US nationals intending to visit India will not have to produce their birth certificates while applying for an Indian visa any more.
According to a Tourism Ministry official, the External Affairs Ministry has issued a direction to the Indian Missions in the US to this effect.
With 8,27,140 US tourists visiting the country in 2009, USA has become the number one tourist generating market for India. In 2008 also, India drew as many as 8,04,933 tourists from the country.
However, service providers in the travel trade sector have been requesting for quite some time, for waiving off the provision related to submission of birth certificates for the US nationals at the time of applying for the Indian visa.
This requirement of the Indian Missions in the US affected the tourism sector.
The matter was taken up by the Ministry of Tourism with the Ministry of External Affairs which agreed to the request and issued the necessary orders.
India has extended the visa-on-arrival scheme for tourists from Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Laos from January this year. The scheme was launched last year for the tourists from Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore as a measure to attract more foreign tourists.