How to Apply for a Visa for India
Visitors to India must obtain a visa from an Indian diplomatic mission, unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries, or a country whose citizens may obtain a visa on arrival, or an e-Visa online.
Citizens of Nepal and Bhutan do not require visas or passports to enter India, unless arriving from mainland China, and may remain in the country indefinitely. Citizens of these countries may also live and work freely in India.
- Visitors to India can either apply for a regular visa or an e-Visa.
- Passport holders of 166 countries are eligible for an e-Visa.
- Citizens of the Maldives do not require visas to enter India for up to 90 days.
- Foreign citizens possessing an Overseas Citizen of India registration certificate or holders of a Person of Indian Origin Card are exempt from visa requirements.
- On 27 November 2014, the Electronic Travel Authorization facility became operational for citizens of over 40 eligible countries.
Types of Visa
Citizens of almost all countries require a visa to witness and explore the beauty of India. Getting a visa can generally be difficult, but Indian visas are easily accessible if applied for in the right manner. Below are some common visas used by visitors to India.
This is a short-term visa for those visiting or staying in India for less than 72 hours. When applying for a transit visa, you must show a confirmed airline booking for the onward journey. The visa is valid within 15 days of the date of issue, for a maximum of 3 days for a single direct transit or for a double-entry.
Tourist visas are issued to people who want to go to India to visit others or to go sightseeing. Although tourist visas can be granted for more than six months, depending on the applicant's nationality, it's not possible on a tourist visa to remain in India for longer than six months at a time.
Business visas are available for people to explore business opportunities or conduct business in India. They are valid for up to five or 10 years, with multiple entries. However, holders are usually not allowed to remain in India for more than 180 days at a time, unless they register with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office.
Two Ways of Obtaining a Tourist Visa for India
All foreign nationals entering India are required to possess a valid international travel document in the form of a national passport with a valid visa obtained from an Indian mission or post abroad. There are two types of visa you can choose from, an e-Visa or a Visa on Arrival.
|E-Visa||Visa on Arrival|
|Type||60-day multiple-entry||30-day single entry|
|Cost||US$ 25, US$ 80 and US$ 100, depending on nationality, plus a bank fee of 2.5% of the visa fee||US$ 60|
|Application Process||Online application form||Online application form|
|Waiting Time Upon Arrival||Need the visa stamped on your passport by Indian immigration officers at the airport or seaport.||Need the visa stamped on your passport by Indian immigration officers at the airport or seaport.|
The online e-Visa for India is an electronic authorization that allows citizens of eligible countries to travel to and within India. It was launched by the Indian government in October 2014. E-Visas can be used for tourism, recreation, sightseeing, casual business, casual visits to meet friends or relatives, or short-duration medical treatment.
Applications must be made online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html, no less than four days and no more than 120 days before the date of travel.
In your application, you should document your airport of arrival, date of arrival, full name, passport number, date of birth, and nationality. You are required to enter the personal information matching the information on your passport.
Pay the service fee and government fee online by credit or debit card. After finishing your order and payment, you will receive a confirmation email for your visa order and an email to request some documents required for processing your visa.
Then we will process your e-Visa for India and send it to you by email. You will receive the email within 5 business hours with our urgent service, or within 24 hours with our fast service, once you have sent us all the required documents. These services, however, cost more than normal.
Once you have received the email, download your e-Visa for India and print it out. You need to show the e-Visa on arrival. It takes 5-10 minutes to get the visa stamped on your passport by Indian immigration officers at the airport or seaport.
The documents you need for your application are your passport copy in PDF format, a digital passport photo in JPEG format, and a credit or debit card or a PayPal account.
The tourist e-Visa for India allows for multiple entries into India. Despite the Indian e-Visa being a multiple-entry visa, it is important to note that the tourist e-Visa for India can only be used a maximum of two times in one calendar year.
The visitor must arrive in India before the e-Visa expires. It is valid for up to 60 days from the date of first arrival. The e-Visa for India cannot be extended or converted for any other purpose, and is not valid for travel to restricted areas. A maximum of two e-Visas can be issued within a 12 month period.
Visa on Arrival
After months in the works, the Indian visa on arrival system has been extended to citizens from 113 countries, including the United States. It is valid for 30 days and only for single entry. This visa can neither be extended nor converted to any other kind of visa during the stay in India except under certain exceptional circumstances.
You’ll first apply for an Electronic Travel Authority via a simple, online form. A scan of your passport photo page and a full-face picture of you with a white background will need to be uploaded. After that, you will have to pay the $60 fee, and you’ll then receive an application ID via email.
Within four days, you should receive your Electronic Travel Authority via email. Print this document and present it at immigration, at one of India’s 16 participating visa-on-arrival airports, within 30 days of approval. At the airport, you’ll receive your visa-on-arrival stamp and be good to go in India for up to 30 days.
For this visa, you will need to apply online with a minimum of 4 days and a maximum of 365 days in advance of the date of arrival. Your passport should have at least six months’ validity from the date of arrival in India and have at least two blank pages.
You must fly into one of the specified 28 airports or 5 seaports in order to obtain your visa on arrival to India. Entry by land or at other airports will not be facilitated by a visa on arrival. Don’t forget to bring a printed copy of your tourist Visa on Arrival; it will be emailed to you once it is approved.
Visa for India Application Form and Requirements
All individual visa seekers are requested to apply for the visa for India through online application. No hand-written application form will be accepted by any of the Indian missions or posts, wherever online visa facilities have been implemented.
The completed application form is to be submitted to the relevant Indian Visa Application Center or directly to Indian missions or posts in the absence of an Indian Visa Application Center, on the scheduled date of interview, along with the requisite supporting documents.
The required documents for online application are your passport and a digital photo. Your original passport and one photocopy of your passport information and signature page are needed. The passport must be signed and valid for 6 months beyond your stay in India, with at least two blank passport pages available for Indian visa stamps.
The digital photograph to be uploaded along with the visa application should be in JPEG format, between 10 kb and 300 kb in size, with equal height and width, presenting the full face from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin, front view, eyes open, head centered within the frame.
The background should be plain light-colored or white background, with no shadows on the face or on it. The photo should be without borders. Make sure the photo presents your full head. Your head should be around 25 mm by 35 mm in the photograph.
Visa for India Extensions
You cannot extend your e-Visa. It starts once you enter India and is valid for the indicated duration. Regular tourist visas can only be extended in special cases, such as medical emergencies, accidents, stolen passports or other stolen personal documents.
Extensions will normally be granted for up to 14 days. You will need to provide two passport photos, your passport or another travel document in case your passport got stolen, and a letter from the hospital, in case you are having a medical emergency.
Besides these cases, there are a couple of other circumstances in which you can extend or even change your current visa type. For more information, you’d need to contact the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi.
Applying Via an Agency
The Ministry of External Affairs of the Indian government decided to outsource visa processing and issuance to eligible third-party services across the globe. This has helped revolutionize the way Indian visas are issued.
Obtaining your Indian visa online is relatively easy. Upload the application as well as the required number of photographs through the website of the visa agency. All supporting documents should also be uploaded via the website.
The processing time is usually four working days, unless you are requesting an emergency visa. We still recommend, however, that you apply for an e-Visa or a Visa on Arrival, as it can be more convenient and economical.
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