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India Expands Electronic Business Visa Program to Include U.S. Travelers

Immigration Law Alert Grant Sovern, Eric D. Ledbetter, Emily C. Shircel

Tourist Visa On Arrival enabled by ETA to India:

The Tourist Visa On Arrival (TvoA) to India is a visa program for travel to India that is issued electronically. The program is designed to be quicker and more convenient for casual business and tourist travel to India. It replaces the visa label or stamp in a passport and removes the need for application forms and in-person visits to the Indian Consulate. Although this program has been in place for some time, it was recently expanded to include travelers from 32 additional countries, including the United States.

Q. What countries are now eligible?

A. Nationals from the following 43 counties can now apply for a TVoA:

Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, United States of America, Vanuatu, Vietnam.

Q. What is the visa application process?

A. International travelers will first need to apply for Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) on-line: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and pay the applicable visa fee on-line. The applicant will receive the ETA directly via email. The applicant must then travel to India within 30 days of receiving the ETA. ETAs to India are valid for a single entry visit with a duration of stay up to 30 days. Travelers must enter India through one of the following designated airports: Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai or Trivandrum.

Upon arrival, travelers present their ETA at airport immigration, complete biometric requirements and then obtain the TVoA in their passport. The TVoA can then be used for up to two visits to India per year.

Q. How much does it cost?

A. $62 ($60 consular fee and $2 bank fee charged by Indian Consulate)

Q. How long can you stay in India on a TVoA visa?

Applicants may apply online a minimum of four days in advance of the date of arrival. The applicant must then travel to India within 30 days of applying. The validity of the visa will be 30 days from the date of arrival in India. The TVoA is allowed for a maximum of two visits per calendar year. This visa cannot be extended from within India.

Q. What activities are permissible on a TVoA visa?

A. The TVoA visa is for international travelers whose sole objective in visiting India is casual business travel, recreation, sightseeing, casual visits to meet friends or relatives, and/or short duration medical treatment.

Q. Does the TVoA visa include work authorization?

A. No. The TVoA visa allows only for casual business travel (i.e. attending business meetings). This does not include work authorization.

Q. When does this program take effect?

The program is immediately effective for individuals from the 43 qualifying countries listed above. Applicants must have the following:

  • Current passport with at least six (6) months validity
  • Recent, passport style photograph to be uploaded by the applicant
  • Return ticket or onward journey ticket, with sufficient money to spend during his/her stay in India

Note: The TVoA visa is not available to Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders

If you have any questions or would like to discuss taking advantage of this expanded visa program, please contact Grant Sovern at (608) 283-2668 / grant.sovern@quarles.com; Eric Ledbetter at (312) 715-5018 / eric.ledbetter@quarles.com; Emily Shircel at (414) 277-5217 / emily.shircel@quarles.com, or your local Quarles & Brady attorney.