The Union Government recently has finalised arrangements to extend and implement the e-Tourist Visa facility to the passport holders of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong Administrative Region and Macau Special Administrative Region with effect from the June 30, 2016, as announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The total number of countries and territories covered under the e-Tourist Visa scheme will go up from 157 to 160, with the inclusion of these countries and territories.
The e-Tourist Visa scheme launched by the Government of India on the November 27, 2014, has been extended to 160 countries and territories so far. The scheme will be extended to more countries or territories in a phased manner. Under this scheme, tourists with e-Tourist Visas can arrive at nine designated airports (Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, New Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram). Since the launch of the scheme, about 2,00,000 e-tourist visas have been issued to nationals of different countries.
During the last three years, a total of 1,79,873 e-tourist visas have been issued to the nationals of Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR. It is expected that extending the e-Tourist Visa facility to the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR will boost the tourist arrival from these regions and strengthen bilateral ties among the people of these territories.
Also, in this scheme, the pre-authorization of visa – i.e. electronic travel authorisation is given to foreigners prior to travel. Here, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities, who will in turn allow them to enter into the country.