Check your Visa before you board your flight

indianvisa

Recently on our travels, while we were standing in the queue to board our flight from Amsterdam to New Delhi, there was a passenger ahead of us who wasn’t allowed to board the flight as due to an issue with his E-visa.

Apparently he hadn’t received a confirmation/approval of him being issued an E-visa  and was refrained from boarding.

Not to be confused with Visa on Arrival, E-visa must have an approval electronically, which is later stamped on the passport on arrival.

The Government of India, has now extended its e-visa facility which is an electronic authorization to travel to India for citizens of 165 countries at the 25 international airports and 5 seaports.

Check the country eligibility here-

https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

The Indian e-Visa is issued for single double or multiple entries for visits with a duration of stay up to 90 days from date of first entry for tourist purposes, and up to 180 days for business purposes. Canada, Japan, UK and USA nationals are allowed stays of up to 180 days for tourist visits.

A traditional visa is obtained through an application process where the traveler must submit their original passport along with application materials in order for the visa to be approved. It is stamped inside the passport. While the process itself takes longer and requires more paperwork, the visa that is issued has a longer validity and allows multiple entries.

Eligible citizens traveling for leisure/tourism, business, or medical purposes have the option to apply for an Indian visa online, and have their visa granted electronically. The visa will then get stamped in the passport upon arrival in India, at which time biometrics (fingerprints) will also be taken.

No, it is not possible to apply for an Indian visa at the airport after you land.

All visas, including e-Visas, must be applied for before travel. Most airlines will not let you board without a valid visa.

There have been cases in the past where passengers have applied for an evisa and have booked their travel without waiting for an official electronic confirmation of their visa being granted. They have concluded of their application confirmation as a visa confirmed status.

However as I was researching for this I found that the information on the website is lacking in some clarity regarding visa on arrival and evisa directives.

It’s better to cross check the details with the airlines and travel agents, in case of any doubts, before embarking on your journey.

For more information on tourist visa on arrival click here-

https://www.india.gov.in/spotlight/encouraging-inbound-tourism-tourist-visa-arrival-tvoa-scheme#tvoa2

For more information on the Indian E-visa click here-

https://visacentral.com/about-india-e-visa

evisa

-M

Flying with Emotional Support Animal

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Pets are comforting companions for kids and adults alike. There is no denying that pets keep us healthy and relieve stress. They play with us and show us unconditional love.

Lately keeping a pet as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)– an untrained companion of any species that provides solace to someone with a disability, such as anxiety or depression is becoming , should I say “fashionable’ for lack of a better word.

And an increasing number of pet owners have of late been taking their pets  into public spaces including travelling in airplanes , more so in the cabins -rather than the holds—simply by claiming that the creatures are  their licensed companion animals and are necessary to their mental well-being.

The list of weird and wondrous beasts that have accompanied their owners on scheduled flights in the US includes a turkey, a kangaroo, and a duck by the name of Mr. Stinkerbutt and a miniature Appaloosa horse.

peacock

There was also a peacock, who was turned away by United for not meeting its guidelines of weight and size, despite of the owner who offered to buy a separate ticket, and Hobey the pot-bellied pig took a pre-takeoff dump in the aisle of an American Airlines flight and both pig and owner were ushered off – proof that peacocks and pigs really can’t fly.

pigsfly

Luckily the good citizens of the US of A have the law on their side. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

As noble as it is intended, the purpose of the law is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else, including equal rights of employment, housing and also the same rights to transportation aboard public entities such as airlines.

If a disabled person requires the assistance of a service animal the airline must accommodate the service animal, but there’s more to it than that. The key difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog is whether the animal has been trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the person’s disability. For example, service dogs are trained to alert a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or to guide a visually impaired person around an obstacle.

So when pet owners insist on taking along an animal for want of emotional support all they need is an exemption- a letter from a certified healthcare provider, stating that the animal provides emotional support that eases one or more of the symptoms or effects of the disability, to substantiate their claims and Bingo! – They are legally entitled to take their friend along when they fly.

The United States – Air Carrier Access Act entitles passengers to fly with their E.S.A. at no extra charge, although airlines typically require the animal to stay on the lap or under the seat.

But Airlines are now fighting back. Between 2016 and 2018 the number of passengers taking their ESA on a flight in the US has increased from 561,000 to more than 1 million. And with that, the number of incidents involving ESAs pooing, peeing or biting other passengers and cabin crew have also increased.

horse

Many airlines have changed their policies when it comes to flying with an emotional support animal. Which is why most carriers are now either banning ESAs from flights over eight hours or putting in stipulated conditions for flying with ESA’s such as-

  • Banning specific animals from the cabin, including amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, insects, reptiles, rodents, snakes, spiders, sugar gliders and any animal with tusks, horns or hooves.
  • The animals must be able to fit at the passengers’ feet, under the seat and are small enough to “fit fully on the passengers’ lap without touching any part of the seat or adjacent customers.
  • The animal cannot be seated in an exit row, block aisles, occupy seats or eat from tray tables.
  • The animals will have to remain leashed throughout the flight.

Airline employees are now able to exclude animals they consider to be a safety risk. While airlines might have thousands of trained service animals flying in a month, they may need to accommodate much more as untrained support animals in the already constrained cabin. Untrained animals have not only attacked trained service dogs, but also bitten flight attendants and other passengers. Not to mention, pets could also be the reason for spreading certain allergens.

Turkey-On-Board

Whether one truly and genuinely needs a support animal travelling with them needs to have strict and proper guidelines/rules to ensure access to service animal assistance for people with disabilities , while maintaining the safety, health and security of all other passengers and crew onboard planes.

 

 

 

 

PC:The Sun;CNBC;United Airlines;CBS News;LoyaltyLobby