NEW DELHI: In an attempt to boost tourism and business, the Indian government has decided to extend its limited visa-on-arrival scheme to tourists from 180 countries.
However, citizens from eight countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan will remain exceptions to the scheme for security reasons.
Currently, the Indian government issues visas on arrival to visitors from only 11 countries including Japan, Singapore, Finland and Indonesia.
“We have decided to extend the visa-on-arrival facility to tourists from 180 nations. It will take five to six months for the respective departments to put the required infrastructure in place. We hope to implement this from the next tourist session beginning October,” the country’s Planning Minister Rajeev Shukla said.
Shukla said that the electronic visa-on-arrival would be available at 26 major airports in India and would be valid for 30 days from the date of the tourist’s arrival in India.
“The facility will provide a major boost to the country’s tourism sector. This is historic,” Shukla said.
Moreover, the government plans to set up a website enabling tourists to apply for the visa and pay the fee. The visa would then be available for collection on arrival at any airport after three days.