Sri Lanka has recently launched a pilot project to grant free visas to citizens of seven countries: India, Russia, China, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand. This project will allow foreign citizens from these countries to obtain a visa for free until March 31, 2024.
- It is important to note that the visa application process remains the same, but tourists from the countries above will not be charged for visa issuance. They can fill out a special form upon arrival at the airport or apply for an online electronic visa.
- The main objective of this project is to stimulate the tourism industry, which will help boost the Sri Lankan economy.
Indians can avail of visa-free trips to Middle Eastern countries such as Iran, Qatar, Jordan, and Oman. Countries in Oceania, such as Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, Palau Islands, Fiji, Cook Island, Micronesia, Niue, and Samoa, provide visa-free entry to Indians.
- Visa-free travel allows entry without a pre-arranged visa.
What is a Visa?
- The full form of VISA is Visitors International Stay Admission. Governments and financial institutions use a global electronic system to process immigration documents.
Types of Indian Passports
- The Ministry of External Affairs in India is responsible for issuing passports to Indian citizens. According to the Passports Act of 1967, a passport allows the holder to travel abroad and serves as proof of Indian citizenship.
- Indian nationals who wish to travel abroad for business or leisure can obtain a common passport known as passport type P.
- These navy blue passports are issued for various purposes, such as business trips, vacations, and educational trips.
- A white passport of 'Type S' is only available to government of India employees.
- A diplomatic passport is issued to government employees and diplomats on official international business.
- This means that only government officials are eligible to obtain official passports. Diplomats and senior government officials are given a maroon passport.
- Starting from 2018, Indian citizens have been issued a new type of passport which looks distinct from regular passports.
- This special passport is intended to identify individuals who have yet to complete their education beyond class 10.
- Unlike regular passports, this new type of passport does not have the last page that contains all the crucial details.
- Individuals who do not have the necessary educational qualifications fall under the ECR (Emigration Check Required) category.