India is expected to offer visas on arrival to U.S. tourists, local media reports said Sunday, citing sources. The news comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the U.S., which is scheduled to begin later this week. According to some estimates, about one million American tourists visit India each year.
India's Ministry of Home Affairs, or MHA, is reportedly finalizing the proposal and the announcement is expected to be made by Modi as part of an effort to improve ties with the U.S., the Times of India reported, citing sources. The facility, applicable for a stay of less than 30 days in the country, is currently available for citizens of 12 countries including Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and South Korea.
“The MHA is working in coordination with the Tourism Ministry to finalize the modalities of TVoA (Tourist Visa on Arrival) for those US citizens who do not have a residence or an occupation in India, and whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, meeting friends and relatives, short-term medical treatment, casual business, etc. It is still being worked out,” sources said, according to local media reports.
A TVoA is reportedly not allowed more than twice in a calendar year, and those who have a permanent residence or work permit in India are not eligible.
Modi will reportedly leave for a five-day visit to the U.S., beginning Sept. 26, during which time he is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York and then travel to Washington, where he is expected to hold bilateral talks with President Barack Obama.
According to local reports, Obama will host a dinner for Modi in Washington on Sept. 29, while Vice President Joe Biden will host a working lunch on Sept. 30.