Citizens living in the Uk now will be able to make plans of visiting India as e-Visas have been reinstated. India has reversed its policy by excluding British travellers from the eVisa scheme.
On December 5, 2022, by the High Commission of India (HCI) where High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, Vikram Doraiswami announced the decision on Twitter.
He said the service will be available "forthwith" and High Commission officials in London confirmed that travellers can start applying for e-visas to India immediately. It said that the system upgrade process is underway and the Indian visa website will soon be ready to receive applications for e-visas.
Tourism professional Namrata Bansal also has welcomed the move adding it was much needed.
“Well it’s a positive and a much-needed step by the Indian authorities to reinstate E-visa for the British passport holders. Suspension of e-visa made travel to India challenging for a lot of British travellers and tour operators/travel agents were losing a lot of business.
Typically, over one million British nationals visit India every year making the UK the third important source market of foreign tourist arrivals in India. Now is the right time to take steps to promote further travel from the UK to india.”
To boost Indian visa processing facilities, including a new Indian visa centre in central London and Visa at Your Doorstep (VAYD) service, to address the high post-pandemic travel demand from the UK to India, several measures have been undertaken.
Travel agencies have also welcomed the move, who are seeing a surge in flight enquiries since the announcement last week.
Speaking to Asian Voice, a spokesperson from Southall Travel UK said, “As the airlines are opening up more capacity, the average price for an economy class fare is currently between £600-£900 for the next year, which is marginally cheaper than 2022. However, when we compare to pre-covid/lockdown this is still on an average £100-£150 more than the price consumers paid back in 2019.”
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the vast majority of UK visitors to India were permitted to enter India on an eVisa – a relatively simple online system similar to the US Esta scheme. However, post-pandemic, online visas for holidays in India were made available for nationals of 156 eligible countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, but the UK was excluded.
Currently, citizens of the UK have to apply for a visa in person. The process is exorbitant and time-consuming compared to the online eVisa, and there is a long waiting list for appointments at Indian visa centres in the UK.
People have widely welcomed the move amid a massive rush for visas to India in recent months. It had emerged that during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Indonesia last month, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart, Rishi Sunak, discussed e-visas, along with other issues.