcomings as well
The Fee of Electronic Visa is payable in US Dollars only, which is an important shortcoming, therefore, the fee must be payable in other currencies as well.
Staff of airport and other destination point is not trained enough to handle pressure and an extreme number of travelers since the current system is limited to major tourist destinations and international airports only, therefore more and more people should be trained which would also increase the employment opportunities of India.