Trade ‘over the moon’ as India brings back UK e-visas

By Lisa James
Home » Trade ‘over the moon’ as India brings back UK e-visas

Specialists are ‘over the moon’ over yesterday’s announcement that India has reinstated the UK e-visa scheme.

Although Indian High Commissioner in London Vikram Doraiswami didn’t say when the e-visa would resume, operators are working on the assumption it’s ‘all systems go’, according to an AITO spokeswoman.

Sam Clark, Managing Director of Experience Travel Group said: “Post-COVID travellers are looking for exciting, immersive travel experiences, but the thought of the admin involved to obtain a visa via the old-fashioned visa application system was putting so many people off the idea of a trip to India.

“In addition, many travellers with existing bookings were either unable or unwilling to go through the complicated and in-person application process.

“At Experience Travel Group, we had either to re-schedule or cancel – due to issues with their visa – simply hundreds of people desperate to get their travelling shoes out and go on an adventure.

“That’s what makes Monday’s announcement by the Indian High Commission that e-visas will be re-instated an absolute game changer – particularly for the small, unique and special places all over India, and for their local people, who together add immeasurably to the unique character of an Indian holiday.

“We, and other AITO members selling India, are over the moon – as will be our clients, of course.  A great big ‘hurrah!’ all round.”

The e-visa was suspended during COVID, then reinstated earlier this year for nationals of other countries, including the EU, but not the UK.

India suddenly changed its visa rules at the start of October, meaning visitors from the UK had to book an in-person visit at one of nine processing centres rather than apply for a visa via specialist firms.

At the beginning of November, the Indian High Commission in the UK announced a new door-step visa service to help ease long wait times for appointments.

Then a week later, officials said the e-visa scheme would be reinstated ‘within weeks or even days’.

On Monday, in a video, High Commissioner Doraiswami said: “This service will be made with you forthwith.

“That should enable friends from the UK to travel far more easily to India.

“So welcome back. E-visas are up ahead.”

The High Commission tweeted that it was ‘delighted to confirm that e-visa facility will again be available for UK nationals travelling to India’.

The tweet added: “System upgrade is under way and the visa website will soon be ready to receive applications from friends in the UK.”

The website Indian Visa Online includes the UK in its list of countries/nationalities that are eligible for the e-visa.

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