India has resumed issuing electronic visas (e-Visas) to foreign visitors. The online service is now available to travelers after being suspended for many months due to COVID-19. Nationals of over 150 countries can now get their visa for India via the internet.
Currently, it is possible to obtain an e-Visa for business, conferences, medical treatment, or to accompany a patient to India. Tourist visas remain suspended for the time being.
The return of the e-Visa for India comes as the country relaxes some of its coronavirus travel restrictions. The platform makes it quick and simple for foreign nationals to get permission to enter India.
Foreign visitors are advised to make sure they apply at least 4 days before they plan to travel.
Are All e-Visa Available for India?
While the e-Visa system has indeed returned, not all visas are currently available online. India Tourist e-Visas remain suspended.
India is currently experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases has risen from 59,118 to 200,739 between March and April 2021. For this reason, authorities have decided not to reopen to international tourists at this time.
As the situation progresses and the coronavirus infection rate in the country falls once more, it is likely that India will relax its travel restrictions even further. Tourist e-Visas will likely become available again in the near future.
The following e-Visas for India are currently available for international visitors:
- e-Business Visa
- e-Conference Visa
- e-Medical Visa
- e-Medical Attendant Visa
Who can currently visit India with an e-Visa and what can they do there?
The types of India e-Visa currently available mean that only foreigners who intend to take part in certain activities can get permission to visit the country via the online service.
Business travelers and individuals who plan to attend a conference in India can apply for an e-Business Visa or e-Conference visa, respectively.
The Indian e-Business Visa permits the holder to engage in business-related activities while staying in India. It is valid for a whole year once it is issued. During this time, foreign nationals can use it to make multiple business trips to India. Each trip can last for a maximum of 180 days.
The e-Conference Visa is a single-entry permit for the sake of attending an event. It allows the visitor to stay for up to 30 days.
It is also possible to visit India with an online visa as a medical patient. The e-Medical Visa allows travelers from abroad to enter the country to receive treatment. This must be approved by a hospital or medical center in the country.
Each patient can have up to 2 people accompanying them. These companions can get an e-Medical Attendant Visa through the online platform.
Both types of medical e-Visa for India allow the holders to enter India for treatment 3 times. Each stay can last up to 60 days.
Some Nationalities Still Suspended
The return of Indian e-Visas will come as a boon to international business travelers and foreign nationals seeking medical treatment in the country. The online system provides a rapid, easy and convenient way to get authorization to go to India, without the need to go to an embassy to apply.
However, at present, e-Visas are not available to everyone.
Previously, nationals of 171 different countries could get a visa online to visit India. At present, some of these countries remain suspended from the e-Visa list. This is mainly due to the coronavirus situation in these states.
Nationals of the following countries are among those who are currently unable to get a visa for India through the online system:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Kingdom
On the plus side, citizens of 156 countries are still able to use the e-Visa platform. Travelers of eligible nationalities can take full advantage of the online application system and get their travel permit via email.
Traveling to India With an e-Visa During the Pandemic
Now that the e-Visa service is active once again, it is possible to get a visa online to travel to India during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are still certain restrictions in place. International visitors must abide by the rules to help combat the spread of coronavirus.
Travelers should plan their trip to arrive at one of the 28 designated airports or 5 major seaports that can currently process arrivals with e-Visas.
A printed copy of the electronic visa must be presented at border control to enter India.
Passengers must also complete a self-declaration form and have proof of a negative RT-PCR test result to show they are free of COVID-19.
Some travelers will have to undergo further screening and quarantine once they reach India.