Now, e-visa facility for Uganda

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, arrives in New Delhi on October 27, 2015 for the India Africa Forum Summit.   | Photo Credit: AP

After much deliberation, India has added Uganda to the list of countries to which it extends the electronic visa (or e-visa) facility.

At present, India offers e-visa facility to only 18 of the 54 African nations. Following adverse reports from intelligence agencies, Uganda had been on the list of 36 countries, such as Egypt, Congo, Chad, Ethiopia and Algeria, which were not covered under the scheme.

“We were trying to convince the intelligence agencies to remove Uganda from the high-risk category of nations, as there is a healthy trade and business relationship with the African nation. The e-visa scheme will further boost our prospects,” said a senior government official.

The e-visa is an online pre-authorisation that allows visa on arrival through nine designated airports and three sea-ports for a 60-day stay. It entails a procedure that is easier compared to the normal visa process as applicants don’t have to visit the Indian mission and provide biometrics. Instead, it is granted on the basis of scanned documents uploaded by the applicant.

Import market

India is currently in stiff competition with China for the Ugandan import market. The East Africa nation is also home to a 30,000-strong Indian community, mostly Gujaratis. In the past, security agencies had reported the presence of several Mumbai-based underworld gangsters in Kampala, the country’s capital. This had discouraged India from extending the e-visa facility to Ugandans, an official said.

In March, the Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda was in Mumbai, where he met heads of automobile and pharmaceutical firms and pledged to invest $100 million in India.

In February, Vice-President Hamid Ansari on his visit to Uganda announced that the two countries had agreed to expand cooperation in the “energy sector, training of personnel for space research, and peaceful uses of atomic energy”.

The Home Ministry implements the e-visa scheme, and any country is removed or added to the list on the basis of inputs from security agencies. At present, India offers the e-visa facility to 162 countries.

Recently, the government increased the window for application under the e-visa system from 30 to 120 days. Once applied for, the e-visa is granted within 72 hours. Conceptualised when the UPA was in power, the e-visa facility was operationalised in 2014.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 11:12:36 AM |

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