Countries Indians can visit easily: The case of the Blue Passport​

Various options for Foreign Travel for Indians with focus on Visa-Free, Visa on Arrival and E-Visa.

When it comes to Self Organised Foreign Travel, one of your first questions would be, so what are the countries that we as Indians can access easily. 

I am sure many of you have come across blog posts titled “50 places Indians can visit visa-free”, “List of countries that Indians can easily access” etc. Although the titles look promising, once you get into the details, you will soon realize that many of these are not practical options and the Blue Passport (that’s us Indians) have limitations when it comes to foreign travel. That said, things have been improving continuously.
 
The Blue Passport is ranked 76th in the world in terms of access and it grants Indians Easy Access (Visa Free, Visa on Arrival and E-Visa) to about 69 countries in the world. However, for most of them, entry comes with conditions. 

Below is an attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff and help you make the best of your situation when it comes to foreign travel

“The Blue Passport is ranked 76th in the world in terms of access and it grants Indians Easy Access (Visa Free, Visa on Arrival and E-Visa) to about 69 countries in the world.”

1) Visa Free Options: The Blue Passport lets you enter 20 countries without a Visa. That’s right; you can practically walk into these countries without even paying a visa fee. But here is the catch; many of these countries are located in Africa (not too accessible or safe) and some in the Pacific (too far away). However, there are a few visa free options that standout as very practical for Indians:
 
a) Bhutan: Bhutan is located on India’s eastern borders. You can reach Bhutan through land and air. The country is very beautiful, clean and pretty cheap. A very good option for us Indians. 

Did you know that most foreigners (other than Indians) can enter Bhutan only through authorised travel agents who charge about 250 dollars (Rs. 17,000) a day. Yeah ponder that for a while. Point Desi.
 
b) Indonesia: From the beaches of Lombok, to the mountains of Ubud, Indonesia offers one a wide variety of stuff to do. It is easily accessible from India. A couple of hours by flight will get you there, and the tickets are not that expensive. There are many low cost carriers flying this route with connections through Malaysia, and Singapore.
 
c) Maldives and Mauritius: Beautiful Island nations in the Indian Ocean that are very popular especially among the honeymooners.
2) Visa on Arrival Options: There are close to 33 countries that provide Indians Visa on arrival, but for all Practical purposes, your best bets are countries in southeast Asia.
 
Thailand for its pristine and remote beaches, Cambodia for the Ankor Wat temples, Vietnam for its amazing food, and Laos for its rugged trails. They are all a stone’s throw away from India, accessible by low cost carriers, relatively cheap and are known for very welcoming and hospitable locals.
 
There are numerous destinations in each country which offer a wide variety of experiences. You could visit the southeast for years together and still have new experiences every trip. Southeast Asia a big rage among the westerners who travel hours together to reach the region and for most of them, it’s a once in a lifetime trip which lasts for a month or more generally.
 
We Indians on the other hand can fly to and from the region over an extended weekend. Exploit this. If you have never been abroad, a trip to the southeast is a very good place get your first passport stamp.
 
To do justice to the Southeast, we will covering more details in a separate article sometime in the future. Watch out for it.
 
One other options that’s very practical for us Indians with respect to proximity, ease of access, and flight fare, is Sri Lanka.
South East Asia map

3) E-Visa: An E-Visa is a kind of a permit one must apply online through the official consulate website before landing in the country. Around 16 countries provide E-Visas for Indians. Again, don’t be deceived by the numbers. Your best bets are Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam which are closer home.

Some countries such as Singapore and Malaysia require a detailed application/documentation, and you may be better off going through a Visa Agent. Others like Vietnam have a simple process that you can do it yourself.

Now that we have talked about the easy options, let us look at the other ones.

4) The Schengen Visa:  As you may be aware, the Schengen visa provides us access to the 28 Schengen states (European nations such as France, Italy, Spain etc.). However, this requires a detailed application to be put in physically by you at the Visa centre, and might also require an interview if the consulates decides so. That said the application process has become easier recently.
 
The first time, the visa will usually be granted for the period of your stay only. Once you get the Schengen Visa and complete you travel, the process gets way easier the next time on, and the Visa will be granted for longer durations. As a Bonus, some other countries such as Turkey and Romania will let you enter if you have a valid Schengen Visa.
 
5) Get A US Visa: A apart from the obvious fact that this will let you enter US, a valid US visa can grant you visa on arrival in many countries namely Singapore, Georgia, Belize, Mexico and UAE, Qatar and Oman. Even other countries will not put your passport to too much scrutiny once you have a valid US Visa.
 
The process involves a good amount of documentation and a face to face interview, but it’s one-time and the visa is granted for a period of 10 years. Moreover, the application does not require one to book flight tickets or accommodation. Worth considering we would say.
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