Of late, visa processing delays and high rejection rates have been the nightmare of most travellers. As the festive season approaches, a look at countries where it is easier to get a visa for Indians.
From Dubai to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa, e-visas and travel authorization letters have made it easier and faster for Indian passport holders to make travel plans. With long weekends coming around Gandhi Jayanthi (September 30-October 2), Guru Nanak Jayanthi (November 25-27) and Christmas (December 23-25), as well as the longer Dussehra school break coming up, use this list to firm up last-minute international travel plans.
1. Singapore: You can apply for Singapore e-visa online on the government portal. Apply for the e-visa within 30 days prior to arrival in Singapore. The visa application is usually processed within three working days (excluding the day of submission). A S$30 (about Rs 2,000) non-refundable processing fee is payable online using a Visa or MasterCard credit/debit card. Follow the photograph guidelines: Avoid white headgear and plain white clothing; headgear worn in accordance with religious or racial customs is acceptable but must not hide any facial features. Note that holders of diplomatic, official and service passports do not need a visa for entry.
2. Dubai: Indian nationals with a normal passport valid for a minimum of six months from the arrival date with a visa issued by the USA which is valid for a minimum of six months can obtain a visa-on-arrival for a maximum stay of 14 days. They can apply to extend their stay for an additional 14 days. Valid visas in expired passports are accepted provided accompanied by new passport. If you do not have a valid US visa, you can apply online for a tourist visa. Note that visitors not holding return/onward tickets could be refused entry.
3. Turkey: Indian passport holders cannot get a visa on arrival in Turkey. Indians must apply for a visa or e-visa before departure. Tourists and business travellers who meet the e-visa requirements can get a visa online, usually within 24 hours. E-visa is only valid when the purpose of travel is tourism or commerce. For other purposes, such as work and study, visas are given by Turkish Embassies or Consulates. A single entry visa fee is US$43. If you are transiting through Turkey, you can get a Turkey Transit Visa that allows the holder to stay in Turkey for 72 hours.
4. Vietnam: Indians are eligible for visa on arrival (VoA) in Vietnam. However, it is important to note that you require an approval letter to apply for a VoA. The Vietnam tourist visa fee for a single entry 30-day tourist visa when applied through the embassy is US$25. Multiple entry visa valid for 3 months costs US$50.
5. South Africa: You can apply for a South Africa Visa online and receive the visa in your email in less than a week. You can apply for tourist visa only for purposes such as tourism, family visits, business (excluding work), or medical treatment. A return or onward ticket is mandatory for the application. If you are travelling with children under the age of 18, it is important to present a birth certificate listing the details of you and your spouse as the parents. However, if a minor is travelling with one parent, a written affidavit signed by the other parent showing their consent will be required. With a tourist visa, one can stay in the country for a maximum duration of 60 days. Overstaying a visa in South Africa will render you as an ‘undesirable’ visitor; the authorities will ban you from entering the country for at least 5 years.
6. Seychelles: Seychelles is a visa-free destination for Indians. However, you need a travel authorization letter which comes in one day of filling the application online with a fee of 10 Euros. Documents required include valid passport, confirmed return flight tickets, accommodation vouchers, and the travel authorization letter. One can also apply for an emergency travel authorization letter within 1 hour, with a fee of 75 Euros.
7. Kenya: Kenya ETA is an Electronic Travel Authorization to enter Kenya for tourism or business purposes. Apply online for e-visa which is valid for 30 days or 90 days, depending on single/multiple entry category. It is mandatory that the passport should be valid for six months from the date of arrival. A valid East African Tourist Visa issued by Rwanda or Uganda is accepted if the traveller first entered the country that issued the visa. Visitors are required to hold proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay (at least US$500).
8. Thailand: Indian nationals are eligible for visa-on-arrival in Thailand. The Thailand VoA is valid for a single entry and allows a stay of up to 30 days. If your VoA is rejected at the port of entry, you will be deported. A safer option is to apply for e-visa before departure. For the e-visa, you require proof of accommodation in Thailand, e.g. accommodation bookings, invitation letters from family/friends in Thailand and financial evidence: amount of not less than 20,000 THB (single) and 60,000 THB (multiple), e.g. bank statements, sponsorship letter. The validity of the visa will not exceed 60 days.
9. Malaysia: You can apply for your Malaysia e-visa online on the government portal. The Malaysia e-visa is valid for three months and allows Indians to stay in the Southeast Asian country for up to 30 days. The e-visa processing time is 2-5 days and the e-visa fee is 160 Malaysian Ringgit (around Rs 3,000).
Schengen visa for Indians: which Euro zone countries are easiest to get into
In 2022, India was among the top 5 countries with highest rejection rates for a Schengen visa. Last year, 121,188 Schengen visa application of Indians were rejected accounting for 18 percent of total submitted applications. Estonia, Malta and Slovenia rejected the most number of Schengen visa applications from India, while Germany, Italy and Hungary accepted the most. If you are planning to visit the Schengen area, apply to European countries with lowest rejection rates. Iceland is perhaps the best bet with only 1.9 percent rejection rate. Other rejection rates are as follows: Finland: 9.7 percent, Latvia: 9.5 percent, Lithuania: 7.8 percent, Luxembourg: 10.5 percent and Poland: 11.6 percent.
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