Visa on arrival for tourists from 5 countries starting today

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    Visa on arrival for tourists from 5 countries starting today

    V Ayyappan, TNN 1 January 2010, 03:17am IST

    CHENNAI: The government has decided to issue visas on arrival to citizens from five countries at Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata airports starting Friday. Those holding passports of Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Luxembourg and Finland would be eligible to fly in without a visa. The scheme is being introduced as a pilot project for a year.

    The move comes at a time when visa norms in the country are being tightened. This is the first time the country has decided to relax rules to permit visitors to get their passports stamped at Indian airports for entry. TOI had reported in its edition dated December 10 that the scheme was in the offing in early 2010.

    "The visas will be issued to citizens of the five countries irrespective of where they fly in from. Tourists will be charged $60 at the airport counters for the visa. They will also have to conform to a couple of rules and regulations. We will check whether the tourist has enough money to sustain his or her stay for the period shown in the itinerary," said an airport source.

    The facility, which is offered by several south-east Asian countries, is expected to give a leg-up to the business community as well as tourists. With huge inbound investments coming in from Japan and Finland, easy travel norms are seen as a necessity for furthering business ties. Japanese automotive companies like Suzuki, Honda, Nissan among others have made substantial investments in India while Finnish investments have been mainly driven by Nokia and associate companies.

    The airports have received the rules that have been framed according to guidelines issued by the ministry of external affairs. The system will be beneficial primarily to visitors in two categories: those who club one or two countries together in their itinerary and those who intend to make short visits to India to visit friends or relatives.

    Chennai airport already has the necessary infrastructure to issue such visas. More facilities will be added in the future to facilitate issue of such visa in large numbers," said an airport official.

    Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Thailand issue visa on arrival for most nationalities including Indians. Malaysia also used to issue visa on arrival for Indians, but stopped it recently because there were complaints of Indians overstaying.

    According to Talha Rahman, an officebearer of Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), there have been complaints that businessmen and tourists were finding it difficult to get Indian visas for short visits.

    Incidentally, India has already introduced long-term multiple entry visas for 18 countries including France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, and Japan.

    Visa on arrival for tourists from 5 countries starting today - Chennai - City - The Times of India

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