Anyone who wants to visit India needs a visa, except the citizens of Nepal and Bhutan. The terms and conditions of applying for an Indian visa is updated frequently and the latest update states the introduction of 1 month, 5 year and 10 year e-visas for citizens of several countries. e-Visas are enough for visitors thereby eliminating the need of a regular Indian visa to be obtained before the arrival. However, if need be, the application process of a regular Indian visa is made quite simpler. If you are planning to visit Indian anytime soon, check out this blog to get all the significant information about obtaining an Indian visa.
What type of visa required when planning a visit to India?
Visitors who wish to stay in the country for less than 72 hours can get a transit visa issued on their arrival. However, a confirmed onward or return ticket must be submitted while applying for the transit visa.
There are several types of visa like tourist visa, business visa, film visas, journalist visas, intern visas, employment visas, student visas and research visas.
Talking about the tourist visa, it can be issued for a maximum of 10 years. The validity of your tourist visa depends on your nationality. For travelers from USA, Canada and Japan, the validity can be up to 10 years. For citizens from countries that have biometric enrollment facilities, tourist visa can be issued for up to 5 years. In general, tourist visa are usually issued for 3 months, 6 months or 1 year. These visas are mostly multiple entry visas.
Note: The validity of an Indian visa is calculated from the date of issue not the day you arrive in India.
Another important thing to note is that you cannot stay in India for more than 180 days (six months) at a time, regardless of your tourist visa validity. Some even restrict the one-time stay in India to three months. Read all the conditions while applying for the visa.
What is the cost of applying for an Indian tourist visa?
The fees to issue an Indian tourist visa vary from country to country based on the arrangements between the governments of the concerned country. The present fee structure for a US citizen for a tourist Indian visa with a validity of 10 years is $160. There is an additional cost of $19.90 as the processing fee. You will also have to pay some other fees like the biometric Enrollment fee which is quite negligible. So, if you are planning your first trip to India from the United States, start looking for cheap flights from to India from USA and apply for a tourist visa as early as possible. You can also go for an e-Tourist visa for 5 years in $80 rather than going for the regular paper visa. The choice is yours.
Countries like Mongolia and Japan have special relations with India as a result of which the citizen pay only a small amount for Indian tourist visa. Travelers from Micronesia, Mauritius, Kiribati, Jamaica, Fiji, Cook Islands, Argentina, South Africa, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Uruguay, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Nauru, Seychelles and Niue Island do not need to pay for an Indian tourist visa.
Travelers applying for e-visa can get entry into India through these 26 designated airports – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Coimbatore, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Madurai, Goa, Guwahati, Mangalore, Jaipur, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kolkata, Lucknow, Tiruchirapalli, Nagpur, Pune, Varanasi, Thiruvananthapuram, Vishakhapatnam, Gaya and Bagdogra.
What is the process to apply for Regular Indian Visa?
If you are not convinced to apply an e-Visa, the regular visa application process has become simpler now. You can apply for it online at the Indian government site. Fill in the details of the application form and submit it online. Following this, you need to submit your passport and other required documents at the concerned Indian embassy or consulate in your country.
If you cannot show up at an Indian embassy or consulate, you can still get the visa processing done. Submit the application form online and mail the application PDF and necessary documents. In the United States of America, Global Services and Cox and Kings handle the Indian visa applications. In the United Kingdom and Australia, it is the VFS Global and in Canada, visa applications are handled by BLS International.
What are the documents to be submitted while applying for Indian Visa?
When mailing or submitting your application and visa fee, you need to have the following documents ready:
- A passport valid for at least six months after the date of return and it should have a minimum of two blank pages.
- A recent passport size photo (2X2 inches) and all the itinerary details
- Copies of your flights to India
- Proof of residential address may also be required
How long does the issuing of Indian tourist visa take?
For U.S. citizens applying for Indian Visa, the process takes 5 to 10 business days. The total time required to issue an Indian tourist visa depends on the nationality of passport and type of visa.
Do I require permits to enter restricted/protected areas in India?
Yes, even on having a valid tourist visa, some remote areas in the country require foreign visitors to get PAP (Protected Area Permit) to enter its premises. The area close to borders or the ones having high security concerns are considered as restricted/protected areas that you cannot enter without a genuine permit.
Remote areas in India that require PAP for foreigners to visit include Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh (some parts in the northern region of the state), Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. There are situation when individual tourist are not permitted into these areas (only trekking/tour groups).
If you wish to visit any of these places during your trip to India, apply for PAP along with your Indian visa application. If not, you can get it here in India before going to the area.