Every foreign citizen is required to obtain a visa before entering into India. According to the visa policy of India, for tourists and visitors, there are two Indian visa types to apply for: The e-Visa and The regular tourist visa. The e-visa is for a shorter period of stay and it’s also much easier to apply for an Indian visa online. The regular tourist visa is a pain and more expensive, but allows for a longer stay. Depending on your nationality, you can apply from a minimum of six months up to 10 years. So it all depends on your travel plans.
Every single visitor to India needs a visa except for citizens of countries Nepal and Bhutan. As per the policy of the Government of India, there are two ways to apply for a Visa to India- e-Visa and the Regular Tourist Visa.
Obtaining a visa to India is no more burdensome task and can be easily obtained online. India e-Visa has to be acquired to enter and exit the permitted areas of the country. Presently, there are five categories under which you can apply for the visa- e-Tourist, e-Medical, e-Business, e-Conference and e-Medical Assistant visas.
e-Visa has helped the visitors to get away with the need to obtain a regular visa before landing in India. Moreover, the Indian Government has also introduced a one-month, one-year and five years e-Visas for most of the eligible countries. Citizens of the USA can apply for a regular Tourist Visa that is valid for 10 years. Also, for other types of categories that are not available under electronic visa can be applied under regular visa.
So before applying for one, make sure you know about the e-Visa category you fall into and what’s the application procedure to be followed for getting the right visa.
Electronic Travel Authorization or e-Visa
Obtaining a visa to India is no more burdensome task and can be easily obtained online after the introduction of India e-Visa. It has to be acquired to enter and exit the permitted areas of the country. It started with the introduction of a tourist visa on arrival on January 1, 2010. Later on, from November 27, 2014, the visa on arrival scheme was substituted by an online Electronic Travel Authorization. In April 2015, the scheme was renamed ‘e-Tourist’ visa and in April 2017, the scheme was extended to passport holders of 161 countries. As of 2019, passport holders of 168 countries are eligible to apply for e-Visa.
Presently, there are five categories under which you can apply for the visa- e-Tourist, e-Medical, e-Business, e-Conference and e-Medical Assistant visas. Moreover, the Indian Government has also introduced the sub-categories for e-Tourist visa i.e. one-month, one-year and five years e-Visas for most of the eligible countries.
Categories of e-Visa
Here is an overview of the categories available under electronic visa:
|e-Tourist||One-Month||30 days||Double|| |
|e-Business||One year from the date of grant of ETA||Multiple|| |
|e-Conference||30 days from date of arrival||Single|
|e-Medical||60 days from date of arriva||Triple|
|e-Medical Assistant||60 days from date of arrival||Triple|
Requirements for Indian Visa Application
Before you proceed towards filling the application form, make sure you have all the essential documents ready with you.
- Passport- Passport with a validity of six months and should have at least two blank pages to place the stamps. You need to submit a scanned copy of the passport’s information page.
Those who have Pakistani Passports or are of Pakistani origin are not eligible. They can apply directly at India Mission for regular visas. Diplomatic/Official Passport holders and International Travel Document Holders will also have to go for the regular method of obtaining visas.
- Photo- A passport-sized photo as per the specifications mentioned on the India Visa website has to be uploaded.
- Proof of Departure- You must have a confirmed round trip ticket that will prove that you will return within the allowed duration of stay.
- Documents- Documents as proof of your purpose to visit India has to be provided in some cases such as medical certificates, business card, etc.
- Fees- The e-Visa fees are different for every country and you can check the same from the table provided further in this guide.
Procedure to obtain e-Visa India
You need to fill the application online not less than 4 days before the date of travel. Enter your personal details; upload a photograph and photo page of your passport. The passport must be valid for at least the next six months and the documents required as per the category of the India Visa you have applied for, have to be uploaded.
Once you have completed the application form correctly along with the required documents, you can proceed towards making the payment online. You will be given an Application ID and once the procession is over for your Indian visa application, you will receive the ETA within 3-5 days on your email ID. Keep checking your application status and make sure it shows ‘Granted’ before you proceed to travel.
When you arrive in India, make sure you have a copy of ETA with you as you have to show it to the immigration officer at the airport. He will stamp the passport with your e-Visa that will ensure your entry into India.
Indian e-Visa fees
The Indian visa fees depend on the nationality of the visitor and are different for peak and lean seasons. Citizens of some countries are even eligible for the visa at no cost. Have a look at the table below to get a clearer picture.
