Cost of Indian tourist visa set to soar

Holidaymakers heading to India are set to receive a significant hit to their travel expenditure, after it was revealed that the cost of a visa to the country will climb by £38 this week. (Featured image is by mckaysavage)

The new fee for a single visa to India will rise to £82, with the “processing fee” also increasing by £1 to reach £10.20. This is set to add an extra £200 to the cost of a holiday to India for a family of four.

Those travellers opting to organise their visa will also incur a further charge of around £30, despite the fact that Telegraph Travel readers have argued that this method is often painstaking and involves multiple trips to the Indian High Commission in London.

“It’s a case of one step forwards, two steps backwards,” said Rajeev Manral of Indus Tours and Travel, an India holiday specialist.

“The changes to the re-entry rules were encouraging, but I’m sure this increase is going to have a serious impact.”

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal. Image by Friar’s Balsam

He added: “Visa applications are long and cumbersome, and most of the time the website is not working properly. It is a waste of time for travellers and for tour operators who offer to process applications on their behalf.”

The Indian government has recently announced that an unpopular re-entry rule, introduced after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, will no longer apply to tourists – including those from Britain.

This means that travellers will be able to visit neighbouring Nepal or Bangladesh, and re-enter India without facing a 60-day wait.

The move was praised by the Indian tourism ministry, who forecast that the new rules would act to boost the number of foreign arrivals into the country.

Indian visa

Indian visa. Image by barry.pousman

Despite the progress that has been made, David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, argues that more still needs to be done.

“We have seen encouraging developments, with attempts to liberalise visa procedures, but India is becoming increasingly expensive,” he said.

“Further measures to make it easier for travellers to enter the country are a key priority. It is also important to make the visa process faster and ultimately electronic, so that travellers who want to come to the country do not face unnecessary obstacles.”