India Expands Visa On Arrival Service
Entering India is now easier than it is in China
May 8 – The Indian government has recently enacted a slew of measures that will seek to further liberalize the visa regime in the country and to boost the number of arriving foreign tourists and businessmen.
The government has approved the introduction of the Visa on Arrival (VoA) facility for individuals in five additional airports. In conjunction with airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, VoAs will now also be accepted at airports in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kochi, Trivandrum and Goa.
Furthermore, the government has also extended the VoA option to include groups of four or more tourists. This group VoA facility has been granted to all countries except Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Pakistan and foreigners of Pakistani origin.
These new measures, in effect since April 1, 2013, have now placed India even above China in its liberalized visa regime. While China implemented a visa-free regime for certain countries this year, it is not as comprehensive as India’s proposed visa scheme.
India only received a fraction of the world’s share of foreign tourist arrivals last year, yet the growth of tourists arriving under the VoA scheme has been positive. In 2011, 12,761 VoAs were issued. This grew by 26 percent in 2012 to 16,084, and already in January-March of this year 5,744 VoAs have been issued.
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