This post is about countries where Indians can get an E visa (Electronic visa or e-visa). For a list of countries where Indian passport-holders do not have to prepare any advance visas, click here.
As an Indian, one of the biggest challenges for me while travelling, is of course the Visa requirements. India currently ranks 76th in the world for travel freedom, and many decades of missing out on opportunities of full reciprocity and diplomatic relationships, mean that there are only 52 countries or territories where we have visa-free or visa-on-arrival facilities. To be fair, this is not surprising. India has one of the toughest visa policies themselves, so why would the other countries make it easy for us? While this scenario is slowly changing with India revisiting its visa policy by June 2015, and with EU countries fast-tracking Indian Visa applications, the blunt truth is that Indians still need to apply in advance for many countries around the world.
This restriction has seen me often scouting for Visa havens over more established tourist spots, simply for the fear of standing in dreaded queues and gathering cobwebs. Like Jeju over Seoul, Jordan over Israel, and Vanuatu over French Caledonia. There are plenty of articles online about which countries are visa-free and VOA for Indians, so I am not going to write about that now. But one of the things that I figured out recently, is that there are a few countries where while we definitely do need an advanced visa, this visa can be obtained online. So, here are a list of the 10 countries where Indians have facilities for either E-visa or online visa approvals.
Note: For some of these countries, there are some conditions or prerequisites involved, which I have mentioned. I don’t want you to blame me if you get sent back from the airport!
1) Sao Tome and Principe
Ok, many Indians may not even have heard about this country, but this West African Island nation has probably the best dive-spots in all of Africa. TAP flies weekly from Lisbon to Sao Tome, and there are also few flights from Angola and Nigeria. If you are looking for something off the beaten track, Sao Tome fits the bill perfectly. And you can apply for an evisa here.
If you are on the safari route in East Africa comprising Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (we don’t need advance visas in any of these), it makes perfect sense to also include Rwanda also on this route, either for its mountain gorillas or for the Nyungwe forest, which has one of the largest concentration of chimpanzees. While advanced visas are required for Rwanda, these can be obtained online from this link.
Introduced only this month, Bahrain now has Evisa facilities for Indians, making it the only GCC country to do so. While it lacks the spic and posh of its wealthier gulf brothers, Bahrain is not far behind in terms of a safe Arab experience with many modern aspects. Like legalisation of alcohol and homosexuality. And there are a good sprinkling of forts and museums around the country to keep one occupied for a 3-4 day trip. The evisa for Bahrain can be applied through this link.
This would have saved me a few dollars on the agent fees if it was last year, but Myanmar introduced the Evisa scheme for Indian just a month ago. Surprising given that we are neighbours, but this is one of the few diplomatic improvements that India has been making with Myanmar. And I am so looking forward to the India-Myanmar highway, which will make road travel from India to SE Asia, a reality by 2017. In the meanwhile, you can apply for the Myanmar Evisa here.
Important Note: The Evisa is honoured only if you land at the Yangon international airport. Not valid for landing on any other airport, or for land border crossings.
5) Sri Lanka
Oh boy! We do have quite a few neighbour problems, don’t we? So, another neighbouring nation where we need an advance visa, is Sri Lanka, which is now picking up the tourist ante with places like Sigiriya and Unawatuna (my choice for 2015 new years!). But in the case of Sri Lanka, we need to get an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to visit the country. This is one of the quickest visas that I have ever received in my life. I applied, paid the money, and in 5 minutes my authorisation was in my inbox. You can apply for the Sri Lanka ETA here.
So technically, this is not an evisa. It is an online approval only. There are many online agencies which handle this online approval process for a fee – I personally used this one, satisfactorily – and then you have to pay the stamp fee at the airport when you arrive. The fee is pretty steep when you compare to the rest of South East Asia, but if you consider visiting the beautiful cities of Hanoi or Danang, then the long queue at the stamping section of the airport is well worth it.
Important note: When I say long queue, to put things in perspective, I waited for 3 hours to get my visa stamped. And there are insufficient seating options in Ho Chi Minh city international airport.
Turkey has been noticing the Indian tourist influx into Europe, and they have amended their visa policy since last year. There is an electronic visa available now for Indians, and at 20USD, it is probably one of the cheapest too. You can apply for the Turkish Evisa here.
Important note: An important condition here is that you must have an existing Shengen or US visa to apply for the Turkish visa. A slight bummer, but makes perfect sense if you mix Turkey with an European trip.
Whether you are planning to visit the Victoria falls, or the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Zimbabwe is a decent option to have if you are considering a travel to the southern part of Africa. Just 20 years ago, this was the richest country in Africa, but an economic collapse has led to grand resorts and accommodations being made available at dirt cheap rates. Best if you combine with South Africa. An evisa for Zimbabwe can be applied here.
One question I get asked often is, does Singapore have an online visa for Indians. Well, it does. But then, you can’t apply using it! In one of the most unusual visa arrangements, a Singapore visa for an Indian can be applied only by somebody living IN Singapore. (or a few authorised visa agents). It does not even have to be a Singapore national. It can simply be anybody who is on an employment permit in Singapore and has a local SingPass ID, which is all he or she requires to login to the ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints authority) website and make a visa submission for you. So, once you find a local person in Singapore to do this for you, send all your passport details to him/her and they can apply on this link for you.
Ok, finally to a rather unusual one. So unusual, that the immigration officer in Taiwan had to check with his senior before he let me through. Apparently, Taiwan has an online visa approval process for South East Asian nationals like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia. And somehow, India was added to this same list, and it beats me how we were classified as South East Asia. And technically, this is not a Visa, but is only a visa approval. Anyway, I wouldn’t complain about this since Taipei and Hualien and amazing places to visit. But, if you intent to visit Taiwan and you meet the conditions, you can apply for the online approval here.
Important note: There had to be a catch! Well, the catch is that the applicant should have a valid visa for US, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia or New Zealand. The official website does not mention Singapore, but the Taiwanese embassy informed me in an email communication, that Singapore visa would work too. Well, it certainly did for me.
So thats a quick list for you to plan your next travel out of India. Also, a couple of other countries that deserve a honorary mention here:
1) Ivory coast (or Cote d’ivorie) does have evisa for Indians, but a recent breakdown of the payment solution on the website has left this option useless right now.
2) Another sketchy option is Senegal. Different sources, even wikipedia, confirm that there is an online visa for Indians to visit Senegal, but I couldn’t find an authoritative link on the web for this.
All information is researched by the blog admin. To report any discrepancy, post a comment or contact me here.