India has started granting visa on arrival to South Korean nationals, a move that is expected to boost inflow of tourists and business visitors, officials said Sunday. South Korea is the second country whose nationals are now given visa on arrival by India after Japan, whose citizens have been getting the privilege since March 2016.
India has decided to offer visa on arrival to South Korean nationals with effect from October 1, 2018, a home ministry official said. Like the Japanese nationals, the facility to South Korean citizens include double entry visit for a period not exceeding 60 days for business, tourism, conference and medical purposes for entry through six designated international airports — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
According to an estimate, around 2 lakh Indian visas are issued to South Korean nationals every year, of which 80 per cent are tourists. On an average, 600 South Korean nationals arrive in Delhi daily. Though visa-on-arrival facility was earlier offered to citizens of 12 countries — Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxembourg, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea — it was discontinued in November 2014 after the launch of e-Tourist Visa scheme.
The facility of e-Tourist Visa now covers 166 countries and foreigners can obtain online visa within 72 hours for travel related to tourism, business, health, medical and conference purposes. The number of visas issued through e-Visa system is now approximately 40 per cent of the total number of visas and the figure is soon expected to cross the 50 per cent mark, which is an indication of its popularity.