Category Archives: Visa

Indian passport becomes stronger, jumps 10 ranks

Continuing to improve its rank on the global passport power rank, the Indian passport has become 10 ranks stronger in the last five years improving its position from 77 in 2015 to 67 in 2019. According to the Passport Index 2019, the Indian passport allows visa-free travel to 25 countries while Indians get visa-on-arrival for 39 countries. The country has improved its position by one spot in comparison to last year. In 2018, the Indian passport ranked 68. Indian tourists still need visas to enter 134 countries in the world. The 2019 Passport Index, which ranks passports of 199 countries on the basis on their Visa-Free Score and their ranking on the UNDP human development index has ranked UAE passport as no 1, which allows visa free entry to 113 countries and provides visa-on-arrival facility in 54 nations around the world. Among SAARC nations, India is only behind Maldives, who ranks 51 on the list. Maldivian passport holder can enter 84 countries visa free or with visa-on-arrival facility.

Read More »

Govt liberalises e-visa regime with increase in duration of e-tourist and e-business visa

The government has recently made a series of amendments in the e-visa regime to make it more tourist-friendly. The duration of stay in India of e-tourist and e-business visas is maximum up to one year with multiple entry subject to the stay stipulations. Also, the existing restriction of allowing foreigners for a maximum of three times has also been removed. On e-tourist visa, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 90 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa except nationals of USA, UK, Canada and Japan. In case of nationals of USA, UK, Canada and Japan, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days. In all cases, no registration will be required. On the Changes in e-business visa, continuous stay during each visit shall not exceed 180 days in case of nationals of all countries who are eligible for grant of e-visa. No registration will be required if the stay is for a period of less than 180 days. The e-visa is valid for entry through two more designated airports (Bhubaneswar and Port Blair), raising the total number of such airports to 28.

Read More »

VFS Global witnesses 22 per cent increase in visa applications from India

VFS Global has witnessed a 22 per cent increase in visa applications from India over a two-year period and processed 5.28 million applications. This was an overall increase of 13 per cent in visa applications observed since 2017 with Tier II cities recording significant increases in 2018. Globally, it saw a 16 per cent increase in the number of visa applications processed in all countries of operation around the world. South Asia emerged as the top source market for foreign travel, with most number of visa applications recorded for this region. Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group Chief Operating Officer – Middle East, South Asia, and China, VFS Global, says, “With the year-on-year increase in visa applications from India, it is evident that foreign travel is no longer the domain of a privileged few. A large part of this growth comes from the smaller cities – more Indians from these cities are travelling abroad than ever before, and are keen to explore even off-beat destinations. There is a greater comfort with visa application process as well today – the anxiety that people used to associate with the process has been significantly eased with options like personalised assistance, doorstep services and document upload assistance being offered at every step.” Visa application counts in the major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru grew consistently. Significant growth in visa application counts were witnessed in some other metros, such as Ahmedabad (32% growth in 2018) and Pune (20% growth in 2018). Steep year-on-year growth in count was recorded in Tier II cities, such as Jalandhar (66%), Chandigarh (54%), Pondicherry (43%), and Goa (45%).    

Read More »

‘eVisa On Arrival’ service goes live from February 14 for seamless entry into Thailand

The new eVisa On Arrival (eVOA) service that will enable a faster and convenient arrival into Thailand for travellers from India and 20 other countries, has become available for applicants from February 14, 2019. The eVOA service offers travellers a whole new experience when entering the country at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueng airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai airports. The service is part of the Government of Thailand’s initiative to promote tourism, and has been developed by the Immigration Bureau of Royal Thai Police and VFS Global. Of the over 1.5 million Indians who visited Thailand in 2018, over 900,000 used the old, time consuming Visa On Arrival service at Thailand airports. Commenting on the new eVOA service, Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, Commissioner of Immigration Bureau, said, “With the eVOA service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhance the overall experience for the modern-day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. In our cooperation with VFS Global, we aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival.” The new eVOA service offers travellers the conveniences of avoiding long queues, and eliminates the need to fill up application forms on arrival and arrange for paper documentation or local currency which travellers find challenging after a long flight. If there is an urgent visa requirement to travel to Thailand, travellers can also avail online the Express eVOA service for quicker processing. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group, said, “I am delighted that the …

Read More »

India and Maldives to liberalise visa norms from March 11, 2019

India and Maldives exchanged diplomatic notes for the implementation of the visa facilitation agreement with an aim to boost people-to-people ties between the two countries. The agreement provides a very liberal visa regime for Maldivian nationals to visit India for tourism, business, education and medical purposes. It will be effective from March 11 after all formalities including information being provided to all immigration offices, border points and customs authorities have been completed. The agreement was signed during Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to India on December 17 last year. The exchange of diplomatic notes follows the signature of the agreement by President Ram Nath Kovind after the Union Cabinet had given its approval, read a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Relations between New Delhi and Male came under strain during former President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year rule, which saw him cosying up with China for various development projects, cracking down on dissent and imposing a state of emergency by jailing opposition leaders. Moreover, there were several diplomatic issues under the Yameen government with many Indian nationals being reportedly denied visas. Solih’s surprise victory in the Maldives presidential elections in last September came as a major diplomatic victory for India, after New Delhi repeatedly warned the Yameen government to respect democratic institutions and free the jailed opposition leaders.    

