e-tourist visa Current Affairs - 2020

Union Government extends e-Tourist Visa Scheme to 37 more countries

Union Government has announced to extend e-Tourist Visa Scheme to 37 more countries in order to attract maximum foreign tourists in the country.

It was announced by Secretary of Union Tourism Ministry Vinod Zuthsi while addressing a function of Indian Association of Tour Operators in New Delhi.

With this extension, the total 150 countries will come under the ambit of e-Tourist Visa Scheme from present 113 countries.

By August 2015, more than 22,000 tourists have used this scheme to visit India, compared to 2700 tourists in August, 2014.

Background

Union Government had launched e-Tourist Visa Scheme (as Tourist Visa on Arrival scheme) in November 2014. The scheme seeks to tap the vast tourism potential of India which still remains untapped and explored.

Initially during the launch only 45 countries were brought under ambit of the scheme. But later in the phased manner, the scheme was extended to 113 countries.

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E-tourist visa to Chinese nationals from July 30, 2015

Union Government has announced to roll out e-tourist visa facility to Chinese nationals from July 30, 2015. Hong Kong and Macao nationals will also be provided with e-tourist visa facility along with Chinese citizens.

This decision was taken in lines with promised made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard during his visit to China in May 2015. It should be noted that PM Modi had made this announcement notwithstanding frequent issuance of stapled visa by Chinese to Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

About e-tourist visa facility

  • Union Government had launched this scheme as ‘tourist visa on arrival (VoA)’ in November 2014 for more than 40 countries and was extended to 36 more countries in April 2015.
  • It is pre-authorization of Visa i.e. electronic travel authorisation given to foreigners prior to travel. Under this scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him/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.
  • The nomenclature of scheme was changed to present e-tourist visa facility in April 2015, in order to remove ambiguities faced by foreign tourists especially by scheme’s previous nomenclature VoA.

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