The Indian government and their tourism board are looking at ways to make travel to their country a bit easier. No, they cannot make the flights any shorter, and it doesn’t seem that they can reduce the traffic on the roads from the airports to the cities, but at least getting a visa may no longer be such an ordeal. The government is considering implementing a Visa-on-arrival program, with such a change possibly going into effect at Mumbai and Delhi airports as early as 2009.
Getting a visa to visit India today is a rather entertaining ordeal. One can either mail off the application and passport and get it back a while later, or take the application and passport in person to a local processing facility. I did it in NYC a couple years ago when we made our initial trip to India, and it was definitely an experience. Everything happened reasonably efficiently and just like they said it would, but there was a lot of standing around and waiting in line and otherwise just waiting. It definitely took the better part of a full day to get it done. Visa-on-arrival would obviate the need for all the waiting in advance.
Then again, it would likely mean lots of waiting on arrival. Considering that most flights from the USA or from Europe arrive in Mumbai or Delhi very late at night, waiting in line to get a visa would be the last thing I’d want to do at that point. Then again, if the visa-on-arrival is handled by the immigration officer rather than a different line it might not be so bad. Turkey does it as a second line, and I’m not sure how bad that will be, though we’re going to find out later this year.
Either way, anything that India can do to make travel there easier and more inviting is a welcome change. It isn’t really all that bad, but making it better means it will be more likely that more people will get to experience the amazing beauty and incredible culture that India has to share.
Even if they don’t make the visa process easier you should all go visit! Make sure to see the Taj. And Goa. And Mysore. And a bunch of other places that we haven’t seen yet, but that we’re going to go back for.
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Hmmm, interesting. When someone else does the Visa for you, it’s the easiest of all :P.
Especially when to do so without any surcharges 😉
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