Visitors from over 40 countries, including Israel, Palestine, Germany and the US, will be able to avail of the much-awaited electronic visa facility from Thursday.
The e-visa facility for 43 countries will be rolled out by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, along with Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, at the ITDC-managed Hotel Ashoka in New Delhi, a senior Tourism Ministry official said on Wednesday.
Russia, Brazil, Thailand, UAE, Ukraine, Jordan, Norway, and Mauritius, among others, would be getting the e-visa facility in the first phase.
All the 12 countries currently enjoying the visa-on-arrival (VoA) facility, including South Korea, Japan, Finland, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos will also come under the e-visa facility.
Barring a few countries like Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia, all the countries will be covered under the e-visa regime in phases, the official said.
"Mexico, Kenya, and Fiji are also being considered for being given the facility... We are promoting India as 365 days destination and Incredible India road shows are being held in many countries offering many products," the official said.
He said destinations are ranging from the magnificent Himalayas in the north to the beautiful serene backwaters of Kerala, from legendary forts of Rajasthan to world class heritage sites like Hampi in Karnataka, from exotic one-horn rhinos of Kaziranga to majestic elephant herds of Bandipur, from majestic lions of the Gir to Royal Bengal tigers of the Sunderbans, besides sprawling beaches of our long coastline.
"It would be a historic occasion for the tourism sector as we were demanding this facility for long. The launching of e-visa system for so many countries would boost the industry," said Indian Association of Tour Operators President Subhas Goyal.
All arrangements are now ready and will become operational at nine international airports - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Goa, the ministry official said.
In order to get an e-visa, one would need to apply on the designated website along with the required fees. They would be granted an electronic version of the visa within 96 hours.
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