13 more nations to get visas on arrival

NEW DELHI: The number of nations whose citizens are eligible for visas on arrival (VoA) in India is likely to be expanded to include 13 countries largely from Europe, south-east andcentral Asia after a review convened by the PMO felt security conditions need not be a hurdle to promote tourism.

Countries that could be offered VoA include Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine,Kazakhstan, Brazil and South Africa. At the meeting – also attended by officials from other ministries like culture and environment – it was made clear that security cannot be invoked to strike down important government initiatives.

In a separate, but related review, government is planning a major boost to skill development by aiming to add a eight-crore-strong workforce over the next five years. A big step in this direction could be introducing vocational study as elective options in classes IX to XII so that credits in these subjects can be counted for university admissions.

Home ministry has been asked to work on details of the proposed visa regime in a manner that factors in security concerns by utilizing information-sharing agreements with Asean and theEuropean Union while ensuring that travel to India becomes less hassle-free.

Ramping up tourist numbers is seen as a significant revenue earner with 600,000 foreign visitors a year being a miniscule proportion of global tourism. With timely intervention, the sector can grow much faster than the 24 million jobs currently targeted in the 12th Plan. So far, the VoA scheme has registered modest success with over 10,000 visas issued last year.

At present, 13 countries whose nationals can avail a visa on arrival include Finland, Japan,Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Laosand Myanmar. But the list excludes more populous nations even in the Asean who can be tapped for a much larger tourist footfall.

Tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai said, “Government is aware of the urgent need to develop infrastructure to ensure there is adequate connectivity, hotel room availability and facilities for tourists.” The government is also drawing lessons from European countries that have leveraged tourism to tide over financial woes.

The government is also considering a spate of measures to kick start its skill-development programme by roughly doubling the targeted addition of skilled persons from existing 40 lakh a year. This is seen as essential, keeping in mind rapidly growing sectors like tourism, information technology and textiles.

The problem of lack of skilled people had caught the attention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during UPA-I, but despite reports being commissioned and submitted, the issue was never quite addressed. Now, the government has initiated a curriculum evaluation that is intended to introduce vocational study as elective subjects in classes IX to XII.

In a departure from past practice, study of these subjects will count for students keen on attending university as it is felt that if they can earn credits and keep options open, they might be tempted to take up vocational areas in school itself.

On tourism, the PMO has also asked the MHA and the ministry of external affairs to resolve the confusion around restrictions on re-entry of tourists within a 60-day period. The visa rule is likely to be relaxed and a solution reached in the next one month.

Besides increasing VoA facility to four additional airports, including Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi and Bengaluru, the PMO has asked the civil aviation ministry to improve the facilities in the existing airports of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai so that tourists do not have to stand for hours for emigration and other clearances. The ministries of home and civil aviation have also been asked to increase counters and accept immigration fees in both Indian currency and dollars.

Source: Times of India


Maldives : VISA Structure

Monday September 5th, 2011 in International, Malaysia, Visa | Be the first to Comment »

Visitors entering the Republic of Maldives should fulfill the following requirement for the grant of an entry permit into the country.

  • Possession of a valid international travel document issued by the Government of a Sovereign State (eg. Passport)
  • Possession of a valid return air ticket to a destination where the passenger has permission to enter, together with necessary visas for the onward journey to the next destination
  • Possession of a minimum of US$30.00 per person per day or confirmed hotel reservation for the intended period of stay in the Maldives. Following are exempted from this requirement – Diplomats, UN Personnel, Approved persons for employment, Technical and other experts attached to the Government, Visitors with confirmed bookings in registered tourist resort/hotels etc, Visitors sponsored by Maldivians.
  • No prior visa is required to enter the Republic of Maldives. Entry permit will be granted to visitors on arrival at designated ports of entry, based on the immigration requirements.
  • An entry permit does not allow a visitor to take up employment, set up any business or exercise any profession whether paid or unpaid except with the consent and in conformity with the pertinent laws and regulations of the Maldives. However, a visitor or foreign delegation visiting the Maldives to conclude business agreements, contracts or to negotiate business transactions with their counterparts do not require work permits if the stay does not exceed the duration granted on arrival.
  • An expatriate must obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources Employment and Labour, prior to arrival in Maldives to engage in employment.

Note : Visitors who stay beyond the period for which they have been approved may be deported.

* The Government of Maldives refuses admission and transit to holder of Merchant Seaman books.

– Disembarkation and Embarkation card shall be filled by every passenger and submitted to the Immigration Officer on entry.

You will be granted a free entry visa on arrival. Depending on your financial status, you can apply for maximum of thirty days.


Understanding Visa

What is a visa?
Visa stands for Visitor’s Intended Stay Abroad.A visa is required for international travel, and is required for entry to most foreign countries. It is essentially the permission granted by the visited country for entry, for a restricted period.

How do I get a visa for my holiday?
All countries that you wish to visit require advance application for visas. This involves filing your application at the embassy or consulate of the country. Several documents are required to accompany your application. Also the respective consulates may call you for a personal interview, fingerprinting procedures or to furnish additional documentation in select cases.

