When purchasing a digital visa for India, the so-called e-visa, travellers will receive free call credit to use in the country. The free credit is meant to solve any potential problems people can run into because of the language barrier.
Until recently, travellers were forced to rely on the Wi-FI at the airport. This made it so you had to buy prepaid credit on arrival. India has strict rules regarding issuing SIM cards.
Free credit with digital Indian visa
Rules for SIM cards
To purchase a SIM card in India, it is necessary to have a copy of your passport made. In the UK, buying a SIM card is relatively easy, as there is no registration required. Aside from making a copy of the passport, you also need to state where you will be during usage of the SIM card. For example, you need to provide the address of the hotel. Afterwards, the paperwork is made in order. In India, a lot of travellers experience a travel barrier. This makes it so you might have to wait a while until you receive the SIM card to actually use the credit.
India feels that the process to purchase a SIM card is needlessly complicated. That’s why the government took steps: issuing free mobile credit and data. India sees the issuing of free call credit as a solution for the problem that a lot of travellers experience.
That being said, only travellers that applied for an online visa will receive the free call credit. The credit is good for 85 percent of call credit and 50 MB mobile data. The free credit is meant, for example, to call the hotel or make use of translation services like Google Translate, or booking a taxi online.
Only travellers that applied for the digital Indian visa will receive the free credit. Furthermore, not all travellers in every part of the country with get it. The promotion is only valid for the airport of Indira Ghandi International Airport. It is likely that the other airports in India will follow. The hope is that more countries will follow India’s example.
According to the Indian minister of Tourism, he didn’t come up with the idea himself. He claims to have borrowed the idea from Sri Lanka. The minister received a SIM card on arrival there.
The free SIM cards are made possible due to a telecom provider which is run by the Indian state: BSNL. 15 other airports in India are expected to swiftly follow. It is only necessary to provide a copy of the digital visa, as well as the first page of the passport. The mobile credit is valid for a month. It’s possible to recharge it yourself.
The Indian government provides e-visas to over 150 countries each year. They can apply for a visa up to four days until arrival in India. The Indian minister of Tourism wants to make it possible that travellers can contact their tour operator, or their contacts back home.
The visa for India is mandatory to enter the country for foreign travellers. Applying for a visa only takes about five minutes. It’s possible to apply for multiple people at once in a single application. You will still need to pay per application. The visa for India costs €109,95 per person. A visa is generally issued within 2 workdays by e-mail.
Paying for the visa can be easily done through Visa, MasterCard, American Express or PayPal. The applicant receives the visa within 4 workdays at most, but generally much faster. How fast the visa is issued depends on how busy it is at the Indian government.