VISA APPLICATION: Visa hassle hinders travel to India
MALAYSIANS wanting to visit India as tourists are saddled with problems when applying for the visa, which is more of a questionnaire than a form.
A lot of irrelevant, unnecessary and even personal and private questions are posed and the applicant is puzzled as to why there is this maze of queries when it could all have been simplified.
Compared with visa applications to other countries, this is the most tourist-unfriendly one. Tourists are forced to seek travel agents and others who have the experience and patience to complete the forms, and this increases expenses for a visa.
The application has to be made online and this is a problem to the information technology illiterate.
When an online application is made why can't there be an online approval like what is being done by other embassies? One needs to compare the ease with which visa applications to other countries are done. Only basic questions are asked as the objective of a visa is to facilitate travel, not hinder it, which appears to be the case with India.
Handwritten applications are not accepted. Photo size is also 2 inches by 2 inches and those whose photos do not match are given the option of getting a photograph there costing RM20, which is overpriced.
The restriction that one can visit India only 60 days after the previous visit needs to be revised. Some Malaysians have relatives in India and restricting their visit to only 60 days after the first one is not fair. There could be a wedding or funeral of which Malaysian Indians would wish to attend after their first visit.
Other aspects that need to be relooked are the high fees (RM168). Other countries impose a minimal fee and are more liberal concerning the visa duration.
Malaysia and India have excellent relations and this should be reflected in facilitating and easing travel between the people of the two nations.