Hike in e-tourist visa unlikely to be reviewed soon
Notwithstanding the concerns raised by the Tourism Ministry on the recent hike in e-tourist visa fee, it is unlikely to be reviewed soon as it has been fixed on the basis of reciprocity with other countries, officials said Monday.
The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting, chaired by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, where the representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs have conveyed that the visa fees are decided on the basis of reciprocity and the new fee structure is reasonable, a home ministry official privy to the development said, indicating that there may not be a review soon.
Asked about the issue, Alphons said Monday, "As Tourism Minister, it is my duty to see what is best for may sector and for that, I had written to the Home Ministry requesting them to review the fee hike.
"If the Home Ministry has taken this call, it is in the interest of the country. I am okay with that. I have done my duty."
The e-tourist visa fee was earlier in four slabs of Zero (Nil), USD 25, USD 48, and USD 60. It has been fixed in three slabs now -- Zero (Nil), USD 80 and USD 100, plus a bank fee of 2.5 percent of the visa fee.
Once approved, the applicant receives an email authorizing him/her to travel to India and him/she can travel with a print out of this authorization. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country, another official said.
This facility is available to foreigners whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight-seeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, etc. and not valid for any other purpose or activities.
The facility encourages people to travel with short-term planning, take via routes while traveling to other countries and bring family members while on business visits.