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India extends e-Visa scheme

India's e-Visa scheme is to be extended from 30 to 180 days, the country's tourism minister has announced.

The scheme, unveiled in August, should make the process of obtaining a visa easier and cheaper as travellers will not have to make an appointment at the embassy and the cost will be reduced from £89.44 to £39.

Proposals are also in place to make it available in 150 countries - up from 113 - and to ensure multiple and double entry.

Under the scheme, visas will not be issued immediately - once an online application is submitted, travellers can expect to receive entry documents via email within three days.

Speaking at the World Travel Market in London this week, Vinod Zutshi, said he was committed to making it easier for traveller to go to come to India through the scheme and with improved air connectivity.

The arrival of e-visas come months after the Indian government backed down on plans that would have seen travellers make appointments at application centres across the UK for “biometric data collection”, where fingerprint data and facial imagery would have been a “mandatory requirement” for all visa applicants.

Travellers entering India on an e-visa must arrive at one of 16 designated airports, which include Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. Biometric data, including fingerprinting, will be collected on arrival at the border.

The Indian government said e-Tourist visas are only valid for recreation, sightseeing, meeting friends or family, short duration medical treatment, or for a casual business visit.

The government plans to attract one million UK visitors to the country by 2020. In 2014 it attracted 838,860 up 3.8 per cent from 2013.

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