With a view to promote cruises in India, cruise passengers with e-visas will be exempted from the requirement of biometric enrolment until December 31, 2020.
This is expected to make immigration clearance of these passengers faster, leaving more time on shore. This is also considered an important factor which helps cruise companies decide whether or not to choose a destination for their itinerary.
Many of the ships coming to India are mega liners with 2,000-4,000 passengers onboard and the step assumes significance based on the schedule of cruise ship arrivals for season 2017-2018 and 2019-2020.
E-visa has been in place in 5 major ports: Cochin, Chennai, Mumbai, New Mangalore and Mormugao. Until now, biometrics of cruise passengers were required at the port of first arrival for immigration clearance.
Most of the current passengers are expected to arrive on e-visa, so biometric enrolment would slow down immigration clearance.