16 September 2008

India planning to streamline visa process for foreign tourists

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The Indian government is planning to streamline its visa process for foreign tourists so that it can maintain its strong growth in the tourism sector.

According to an India Tourism Report, the number of international tourists in India in the first quarter of 2008 was up 12.1 per cent on the same period last year, to reach 1.66 million tourists. 

To maintain this strong growth, the Indian government is looking to create visas on entry for nationals from 18 countries.  At the moment, international visitors to India must have an Indian visa to enter the country.  Indian tourist visas are usually valid for up to six months, and under the conditions of the visa, the visa holder is not allowed to work.  For short-stay visits, tourists can also apply for a 15-day transit visa. 

Under the new proposals, last-minute tourists would not have to be offshore to apply for their Indian tourist visa so that time-consuming procedures can be avoided.  Countries included in the proposal include Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland, the US, the UK and Vietnam.

The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in India visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.

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