India visa reforms affect British travellers

Huge price hike for travelling to India

India is one of the most popular places to go backpacking and travelling, especially on a gap year. However, British nationals may be put off by recent visa reforms making it a lot more expensive to travel to the country.

The Indian Government are reforming their visa application process at the moment in an attempt to make it easier for nationals from some countries to apply for a visa. Unfortunately Britain isn't a part of these new plans that will allow tourists from selected European countries to buy visas on arrival.

Travellers from France, Germany, Poland, Russia and Spain should all benefit from the proposed changes to the scheme, which is being extended in a bid to boost tourism to the country.

The snub is thought to be a response to the recent tightening of visa regulations for Indians travelling to the UK, which has led to an 18 per cent drop in visitors from the country, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

India is one of the most popular places for backpackers and travellers

In January, the cost of a single visa valid for up to six months rose sharply from £38 to £82, and the processing fee increased by £1 to £10.20.

Around 800,000 Britons visit India each year and many complain about how hard it is to apply for a visa.

Monica Stott, social media specialist at Flight Centre, recently applied for a visa to India. She said: "When you add on the processing fee, the cost of getting two passport photos (they need to be exactly 2" X 2") and the cost of postage and packaging, all of a sudden it goes from £82 to £120.

"I think it's such a shame that visas are so expensive. I definitely think more people would travel to India on a gap year if it was cheaper!"

What do you think gappers? Would you be more likely to apply for a visa if it was cheaper? As usual, post your comments below.