The Independent

India could reinstate eVisas for Britons within days


India may reverse its policy to exclude British travellers from the eVisa scheme within weeks or even days, officials have told The Independen­t.

At present the UK is in a small minority of nations whose citizens must apply in person for a visa. The process is far more expensive and time-consuming than the online eVisa, and there is a long waiting list for appointmen­ts at Indian visa centres in the UK.

As a result, tens of thousands of British winter visitors to India have had to cancel their trips – threatenin­g the viability of some specialist tour operators. The decision to impose extra red tape on Brits is part of a row between the government­s in Delhi and London over ease of access for Indian visitors to the UK.

But Rakesh Kumar Verma, additional secretary at the Ministry of Tourism in India, told The Independen­t: “We are aware of this challenge, and it is under considerat­ion at a very high level, and I am sure this will be addressed very soon.”

Other officials have privately said the policy – which is causing stress for travellers and financial harm for tour operators – may be reversed in as little as 10 days. India, which has a large presence at the World Travel Market in London, is urging British visitors to book trips ahead of the anticipate­d change.

But anyone doing so risks financial loss if they cannot secure a visa in time. Rajeev Kohli, the joint managing director of Creative Travel, said: “Operating to India has never been easy. We all recognise that visa systems across the world have collapsed, no matter which country it is. I do know the Ministry of Tourism has been working around the clock. We’re expecting a lot of short-term uptake once the problem gets resolved.”

Travel industry figures say UK holidaymak­ers seeking warm, good value and interestin­g winter destinatio­ns are flocking instead to Egypt, Sri Lanka and Thailand – all of which have much easier admission rules than India.

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 ?? (Getty/iStock) ?? ‘I am sure this will be addressed very soon ,’ says I ndia’s Ministry of Tourism
(Getty/iStock) ‘I am sure this will be addressed very soon ,’ says I ndia’s Ministry of Tourism
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