Tourist Visa for India
Update: The duration of stay on e-visa has been increased from 30 days to 60 days with a double entry with effect from April 1st, 2017. The window for application under e-visa scheme has been increased from 30 days to 120 days. Therefore it became easier to obtain a tourist visa for India. You can now also apply for a medical or business visa online. However, this requires different documents to be uploaded, see here.
Every foreign citizen is required to obtain a visa before entering India. For tourists and visitors there are two ways to apply for a tourist visa for India: the e-visa and the regular tourist visa. The e-visa is for a shorter period of stay and much easier to apply for while the regular tourist visa can be a pain to get and is more expensive but is also valid for minimum of six months upto 10 years, depending on your nationality. So it really depends on your travel plans.
We would like to introduce both options to you in this article and answer questions like: Who can apply? How much does it cost? What are the requirements?
What is a E-Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)? Is it a visa on arrival?
The e-visa format resembles a visa on arrival, but is not exactly a visa on arrival. The applicant needs to submit their India visa forms online and pay the necessary fees online. The applicant would be informed online if the electronic tourist visa is granted or not.
You do not have to courier your passport or visit an Indian Embassy or consulate. Once your tourist visa for India is granted, which you will be notified of online, you can board you plane. The tourist visa will be stamped on your passport when you arrive in India.
While similar, it is still not exactly a visa on arrival as you still have to apply before you arrive in India. However, it’s a lot less cumbersome than couriering your passports or having to line up outside an Indian Embassy/consulate.
Eligibility for an Indian Tourist Visa
PURPOSE: Only four possible intentions are considered innocent by the Indian Government. Recreation and sightseeing, Casual visits with friends and family, Short duration medical treatment and Casual business visit. Our apologies on not making a category for Self-Discovery.
PASSPORT: The original document should be vaild for another six months from arrival. It should have at least two blank pages to fill up with Indian stamps. Those holding Pakistani Passports or of Pakistani origin are unfortunately not allowed this convenience. They must apply directly at India Mission for regular passports. Diplomatic/Official Passport holders, those endorsed on Parent’s/Spouse’s Passport and International Travel Document Holders will all have to also make do with the regular method of obtaining visas.
Application requirements for the electronic tourist visa for India
PASSPORT: You will need to submit a scanned copy of your passport’s information page after filling the application form which you can find here.
PHOTO: If you have a digital copy of a passport sized photo, upload it to the website. Alternately use a scanned photo of a regular passport photo instead.
PROOF OF DEPARTURE: Confirmed round trip ticket so they know you’re not trying to sneak in and start a new life.
FEES: The e-visa fee depends on the country of origin. At the moment citizen from 161 countries can apply for an e-visa. To find out the fee applicable for your country please click here.
Details of E-Tourist Visa for India
For applications to be eligible they must be submitted no later than 4 days and no earlier than 34 days before the date of arrival. So if you’re the kind that likes their itinerary done and dusted well in advance, you might want to consider a traditional tourist visa for India.
You can get a maximum of 2 Electronic Travel Authorizations(ETA) in a year with one of them providing a maximum stay of 30 days.
You can pick up a visa on arrival at the airports of Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh,Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi as well as the cruise sea ports of Cochi, Goa and Mangalore.
Carry a copy of ETA at the time of your travel (obviously). After you arrived at one of the designated airports mentioned you will need to proceed to the e-visa counter where they will actually add the tourist visa to your passport. Afterwards you will need to carry on to the immigration counter where they will stamp your passport. This might take quite some time at busy airports like Delhi or Mumbai.
Your Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) will usually be processed and issued within 3 business days after your online application if approved.
Happy bureaucratizing to you!
How can you apply for a regular tourist visa for India?
If you like to visit longer than 60 days you will need to apply for a regular tourist visa for India which requires you to send an application and your passport to the consulate or an outsourced visa authority.
In the UK VFS Global takes care of all visa applications for India. The regular tourist visa’s duration of stay is upto 12 months with multiple entries and costs GBP 120. However, the period of a stay without exit is always limited to six months. You can apply in person or by post. It takes a minimum of two weeks until you can receive the Tourist visa for India and is valid from the date of issue not the date of entry.
In the US Cox & Kings Global Services handles all regular visa services for all citizen. The period of stay is also limited to six months only but you can apply for a validity of upto 10 years, also with multiple entries. The costs are $120. You can also apply in person or by post but the procedure is very throughout, to say the least. Read more on how to apply here.
Australian citizen can apply for a tourist visa for India with multiple entries up to one year with a maximum stay of six months on VFS Global. It costs AUD 135. It takes an average of 5 days plus shipping times if you send it by post.
For all visa applications you will need to fill a form, send in your passport with a minimum validity of six months on the date of application and at least two blank pages, one or two photographs with certain specifications found on the respective websites of the visa authorities as well as a reference in your country of origin as well as in India. For the latter you can use the address and phone number of a hotel or travel agent – like us for example!
This might sound exhausting but we promise you: India is worth the effort. If you are still interested in a trip to India plan your trip with us now!