Foreign tourists to get group visas on arrival in India

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Taj Mahal
New Delhi, April 24: With a view to attract more foreign tourists, government has decided to provide group visas (officially called collective landing permits).

According to the revised procedure, foreign tourists in groups of four or more arriving by air or sea and sponsored by Tourism Ministry approved Indian travel agencies are to be granted collective landing permit for a period not exceeding 60 days.

They should also have a pre-drawn itinerary and will get multiple entry facilities to enable them to visit neighbouring countries In order to avail this facility, the tourists or travel agencies shall have to fill an online application.

As per the requirement, a complete list of members along with printed visa application and their itinerary would be submitted by the tourists or travel agencies to the Foreigner's Regional Registration Office or Foreigner's Registration office at concerned cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkatta, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Calicut, Goa and Lucknow 72 hours in advance.

The collective landing permit would be applicable to all countries except a select few countries such as Pakistan and Iran.

The tourists or travel agencies shall also give an undertaking to conduct the group as per the itinerary and extend a further assurance that no individual would be allowed to drop out from the group at any place. Prime Minister's Office has been monitoring the progress of visa simplification procedure.

Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi had met Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde recently in this context, when he was assured that Ministry of Home Affairs would simplify visa procedures further.

Welcoming the new initiative, Chiranjeevi said, "this is a move forward and would go a long way towards boosting group travel to India, and would also give a boost to the tourism industry in the country."

PTI

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