For e-Tourist Visa
|Free||Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, Marshall Islands, Niue Island, Mauritius, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Kiribati.|
|$10||One-month e-Tourist Visa (April to June)|
|$25||One-month e-Tourist Visa (remainder of the year)|
|$40||One-year e-Tourist Visa|
|$80||Five-year e-Tourist Visa|
|Japanese citizens have to pay only $25 for one-year and five-year e-Tourist visas.|
For e-Business Visa and e-Medical Visa
|Free||Citizens of Argentina, Cook Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue Island, Palau, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Uruguay and Vanuatu.|
|$25||Japan, Singapore and Sri Lanka|
|$80||Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Canada, Belgium,China, Hong Kong, Finland, Portugal, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, France, New Zealand, the Philippines, Kenya, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and Vietnam|
|$100||US, UK, Russia, Ukraine, and Mozambique|
|$80||e-Medical Attendant Visa|
Regular Indian Visa
Now, if you are planning for a longer stay, e-Visa will not help in those cases and you will be required to apply for an Indian visa. In every country, there is an embassy of India that handles and processes all the visa applications. You can apply for a regular visa online through the centralised online application process introduced by the Indian Government. Complete and submit the form online and then submit your passport and other required documents manually in person to the relevant Indian Mission (Indian consulate or embassy) in your country.
- In the UK, Indian Visa applications are handled by VFS Global. This visa’s duration of stay is up to 12 months with multiple entries. However, the period of stay without exit is only six months.
- For India visa USA, regular visa services are handled by Cox & Kings Global Services. The period of stay is six months but you can apply for the validity of up to 10 years with multiple entries. The India visa fees for us citizens is 120 USD.
- Australian citizens can apply for a visa with multiple entries for a year, maximum stay of six months through VFS Global.
- In Canada, BLS International is authorised to handle visa applications.
Types of Regular Visas
- Emergency Service
- Business Visa
- Tourist Visa
- Entry Visa
Emergency Service on a Visa can be availed in case Medical emergency, unfortunate incident of loss of life and to attend legal matters concerning self and is only allowed for US passport holders of Indian Origin.
A Business Visa is issued to let foreign nationals attend business meetings with companies in India, on behalf of a company outside India.
A Tourist Visa is issued to foreign nationals travelling to India for tourist purposes such as sightseeing, recreation, visit to meet friends and relatives etc.
An Entry Visa to India is granted:
- To a Person Of Indian Origin
- To a spouse or a child of a person of Indian origin
- To a dependent family member of Employment, Business, Research, or Student Visa holders.
An ‘Employment Visa is issued to foreign nationals to work for an organization registered in India. An Employment Visa is granted to an employee, paid intern of an Indian company and to persons travelling to India for volunteer work with an NGO.
A Student Visa is issued to students who want to pursue regular studies in recognized educational Indian institutions.
A Conference Visa is issued to attend Seminars, International Conferences or Workshops in India.
A Visitor Visa is granted to Pakistan Passport Holders who have not refused their Pakistan Citizenship and want to visit India.
A Transfer Tourist Visa is issued to transfer the remaining duration of valid Tourist Visa to a new passport.
A Transfer Business Visa is provided to transfer the remaining duration of a valid Business Visa to a new passport.
A Transfer of Entry Visa is required to transfer the remaining duration of a valid Entry Visa to a new passport.
A Journalist Visa will be granted to Cameraman, Journalist, Media Person, News Broadcaster, Press, Publisher, Reporter, TV Producer, Writer, Columnist, cartoonist/editor, Photographer, Film producer or director, A representative of a radio or television organization, Travel writer, Travel promotion photographer, etc.
A Medical Visa is granted for medical treatment in any of the reputed and recognized hospitals or treatment centres in India.
A Missionary Visa is provided to persons coming to India for religious purposes or to join a foreign Missionary organization in India approved by the Government of India.
A Transit Visa allows a person to travel through India to reach his / her ultimate destination. For visitors who are going to stay in India for less than 72 hours can go for a Transit visa.
Requirements for the Regular Tourist Visa
These are the documents you are going to need for all visa applications:
- A passport with a minimum validity of six months on the date of the application and have two blank pages.
- One or two photographs as per the specifications provided by the Indian Government.
- A reference from your country of origin as well as someone in India.
- You may also require copies of flight tickets and proof of residential address.
Regular Visa Fees
The Visa fee depends upon the type you have applied for and the duration of visa. During the online application process, the basic fee shall be displayed and the final fee will be charged at the end of the process. Fee once received will not be refunded even if the visa application is withdrawn, visa is not granted, or visa issued is of shorter duration than applied for or any other similar situation.
Permits for Protected/Restricted Areas in India
Even if you have a valid visa, there are some areas in India that need special permission to access. You to obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to enter them. The restricted areas are near borders and have security concerns associated with them such as Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and in most of the cases, only tour/trekking groups are allowed to enter. You can apply for PAP at the same time when you apply for Tourist visa India.