India announces to restore eVisa services for Saudi nationals
India has announced that the e-Visa facility for Saudi nationals has been restored with immediate effect.
“The Embassy is pleased to announce that e-Visa option has been restored for Saudi nationals with immediate effect in all five sub-categories, i.e. e-Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa, e-Health Visa, Medical Treatment Visa and e-Visa for conference,” the Indian embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, wrote on Thursday.
On March 9, India announced the resumption of e-Visa services for Saudi nationals wishing to visit the country with immediate effect. India had earlier introduced an e-Visa service for Saudi nationals in 2019, but it was later canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
More on Travel Laws
India now offers e-Visa services to 166 countries. According to the Indian Visa website, “e-Visa service has been resumed for nationals of 166 eligible countries”.
The decision to add Saudi Arabia to the list of e-visa eligible countries was first announced in February. India has also decided to scrap the biometric visa system for citizens of Saudi Arabia.
Both countries have been striving to improve bilateral relations in recent years. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Riyadh in April 2016, while Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a trip to New Delhi in February.
During the visit, Prince Mohammed said he saw more than $100 billion worth of investment opportunities in India over the next two years.
These e-Visas are valid only for a duration of 1 year and it will be issued under 72 hours.
How can you apply for the eVisa
Applicants must visit the official website i.e. indianvisaonline.gov.in to fill and submit the application online
- Apply online and upload your photo and passport page;
- Pay e-Visa fees online using your credit/debit card/wallet;
- Get an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) online (ETA will be sent by email);
- Fly to India – (Print the estimated time of arrival and present it at the Immigration Check Post where the e-Visa will be stamped in the passport.)
According to the official notification, Government of India does not provide any provision for charging any extra fees or additional charges for granting any emergency / express e-Visa.
It is important to know that e-Tourist and e-Business visas can be applied for online by applicants from eligible countries/territories at least 4 days before the date of arrival. In addition, e-Medical, e-Medical Attendant and e-Conference visa applicants can apply online at least 4 days before the date of arrival with a window of 120 days. Example: If you apply on September 1st, the applicant can choose an arrival date from September 5th to January 2nd.
Earlier, owing to its strong ties and strategic partnership with India, Saudi Arabia had announced the exemption of Indian nationals from submitting a police certificate (PCC) to obtain a visa to travel to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Embassy in New Delhi said that PCC will no longer be a requirement for Indian citizens and the decision was taken as part of the two countries’ efforts to further strengthen their relationship. Relations between India and Saudi Arabia have strengthened considerably over the past few years, including in the fields of politics, security, energy, trade, investment, health, food security, culture and defense.
Contributed by Ankit Raj Sharma
Edited by Imtiaz Ullah