BY VRITIKA JHUNJHUNWALA
As the International Day of Yoga approached us in 2016, the Indian Government made an announcement on the 2nd of June that made every yogi crack a smile.
Foreigners can now apply for e-Visa not only for sightseeing, recreational and visiting purposes but also for short-term yoga courses and for taking short-term medical treatment under Indian systems like Ayurveda. This move has made coming to India to learn yoga a hassle-free affair. Now, the students need not visit the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO) at the city police headquarters. To know more about registration details, click here.
Technically, the “Yoga Visa” is similar to a student visa except that it specifies that the student has come to learn yoga for a specific period of time. The visa is eligible for all nationals who can obtain a normal tourist or student visa pertaining to India with a few exceptions mentioned below:
Passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India and have at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer.
International Travelers should have a return ticket or onward journey ticket with sufficient money to spend during his/her stay in India.
International Travelers having Pakistani Passport or Pakistani origin need to apply for regular Visa at Indian Mission.
This visa is not available to Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders, individuals endorsed on Parent’s/Spouse’s Passport i.e. each individual should have a separate passport or for International Travel Document Holders.
Here’s some more about general requirements for the visa.
General instructions and important facts for applying
- Applicants of the eligible countries/territories may apply online minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 30 days. Example: If you are applying on 1st Sept then the applicant can select arrival date from 5th Sept to 4th Oct.
- Recent front-facing photograph with white background and photo page of Passport containing personal details like name, date of birth, nationality, expiry date etc. to be uploaded by the applicant. The application is liable to be rejected if the uploaded document and photograph are not clear / as per specification.
- E-tourist Visa fees are country/Territory specific (min $00 and max $60). Bank transaction charges of 2.5% will be charged additional on applicable e-Tourist Visa fees. The fee must be paid at least 4 days before the expected date of travel otherwise the application will not be processed.
- eTV fee once submitted is non-refundable as the fee is for processing of the application and is not dependent on either Grant or Rejection of VISA.
- The fee being paid is only towards the application and doesn’t in anyway guarantee issuance of the visa by the Government of India. The application fees once paid is non-refundable even if the application for the visa is rejected.
- Applicant should carry a copy of eTV along with him/her at the time of travel.
- Biometric details of the applicant will be mandatorily captured at Immigration on arrival in India.
- The validity of visa will be 30 days from the date of arrival in India.
- eTV is valid for entry through 16 designated Airports i.e. Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi. However, the foreigner can take an exit from any of the authorized Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) in India.
- This facility is in addition to the existing Visa services.
- E-Tourist Visa (eTV) is allowed for a maximum of two visits in a calendar year.
- E-Tourist Visa (eTV) once issued on arrival is Only single entry, non-extendable, non-convertible & not valid for visiting Protected/Restricted and Cantonment Areas.
- Applicants can track the status of their application online by clicking visa status.
- Please be careful while making payment of the eTV fee. If the number of unsuccessful attempts is more than three (03), then the application ID would be blocked and the applicant would be required to apply afresh by filling the application form again and regenerating a new application id.
- Before re-applying, the applicants are requested to wait for 4 hours for payment status updating, after final submission of the application form and payment of the fee. The payment status updating may take up to 4 hours.
- Nationals of Yellow Fever affected countries must carry YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CARD at the time of arrival in India; otherwise, they may be quarantined for 6 days upon arrival in India.
Till now, the scheme has been extended to 150 countries at 16 Indian airports designated for providing e-tourist visa service. Since the launch of the scheme, more than around 9 lakh visas have been issued. At present, on an average, 3,500 e-tourist visas are being granted daily to foreign nationals. Here’s more information on Indian embassies in various cities around the world.
Special information for SAARC countries can be found here:
In addition, Japanese nationals are given visa-on-arrival facility, a move that is expected to boost inflow of tourists and business visitors. The visa-on-arrival for Japanese is issued in business, tourism, medical and conference categories. It has a validity of 30 days.
Here’s more about the Student (Yoga) visa as well as the link to download application forms for the same. We hope that with this new development, more and more foreigners will be able to visit India in a more hassle-free manner and find what they truly seek, that is inner transformation.
Vritika lives in India where she immersed herself in authentic principles of Yoga and meditation through intense study, reference reading and oral teaching. Having learned and taught the benefits of meditation in modern life, she aims to bring peace and well being to people in innumerable ways demonstrated by Yogic wisdom. To read more of her writing visit her blog