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India has extended its Visa on Arrival provision to citizens of 180 countries who can now apply for an Indian visa and get authorization electronically.

(TRAVPR.COM) INDIA - February 7th, 2014 - February 7, 2014 10:15 IST, New Delhi: India takes an important step towards visa regime liberalization. The Government of India clarified two proposals: VOA (Visa on Arrival) and ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) for all countries except for 8 “prior reference” countries, which includes Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Nigeria.

ETA will facilitate foreign travelers to receive online confirmation for the visa applied, in 5 working days.

Planning Minister, Mr. Rajiv Shukla said “We have decided to extend Visa-on-Arrival to tourists from 180 nations. It will take 5-6 months to put the infrastructure in place. We hope to implement this from the next tourist session beginning October.”

The VOA and ETA for 180 nations will be initially implemented at 9 airports, namely Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin, Trivandrum and Goa. These services are likely to be enforced by the end of the current year.

Presently, India offers VOA to 11 nations including Finland, Luxembourg, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Cambodia, Philippines and Myanmar. This decision was taken in a formal meeting of the Planning Commission, which included the PMO representatives, and the Ministries of Home Affairs, External Affairs and Tourism.

Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) validates for a 30-day period from the date of the arrival of tourists in India. Additionally, Visa on Arrival (VOA) for a single entry will also be available for the same duration.

Mr. Shukla also informed that the step, as it aims at advancing the tourism sector, will not require nod from the Cabinet. At an appropriate time, the home ministry would inform the same.

“The facility will provide a major boost to the country's tourism sector. This is historic,” said Mr. Shukla.

To provide the benefit of the facility to foreigners aiming to visit India as a tourist, a separate website is to be set up. Tourists would need to apply online through the designated website with the required fees. An electronic version of the visa would be granted within three working days. 

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