India is all set to renew its visa policy vis-a-vis certain countries. India is planning to offer TVoA facility to the nationals of France, Germany and Russia. Indian authorities hope to increase the number of tourist taking flights to India with the move.

India has planned to renew its tourist Visa-on-Arrival policy (TVoA). The country has gained the approval of its Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to extend Visa-on-Arrival facility for nationals of France, Germany and Russia.

Presently out of 11 countries that enjoy the privilege of such visas, Europe accounts for only two – Finland and Luxembourg. In the non-Asian region, New Zealand is the only other country to have this facility.

A report in Times of India, India’s leading daily, has mentioned MEA sources as implying that this move will help the Indian government attain its objective to double the foreign tourist booking tickets on flights to India in the next three-four years. P5 countries – France and Russia – are being covered by India’s TVoA policy for the first time.

“After the go-ahead from MEA, the proposal has been sent to the Union home ministry as the final TVoA clearing authority is its Bureau of Immigration but that is a mere formality,” a source was quoted as saying in the news report.

“The criteria for providing the facility to any country include security implication – how much is the presence in that country of people inimical to India’s interests – and tourist inflow from there. These three major countries made the cut but 6 other nations too will soon get the approval,” the source further added.

Though the names of these countries are not yet verified, they may include Spain and Malta. However, the government has still no plans to include the names of some central Asian nations in the list. “In this regard, names of countries like Kazakhstan and Ukraine are being discussed positively, but they may have to wait for a while,” stated an official.

India remains a popular holiday destination among European tourists and especially the budget travellers. The Indian authorities hope to attract more number of vacationers by making it easy for them to travel to the country. They will just need to look for airlines offering cheap flights to India and land up in the country, without worrying about visa issues beforehand.

The Indian government is not expecting any mutual reciprocity in return of the policy as France, Germany and Russia do not offer VoA to Indian nationals. The main aim behind this move is to attract more number of foreign tourists, the report in TOI stated.

India presently offers VoA to 11 countries including Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, Finland, Luxembourg and New Zealand.



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