How does the new visa system help foreign travels explore the incredible India?

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VISA
Exploring the rich cultural heritage of India, walking through the magnificent golden dunes, breathing the fresh air of the green mountain valleys and soaking up the sun in the beaches have been the recurring dreams of many travelers across the world. The only thing that has kept millions of potential travelers from visiting the land of spices and castles is the lengthy visa application and approval process. Earlier, the Indian visa could take between one and two months to process. That was after filling out hundreds of pages of paperwork that was both boring and repetitive. 
 
What is the new ETA visa system? 
 
The new system came into action on 27 November 2014. The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) visa is accessible for travelers from 163 countries. Once the travelers reach one of the nine significant airports of India, including Ahmadabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum International Airport), Tiruchirapalli and Varanasi, they can swap their ETA visas for e—Tourist Visa. However, the validity of this E-tourist visa is 60 days for all travelers. Currently, a foreign passport holder can apply for only two counts of ETA per year for India. So, if you are planning to stay longer or visit more than twice a year, the conventional visa system might be more rewarding for you.
 
What do you need for starting the application of the electronic tourist visa?
 
Applying for an ETA is straightforward, so you have no reason to end up in one of the twenty-five registered airports without one. Here are a few things you might need while applying for an electronic visa –
 
i. A software program that opens PDF files.
ii. A designated date of arrival to India. 
iii. Any debit card or credit card for paying the visa fee.
iv. Scanned copies of your passport (first page) of size 300 KB max.
v. A standard passport photo of around 1 MB in JPEG format. 
 
When you are asking for a visa approval in record time, these five things seem trivial in comparison. 
 
What do you need for the visa approval process after you reach an Indian airport? 
 
Once you arrive at any of the currently approved airports, you can directly walk into immigration for rapid visa processing. Here is the list of stuff you will require for visa approval –
 
i. A scanned copy of your current ETA visa. 
ii. Your passport that should be valid for at least the next six months.
iii. Proof of confirmed flight tickets out of the country within visa validity period.
iv. Proof of money for your travel and living expenses in India. It can include your bank statements and credit cards.
 
Always start the visa application process at least four days before your stipulated date of arrival. Although it is a short-term, rapid visa approval process, you will need three to four days for confirmed approval. You do not want to risk boarding the flight out of your country without a confirmed email. The application fee is comparatively nominal. However, remember that you should be in the country within sixty days from the approval. The validity of the visa is thirty days at the moment. It allows double entry, but once it expires, you cannot reapply for it from within the country.  
 
How do people renew their ETA visa? 
 
A few tourists often travel to neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal or Bhutan to reapply for the rapid visa. It reapplication process is easy, and these countries have enough tourist attractions worth the time of keen travelers from around the globe. Getting tourism permits for these neighboring countries is quite simple once you are in India. They share diplomatic ties with the country and getting a permit to visit these countries is easier than going back to reapply for travel visa once again.
 
When should you stick to the traditional lengthy visa application process? 
 
The conventional visa process for Indian travelers is strenuous and faulty. The result is sometimes a messing up of travel plans for many tourists and backpackers in the recent past. However, people who are interested in making long holiday plans in India this year should go with the traditional visa application and approval system. The ETA is perfect for those, who want to spend a month in Goa or a couple of weeks in trekking through the lower Himalayan range or complete the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Mumbai tour.
 
Currently, the application process via online platforms and payment through registered gateways is much easier than it was in 2014. With each passing day, the online security is becoming stronger and better than it was when the ETA process began. However, it is imperative that you speak with your tour guide and research on reliable official visa information sites before you spend money on application and booking.
 
Feature Image Credit: Today Testing

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