India Visa Policy Changing: Soon Visa-on-Arrival for 40 Countries and for people over 60

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Breaking news: It was published in leading Indian newspapers on 8 October that India’s visa regime will be changing to become easier for tourists and pensioners.

Visa on Arrival

From LiveMint:

New Delhi: India has initiated the process for making it a more tourist-friendly destination, which includes extending on-arrival visa for 40 more countries, simplifying online visa, and attracting senior citizen foreign visitors to more airports.

The consensus was brought on these issues during a high level meeting convened on Sunday by the Planning Commission.

“There was a consensus about initiating the process to make India a tourist-friendly country and extending the on-arrival visa facility to around 40 more countries,” planning minister Rajeev Shukla, who convened the meeting, said.

Another senior Planning Commission official aware of the development said no timelines had been put in place as yet and they would be determined after the home ministry gives “broad support” to the proposals of this meeting.

The countries for which visa-on-arrival facility would be extended include the US, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Norway and Ireland.

Under the visa-on-arrival system, India already has agreement with different countries, including Japan, Finland, Singapore, Indonesia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laos and Myanmar.

Besides relaxing visa norms, Shukla said: “There was broad consensus on simplifying online visa system, relaxing visa regime for all types of conferences and senior citizen foreign tourist or foreign pensioners.”

It was also reported that you will be able to apply for a visa online before you travel, further easing the process.

One reason given for this change is India’s need for foreign exchange. It is believed that liberalizing the visa regime will provide significant help. In 2012, India received 6.58 million foreign tourists, and over US$17 billion in foreign exchange.

Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) is already used to a small extent, and its use is growing rapidly. A growth of 29.4 per cent has been recorded in the number of tourists using the tourist VoA scheme during the period January to August, 2013.

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Changes in residency permits for foreigners

In addition, India is rolling out a new system for foreigners staying in India longer than the normal 6-month stay. Already any foreigner staying  longer than six months had to register with the Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO). Also, those holding a Student Visa, Medical Visa, Research Visa and Employment Visa have to register with the FRO within 14 days of arrival in India. This process has been done through the local Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), usually located at the district police offices. This has been a manual process, with different results in different parts of India. They are trying to modernize the process, so that you apply online and get your appointment with the local FRRO. Here is a new web page to use for more information, and to get started on the process: http://indianfrro.gov.in/frro/ . Instructions are on this page, and on the bottom of the page is a link to use to fill out the form and to request an FRRO appointment.

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5 Responses to “India Visa Policy Changing: Soon Visa-on-Arrival for 40 Countries and for people over 60”

  1. Ronald Faraldo Says:

    Thank you Richard for keeping us all aware of all the changes.

  2. Quixote de la Mancha Says:

    Thank you so much for providing such an important piece of information on the blog! Some questions: I am not at all clear about HOW LONG a residence permit one can obtain with a 10-year multiple entry visa – or any visa for that matter, especially if one is NOT of Indian origin. I understand that Student visa is good for one year, renewable without leaving the country. But what about multiple entry tourist visa? And is THIS renewable without leaving the country? And for how long. Further, I see no indication of any service for seniors in the link you provided, Richard. As I am hoping to retire to India in the autumn of next year (and be done with annual visits!), this is of vital importance to me. Can you provide any information on all the above?

    Again, innumerable thanks for the post!

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I cvan tell you only from my experiences here in Tiruvannamalai. I am neither an Indian lawyer nor an immigration official. I have been able to get residency permits for two years, and have been able to get them renewed, without leaving the country. . this was under the old system. I do not know about he new system. I have a 10 year US tourist visa. We have been here six years with these residency permits. Other places may be different, this is India after all.

    • Quixote de la Mancha Says:

      Thanks so much, Richard. I am deeply grateful for the service you are doing. Pranams.

  3. twopaisa Says:

    There is one caveat. Visa on arrival is NOT a right. This was mentioned in one of the news reports. But in most cases it should be a formality.

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