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INDIA – e-Tourist Visa extended to Nationals of China, Hong Kong and Macau

The Indian government has extended its e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme to include applicants from China, Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) and Macau SAR, thus bringing the number of eligible nationalities to 77.

Who is Eligible?

The eTV is now available to nationals of the following countries:

Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island,Chile, China, China- SAR Hongkong, China- SAR Macau, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands,Sri Lanka,Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Vietnam.

The eTV is not available to anyone of Pakistani origin, or to holders of Diplomatic or Official passports.

Background

On 27 November the Indian government launched its new online tourist visa system for nationals of 43 countries, with another 31 countries added on 1 May.

A delayed extension is expected to add another 31 eligible nationalities, including the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Malaysia, Tanzania and Argentina. It was previously announced that Bolivia and Seychelles are eligible, but these nationalities are still not available on the online application form.

Seven more airports are expected to be designated as ports of entry for the eTV, in addition to the currently designated nine airports (Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Trivandrum).

Activities Permissible

The eTV is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival in India, is non-extendable, non-convertible and allows a maximum of two visits in a calendar year. The visa is available to those traveling on leisure, for short duration medical treatment, for a "casual business visit" or to meet friends and relatives. Travellers must show proof of onward travel and sufficient funds.

The definition of "casual business visit" is not clear but could realistically be interpreted as meaning business meetings of a short duration. If there is any uncertainty over whether the activities to be carried out qualify as a business visit or not (i.e. if any activities verge on "working" in India), it is unlikely that this visa would be appropriate. For more information about what activities are and are not permissible on business visa status in India, please contact us.

How Does it Work?

This visa applicant must apply online, at least four days before the intended date of arrival to India, for an e-TV The visa fee (about US$60) should be paid at this time. A digital photograph and copy of the passport information page must be uploaded as part of the application.

The successful applicant should receive their eTV within 72 hours, which they must carry at the time of travel. On arrival in India at one of nine designated airports, the traveller will go through biometric registration.

Action Items

  • Review upcoming trips by qualifying nationals as the e-Tourist Visa may be a suitable route in some cases.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by IKAN Relocations and ALMT Legal.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.