Electronic Visas not always given on arrival in India

Venkat Raman – 

An increasing number of people travelling from New Zealand to India on Electronic Visas (e- visas) applied online are being turned away at immigration counter in Indian airports, for lack of adequate documents, the most important of which is the visa itself.

It should also be understood that these are known as ‘E-TVs’ (Electronic Tourist Visas) and goes through a number of steps before issue.

In the past four weeks, at least 15 persons have contacted Indian Newslink from Mumbai and Delhi international airports saying that they were denied entry although they had applied and paid for e-visas online.

Non-compliance

On inquiry, we were informed by immigration officials in India that none of the stranded passengers had a valid E-TV issued by the online system.

“All of them had no doubt applied for an e-Visa but none of them had the actual e-Visa issued. Although e-Visas are issued faster than our diplomatic missions, yet there are procedures that must be followed. Applying for a Visa does not necessarily mean that it has been issued. There are still processes and security checks involved,” the officials said.

Detailed Procedures

The Wellington based Indian High Commission has detailed procedures posted on its website. According to available information, the applicant must (a) apply online uploading his or her latest photograph along with the relevant passport page (b) Pay visa fee online using credit or debit card (c) Receive ETV on line sent to your email and (d) print ETV and carry it with you to India.

One of the persons held up at Delhi airport had a New Zealand Passport that was to expire in less than 15 days, while three others travelling together did not have approved visas.

They were advised to travel to the nearest country (Nepal), visit the Indian High Commission, obtain valid visas and then fly back to India. Many preferred to visit Singapore or Kuala Lumpur and obtain visas from the Indian Diplomatic Missions.

The High Commission Website has clear instructions on the issue of online visas.

The Conditions

“International Travellers whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit. Passports should have at least six months validity ‘from the date of arrival in India.’ The passport should have at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer. The concerned passengers should have return ticket or onward journey ticket with sufficient money while travelling to India. People of Pakistan origin (even if they currently hold the passport of another country) and those with Pakistan passports, holders of diplomatic and other official passports, individuals endorsed on the passports of their parents or spouses and those holding international documents are not eligible for E-TVs,” the official website said.

Not-Extendable

Visas issued online are generally non-extendable and non-convertible and those holding them are required to leave the country before such visas expire.

Indian Newslink has been informed that some passport holders (such as New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Canada and several other countries) can obtain visas on arrival in India but the feedback is that such a facility does not always work and that it could be used only twice during a 12-month period.

“However, there is nothing better than obtaining the ‘good old visa through good old High Commission because you could be assured of having followed all procedures.”

Next Issue: Why are we impatient with Indian High Commission when you comply with all the systems and procedures followed by other Missions. Have you ever tried reaching any service provider such as Spark, Vodafone or even commercial banks and obtained a service without having to wait on the telephone Queue? Get to know how the Diplomatic Mission works.

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