Wednesday, April 24, 2024

India allows e-visas for Canadians after long delay

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India, which permitted electronic travel authorisation (e-visas) for over 150 countries in March this year, on

The announcement was made in a statement issued by the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, which said that as of Tuesday, Canadian passport-holders who wish to visit India for tourism, business, medical or conference purposes, will be able to apply for the e-visa online.

The decision to postpone the issuance of the e-visa to Canadians was a “reciprocal” measure, a senior Indian official said, as there were “long delays in issuing visas to Indian nationals”, some taking as long as nine months, along with a large number of rejections.

With the Canadian system clearing some of the backlog in recent weeks and reducing wait times for visa issuance, India has also relaxed the visa procedure.

Canadians who do not qualify for the e-visa, will still have to apply for the paper document at one of the nine centres operated by BLS International, which is company the work has been outsourced to. Until now, applicants had to visit a centre in person after booking an appointment or use the postal route for the process.

 

Those who had already applied for the issuance of the visa were assured by the High Commission that those applications will be “processed on priority”.

However, applicants have also been given the option of withdrawing these applications online. As Covid-related protocols were eased in March this year, Canadians became eligible for regular tourist visas. All valid regular tourist visas issued before March 2020, except 10 years Tourist Visas, were also restored at the time.

However, the e-visa remained suspended for Canadian nationals, even as the facility was provided to citizens of 156 others countries, to address the “asymmetry” in accessing visas for Indian applicants was resolved, an official explained.

In a statement issued on Monday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) noted that at the end of November, it had processed approximately 4.8 million applications, nearly twice the 2.5 million processed during the same period last year.

Similarly, it added, “On a monthly basis, Canada is now processing more visitor visa applications than it did prior to the pandemic. In November alone, over 260,000 visitor visas were processed. By contrast, the monthly average in 2019 was about 180,000 applications.”India allows e-visas for Canadians after long delay

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