Germans want parity with Brits on visa rules


PANAJI – German tourists visiting Goa want parity with their UK counterparts regarding relaxation in the mandatory two-month cooling period required between subsequent visits to India.

Indo-German Friendship Society (IGFS), an institution of the like minded people, has decided to petition the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard.

“Many retired Germans want to stay in Goa for a longer period, at times up to one year, but are forced to cut down their trips to only 6 months,” Aurobindo Xavier, President, IGFS said.

“If they (German tourists) have to come back, they have to go back to Germany, go through the cooling period of two months and then reapply for visa, which is tedious,” he said.

Xavier said the Ministry of Home Affairs has already granted a relaxation for the UK nationals by extending their tourist visa up to one year.

“We want that similar facility be extended to Germany,” he said.

Germany’s association with the coastal state dates back to the Hippie days when the Germans used to travel to the coastal state in their vans.

“South East Asian countries are preferred by retired people. But unfortunately India does not have a special visa system like other countries,” said Ursua Kleinhas, a German national, who is enjoying a retired life in Goa.

Kleinhas, who herself has to undergo the procedural rigmarole every six months, said, “Goa would be losing on high spending tourists due to these regulations. There is neck-to-neck competition in the market and Goa cannot afford to miss the opportunity”.

Goa receives around 15,000 German tourists every year.