Indian e-Tourist Visa (eTV)
Nothing gets more exciting than a plan of travelling to a foreign land. Whenever an individual decides to travel abroad, especially to a country like India, one can never deny the complicated and exhausting processes they need to go through. As exciting as it sounds, as one of the most diverse countries in the world, India has various laws and regulations and the knowledge of the basic guidelines can help you achieve a positive travel experience.
If you have travelled to another country earlier, you would know that a visa is a legal requirement for most nations in the world. Similarly, there isn’t much of a difference when it comes to travelling to India as well. Besides being aware of the cost involved in your travel plan, it is essential to obtain the basic details of the destinations that you want to cover during the course of your travel in India. However, the knowledge of the basic and important legal guidelines will definitely enable you to be legally safe.
eTV - Fast, efficient, and simple
One may think applying for a visa is a long and cumbersome task. Well, it isn’t, unlike the old visa application process, a tourist visa application to India now provides the convenience of online applications. You do not need to schedule any appointments or worry about visiting the consulate office in person. The e-Tourist Visa (eTV) program was launched in November 2014 by the Indian Government for travelers from 112 nationalities. Additionally, an applicant can always opt for a traditional tourist visa based on his/her requirements. While the application process for a traditional tourist visa may take a longer time than expected, the application for an eTV is typically fast, efficient, and easy.
As easy as it may sound, there are few intricate factors you need to be aware of before initiating the visa application process. In order to avoid mistakes in the application process and also to ensure a step closer to the Indian e-Tourist Visa (eTV), applicants are advised to consider these important factors outlined below:
As far as most applications are concerned, an applicant is required to fulfil the eligibility criteria based on certain specified guidelines. Likewise, an eTV applicant is required to realise these factors during the application process -
• The e-Tourist Visa facility is strictly for the visiting India for a maximum period of 30 days and not beyond.
• The reason for travel must be declared during the application. It could be concerning medical treatments, recreational reasons, meeting friends/relatives, or a casual business visit.
• The passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the travel date since an eTV application will be rejected if the passport is due to expire within the specified period.
• The passport must have at least 2 blank pages in order for an immigration officer to put the stamp on it.
• The applicants are required to produce proofs of sufficient funds in their possession to aid their stay in India while furnishing of a return ticket is a must.
Avoid travel agents and mediators
The e tourist visa application is completely an online service and there are no other means for a speedy grant of your application. You must ensure to dodge any approach from travel agents or intermediaries who may claim to have provided this type services. You must refrain from sharing your personal data on any unofficial website as it may lead to an incident of identity theft. The instances of an individual's personal data being used for fraudulent activities isn't a new concept. By carrying out basic online searches and depending on reliable sources, an individual can avoid the daunting experiences which may arise if dealing through travel agents or mediators. Moreover, an effort to learn the process will save you from the hassle of dealing with the agents, making an extra payment to them, being worried about your application, etc. Currently, most government and official websites provide step-by-step guidance in carrying out passport and visa related task which eliminates the need for an intermediary.
Submitting an eTV application on time
To ensure your e tourist visa application is processed to the highest standards without any glitch, you must initiate the process at the earliest possible. The online application must be submitted four days prior to the travel date as the system is designed to reject those applications which do not follow this time frame guideline. Depending on the date of the travel, the applicant is required to initiate the application process.
Considering the fact that an international travel doesn't always happen unexpectedly, it's best to start the research well in advance. This will facilitate enough time for the applicant to correct any errors on the forms/documents and also help in providing that extra space needed to plan an effective journey.
If an application for a tourist visa is submitted at an Indian Consulate, it may take a longer duration for approval and can turn out to be a tedious task. However, an applicant can initiate the application process 34 days prior to the travel date.
Furnishing accurate details
One of the most important factors of the eTV application process is furnishing accurate details in the online form. Since the details entered by the applicant is subject to verification and review, it is best to clear out any doubts before filling in the form.
There are numerous visa applications that get rejected every day on the ground of data mismatch. Minor errors such typo, wrong year of birth, age, etc. are few of the biggest reasons for the visa rejection. By incorporating safe methods such as referring to your official documents while filling out the form, not giving out your details to anyone for a quick or discounted service, reviewing the form and if needed, getting it reviewed by trustworthy person etc. you can ensure a smooth progress of your visa application.
It is needless to say that all the fields on the application need to be filled in with accurate information, like your employer name, address, designation, contact information, etc. If you are a house wife or a minor you may include your husband or father’s employment details to complete the application process. Whether it's the visa or the passport, updating ambiguous information could lead to rejection of your application.
An eTV or a traditional visa?
The approval of an eTV is also based on the mode of travel. Currently, eTV is not applicable for travel by the sea as Indian ports are yet to extend their services for eTV holders. The applicants who wish to travel by sea are required to obtain the traditional tourist visa.
Even though an eTV is provided to eligible individuals who choose to travel by air, not all Indian airports are equipped to process and allow the eTV holders. There are 16 major airports in India who are processing and accepting eTVs from. Depending on which parts of India you intend to visit and how close they are to the places listed as the major airports, you will be able to determine whether you should opt for an eTV or a traditional visa.