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India Visa on Arrival (VOA) and Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVOA)

Known as the land of diversity, India has been a favorite travel destination among international tourists. Citizens of foreign countries need proper authorization and identity documents to visit India. Visitors from a few neighboring countries are exempt from this rule. 

They can travel to India with their identity document which is their passports. 

Citizens of a few foreign countries are also eligible for a visa on arrival in India. 

Read on to know more about visas on arrival in India 

What is a Visa on Arrival (VOA)?

This is an immigration authorization issued to foreign nationals at the port of entry in their destination country.

This is a standard visa that is issued by the officials at the immigration wing of an airport or a seaport. This is not a visa-free entry. The validity period of such visas tends to be short term. 

The main difference between an eVisa/regular visa and VOA is that travelers need to apply for a regular visa before the trip and they can get an visa on arrival at the port of entry of their destination country. 

Regular/eVisa needs to be approved before they can plan their trip.

An Indian visa on arrival saves them from that hassle. For a VOA, they do not need to apply formally. 

The main advantage is that there is no lengthy paperwork or in-personal interview. However, visitors from only a few eligible foreign countries will be eligible for a visa or arrival in any given sovereign nation. 

Is a Visa for Arrival (VOA) Available for India? 

India grants visas to citizens of a few foreign countries on arrival at an Indian airport. Travelers from Japan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates can get an Indian visa on arrival at their port of entry.  

The facility is not applicable for travelers whose parents or grandparents have a Pakistani origin.

To be eligible for this visa, citizens of UAE should have visited India on a eVisa or regular visa earlier. The UAE travelers who are visiting India for the very first time should apply for an Indian eVisa or regular visa. 

Also, diplomats and special passport holders are not entitled for a VOA in India. The VOA is available only in six airports in India. They are Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai.

International travelers who are planning to arrive in airports or ports other than these six have to apply for an electronic visa or a regular visa.   

The maximum duration of legal stay with a VOA is 60 days and it is issued only for business, tourism, attending international conferences and medical treatments. The applicants should also not have a home or a job in the country.

They should also submit proof of funds to support themselves during the stay. 

The validity of an Indian VOA is 60 days. However, the maximum duration of allowed stay will be decided by the staff at the immigration counter at the port of entry. 

Indian TVOA (Tourism Visa on Arrival)

The Indian government also issues a Tourism Visa on Arrival (TVOA) to citizens of Cambodia, Finland, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Luxembourg, Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia.

This is introduced to tourists who are visiting India in groups or individually through travel agencies registered with the Indian government. 

This visa is issued to a foreigner for a maximum of two visits in a year and is granted exclusively for visits related to tourism, joining friends and family and medical treatments.

The validity of this visa will be entered by the officials at the immigration counters at the time of the issuance.

The maximum duration a traveler can visit India with this visa is 30 days. 

The TVOA program is available in eight Indian international airports which are Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru. 

Note that foreigners working in India or own a house in India cannot apply for an Indian tourism visa on arrival.   

What is the Process for Getting an India VOA or TVOA? 

International travelers eligible for an Indian VOA and TVOA are required to fill out a simple application form.

The form can be downloaded from the official website of the Indian government. It is also available with eligible airlines and travelers can fill it out during their flight.

They are, however, encouraged to download and print it after completion. 

The form is also available at the Indian ports of entry. 

They have to submit the completed form and identification documents to the visa officers at the visa-on-arrival counters. 

They also should pay the visa and processing fee at the counter. The officers will issue the visa with specified expiry date. 

What Airports Offer the Visa on Arrival?

This visa is available at only a few designated international airports in India. Travelers from Japan, South Korea and UAE can get a VOA at six Indian airports – Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. 

Apart from the above six airports the TVOA facility is available in two more international airports—Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. 

The Indian government is drafting to expand the facility to the Goa airport as well.    

Documents Required for VOA/TVOA

Applicants for an Indian visa on arrival have to submit the following documents at the visa counter:

  1. Legally valid passport with six months validity
  2. Passport size photo (two of them)
  3. A copy of the passport
  4. Return tickets
  5. Proof of funds

What If I’m not Eligible for the India VOA? 

An India visa on arrival is granted for citizens of a few eligible foreign countries. They can get this facility only at a few international airports in the country. However, the government of India offers a variety of eVisas and regular visas for international travelers. 

Travelers from eligible countries can apply for eVisas for tourism, business and medical treatments.

The online application process is simple and straightforward. The validity is between one month and five years.

The eVisas with a validity period over 365 days have multiple entries and travelers can stay up to 90 days per visit.

Foreigners coming on this visa can avoid long queues at the visa-on-arrival counters.  

Foreigners who are not entitled for an Indian eVisa can apply for a regular visa at their nearest Indian embassy or consulate. 

It is to be noted that entry is not guaranteed to all travelers eligible for a visa on arrival in India. This is based on the discretion of officials at the immigration counters.

People with criminal admissibility and incorrect identity documents can be denied entry.  

Foreigners are encouraged to keep their papers in order and answer the queries of the officials sincerely. Dishonesty here can cause visa denial. 

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