Responding to the news about Indian tourist visa on arrival (TVoA) service for Emiratis, which was implemented on Thursday, Emiratis say that the move will see more youngsters from the UAE flying to India.
According to Indian Ambassador to the UAE T.P. Seetharam, the Indian missions in the UAE annually issue about 50,000 tourists visas, mostly to Emiratis.
An Emirati, Ahmad Muftah, who is a marine captain, said that majority of the Emiratis who visit India are elderly people. “They usually visit India for shopping for oud and clothes. These people are not familiar with computers and they will require help to apply online. I think more than these people, it will be the youngsters who will benefit from this new service,” said Muftah.
He noted that the faster service done online would benefit youngsters who may plan their trips impulsively. Eligible TVoA applications will be approved within three days, following which an e-mail authorization will be sent to applicants, which they are required to carry while flying to India.
“I went to Mumbai three times when my niece was undergoing treatment at Colaba. I did some shopping also at that time. For people flying more frequently, this online service will be of help,” he said.
Abdulla Al Nuaimi, who works with Adnoc, said: “India is not far and some people travel very frequently to the country. It will definitely be great if they don’t face any delay in getting the visas.”
Al Nuaimi, who last visited India over a decade ago, expressed hope that the procedures now would cut down the waiting time for a tourist visa to India.
A fee of $60 (plus bank transaction charges) per passenger has to be paid online for the ‘Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)’ to receive the visa on arrival at nine major airports in India after the applicants record their biometrics there.
Abdulla Al Zaabi from Ras Al Khaimah said he had received a tourist visa to India in six days. “Nowadays it is very fast. But there could be delays in some seasons. It will be great if the online visa is given at the airport.”
He said the tourist numbers would significantly spike if multiple entries are possible. “I heard they are not giving multiple entries for this visa,” said Al Zaabi, who works for the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.