Category Archives: Visa

‘eVisa On Arrival’ service goes live from February 14 for seamless entry into Thailand

The new eVisa On Arrival (eVOA) service that will enable a faster and convenient arrival into Thailand for travellers from India and 20 other countries, has become available for applicants from February 14, 2019. The eVOA service offers travellers a whole new experience when entering the country at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueng airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai airports. The service is part of the Government of Thailand’s initiative to promote tourism, and has been developed by the Immigration Bureau of Royal Thai Police and VFS Global. Of the over 1.5 million Indians who visited Thailand in 2018, over 900,000 used the old, time consuming Visa On Arrival service at Thailand airports. Commenting on the new eVOA service, Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, Commissioner of Immigration Bureau, said, “With the eVOA service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhance the overall experience for the modern-day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. In our cooperation with VFS Global, we aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival.” The new eVOA service offers travellers the conveniences of avoiding long queues, and eliminates the need to fill up application forms on arrival and arrange for paper documentation or local currency which travellers find challenging after a long flight. If there is an urgent visa requirement to travel to Thailand, travellers can also avail online the Express eVOA service for quicker processing. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global Group, said, “I am delighted that the …

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India and Maldives to liberalise visa norms from March 11, 2019

India and Maldives exchanged diplomatic notes for the implementation of the visa facilitation agreement with an aim to boost people-to-people ties between the two countries. The agreement provides a very liberal visa regime for Maldivian nationals to visit India for tourism, business, education and medical purposes. It will be effective from March 11 after all formalities including information being provided to all immigration offices, border points and customs authorities have been completed. The agreement was signed during Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to India on December 17 last year. The exchange of diplomatic notes follows the signature of the agreement by President Ram Nath Kovind after the Union Cabinet had given its approval, read a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Relations between New Delhi and Male came under strain during former President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year rule, which saw him cosying up with China for various development projects, cracking down on dissent and imposing a state of emergency by jailing opposition leaders. Moreover, there were several diplomatic issues under the Yameen government with many Indian nationals being reportedly denied visas. Solih’s surprise victory in the Maldives presidential elections in last September came as a major diplomatic victory for India, after New Delhi repeatedly warned the Yameen government to respect democratic institutions and free the jailed opposition leaders.    

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Thai immigration with VFS Global to introduce Thailand eVisa service from February 14, 2019

In line with the Government of Thailand’s initiative to promote tourism, the Immigration Bureau of Thailand has partnered with VFS Global to offer the new eVisa On Arrival (eVOA) service that will enable a faster and more convenient arrival process for travellers from 21 countries like India, China, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, to name a few. Travellers who are eligible to use the online eVOA service provided by VFS Global will receive their travel authorisation from the Immigration Bureau of Thailand prior to their departure from their country of origin. The eVOA service will be available as of February 14, 2019 on thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com. The new Thailand eVisa On Arrival offers travellers a whole new experience when applying for a travel pre-authorisation to Thailand and when entering the country at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueng airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai airports flying by Thai Airways and other airlines. In three simple steps, eligible travellers can apply online for eVOA for Thailand by visiting thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com anytime, anywhere or get assistance at VFS Global visa application centres across the globe. Travellers receive their pre-departure travel authorisation online before the trip within 24 to 72 hours. Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, Commissioner of Immigration Bureau, said, “With the eVOA service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhance the overall experience for the modern-day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. In our cooperation with VFS Global, we aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival, as …

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Thailand extends visa fee waiver till April end

The Government of Thailand has decided to extend the waiver on the 2000-baht visa-on-arrival fee for Indian nationals till April end to boost tourism in the country. The waiver was set to end early January, but the cabinet decided to extend it to allow foreign tourists to Thailand during the Chinese New Year in February and the Songkran festival in the middle of April.

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Malaysia exempts Indian tourists from visa from January 1 to December 31, 2019

Incumbent Minister of Home Affairs, Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Muhammad Yassin has exempted Indian tourists from the requirement of visa under subsection 2(1) of the Passports Act 1966. The order, which may be cited as Passports (Exemption of Visa to Tourist Who is Citizen of India) Order 2019, has effect for the period from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. However, the order is subject to some conditions mentioned below: (a) The tourist shall be registered in the electronic travel registration and information system provided by the Director General. (b) The tourist shall travel to Malaysia within three months after he is registered in the electronic travel registration. (c) The period of visit of the tourist is limited to fifteen days only and shall not be extended. (d) The tourist shall enter and exit from Malaysia only through the authorised airports as gazetted under subsection 5(1) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 [Act 155] or through immigration control posts. (e) The tourist is not allowed to apply for any other passes under the Immigration Regulations 1963. (f) The tourist shall have a travel air ticket back direct to India or a travel air ticket to any country if he/she travels by air. (g) The tourist shall, on arrival, produce proof of sufficient pocket-money, credit card or bank card and produce his itinerary in Malaysia. (h) The tourist is allowed to re-register to enter Malaysia after the period of three months from the date he/she leaves.

