India does u-turn on visa regulations for UK groups

The Government of India has extended its e-visa scheme to the UK, reducing red-tape and enabling conference and incentive groups travelling from the UK to obtain visas online.

India does u-turn on visa regulations for UK groups
India does u-turn on visa regulations for UK groups

The e Tourist Visa scheme has been extended to include 36 more countries, including the UK, meaning travellers will now no longer need to make an appointment at the Indian embassy.

The move represents a u-turn for the Goverment of India, which announced in March that UK conference and incentive groups would have to take part in mandatory biometric testing and make an appointment at the Indian embassy in order to travel to the country, creating a significant hurdle for agencies and corporates planning trips to the destination.

The cost of an Indian visa has also been significantly reduced from £89.44 to £39 and travellers will be able to upload documents onto the Indian government's visa website and pay online. E-visas are expected to be issued via email within four days, whereas previously they took up to two weeks by post.

Rakesh Joomuck, managing director of Pearl Representation who works with Indian-based DMC GoAvenues told C&IT that this should "open a lot of doors and will allow groups to come into India much more easily."

David Heron, head of sales, The Black Tomato Agency, added: "This is great news for us. India has always been a key destination so any obstacle with visas is clearly a negative.

"We have a large group going out to India later this year and visas were a big concern for them. Now that this is no longer an obstacle, India will continues to be of great interest to us."


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