In order to do away with the reported confusion, the Home Ministry has decided to adopt a simple name for ‘Tourist visa on arrival enabled electronic travel authorization’ (TVoA-ETA) facilitation. The new chosen name is e-tourist visa which has become effective from April 15th. The Home Ministry is believed to have made this change after it found that TVoA-ETA was creating confusion among tourists. Several Indian embassies had requested for the change in the name since many visitors to India were presuming that visa is being granted on arrival. However, in the present system, the pre-authorization of visa is being given prior to arrival of foreigners. Following requests from the embassies, the government had formed a committee of officers from the ministries of home and external affairs and Bureau of Immigration for coining a new name for the scheme.
The eTV enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation would enable the prospective visitor to apply for an Indian visa from his or her home country online without visiting the Indian mission and also pay the visa fee online. Once approved, the applicant will receive an email authorising him or her to travel to India and he or she can travel with a print out of this authorisation. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.
Government had launched the TVoA-ETA scheme on 27 November 2014 to 43 countries (Republic of Guyana was also included in January) at 9 major airports in India. Since its launch, a total of 1,10,000 visas have been issued by the government under the ETA scheme. During the first quarter of the current calendar, about 76,000 foreign visitors have availed this facility with tourists from the US topping the list.