If a country grants visa on arrival, what are the requirements?
For countries that grant visa on arrival, the following are the key requirements
-> Possession of a valid passport
-> Possession of a valid return/onward air ticket together with necessary visas/permission for entry to the next/destination countries.
-> Possession of sufficient funds (Cash, Credit Cards, Travellers Cheques, confirmed hotel bookings etc).
-> Cash for payment of fee as required & Passport sized Photographs.

What is understood by ‘Validity of a Visa’?
Visa Validity is the total period in which the visa holder can enter the country. If the visa holder fails to enter the country in that period, the visa will lapse.

What are the types of Visa?
Different types of visas are issued depending on the nature of visit. The following are the broad classification, detailed conditions varying by country and visa.
– Immigrant Visa or Permanent Visas
– Non Immigrant Visa or Temporary Visas

What are Non Immigrant Visas?
Non-immigrant visas are issued for a temporary period, after which the holder returns to the home country.
Tourist Visas, Visit Visas, short term visits, business visits etc. are all covered in this category.

Visa Application

What must be kept in mind when applying for a visa?
Most countries require advance application for visas, which can be a time consuming process. This involves filing the application at the embassy or consulate of the country. Several documents are required to accompany your application. Also the respective consulates may call you for a personal interview, fingerprinting procedures or to furnish additional documentation in select cases.

What are the documents that need to be furnished with a visa application?
Documentary Requirements for visas are specific to the countries you intend to travel and may vary. However, the following documents are generally required to be submitted:
->Valid Passport (valid at least for 6 months from the date of travel)
->Completed Application form duly signed
->Photographs as required. Specifications for photographs might be defined by the embassy of the country.
->Covering Letter from passenger stating the purpose and duration of travel.
->Covering letter from the Company stating the purpose and duration of Travel, If traveling on Business,.
->Letter from employer as proof of being a bonafide employee and stating period of leave granted, if traveling on holiday.
->Photo copy of IT Returns / Challans for the last 3 years.
->Photo Copy of Personal Bank Statement for last 3 months
->Proof of Long Terms funds – Property Papers, Fixed Deposit Statements, LIC, NSC, other investments etc.
->Proof of funds to cover journey expenses – Proof of purchase of Foreign Exchange, Photo Copies of International Credit Cards etc.
->Confirmed Return Air Tickets.
->Confirmed Hotel Booking / Tour Confirmation Vouchers.
->Invitation Letter from Foreign Host (If person traveling on Business).
->Copy of Marriage certificate for married women having maiden name mentioned in passport.
->If student traveling during vacations school / college / institution identity card is required.
->If minor traveling with any other person than parents an affidavit/NOC, letter of consent from the parent is required on Rs.20 stamp paper.

Travel Insurance Policy

What happens if I don’t send the suggested documents?
If you have not included the documents which are needed, the official will point this out to you. She or he will also ask you if you want to make your application, knowing that you do not have all the documents to support it. It is entirely up to you whether you go ahead with your application or not.

Why do I need to provide documents to support my application?
The immigration law says that it is up to you to satisfy the visa officer that you qualify for a visa, so it is vital that you send the correct documents with your application. If you do not send the documents needed, The centre may refuse your application without interviewing you. Where possible, please send the documents which can be checked. For example, it can be difficult to prove that a mobile phone number belongs to a particular person, whereas it is easier to prove that a landline number belongs to that person.It may not always be possible for you to provide these kinds of documents, but please be aware that it will help make the decision if you can.

What could the status be?
Once a Visa Officer has assessed your application, s/he will make the decision to either issue or refuse your visa; or invite you for an interview. This process is the same, whether you are applying for a settlement visa, or a non-settlement visa. If you are invited for interview, your name will appear on the interview list.

What will happen if my name appears on the list?
You should visit the office where you submitted your visa application, to collect an interview letter.

Passport Requirements

What are the Passport Requirements for International Travel?
To travel internationally, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from your proposed date of return and you must have at least one blank page per visa for the visa stamps to be affixed / endorsed.
If your passport is not valid for six months from your proposed date of return, you must get its validity extended or apply for a new passport.
In case you do not have sufficient pages in your passport, you will need to obtain an additional booklet from the Passport Office.

Emigration Clearance

What is ECNR? How can I get an ECNR stamp on my passport?
ECNR (Emigration Clearance Not Required) is an endorsement on your passport, allowing free exit from India to all countries. If you have an ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) endorsement on your passport, you would be required to obtain temporary suspension for the period of your travel from the POE (Protector of Emigrants) office when you travel to certain countries.

Since the list of countries that fall under this category are regularly updated by the Government of India, it is recommended that you reconfirm whether the country you are traveling to, is included in the aforesaid list.

Certain categories of Indian Passport holders including all individuals who have passed SSC, aged below 18 years old, Income-Tax Payees or Residents of certain foreign countries can get the ‘Emigration Clearance Not Required’ endorsement in the passport, by submitting appropriate supporting documents along with the passport application at the passport office.

