Govt introduces four fee slabs for e-tourist visa2 min read . Updated: 31 Oct 2015, 01:14 AM IST
The visa fee has been split into four slabs of zero, $25, $48 and $60 from the present flat rate of $60 for 113 countries
New Delhi: The government has, in an initiative aimed at giving tourism a boost, decided to revise the e-tourist visa fee, breaking it up into four different slabs from the present flat rate of $60 for 113 countries.
According to guidelines issued by the home ministry on Friday, the visa fee has now been split into four slabs of zero, $25, $48 and $60. In addition, bank charges have also been reduced from $2 to 2.5% of the e-tourist visa fee. There will be no bank charges for the zero visa fee category and the new rates will come into effect from 3 November.
The revision of visa fees has been done on the principle of reciprocity and the facility has been available at 16 airports across the country since its launch in November last year. The scheme is completely online.
The home ministry’s foreigners division, which is the nodal agency for the scheme, has made it mandatory for decisions to be communicated to applicants on email within 72 hours of an application being filed.
According to a home ministry statement, five counties are covered under the $60 slab: US, UK, Russia, Ukraine and Mozambique. The rate of $48 has been fixed for 86 countries, some of which are: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Palestine, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the UAE, Vatican City, Venezuela and Vietnam.
The $25 fee has been fixed for 3 countries—Japan, Singapore and Sri Lanka—while zero visa fees apply to 19 countries, including Argentina, Cook Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, Mauritius, Seychelles and Uruguay.
Tourists having e-visas can enter India through 16 designated airports at Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum and Varanasi.
“In addition to reciprocating the gestures of other countries, we expect that this revision of visa fee will also help in boosting tourism in the country. The response to the e-tourist visa scheme has been very encouraging and we have issued 340,000 such visas since its launch last November," a home ministry spokesperson said.
Sharat Dhall, president at online travel portal Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd, is of the view that reducing visa fees will have a positive impact. “From a fixed price of $60 for all to reducing it to zero and $25 for some countries is certainly a positive move. It reinforces the fact that the government is trying to boost tourism. It makes India more attractive as a destination and may bring in more people. But for a country of this size, the base (total number of travellers) is quite low. While reducing the visa fee is a positive step, much remains to be done on issues like roads, air connectivity and safety of tourists, which are the real challenges inhibiting the sector’s growth," Dhall said.