India set to ease visa restrictions for 180 countries except Pakistan

Tourists will not have to queue up at their consulates to get visas, will be able to pick up their visas on arrival.

Afp February 02, 2014
A Hindu refugee from Pakistan shows her now-expired Indian visa page on her passport. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: Tourists travelling to India from up to 180 countries will no longer have to queue up at their local consulates to obtain visas under reforms expected to be approved this week, local media reported Sunday.

Most foreigners currently have to wait several weeks before learning whether they will be allowed to enter the country after submitting their applications at visa processing centres, a major deterrent for potential visitors.

But India's intelligence agencies have now given their backing to proposals that would allow tourists to apply online and then wait only three days before receiving the green light, the Indian Express reported.

They would then be able to pick up their visas on arrival at any airport.

India currently issues visas on arrival to visitors from about a dozen foreign nations, including Japan and Indonesia.

But visitors from countries which account for the bulk of its tourists - such as the United States, Britain and France - have to go through the time-consuming process of applying in person.

The reforms were first mooted last October but only for around 40 countries.

The citizens of a handful of countries, including Pakistan, will not be included in the changes, the daily said.

Despite its cultural attractions, beaches and mountains, India attracts relatively few foreign holidaymakers - 6.58 million in 2012, which was about a quarter of Thailand or Malaysia.

A final decision on the visa reforms is likely to be taken on Wednesday at a meeting to be attended by the country's top intelligence officers.

No one from the interior ministry was immediately available for comment.


Noor | 7 years ago | Reply

@Jahangir: Not all hearts are filled with hatred im a pakistani and i have many many indian friends and they all are very close to my heart and we share a beautiful relationship stop spreading fake things there is no hatred there are still ppl who desire peace and love.......!!

Noor | 7 years ago | Reply

@mystriousforever: Im a pakistani and i go every year any problems?

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