New Delhi, Nov 23: Visitors from over 40 countries, including Germany, the US, Israel and Palestine, will soon be able to avail the much-awaited electronic visa facility which is set to be launched on Nov 27.
The e-visa facility for 43 countries would be rolled out by Home Minister Rajnath Singh along with Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma here, said a senior Tourism Ministry official. Russia, Brazil, Germany, Thailand, UAE, Ukraine, Jordan, Norway and Mauritius, among others, would be getting the e-visa facility in the first phase.
"It would be a historic occasion for the tourism sector as we were demanding this facility for long. The launching of e-visa system for so many countries would boost the industry," said Indian Association of Tour Operators President Subhas Goyal.
The official said that Mexico, Kenya and Fiji are also being considered for being given the e-visa facility. All arrangements, including the software for the system, are now ready and would become operational at nine international airports -- Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Goa.
In order to get an e-visa, one would need to apply on the designated website along with the required fees. They would be granted an electronic version of the visa within 96 hours. As per the government decision, all countries, except a few in the "prior list", would be brought into the e-visa regime over the next two years.
Barring a few like Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia, all the countries will be covered under the e-visa regime in phases, the official said.
The e-visa is expected to give a big boost to foreign tourist arrivals in the country. About 51.79 lakh foreign tourists visited India during January-September. Thirteen countries currently enjoy the visa-on-arrival facility, including South Korea, Japan, Finland, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos.