E-visa Update: Group Landing Permits May be Scrapped for Tourists of e-Visa Countries

The GLP (Group Landing Permits) functions as a visa for those foreign tourists who visit India in a group of four or more. The Indian travel agencies sponsor some tourists who are approved by the tourism ministry with a pre-drawn itinerary. They are given a collective landing permit for a period of not more than 60 days. Multiple entries are allowed to let them make a visit to the neighboring country.

However, recently, the tourism ministry is thinking of scrapping the Collective Landing Permit/Group Landing Permit (GLP) facility for passengers of e-Vsa countries. This is going to happen because the ministry has the viewpoint that the facility can be scrapped for tourists of e-visa countries as the e-visa facility has been extended to 166 countries. To look into the matter more seriously, the ministry has sent a letter to the travel bodies and industry associations. They have been asked to provide their feedback on this matter as soon as possible.

In a letter sent to travel bodies and industry associations, the ministry has asked for their feedback on the matter at the earliest. The letter sent by the tourism ministry states that: “Considering the feedback received, a view has been taken that Group Landing Permit Facility may be scrapped for passengers of those countries which have been extended e-visa facility as its sole purpose has been served and because the e-visa facility has been extended to 166 countries”. The letter has been seen by travel bodies.

To handle the visa issues, the Group Landing Permit (GLP) facility was demanded by the industry officials about 10-12 years ago.

With the introduction of e-visas, the GLP facility has already become useless. Hence scrapping Group Landing Permits will not make any difference, as mentioned by most of the industry executives, however, some of them considered it a positive step.

“The travel agents and tour operators used to get passport details in advance and then the tourists) did not need visas. Tourists were allowed entry on the basis of stamping on the collective landing permit when they were traveling in groups. It was like a group visa. But now e- tourist visas have been extended from 60 to one year. So, the GLP facility becomes redundant in the face of e-visas. There is no need for a collective landing permit. This move will not change much as travel agents have already moved to e-visas,” said an industry executive.

As per the officials, the move has been initiated by the ministry of home affairs which has asked the tourism ministry to collect feedback on the matter.

“They have categorically mentioned that only those countries where e-visas are available will not require a collective landing permit,” as stated by a travel industry official.

“It is a positive development. E-visa facility should be availed by tourists. The collective landing permit was a long process,” said Pranab Sarkar, president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators.

Leave a Reply