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Greg Rodgers

Visa on Arrival for India is Coming Soon!

By October 9, 2013

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India visa on arrival

Photo by Greg Rodgers

For years, travelers wanting to visit India had to muscle through a frustrating and convoluted visa process weeks before arrival.

Well, no more.

Soon, visitors from more than 40 countries -- including the US and UK -- will be granted a visa on arrival at many international airports in India!

Simplifying the visa process is an incredibly smart move by Indian officials. Despite India having an incredible amount to offer, travelers were often put off by the lengthy and complicated Indian visa application form.

Despite its size, India actually only receives a small number of international tourists compared to much smaller countries with relaxed visa rules. Thailand and Malaysia -- both offer visa-on-arrival services -- receive more international travelers than India does.

Feb 2014 Update: Indian officials say that the new visa regulations should be in place by October 2014.

Citizens from the following countries will be granted a visa on arrival:

US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, Russia, China, and others. To take advantage of the new VOA, travelers will first need to apply online once the new website is up and running. The online system for visa on arrival already used in Sri Lanka may be used as a model.

I took advantage of Sri Lanka's easy system last year. You simply apply online, pay a fee with a credit card, then receive an approval number. Once you arrive in Sri Lanka, a physical visa is stamped into your passport which is already in their system. No need for mailing off your passport or leaving it with an embassy for processing.

Citizens from Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Finland, and the Philippines already had access to a visa on arrival in India.

Under the new system, all travelers above age 60 from any country -- even those not yet included in the new VOA offering -- will be granted visa on arrival.

After dealing with the old visa approval process last year, I can attest that this is an excellent move by the tourism ministry and great news for anyone who has been wanting to visit India.

Here are a few resources for planning your trip to take advantage of the new visa rules!

October 9, 2013 at 9:17 am
(1) JimmyTheJock says:

This is a welcome development but I’ll be rather pi$$ed off if it starts before the end of next month, although I doubt that knowing the speed at with Indian bureaucracy works, as I applied only yesterday for another visa at a cost of £104.

October 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm
(2) patsy says:

Wonderful news, considering that the form has got more and more mystifying as years go by; unfortunately I foresee unbelievable chaos at the airports on arrival – I sincerely hope i’m being pessimistic!

October 13, 2013 at 10:31 am
(3) Dc visitor says:

Cheers to the Govt. For thinking out of the box n bringing convenience to the visitors. I must say that going to indian embassy abroad is a pathetic experience though privatization of the application process is eliminating that nightmare !

October 17, 2013 at 9:28 am
(4) Gopi nair says:

Finally someone in the Indian Govt has some common sense. I have been trying to get a tourist visa for over a month and the process is awful.
I just decided not to go to India. If they do not want my tourist $ I am sure Sri Lanka and other countries would welcome my business.

October 29, 2013 at 6:25 am
(5) full phil says:

anyone know when this is going live? Thought we might go travelling in India in January 2014

October 31, 2013 at 4:52 am
(6) Greg Rodgers says:

No official date as of yet, but “by the end of 2013.” You may be OK if the tangled web of bureaucracy continues to unravel a bit. :)

December 6, 2013 at 6:17 pm
(7) David Vancil says:

as an update, I just checked (Dec 6, 2013) and the on arrival visa is not available to people from the US and UK.

December 15, 2013 at 12:27 pm
(8) Greg Rodgers says:

The new Visa on Arrival rules still haven’t taken effect yet (expected early 2014). Be patient…hopefully the US and UK will be on the new list (as planned)! Cheers.

February 13, 2014 at 12:11 pm
(9) Kristie says:

I have just applied for a tourist visa and the process of getting one is a nightmare. I recommend you taking it to the consulate yourself. It only took me 2.5 days to get confirmation of approval and was allowed to pick it up on the 3rd day. Do you know if the visa on arrival is approved yet? Would like to beable to go back to India without the headache. Thx

February 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm
(10) Greg Rodgers says:

Hi Kristie, the latest date for implementation of the visa on arrival is now October 2014. Too bad! Will keep everyone posted if and when that changes.

April 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm
(11) Jeff says:


In your article, you said that “…you can safely ignore the warning” in regards to the security certificate being invalid. Would you mind telling me why you feel it is safe? From my understanding, the valid certificate assures me that I am giving my sensitive data to the right people — not what the correct people will do with this information once or after they receive it.

Any advise you can give me to feel better about this would be greatly appreciated.


April 12, 2014 at 6:26 pm
(12) Greg says:

Hi Jeff,

I understand completely. Unfortunately, this is an IT problem on the Indian side that’s been there for years.

There is a link at the top of the form to install the security certificate. You will probably still receive a warning, however, the connection is still supposed to be encrypted. The warning appears because the government did not purchase a ‘trusted’ SSL certificate from a company such as Verisign to make the https connection. They most likely generated their own.

May 8, 2014 at 10:08 am
(13) bex says:

FYI – since this isn’t live, be aware that some consulates, including the one in Prague, are now rejecting applications where the picture isn’t electronically uploaded. Don’t get caught in that trap.

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