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August 14, 2015

What India's E-Visa Program Will Mean to UK Event Planners

As of Saturday, India is set to open its e-visa system to UK passport holders, making the process of obtaining entry documents cheaper and quicker.

UK passport holders will be able to apply and pay for an online visa using the Indian government’s tourist visa website, removing the need to book an appointment at the outsourced visa processing agency, or to apply via mail. According to the Associated Press, the cost will also be reduced from the current fee of £89.44 to £39, and the estimated issue time is now fewer than four days. 

And according to IMR partner MeetPie, event professionals are already cheering the news. Anthony Coyle-Dowling, senior director of event business development at BCD, called the announcement “a big step forward” for clients as the current process has been “time-consuming and costly.” 

Nick Terry, MD of Top Banana, agreed that the changes would make things easier. “The best bit about the changes are they help last minute changes of travellers, it mean passports are not 'lost' in the post, and saves on that nervous chase to check that the passport and application has arrived...The new system will give peace of mind as you can track and confirm it is in the system. It also removes one of those great risks of the one or two disorganised people in the group being caught out, especially if the group manager can track and manage the process. 

Sarvin Warden, partner at Indian destination management company Designer Incentives, said that he expected more UK MICE companies to consider India as a meetings destination now that the process of obtaining a visa is easier. “This will ultimately result in more business to India,” he told the site.

Coyle-Dowling, on the other hand, was not quite as optimistic. "It’s difficult to know whether this would increase the number of incentives confirming India" he said, "but it will have a positive impact on the logistical management of the group.”  


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