Booking a foreign tourist train ticket
The Indian railways have subdivided a large number of bookable seats on a train into various ‘quotas’ or categories so as to enable everyone to avail of this inexpensive travel experience. These quotas include General, Ladies, Senior Citizen, Defence etc. One quota made available exclusively for foreign tourists (i.e. non-resident Indians) is the Foreign Tourist Quota. In this article, you will learn how to book a foreign tourist quota ticket.
Almost always you will find some or the other alternative to the foreign tourist ticket, so get in touch with us and start planning your trip to India so you won’t have to spend your precious time in India at the foreign tourist office.
Photo Credit – Cheersabhishe
Who can book ticket under foreign tourist quota?
Visitors travelling to India who hold valid tourist visas can avail tickets under this quota.
Please note travellers in India on any other visa (such as a business visa, an employment visa or student visa) are not eligible to book tickets under this quota. Please note that on some trains a section of tickets are blocked under the female quota which is different from Foreign tourist quote. If you are a female traveller, remember that booking in a female quota means you would be competing with a large section of Indian women, who will be traveling under the same reservation.
Do all trains have foreigner tourist quota tickets?
No, foreigner tourist quota tickets cannot be booked on all trains.
There is no list of trains available to the public which can be booked under the foreign tourist quota. However, you can check on the Indian Railways Website under the ‘seat availability’ section if the train you are looking for has any seats available under the foreign tourist quota.
Can foreigner tourist quota train tickets be booked in advance?
Wondering how to book a foreign tourist quota ticket in advance? Bookings open the same time as for the general quota i.e. 120 days before departure date. However, foreign tourist quota tickets cannot be booked online or by an agent.
You need to be present at the booking counter with your passport and a valid tourist visa. If tickets are needed for more than one person, you need to carry their passport/s too. Photocopies will not be accepted.
Where do you book foreigner tourist quota train ticket?
The designated International tourist bureaus is where you can book a foreigner tourist quota tickets. These bureaus are located in the major cities of –
- Kolkata – located in East India;
- Chennai, Bangalore and Secunderabad – located in South India;
- Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Jodhpur – located in West India; and
- New Delhi, Agra Cantonment and Varanasi – located in North India.
How do I pay for the tickets and is there a special fare?
The ticket fare is not the same as a general quota ticket. So be ready make those additional payments. You have to pay in foreign currency i.e. USD, GBP or EUR. You can also pay in Indian Rupees; however, the currency exchange receipt or ATM receipt may be required. It is also better to carry cash with you as not all bureaus accept a credit/debit card.
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Maharaja Express for luxury travel (Photo Credit – Shekhar Virdi)
Other useful information
Do keep in mind that there are very few/limited seats available under this quota. By the time you are in India, it may be possible that the tickets are unavailable. Accordingly, do not plan your trip around it but keep it as an emergency window.
Before you get to the booking office, note down ahead the train name, number, the boarding and the alighting station names. You need to fill a reservation form at the office and having this information handy will help save time.
We recommend not to believe touts/agents you come across at the railway stations (especially Delhi), who will try to mislead and fleece you. It is safer to ask your hotel/homestay for specific information.
For information about different kinds of train travel in India, visit our blog.
And if you would like to avoid the hassle of going to a foreign tourist office and hoping you get a ticket. For more information about train travel in India, check out this blog. We always recommend planning in advance. Get in touch with us here to make the most of your time in India.
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