This is a visa issued electronically, which allows tourists and short term travelers to get an Indian visa quickly and easily on-line. Before traveling to India, visitors must have a valid Indian visa.
All visitors to India are legally required to hold a valid visa. A traditional visa is obtained through a lengthy application process, the traveler must submit their original passport along with application materials in order for the visa to be approved, and 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.
Now eligible citizens traveling for leisure/tourism purposes have the option to apply for an Indian visa online, and have their visa granted electronically. When the Indian government implemented this new electronic process, they called it Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), and because the visa sticker was placed inside the traveler’s passport at the airport upon arrival to India, the application form also referred to this process as 'Visa on Arrival'. This could be confusing to travelers; it is very important to understand that the visa must be applied for and approved before traveling to India. This cannot be done simply upon arrival.
The official name for this process has changed to ‘e-Tourist Visa (eTV). The online process has not changed, and the traveler's biometric information will still be taken at the airport and the visa stamped inside the passport upon arrival in India.
No, it is not possible to apply for an Indian visa at the airport. Eligible citizens traveling for leisure/tourism purposes have the option to apply for an Indian e-Visa visa online, before they depart for India, which will allow them to get biometric information taken at the airport and the visa stamped inside the passport on arrival in India. However, it is very important to know that the Indian visa application must be submitted in advance of travel, and approved before you can even board a flight to India; the process takes several days and cannot be done on arrival in India.