Home Lifestyle Travel Evolutions And Reforms In India Visa Policy Have Resulted In Development Of E-Visa

Evolutions And Reforms In India Visa Policy Have Resulted In Development Of E-Visa

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It is mandatory for all visitors to India to obtain an authentic visa from an Indian diplomatic mission. However, it is not required by those visitors who hail from one of the listed visa-exempt countries. It is also not obligatory to obtain a visa from the Indian diplomatic mission by those citizens of a country who can get a visa on their arrival or an e-tourist visa online.

Apart from that, citizens of a few other countries are also exempted from such mandatory visa. Freedom of movement all over India is granted to the citizens of Bhutan and Nepal, and they can also work and live in India freely. This is allowed in accordance with the Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1950 and Bhutan–India Treaty in 1949.

Add to that, barring citizens from mainland China, any overseas citizens of India or any person of Indian origin can come, live and work freely in India. However, citizens of Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, mainland China, or Pakistan are not entitled to hold any Overseas Indian Citizenship.

Different types of entries

There are different types of entries allowed by the government of India to different travelers. These are:

  • Visa-free entry – Citizens of a few specific countries do not need a visa to enter India including the Maldives for 90 days.
  • Visa on arrival – Any citizen from Japan or South Korea can apply for a visa on arrival at major airports such as Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai or Kolkata. These VOAs have specific features such as these are issued specifically for business, medical, tourist, and conference purpose only, issued for 30 days only and can be used for only two times in a calendar year.
  • E tourist visa – Anyone wanting to stay more than 30 days in Indian can alternatively apply for an e-tourist visa. This is applicable to those tourists who arrive in India through seaports and airports that do not have VOA scheme.

Over the years, there has been a lot of change in the India Visa policy for the better. It has not only impacted the Indian tourism industry but has helped the medical field and the overall economy of this nation. Though all airports may not allow electronic visas, these changes are still in the initial stages and reforms. You can click on of the map that shows all areas that accepts e-tourist visas.

Advent and reform of e-tourist visa

One of the most significant changes in Indian visa policy is the e-tourist visa. Since November 27, 2014, the ETA or Electronic Travel Authorization facility started its journey offering such service to 40 eligible countries. This list included those countries that are eligible for visa on arrival as well.

It was in August 2015 when the list was further expanded and now has 113 countries in it. E-tourist visas are issued to tourists, anyone visiting their family and friends, business visits or short duration medical treatment.

The ETA of 2014 became e-Tourist Visa or eTV on 15 April 2015. Further on 1 April 2017 it was renamed as e-Visa and had three subcategories namely:

  • E-Tourist Visa
  • E-Business Visa and
  • E-Medical Visa.

Anyone wanting to avail an e-Visa to visit India must make it four calendar days in advance at least from the date of arrival. However, you can make it even 120 days in advance.

  • The visa is valid for 60 days from the date of arrival. You can get this visa twice in a calendar year. If you hold an e-Tourist Visa or an e-Business Visa, you are allowed for double entry to India, but if you hold an e-Medical Visa, you will be allowed entry three times on the same visa. However, the duration of your stay cannot be extended.
  • The cost of obtaining e-visas is divided into four separate slabs. These are zero, $25, $80 and $100. The fees applicable will vary according to the nationality and reciprocity. In addition to the visa fees, you will need to pay a bank fee of 2.5% of the visa fee.
  • The e-visas are available at 25 major airports and five seaports. Arranging chronologically these are Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirappalli, Varanasi, and Visakhapatnam.
  • The seaports from where you can get e-visas are Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai, and Chennai. The exit is allowed through any official immigration check post.

However, there are a few restrictions as to which countries are allowed to get these e-visas. It is, therefore, best to visit the official visa sites of India to know more.


Citizens of the following countries and territories who hold ordinary passports are eligible to obtain the e-Visa (unless the citizen is of Pakistani origin)

Reforms and evolution of Indian visa policy

Over the years there have been important reforms made in the Indian visa policy.In October 2013, India initiated the process of visa-on-arrival to 40 more nations.

However, in January 2014, the Planning Minister of India confirmed the plan and reduced the sixteen different types of visas to just three namely, work, business, and tourism. In February 2014 the Indian intelligence agencies gave their approval to VOA facility and up to 180 countries were included in the list. This was done to tap the opportunities and new possibilities provided by the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners’ Registration and Tracking or IVFRT system. Though the program was designed for all international airports nationals of Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, and Sudan are excluded from this program.

In 2015, the manual processing of the VOA was discontinued. It is in this year that the Ministry of Tourism extended the facility to nationals of China, Spain, United Kingdom, France, Malaysia, and Italy. The most significant reform came in April this year when VOA was renamed to e-tourist visa after it came under criticism by the Government.

In 2016 the visa validity was extended to 180 days. Since 2017, e-visas are granted under three specific categories such as tourist, business and medical and the window for application was increased from 30 to 120 days, and stay from 30 to 60 days.

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