On Monday, 5 December, the Indian High Commission in London announced the reinstatement of e-visas for British travellers.
The UK was among the few countries for which e-visas were not reinstated when India reopened to international travellers last year after a long Covid-19 closure. Instead, applications had to be made in person at the different centres across the country.
The news was very well received as demand for travelling to India has been soaring and interested tourists had been reporting a hard time obtaining the necessary travel documents, thus abandoning plans due to uncertainty.
We are rolling out e-visas once again and this service will be available to you forthwith. We are looking forward to a good winter season.Vikram K. Doraiswami, Indian High Commissioner in London
“The big news today is that we are rolling out e-visas once again”, Indian High Commissioner in London, Vikram Doraiswami announced in a video on twitter. “This should enable friends from the UK to travel far more easily to India.”
The issue of the e-visas had already been discussed by the prime ministers of the two countries, Narendra Modi and Rishi Sunak, during a sideline meeting at last month’s G20 Summit in Indonesia and has been examined in the UK Parliament, according to The Economic Times’ Hospitality World.
To further foster the return of UK tourists, a new India Visa Application Centre (IVAC) has opened at Marylebone, in West End London. The centre is operated by VFS Global, an outsourcing and technology services provider for governments and diplomatic missions, who helps facilitate visa applications for travellers.
“We are always looking at finding practical solutions to address customer experience challenges. As a responsible service provider that manages non-judgmental and administrative tasks related to visa applications for the governments we work with, we have taken measures along with the High Commissioner of India in London to help visa applicants with a seamless visa application experience”, said Aditya Arora, COO of VFS Global.
The centre at Marylebone is now the third IVAC in London, with VFS Global operating a network of 10 across the UK: Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, central London, Hounslow, Leicester and Manchester.
Last month India also relaxed most of the remaining Covid-19 entry requirements, scrapping the Air Suvidha, the country’s passenger locator form, and the vaccination requirement. Now, with the easier visa application process, India expects a good winter tourism season.