How To Apply for Visa to Travel India

Passports and Visas to Travel India

If you are a foreigner and you want to visit India, you must obtain a visa from the Indian Mission in your country. You should also have a valid passport with you. If you are from Nepal or Bhutan, you need not have a passport but you should have a suitable identity document with you.

Tourist Visa

Typically, a multi-entry visa is issued to tourists. The visa will be valid for 180 days from issue date.

Collective Visa

Collective visas are issued to a group of travellers consisting of at least four members. However, an Indian Government recognized travel agency must sponsor the group. These groups can visit various places in India as smaller groups after getting the “license to travel” visa from Indian immigration authorities. However, they are required to reassemble at the time of departure and leave the country as a group.

Transit Visa

Indian Missions abroad grant transit visas for a maximum of 15 days.

Exemption from Registration

Foreigners with tourist visas who visit the country for 180 days or less need not register their names with any authority. They have the freedom to visit any place, except prohibited places and protected or restricted areas. Bangladesh nationals visiting the country for up to six months are also exempt from registration. If they stay on for more than six months, then registration is essential. People without any nationality (stateless persons) such as IRO refugees, those receiving political or legal protection, and Nansen passport holders, among others, must have valid passports, sworn affidavits, or identity documents apart from their visas. Such people are required to submit their applications two months before their visit. Family passports that are issued by various governments are accepted without any discrimination.

Landing Permit Facility

Tourists must be aware that no “Landing Permit Facility” is made available to those arriving without a visa. A limited facility is available for groups that consist of four or more people and are sponsored by Indian Government recognized travel agencies.  A landing permit for up to 90 days might be issued to Indian origin foreigners’ children below 12 years, if they arrive without a visa, for visiting their relatives.

Tourist Groups

Immigration authorities may issue collective landing permits to tourist groups by that arrive by air, scheduled or chartered flight, or ship as per the following conditions:

The landing permit will be valid for a maximum of 30 days

A recognized travel agency must sponsor the group

A pre-decided itinerary is to be provided along with the members’ passport details, etc.

The travel agency must undertake to take the group together

A foreigner that wants to come to the country for any non-tourism reason must obtain one of the visas listed below:

Business Visa

Foreigners can obtain a business visa from the Indian Embassy in their countries. The validity of a multiple entry business visas is 5 years. Indian origin foreigners are given 5-year multiple entry visas for business activities, meeting relatives, etc.

Student Visa

The Indian Embassy issues student visas on providing admission proof and an undertaking as to how they will sustain themselves when they are in India. The visa is usually issued for a period of one year. However, it may be extended for the course duration in India.

Conference Visa

Delegates visiting India for attending international conferences are granted conference visas by Indian Embassies. However, they have to apply well in advance to get their visas.

Employment Visa

Foreigners wanting to come to India and take up employment are required to obtain an employment visa. Indian Missions abroad issue these visas. Initially, this visa is granted for one year. However, the visa can be extended for up to the expiry of the contract period in India.

Recreation Visa

All foreigners that want to come to India for participating in international sporting events, trekking events, yoga events, botanical expeditions, journalism-related work, media activities, documentary/feature filmmaking, etc., must obtain visas from Indian Embassies after completing due formalities.

Visa and Customs

Tourist visas are provided only for up to 180 days. No additional charge is levied within this period for extending the visa. However, identical passport size photographs are to be provided. If the visa has to be extended beyond 180 days a fee has to be paid. However, such extensions are allowed only in exceptional situations.

Foreign travellers coming to India are, therefore, advised to find out as to what visa fee and visa extension fee are applicable currently with the Government of India’ s Consular Offices or Tourist Offices in their countries.

Visa Extensions

Tourist visas are provided only for up to 180 days. No additional charge is levied within this period for extending the visa. However, identical passport size photographs are to be provided. If the visa has to be extended beyond 180 days a fee has to be paid. However, such extensions are allowed only in exceptional situations.

Foreign travellers coming to India are, therefore, advised to find out as to what visa fee and visa extension fee are applicable currently with the Government of India’ s Consular Offices or Tourist Offices in their countries.

Customs Procedures and Regulations

In general, the duty-free regulations applicable in India are one bottle (up to 950 ml) of whiskey and 200 cigarettes. A tourist bringing in cash in excess of $1,000 (or in the form of traveller’s cheques) must declare by filling in a currency declaration form.

Small items such as perfumes, cosmetics, etc., can be brought into the country, but larger items such as video cameras might be entered on the TBRE (Tourist Baggage Re-export) form in order to ensure that such articles are taken away by them when they leave the country. The TBRE form has to be re-submitted at the time of departure. Tourists that bring goods in excess of what is specified have to pay duty as per the prevailing law.

Foreign Travel Tax

People traveling to International destinations from the airports in India must pay Airport Travel Tax. Even infants that do not occupy seats are required to pay this tax.

Special Permits

Tourists that specifically ask for special permits at the time of applying for the visa are given such permits. These permits can be obtained on arrival in India as well.

The Foreigners’ Regional Registration Offices (FRROs) in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata have the power to issue such permits and group permits that are valid for up to 15 days. The Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai, can also issue such permits. Group tourists must apply 15 days in advance.

Permits needed for visiting following places:

North Eastern Frontiers

Permits can be obtained from Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai, and the FRROs in Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

Andaman Islands

Permits are provided by Indian Embassies, Overseas Consular Offices, FRROs in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chief Immigration Officer, Chennai.

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