India launched visa on arrival for citizens from 43 countries this month, and this means that you don’t have to wait in long queues for getting your tourist/visit visas approved from Indian embassy. Tourist visas can be applied online before you desire to come to India and visas obtained while you arrive in India. Tourists from 43 countries can apply for Indian visa in four simple steps. This is good news for several people trying to visit India.
I personally know a case where a friend of mine (US Citizen) was invited to his friend’s wedding in Gujarat India and had to await indefinitely to get his visa approved. Even though he applied well in advance, like 4 months before the wedding, he wasn’t told when his visa would be approved and had to wait indefinitely. Finally, he got his visa approved two weeks after the wedding and missed the chance.
Stories like this would not repeat again, and people can apply visas online and receive them while landed in India.
Reasons for which Visa on arrival can be applied
Electronic Travel Authorization facility is issued for tourism, visiting friends and family, short duration medical treatment and business visits.
How to apply for Indian visiting visa online?
In November 2014, India introduced an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) allowing citizens of designated countries to obtain an Authorization online which allows them to obtain a visa on arrival. Following are the 43 countries whose citizens can apply for travel authorization online prior to travel and potentially get their visas on arrival.
Countries accepted under Visa on Arrival system in India
Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam.
Citizens from the above countries can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation to India minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival. If approved, they will get a temporary visa on arrival which is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival. Such temporary visas are limited to twice in a calendar year. ETA holders who already have a visa from a previous visit do not have to wait at visa on arrival counters at the airport but may proceed straight to immigration counters. First time folks however, have to get their Visas from the Visa on Arrival counters at the airports.
Step 1 – Apply for Indian Travel Visa online
Go to this website and start your online application process. You’ll get a form similar to shown below with the following details.
Passport Type – Your passport type. For most folks, it’s regular passport, but if you have a different type of passport, select that from the drop down. Other types of passport available are: Diplomatic passport, Official passport, Service passport, Special passport.
Next up, select your nationality as mentioned in the Passport selected.
Next, select the “Port of Arrival” – which is the airport you will be landing at. Notice that not all passports in India can be used for Visa on Arrival. Visa on arrival facility is only available in selected airports such as, Bangalore (Bengalooru – BLR), Chennai, Cochin (COK), Delhi (DEL), Goa (GOI), Hyderabad (HYD), Kolkatta (CCU), Mumbai (BOM), Trivandrum (TRV).
Next up, give your date of birth, expected date of arrival , enter the access code (captcha) as seen and click submit.
You’ll get a temporary application number immediately and a bigger form with lot more details will be shown. (Sample below)
You will also be asked to give your passport details. (Issue date, place of issue, expiry date etc)
Give in all the details on questions asked as per your passport or other valid documents available. You will be given a temporary application ID number, which can be used to change any of these details later.
Step 2 : Pay Fees for Visa on Arrival
Once, your application is completed, you can either chose to pay the Visa fees online immediately or come back later. Make sure you have the application ID saved somewhere so you can retrieve the application online. The fees for Visa on Arrival application with India is 60USD per passenger. This fees has to be paid at least 4 days before intended day of travel. It’s a non refundable fee and under no circumstances will be refunded once paid.
Step 3 : Getting the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) online
So, after you’ve paid the fees, you will receive your approved electronic travel authorization online to the email ID submitted. This process can take some time and you can expect 24-48 hours delay to get the ETA in your email.
Step 4 : Traveling with ETA
After you have received your ETA, take a print out of it and keep it safe with you. I would recommend having a soft copy saved in your smartphone/tablet (downloaded, should there be no internet available to access online).
Now, book your tickets on the intended day of travel and fly in to the chosen airport. (I would recommend booking the ticket before applying for visa).
Step 5 : Getting Visa on Arrival at the airport in India
Once you have landed at the airport, go to the special “Visa on Arrival Counter” before checking in with Immigration. Show them your ETA, passport and other details. You will get your 30 day temporary tourist visa stamped on your passport immediately.
How long is “visa on arrival” valid in India?
30 Days. Despite what your reason for travel is, the temporary visa on arrival is only valid for 30 days.
How many times can I apply for Visa on arrival?
Twice a year maximum.
How to track visa status?
So, if you have applied for visa online and haven’t received your ETA yet, you can check the status online here.
If you have any doubts, let me know in comments. Enjoy your travel!