India to give out 500K Free Tourist Visas to jumpstart tourism

After being shut out of all sorts of discussions for the past 15 months, since India and the rest of the world got hit by the Covid-19 Pandemic, India is finally getting started (hopefully!), with the business of reviving tourism by giving out free tourist visa to India.

Free Tourist Visa to Visit India for 500,000 international tourists

One of the new announcements today made by the Government of India is about issuing free-of-cost Tourist Visas to visit India. Pre-pandemic, India used to receive 1.1 Crore (11 Million) Foreign Tourist Arrivals per annum. Now, the first 500,000 tourist visas issued, once India will allow entry to this category of visitors, will be issued free of charge.

The government states that this benefit will be available once per tourist, and will be applicable till March 31, 2022 or till the first 500,000 visas are issued.

a hand holding a phone with a large archway in the background

This proposal seems to indicate some line of thinking from the Government, of opening up tourism. However, I personally believe that India is, at this point in time not ready to open up again, as they wait it out for the impeding third wave, and also all the talk around the Delta+ variant of the SARS-Cov-2 Virus lurking around. Don’t forget, the country has only fully vaccinated 4% of the population, and most cities and tourist destinations are shut at the moment. Also, international air travel opening continues to be postponed every month. How are people expected to fly in without reasonable fares, which typically came via sixth freedom flights into India?


India has announced it would give 500K tourists free visas to visit India, as long as they apply by March 2022. This looks like an ambitious plan, but an honest attempt, and I hope the tourism sector is given all the support they deserve to get things going for them in India once again.

What do you make of the Government’s move to issue free tourist visa to visit India? Would you partake?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. India needs to simplify its visa system. $60 USD for a one time use visa is absurd. Something akin to the $7 US ESTA fee (which is applicable for ten years) is more reasonable. Get rid of the confusing bank surcharges. A few years ago they were complaining people were taking 5 year visas instead of ten. Just remove the 5 year visa option entirely. Fix the OCI process. A document with 100 year validity is a security nightmare.

      • That’s true, though usually only for full long term visas. I was referring more to e-visas or visa on arrivals. India gives those to people from some 180 countries, regardless of reciprocity. Those are available, but still expensive and available on a glitch ridden website with unnecessary extra fees (credit card surcharge, processing fee, et al), that should all just be rolled into the list price.

  2. Very good. I also hope that
    Those of us who bought expensive five year visas get ours extended. It is good for all my friends employed in the wildlife sector.

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