Friday 12 June 2015

Electronic Tourist Visa (E-TV)

  • E-tourist visa, or e-TV, is an electronically obtained travel permit that a tourist visiting India can apply for, without having to visit the concerned Indian Embassy or High Commission
    • So how do we verify who has the Visa? -->  Visitors are required to carry a print of the authorisation note received electronically, to be stamped at the immigration checkpoint while entering India.
    • It is different from the earlier ‘visa-on-arrival’ for citizens from 12 countries — which meant a tourist could obtain a permit to enter the country after landing at the airport — has been phased out.
  • Who can avail of e-TV?
    • International travelers visiting India for recreation, sightseeing, or casual visits to friends/ relatives may apply.
    • Short-duration medical treatment or casual business visits are also covered.
    • CAN'T: Travelers of Pakistani origin, or those holding diplomatic passports.
  • Conditions
    • Only a single entry
    • for maximum of two visits in a calendar year.
    • Applications must be made at least four days ahead of travel, and costs a total $ 62
  • Does an e-TV allow entry at all Indian airports?
    • Only nine so far: Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram.
    • The facility is likely to be expanded to seven more airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Gaya, Jaipur, LucknowTiruchi and Varanasi. 
  • When was the scheme launched and for how many countries?
    • On November 27, 2014, with 43 countries including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Palestine, UAE and the US.
    • The scheme, launched as ETA (electronic tourist visa-on-arrival) was renamed e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) in 2015.
    • Modi announced e-visas for Chinese tourists, making it the 77th country to get the facility. But China remains non-committal in reciprocating the gesture. 
      • Around 2 lakh Chinese tourists visited India last year, while over 6 lakh Indians visited China.
    • In June 2015 the government is likely to extend the facility to 31 more countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Malaysia, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. 
    • By March 2016, e-TV could be available to visitors from 150 countries
  • How successful has the programme been in attracting tourists so far?
    • New project – too early to say anything.
    • As per Tourism Ministry figures, more than 1 lakh tourists have availed of the facility since its launch.
    • We should focus on quality, rather than quantity
    • It may not make much sense to extend e-TV to countries like Soloman Islands or Tonga, which have negligible FTAs.
    • Not beneficial for countries with poor Internet penetration.
  • Are there any concerns over e-TV?
    • Opposition to relaxed norms for tourists from high-risk countries, including China.
    • Difficult to be diligent when the foreigner is already in India.


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