India Visa Application Guide
Unless you are a citizen of Nepal or Bhutan you will require a visa to enter India. Most people will need to arrange this in their home country prior to arriving.
For those from Finland, New Zealand, Japan, Luxembourg, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines, Laos and Indonesia, there is a limited Visa on Arrival facility but this will only let you stay for 30 days. You will also likely need to prove your onward travel arrangements to show you are leaving the country after the 30 days. For longer stays, you will need to pre-arrange your visa.
Tourist visas are usually issued for six months depending on your nationality however some are limited to a maximum of 90 days. Most visas are multi-entry but inward and outward travel plans may need to be submitted with the visa application.
Ten year and five year visas are available for people from France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Vietnam.
Six-month multiple-entry tourist visas commence from the date of issue, not the date on which you enter India so it is important to take that into account when making travel plans.
Despite the duration of the tourist visa you apply for, you will only be allowed to stay in India for a maximum of 180 days (six months) at a time. Previously there was a mandatory two-month stand down period between visits but this has now been removed so it is easy enough to do a visa run in Nepal or any other country.
It is always advisable to check the conditions for your visa as certain restrictions are applicable to some nationalities, particularly those from Eastern Europe, Africa and central Asia.
If your visa is valid for more than six months you will need to register at a Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within 14 days of arriving in India.
The cost of the Indian Tourist visa varies for different countries so it is advisable to check this with your local Indian Embassy. As a guide, it costs $76 in the United States, £92 in the United Kingdom and $95 in Australia (inclusive of service fee).
When applying for an Indian Visa, you will need to complete an online application form. After submitting your details, you will also need to send:
• The nominated fee
• Passport that is valid for at least six months and has at least two blank pages
• Passport size photo
• Details of your itinerary including any booked flights and accommodations.
For more information and to find the application form visit IndianVisaOnline.
In most countries the visa application is outsourced to third party organizations. In America it is looked after by Travisa Outsourcing and in many others, VFS Global has the responsibility.
Other types of visas that are available to visitors to India include Business Visas, Employment Visas, Research Visas and Student Visas but the application process can be lengthy.
There are some places in India that can only be accessed through a difficult permit system, often in border disputed areas. To visit northern parts of Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim, you will need to apply for an Inner-Line Permit (ILP). These can be applied for by your travel agent, who can submit the application on your behalf. These are normally applied for people wanting to access trekking routes in these regions.
Entering the northeast states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram can be tricky and tourists need a Restricted Area Permit (RAP). These can only be applied for through the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) offices. These aren’t always approved so your best bet to book an organized tour.