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India extends e-visa facility for conference and medical attendants from China

India has further liberalised visa regime for Chinese nationals by extending e-visa facility for the conference and medical attendants as part of its efforts to attract more tourists from China. Previously those attending conferences in India needed to get clearances from New Delhi to get visas. The Conference Visa will be issued for those who intend to travel to India to attend conference/seminar/workshop organised by Ministry or Department of Government of India, State Departments or Union Territories, Administration and their subordinate/attached organizations and PSUs, the Indian embassy said in a statement. The documents required included scanned bio-page of passport showing the photograph and details, invitation from organisation. It also needs political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs, the statement said. The e-Medical Attendant Visa will be issued for those who wish to travel as attendant to e-Medical visa holder. The e-visa facility is now available for Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa, e-Medical Visa, e-Medical Attendant Visa and e-Conference Visa, it added. Despite special measures like e-visas, only 2.4 lakh Chinese tourists visited India last year against 14 lakh Indians visiting China. Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons, accompanied by about 20 Indian tour operators, conducted special campaigns in Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai in August as part of India’s efforts to attract more Chinese tourists to the country. Source: PTI

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Bangladesh constitutes 45% of total FTAs to India on medical visa

Bangladesh alone constituted about 45 per cent of total foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) to India on medical visa in 2017, according to a FICCI study on ‘India: Innovating Transforming and Defining Medical Value Travel’. Bangladesh holds the eighth place among largest population countries in the world. The major destination countries include India, China, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the USA, the UK, Australia, Japan and Germany for treatments including cardiology, oncology, neurology and orthopaedic. Majority of deaths in Bangladesh are due to non-communicable diseases out of which cancer has a share of 10 per cent. However, the existing infrastructure caters to approximately 10 per cent of cancer patients with 16 cancer treatment centres in Bangladesh. High costs, poor services, long waiting lists, lack of technology in Bangladesh are the major reasons for medical value travel from Bangladesh.

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Niti Aayog proposes increase in e-visa validity to 10 years

To attract more tourists in India, Niti Aayog has proposed increasing the validity period of e-Visas to 10 years and the number of annual visits for those on e-medical visa be enhanced. Currently, the validity of e-Visa (except e-Conference visa) is 60 days from the date of arrival in India. In case of e-Conference visa, the validity is 30 days. Double entry is permitted on e-Tourist visa and e-Business visa. Triple entry is permitted on e-Medical visa and e-Medical Attendant visa. Only single entry is permitted on e-Conference visa. e-Visa can be availed for a maximum of three times in a calendar year between January to December. In its report ‘The Strategy for New India @ 75’, Niti Aayog has said that despite the introduction of an e-Visa facility, visitors find the process of applying for a visa cumbersome. Niti Aayog has also suggested that the number of annual visits allowed under an e-Medical visa be enhanced. Currently, e-Medical visa holders are allowed three repeat visits during their one-year visa period. According to the report, “This may not be sufficient for patients who require follow-up/post-operative care.” The report also said that India should increase the number of persons accompanying those with e-medical visa from the current two to four under the same visa, as has been done in countries like Malaysia. Source: PTI

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Russia visa available through VFS Global in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai

Residents of India can now apply for visas to Russia at VFS Global Visa Application Centres (VACs) opened for the Embassy of the Russian Federation. The new centres will cater to the growing needs of outbound travellers to Russia, and increase accessibility to, and convenience of, visa services. With approximately 55,000 travellers visiting Russia from India each year, the application process through the new centres will prove to be more streamlined. The centre in New Delhi was inaugurated by H E Nikolay Rishatovich Kudashev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India. He said, “The new Russian Visa Application Centre looks very impressive, very advanced and it perfectly fits into the new substance of our bilateral ties as well as our global co-operation. As you would surely know our relationship is a relationship of Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. It carries political, economic, cultural and humanitarian content, but after all and finally, it is all about people; it is all about people to people connection, making this enormous relationship going. And this person to person connection will not be possible without such a simple thing as visa. I hope this visa application centre will make a real contribution to the growing strategic connection between our countries and our people.” Speaking about the development, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group Chief Operating Officer – Middle East, South Asia & China, said, “The network of Russia Visa Application Centres serves the needs of the ever-increasing numbers of travellers to Russia from this region and we are confident it will deliver services that exceed the expectations of the applicants.”

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Ukraine discontinues visa on arrival facility for Indians from January 1, 2019

The visa on arrival facility for foreign citizens including Indians will no longer be available with effect from January 1, 2019 as Ukraine has recently modified its legislation on visa regulations. According to the new Decree no 954 of the Cabinet of Minister of Ukraine, the rules of visa issuance of entering Ukraine and the transit have been modified.

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