What is Emigration Clearance? What is POE Stamp?
All Indian passport holders having ECR (Emigration Clearance Required) endorsement require temporary clearance from the POE (Protector of Emigrants) office each time one travels to certain countries.

Failure to obtain the temporary clearance would result in one not being allowed to travel. Emigration clearance must be obtained in advance and is not granted at the airport

What is the procedure for obtaining Temporary Suspension from the POE office?
After obtaining the relevant visa for the country you intend to travel, you need to submit an application in the prescribed form along with a confirmed return air ticket and the appropriate fees, at the POE office. Your passport & air ticket will be stamped and returned back to you immediately.


Maldives Visa Requirements

Visitors entering the Republic of Maldives should fulfill the following requirement for the grant of an entry permit into the country.

* Possession of a valid international travel document issued by the Government of a Sovereign State.
* Possession of a valid return air ticket to a destination where the passenger has permission to enter, together with necessary visas for the onward journey to the next destination.
* Possession of minimum of US$30.00 per person per day or confirmed hotel reservation for the intended period of stay in the Maldives.

Following are exempted from this requirement.

* Diplomats
* UN Personnel
* Approved persons for employment
* Technical and other experts attached to the Government
* Those who have confirm bookings in registered tourist resort/hotels etc.
* Those sponsored by Maldivians

No prior visa is required to enter the Republic of Maldives. Entry permit will be granted to visitors on arrival at designated ports of entry, based on the immigration requirements.

Free 30 days Visa upon arrival for all visitors

Source: http://www.themaldives.com/travel/visa-requirements.html


Visa Updates

Sunday June 27th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »
Visa Updates
Thailand
Tourists visiting Thailand between 11th May 2010 and 31st March 2011 are exempt from paying the tourist visa fee.
Croatia
From 1 April 2010 to 31 October 2010, travellers visiting Croatia for tourism purposes do not need a visa if they hold a valid Schengen Residence Permit (not a schengen tourist visa). Holders of a valid Schengen Tourist Visa arriving on cruise ships sailing out of a port in one of the Schengen states also do need a visa for tourism purposes. Indian Nationals holding a valid Schengen Tourist Visa are also exempt from a visa if they are part of a group on an organized trip and in possession of a valid travel health insurance and arriving from the Schengen area.
Jordan
From 19th November 2009, Indians do not need a visa to visit Jordan for tourism purposes. On arrival, they will be given a 2 week entry visa with a “not allowed to work in Jordan” stamp.
Mexico
From the 4th of June 2009, holders of a Permanent Residence Permit issued by the United Kingdom or one of the Schengen States, do not require a visa for a max. stay of 180 days.
France
From the 27th of April 2009, people travelling to France for tourism will have to provide a reservation confirmation issued directly by the hotel clearly stating the visa national’s full names, the dates of check-in and out, the hotel address and contact details. Bookings made via a reservation centre or travel agencies will no longer be accepted. To ensure that visa nationals comply with the legislation in regards to the reality of stay in France, controls will be made prior and after the visa has been granted.
Bahrain
Nationals of India who are attending the Formula One event (and holding proof thereof) to be held between April 24 and 26, 2009, will be able to obtain a visa on arrival for a stay of max. 14 days, free of charge. These visas can only be used between April 12 and April 26, 2009.
Chinese Taipei
From March 18th 2009, Nationals of India are visa exempt, provided holding approval from online registration and valid visa or permanent resident card from a Schengen member state, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom or U.S.A.
Russia
As of 23rd January 2009, all Russian travel visas in UK will be processed by VFS Ltd and are to be submitted there.
Italy
From 16th January 2009, visas for Italy in UK can be applied at its Visa Application Centre on 16 January 2009. This service is available to all nationals residing in the South of England and South of Wales who wish to apply for a Schengen visa only for tourism or business.
Switzerland
Switzerland has joined the Schengen visa scheme on 12th December 2008 and all Indians will need to apply for a schengen visa if visiting Switzerland for tourism purposes. If the applicant already possess a valid schengen visa issued by other schengen country then they can use it to visit Switzerland.
France
From 17th November 2008, applications of visa applicants holding a C-Visit British visa or with a British Residency valid for 6 months or less will not be processed in UK.
Belgium
Due to the high number of applications received by the Belgium Embassy, the Visa Application Centre in London will process only 60 applications per day on a first serve basis.
China
From 1st November 2008, the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre (CVASC) in UK will only accept visa applications from those who have previously arranged an appointment on-line.
Netherlands
From 15th September 2008, applications for a Schengen visa in UK can also be submitted at the Netherlands Visa Application Centre.
Ireland
From 30th June 2008, all visa applicants resident in Great Britain and Northern Ireland must apply for their visa through the online visa application service. Any applications made on old forms; original paper forms or downloaded/ photocopied versions of the new form will be returned with all supporting documents to the applicant, which will delay the application process.