India to Resume Issuing Tourist Visa to Foreign Travelers from November 15 after 18 Months of Suspension

In March 2020, India – the world’s second most populous country – took several measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, like cancellation of scheduled/regular international flights, suspension of tourist visa, and nationwide lockdown. With the gradual flattening of the COVID graph across the country, the government relaxed certain restrictions for international arrivals. For instance, Maharashtra eliminated institutional quarantine for travelers arriving from or through the UK, the Middle East, Brazil, and South Africa.

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When the second wave started receding, India resumed issuing e-visa in certain categories, except tourism. The tourist visa and regular international flights to India had been suspended for the past 18 months. As per the official reports, India’s tourist visa or electronic travel authorization (ETA) will be issued, from November 15, to foreign nationals, including those of Indian origin. From October 15, the tourist visa will be granted to those traveling on chartered flights to India. The official announcement came following a  high-level meeting by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Since the lifting of the tourist visa ban was announced, many foreign citizens have been wondering whether their existing tourist visas will be revalidated for travel to India. The new guidelines for resumption of tourist visas, in both electronic and paper formats, stated that fresh tourist visas will allow single entry to India, instead of double entry earlier, and be valid for 30 days. The existing tourist visas or the visas issued before suspension came into effect won’t be reinstated, according to the new guidelines.

India’s tourist visa for foreign citizens will be resumed in a phased manner. Initially, the tourist visa will be issued only to fully-vaccinated travelers from abroad. The Ministry of Home Affairs’ plans for lifting the tourist visa ban include preparing a list of vaccines that will be considered valid for the entry of Indian tourist visa holders from foreign countries. This will be another boost to Indian economy.

The continued suspension of the tourist visa has led to cancellation of many India-bound travel plans since not all foreign citizens of Indian origin are PIO or OCI card holders. Many Indian-origin citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Singapore and other countries neither had an OCI card nor were they eligible for emergency visa to India. Hence, they had to apply for a regular entry X visa for traveling to India amid the pandemic-induced restrictions.

The Indian tourist visa is granted to foreigners for four reasons: recreational and sightseeing, visiting family or friends, short business trip, and medical treatment for a short duration. Applications for India’s e-tourist visa must be submitted neither later than 4 days nor earlier than 34 days before the date of planned arrival. India’s tourist visa fee for foreigners varies from country to country. India’s e-tourist visa can be availed by citizens of as many as 169 countries. A tourist visa to India comes with 5-year validity. The electronic travel authorization allows a double-entry to India for 60 days, whereas a regular tourist visa to India allows a stay for more than 60 days at a time.

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60 thoughts on “India to Resume Issuing Tourist Visa to Foreign Travelers from November 15 after 18 Months of Suspension

  1. Rajesh Upalekar

    Do you know the target date when this is going to resume? Also, what happens to the already existing Tourist VISA, already stamped in the passport and a valid one? Any ideas?

    Reply
  2. Coralie

    I have a multiple entry tourist visa issued in 2016, valid for ten years until 2026 and you say this visa will not be valid for entry into India now. This is very upsetting. So I have to apply for a new tourist visa?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Coralie! Currently, new tourist visas are not being issued. The existing tourist visas are suspended. However, the government of India is planning to end the suspension of the tourist visa.

      Reply
  3. KP

    How about eTourist visa for minors below 5 years, both parents are fully vaccinated but the child is not?

    Reply
  4. Indian Man

    I heard that by the end of the month of September 2019 they are planning to reconsider the suspension on the tourist visa

    Reply
  5. bkaur

    Any word yet on the visas and when can go to India from USA.. I have a Visa that was issued in 2017 and it’s good for 10 years – till 2027… Will I be able to use this one ???? Or am I going to be forced to get a new visa (which seems unfair)…. Also would like to know the date that they are going to start allowing me to enter India with my visa… I am vaccinated… My friends there are continually asking me when I am coming…

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Bkaur! We are keeping a watch on the upcoming updates regarding the date of resuming the tourist visa. The tourist visa will be resumed anytime in this month.

      Reply
  6. Gokul

    Hi, I am Indian citizen residing in US,
    my 4 year old american citizen son is having Indian visa of type X-Misc with multiple entry.
    Can he travel with me in November?

    Regards,
    Utpal

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Gokul! Your son’s visa does not have a ‘T’ (tourist) mark, he can travel to India.

