India adds 37 more countries to e-Tourist visa program

26 Feb 16

INDIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM 

What is the change? India has expanded its e-Tourist visa program to nationals of 37 additional countries, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, South Africa and Switzerland.  

What does the change mean? The e-Tourist program benefits tourists from designated countries. Business travelers are advised to obtain visas from an Indian consulate before travel, except for very narrowly tailored, urgent business trips.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: e-Tourist visas.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of 37 countries that were added to the program.
  • Impact on processing times: Tourists from affected countries will save time in the visa application process because e-Tourist visas can be obtained online before travel.
  • Business impact: Although the Indian government allows travelers on “casual business visits” to use e-Tourist visas, the definition is extremely narrow and business travelers should not attempt to use e-Tourist visas unless they are unable to obtain a visa from a consulate. 

Background: Nationals of the following countries are eligible for e-Tourist visas as of Feb. 26:

Albania Cote d’lvoire Greece Moldova South Africa
Austria Croatia Guinea Namibia Swaziland
Bosnia & Herzegovina Czech Republic Iceland Romania Switzerland
Botswana Denmark Lesotho San Marino Tajikistan
Brunei Eritrea Liberia Senegal Trinidad & Tobago
Bulgaria Gabon Madagascar Serbia Zambia
Cape Verde Gambia Malawi Slovakia Zimbabwe
Comoros Ghana

The Indian government has dramatically expanded the e-Tourist visa program since the fall of 2014. The program is now available to nationals of 150 countries. The complete list of eligible nationals can be found on this Indian government’s website. Eligible travelers are limited to two e-Tourist visas per year.

BAL Analysis: People traveling to India on business are reminded that because of the narrow definition of business travel, the wide discretion that border officials exercise and the high risk of being turned away at a point of entry, BAL does not recommend that business travelers use e-Tourist visas.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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