Read More »

Thai immigration with VFS Global to introduce Thailand eVisa service from February 14, 2019

In line with the Government of Thailand’s initiative to promote tourism, the Immigration Bureau of Thailand has partnered with VFS Global to offer the new eVisa On Arrival (eVOA) service that will enable a faster and more convenient arrival process for travellers from 21 countries like India, China, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, to name a few. Travellers who are eligible to use the online eVOA service provided by VFS Global will receive their travel authorisation from the Immigration Bureau of Thailand prior to their departure from their country of origin. The eVOA service will be available as of February 14, 2019 on thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com. The new Thailand eVisa On Arrival offers travellers a whole new experience when applying for a travel pre-authorisation to Thailand and when entering the country at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueng airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai airports flying by Thai Airways and other airlines. In three simple steps, eligible travellers can apply online for eVOA for Thailand by visiting thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com anytime, anywhere or get assistance at VFS Global visa application centres across the globe. Travellers receive their pre-departure travel authorisation online before the trip within 24 to 72 hours. Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, Commissioner of Immigration Bureau, said, “With the eVOA service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhance the overall experience for the modern-day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. In our cooperation with VFS Global, we aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival, as …

Read More »

Thailand extends visa fee waiver till April end

The Government of Thailand has decided to extend the waiver on the 2000-baht visa-on-arrival fee for Indian nationals till April end to boost tourism in the country. The waiver was set to end early January, but the cabinet decided to extend it to allow foreign tourists to Thailand during the Chinese New Year in February and the Songkran festival in the middle of April.

Read More »

Malaysia exempts Indian tourists from visa from January 1 to December 31, 2019

Incumbent Minister of Home Affairs, Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Muhammad Yassin has exempted Indian tourists from the requirement of visa under subsection 2(1) of the Passports Act 1966. The order, which may be cited as Passports (Exemption of Visa to Tourist Who is Citizen of India) Order 2019, has effect for the period from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. However, the order is subject to some conditions mentioned below: (a) The tourist shall be registered in the electronic travel registration and information system provided by the Director General. (b) The tourist shall travel to Malaysia within three months after he is registered in the electronic travel registration. (c) The period of visit of the tourist is limited to fifteen days only and shall not be extended. (d) The tourist shall enter and exit from Malaysia only through the authorised airports as gazetted under subsection 5(1) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 [Act 155] or through immigration control posts. (e) The tourist is not allowed to apply for any other passes under the Immigration Regulations 1963. (f) The tourist shall have a travel air ticket back direct to India or a travel air ticket to any country if he/she travels by air. (g) The tourist shall, on arrival, produce proof of sufficient pocket-money, credit card or bank card and produce his itinerary in Malaysia. (h) The tourist is allowed to re-register to enter Malaysia after the period of three months from the date he/she leaves.

Read More »

Tourist arrivals in India through visa on arrival increases at 120.99%

The tourist arrivals through visa on arrival increased at a CAGR of 120.99 per cent during 2010-17 to reach 1,697,175 tourists in 2017, as per a Tourism and Hospitality by IBEF. Indian government has also released a fresh category of visa – the medical visa or M visa, to encourage medical tourism in India. Foreign tourist arrivals for medical purpose increased from 427,014 in 2016 to 495,056 in 2017(P). In June 2016, the Indian government approved 150 countries under the visa on arrival scheme to attract additional foreign tourists.

Read More »

India extends e-visa facility for conference and medical attendants from China

India has further liberalised visa regime for Chinese nationals by extending e-visa facility for the conference and medical attendants as part of its efforts to attract more tourists from China. Previously those attending conferences in India needed to get clearances from New Delhi to get visas. The Conference Visa will be issued for those who intend to travel to India to attend conference/seminar/workshop organised by Ministry or Department of Government of India, State Departments or Union Territories, Administration and their subordinate/attached organizations and PSUs, the Indian embassy said in a statement. The documents required included scanned bio-page of passport showing the photograph and details, invitation from organisation. It also needs political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs, the statement said. The e-Medical Attendant Visa will be issued for those who wish to travel as attendant to e-Medical visa holder. The e-visa facility is now available for Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa, e-Medical Visa, e-Medical Attendant Visa and e-Conference Visa, it added. Despite special measures like e-visas, only 2.4 lakh Chinese tourists visited India last year against 14 lakh Indians visiting China. Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons, accompanied by about 20 Indian tour operators, conducted special campaigns in Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai in August as part of India’s efforts to attract more Chinese tourists to the country. Source: PTI

Read More »