      Reply
  7. Kay

    I read that India will be issuing free tourist visas for the first (forget the number) of people when tourist visas resume. Is it for e-visa or 10 yr visa?
    Thanks

    Reply
  8. Jaze Jacob Thomas

    Hi, we are planning to travel in Dec. Both parents have OCI, plus vaccinated. How ever 3 kids, all under 5. 2 have tourist visa, one need to apply for evisa or tourist visa. None of the kids are vaccinated. Can you advise?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Jacob! All of you, including the kids will have to take an RT-PCR test prior to boarding the flight to India. Kids don’t have to be vaccinated for travel to India. Hope India will lift the tourist visa ban this month or November.

      Reply
  9. Gabo Thompson

    Hi Jacob,

    I’m a 21 yr. old male with both PFIZER vaccine shots and my 3rd booster. I plan to travel to India in early Jan for tourism. Do you think I will able to go/should go ahead and book a flight now or hold off?

    Also, what is the status of state to state quarantines?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Gabo! India is going to welcome foreign tourists soon. We hope you will be able to visit India in January 2022. Currently, no institutional quarantine in India.

      Reply
  10. Cody

    When India opens for charter flights, is it possible to fly in via commercial to a neighboring country and gain access via tourist visa this way? It’s been some time since we have been able to see family and it looks that a phased opening will place commercial near the end.

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Cody! From November 15, you will be granted a tourist visa to travel to India on non-chartered passenger flights.

      Reply
  11. Richard Bennett

    Hello!
    Most welcome news about Tourist visas because I have a flight to Chennai from NYC on November 16!
    I have a 10 year tourist visa that I have used 3 times. Will I be able to travel on that?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Richard! There is still no clarity on whether the existing tourist visas will be honored by the government of India. Please be advised to check with the Indian embassy or consulate in your jurisdiction.

      Reply
      • Richard Bennett

        I called the Indian Embassy in D.C. and they don’t know either. They said to call back on October 15th.
        If something changes between now and then will you please post the info?

        Reply
          • Richard Bennett

            Well, you were right, it is official, a fresh visa is needed. The next snag is they will only be good for thirty days. I am considering trying for an e-business visa. I am a tour guide and I have been working with an Indian company to promote tourism from the US. I’m not familiar with this type of visa. I’m wondering if they are only for major corporations or inclusive of my type of business as well. Do you have an opinion about this?

        • Tom

          I emailed them 2 times with the same question and both times received a one word response, Yes! But that is the embassy in Washington not the civil servant at the airport immigration counter if you know what I mean.

          Setu Puthran
          Fri, Oct 8, 7:06 AM (3 days ago)
          to me

          I must ask the same question again regarding my existing 10 year Tourist visa issued in 2016 and valid until 2026.
          Will I be able to enter India with this visa when regularly scheduled flights resume? Yes

          Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Kishan! From November 15. American citizens can travel to India on a tourist visa.

      Reply
  12. Amrinder

    Hi Indian Eagle – my family members (US citizen) have multiple entry tourist visas (type T) that are valid till 2024. Will those visas be reinstated or will they have to get fresh new tourist visas to travel after Nov 15th? If they have to get new fresh tourist visas – can they apply for it online or will they have to send all the documentation to the nearest embassy/consulate or will there be provision for issuing the visas on arrival at the airport (as they used to back in pre-covid times)?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Amrinder! We are still waiting for further details from GOI, such as whether the existing tourist visas will be reinstated or not. Unfortunately, there is yet no clarity.

      Reply
  13. Bhaskar

    All the press release indicate that – existing unexpired travel visas (both regular or e) are invalid and thus re-apply starting Oct/Nov 15. Seems like yet another scheme to profit off the pandemic ??

    “2. The Government of India has restored all existing visas, which had been suspended earlier, including electronic visa except e-Tourist Visa, Tourist Visa and Medical Visa. All those who hold such valid visas (other than e-Tourist Visa, Tourist visa and Medical visa) need not apply to the Consulate for revalidation of their existing visa. In other words, only those who hold e-Tourist visa/Tourist visa (regular) and Medical visa need to apply for a fresh visa.”
    https://www.cgisf.gov.in/page/entry-visa-services/

    “Fresh tourist visas are necessary for travel, even if you already hold valid tourist visas issued earlier. For now, tourist visas are only valid for travel by air or sea route,” it added.

    Reply
  14. Sanjay

    Per release, The Indian Bureau of Immigration/Indian Missions/Posts abroad may grant fresh single entry e-Tourist/Tourist visa for 30 days. Existing e-Tourist Visa/ Tourist Visa shall remain suspended.

