Traveling to India? Updated Indian Tourist Visa news and application tips
COVID UPDATE September 19 2021: Indian Tourist Visas have not been available for travel to India since March 2020. However, the Government of India has just announced (September 19, 2021) they are considering opening up tourist visas to India, with certain restriction and conditions in place. It is likely that vaccinated travellers will be allowed from a list of countries deemed to be safe.
A formal announcement may come within the next 10 days, an official from the Home Ministry said. The decision is being taken in view of the declining number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Announcement here.
“First five lakh (500,000) foreign tourists will be issued visas free of cost in an attempt to revive the tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020 when a nationwide lockdown was announced.”
Several other Visa categories are currently available and will allow travel to India including e-business visas and e-medical visas. Get more info here: Indian Visa Online. Indian citizens and and OCI cardholders are also allowed entry into India, following current testing / vaccination / quarantine requirements. Get more info here: Bureau of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
UPDATE September 17, 2021: “the Indian government has withdrawn the e-visa facility for the citizens of Canada and the United Kingdom. This comes as a reciprocal move after these countries decided to ban the entry of Indian citizens after certain states started seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases. ” See announcement here.
IF YOU ARE FROM the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and many other countries, you need a passport and a Visa to visit India, even as a tourist. However, getting a Visa for India is much easier than ever, and the Indian Visa application process now includes the option to apply for an India Visa online (the e-Visa). It’s also cheaper than before. Canadians, Americans, Australians, British nationals (and others) are all eligible for a 10-year tourist Visa for India and the new e-Visa for India. To find out if your nationality is on the list for the e-Visa, click here: Indian Visa Online
1-year e-Visa is now available for e-Tourist Visa (as of March 25, 2019).
Big news: Government of India has confirmed that E-visa fees have been reduced, as follows in US$.
- One month e-Visa fee: US$ 25 from July – March, peak season for tourism
- One month e-Visa fee: US$ 10 from April – June, low season for tourism
- A new 5-year e-Tourist Visa: US$ 80
- 1-year e-Tourist Visa: US$ 40
Let us show you the India we love … If you are planning to travel in India, let us help you! We offer itinerary planning, India for Beginners custom tours, and much more to make sure your trip to India is filled with more magic … and less madness.
Tip 1: Decide which type of Indian Visa you want
Regular Visa: To apply for a regular Visa, such as the 10 year tourist Visa, you need to apply at an Indian mission. You have to apply online first, print the form and bring it to your local consulate or the outsourcing company. There is a three step Indian Visa application process. You can read the detailed instructions here.
There will be many very specific rules, such as the exact dimensions of the photos you need to bring. If you don’t follow the guidelines precisely, and to the letter, they will not accept your application. Likewise if there are any mistakes, such as a name misspelled.
TIP: Make sure your passport has more than six month’s validity from your date of travel.
Tip 2: Contacting your Indian mission for a regular Visa
You need to contact the Indian mission in your country to begin the process of getting a regular Indian Visa and filling out the Visa application form. Often, you will be directed to a company they outsource for processing Visas, such as BLS Services in Canada. So be prepared to have all your information, documents, and passport ready so that you can apply for an India Visa.
- If you are from Canada, visit the Consulate General of India, Toronto page or the High Commission of India in Ottawa page.
- In Canada, you can visit the BLS Services page. This is the company that the Consulate General of India in Canada outsources its Visa processing to.
- If you are from USA, start here at Consulate General of India page or go directly to Cox and Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd, as they are the company the CGI has outsourced for processing Visas.
- If you are from Britain, start here at the High Commission of India page.
- If you are from Australia, start here at the Consulate General of India, Sydney page.
Tip 3: Everything you need to know about the e-Visa
The e-Visa is for “International Travellers whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight seeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment, or casual business visit” according to the Indian government website. To apply for the e-Visa, you can apply online on this page: Indian Visa Online. To get detailed information about the e-Visa, read this page. And to find out about all the Indian Visa categories click here.
- Be aware that you still need to print a copy of the Indian Visa you receive by email, and bring it with you when you travel to India. When you arrive in India, you will have to wait in line at the airport to have the Visa stamped.
- The e-Visa is good for visits not exceeding
30 60 daysone year. [NOTE: The latest info on the Indian government website now says up to one year. This information changes so please double check at the time of you travel.]
- The new e-Visa also allows double or multiple entry — you are now able to leave India and re-enter with one Visa.
- You need to apply at least four days in advance of your arrival, and not more than
30 60120 days. [NOTE: The latest info on the Indian government website now says 120 days. This information changes so please double check at the time of you travel.]
- You can apply twice a year for the e-Visa
- e-Visa is for e-Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa, e-Conference Visa, e-Medical Visa, and e-Medical Attendant Visa.
The e-Visa scheme can be accessed at 24 airports in India including: Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Amritsar, Gaya, Lucknow, Trichy, Varanasi and Ahmedabad. Also there are some ports where e-Visa can also be used. But please double check to make sure your arrival airport is on the current list, as it has changed.
TIP: There are a lot of fake sites out there that look very similar to the official Indian government site. Be careful, always check for “gov.in” in the URL.
Tip 4: All about Visas for Yoga study in India, education, volunteering, journalism, and doing business in India
Yoga: If you are attending a short-term program to study Yoga in India, you can get a Tourist Visa.
Education: If you are attending a recognized educational institution in India, you need an education Visa.
Journalism: If you are working full-time on staff for a professional publication or media outlet, and writing professional travel stories about India or taking photographs for publication, you need a journalist Visa.
Bloggers: Many travel bloggers are hobby bloggers, and a Tourist Visa will probably be just fine. Just make sure you mark down that you are in India for tourism, not for work. And never say you are a journalist unless that is your full-time, professional job and you are working for a media outlet.
UPDATE: It’s not a good idea to say that you are a writer as this implies you are a journalist. Many writers are actually working in marketing or corporate communications — I did this for years — so probably better to say you work in marketing or in the industry that you do corporate communications for.
Volunteers: If you are volunteering in India, you need a volunteer Visa.
Business Visa: If you are planning to do business while in India, you need a Business Visa.
Other types of Visa include conference, medical, transit, and research Visa. You can see a list of all the categories of Indian Visas here.
TIP: The most difficult part about applying for an Indian Visa is getting all the details right. If you make a mistake, you could be denied.
For detailed instructions on the Indian Visa application process, visit this page.
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