On Monday 5 December, the Indian High Commission in London announced that travellers from the UK will again be able to apply for e-visas for India. This was not possible for a long time, in part due to political friction between the two countries. Read more about the circumstances preceding this decision and how travellers from the UK can apply for the e-visa for India again.
E-Visa India unavailable for UK travellers since pandemic
India introduced the e-visa, or electronic visa, in 2014. This digital travel permit is available to nationals from 156 countries, which includes the UK and the majority of the European Union. E-Visa applications were temporarily stopped during the coronavirus pandemic, as India did not allow visitors to enter the country. When the borders gradually reopened in March 2021, the e-visa system became available again to tourists from most countries. However, the Indian government decided to change the visa rules for UK nationals, preventing them from applying for the e-visa.
Initially, no official reason was given for this. However, it later became clear that this was done in response to strict rules implemented by the UK government for visitors from India after the coronavirus pandemic, preventing many of them from travelling to the UK. Repeated requests made by India to the relevant embassies to resolve the issues went unheard by the British government.
What was the impact of this visa change for the UK?
Travellers from the UK form a large portion of annual visitors to India. Being barred from the e-visa system meant that most of them were now forced to acquire a physical visa at the embassy, a time-consuming and expensive process. In October 2022, the Indian High Commission made things even more difficult by implementing a new rule, forcing British citizens to visit a visa centre in person to acquire a physical visa for India. In addition to making the application process even lengthier, this change also meant that visa bureaus could no longer apply for visas on behalf of their customers. This led to large queues for visa applications, and many travellers were forced to delay or even cancel their trip to India.
E-visa India available again to UK tourists
On Monday 5 December, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, announced in a video message that India will be issuing e-visas again to travellers with UK nationality. This decision is the result of several measures taken by the High Commission to expedite visa procedures, to meet the large demand for e-visas from the UK to India post-COVID. For example, a new visa centre opened in London, at Marylebone in the West End, making it the third visa centre in London. The Visa on Your Doorstep service was also introduced, to make applying as easy as possible. Do you have the British nationality or another nationality that makes you eligible for the e-visa, and are you travelling to India soon? In that case, you can apply for your visa now using the simple application form on e-Visa.ie.Apply for your e-visa for India now
Take note: this news article about the visa for India is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the visa for India.