    Reply
  15. REETIKA

    Hi can I travel with my minor son (5 year old) to India on a regular tourist visa. Do I still need to get either OCI or entry visa? Has the ban been removed?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Reetika! From November 15, foreign citizens, including those of Indian origin, can travel to India on a tourist visa. Indian government will start issuing fresh tourist visas from November 15.

      Reply
  16. Panshi

    It’s not fair to make us get new Visa’s. Many people have 5-10 year Visa’s. Reinstate them ! Why are we even having hassles to travel. Can’t the scheming ever stop? Or India will keep doing this unfair ness.

    Reply
    • bhaskar

      @Panshi, Like I said, the system needs to profit off the pandemic somehow..
      it didnt make any sense why existing student visas, business visas are reinstated valid, but not tourist e/visas..

      Reply
  17. CC

    Hi Indian Eagle.
    Namaste

    I have an existing US, 10 year visa to India.

    Will India *refresh* this VIsa, already in our passports , 10 year Visas that we already have?
    for Tourist?

    15 Nov onwards, In November, if we come in on a now, new visa?
    Will it be a fast e-Visa on Entry ?

    And, wait for the refresh of existing Tourist Visas?

    Tourists can relax and support India states in : services, by taxi, food , herbal treatments, and accom and transportation, tours’
    with the longer stay Visa.

    India is
    such a beautiful country and 30 days, for many who have the 10 year, seems is cutting off the opportunity to see all that India has to offer, and India is so large and amazing.

    Thank you, CC

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi CC! Reportedly, the existing tourist visas will not be restored for travel to India. You will have to apply for a fresh tourist visa.

      Reply
  18. Amar

    My family members have existing tourist visa for India valid till 2027 (paper visa issued on passport). Will those be valid for travel to India after Nov 15?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Amar! As per the report, the existing tourist visas will not be revalidated for entry to India.

      Reply
      • bkaur

        So, we have to reapply for new visas and are just out the money for the rest of the years our
        visas are for… My visa is good til 2027 also… I am wanting to go to India around Dec 5 time frame.. Are we not going to be allowed in till January 2022… When will we be able to apply for new visas if they aren’t going to allow what we have to be used?

        Reply
        • indianeagle Post author

          Hi Bkaur! As of now, you will need to apply for a fresh visa that will be valid for only 30 days. The window for the visa application will open on November 15.

          Reply
  19. sanjay

    also be advised that the departing airline will just enter your apparently valid existing visa into the records, but the immigration in India will deny entry on the invalid visa and will deport you back

    Reply
  20. Melissa

    Hi!

    Do you have any idea when they might allow other durations of the tourist/e-tourist visa to India? Usually I travel to India for 90 days because my partner lives there. I was hoping for the same duration now after 2 years apart.. I have asked the embassy but no one gives me any clear answers!

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Melissa! Whenever there will be further updates, we will share through our article.

      Reply
  21. Joshua Congdon

    How do you know “existing tourist visas will not be revalidated for enty into India”?? Are you sure of that? I know right now all they are offering is 30 day short stay visas which do not interest long term travelers like myself. So far all the articles I’ve read say existing tourist visas remain “Suspended ” I have not seen that those visas issued before the pandemic are voided entirely.. it’s it not possible that India will come to its senses and reinstate preexisting tourist visas for those people who wish to spend their money there for longer than 30 days?

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Joshua! As of now, fresh tourist visas will be issued with 30-day validity. We are not saying that the existing visas will remain suspended. For the time being, the existing visas won’t be revalidated for entry into India. Maybe, the existing visas will be restored for travel to India in the future.

      Reply
  22. Santosh

    I was reading all the above Q&A about multiple tourist visa .
    I am carrying the Ten years on my passport will expire in 2027 from Canada.
    If they are not planning to reinstate ,they should reimburse or issue visa with no charge.
    Otherwise people wasted the hard earned money in the drain.

    Reply
  23. Vipan

    Hi Indian Eagle

    I am planning to travel to India with my family (US citizen) on Nov 20th. We have existing tourist visas for India. However per the comments above, it seems that those visas will not be valid and we would need fresh visas. Should we be applying for emergency entry visa or should we be applying for tourist visa? The embassy website doesn’t allow for applying for tourist/e-tourist visa right now. So, it unclear what process we should follow. Can you please guide us what we should do?

    Thanks,
    Vipan

    Reply
    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Vipan! You will be able to apply for e-tourist visa on November 15 and after.

      Reply

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