TRAVELLERS from 43 countries will now be able to apply online for visas to India through a dedicated portal unveiled by the government today.
Indianvisaonline.gov.in accepts applications at least four days before and a maximum of 32 days from intended arrival date. Each visa is priced US$60 and valid for 30 days with no extensions available.
Travellers may obtain only two e-visas each calendar year.
Nine international airports in the country, namely New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Trivandrum and Goa, have been equipped with the necessary systems and software to process e-visas.
Countries that will be able to use the e-visa system include Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, the US, and Thailand, among others. For the full list, visit indianvisaonline.gov.in.
China, while a key focus market, has not been included yet but is expected to be added to the list in the second phase of roll-out, alongside other nations.
Subhash Goyal, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators, welcomed the move and said the industry had been asking for this for a long time.
Rajendra Churiwala, director-eastern region, IATA Agents Association of India, added: “Bringing so many countries under the ambit of tourist e-visas is a revolutionary move that will instill confidence among inbound travellers as well as international tour operators.
“We should see a surge of 25 per cent in international visitor arrivals in 2015, and additional 30-40 per cent growth in 2016.”
Foreign tourist arrivals in India between January and September 2014 numbered 5.2 million.