A valid passport and visa is obligatory by all for entry in India, unless they hold a PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Card. Some parts of the country are restricted areas and require a special permit. Travellers planning to go to the far northwest of the country or to the islands should check with India Tourism for the latest information.
All travellers to India (except nationals of Nepal and Bhutan) must possess a valid passport. Carry your passport with you at all times for identification.
All foreign tourists to India (barring nationals of Nepal and Bhutan) must have a valid visa. For a visa, contact the Indian embassy or consulate in your country; Nationals of Maldives are permitted to enter India without Visa up to a period of three months. Visas are not issued on arrival. A visa costs US$ 40 for up to six months, US$ 65 for up to one year and US$ 180 for more than one year and up to five years. Tourist visas, valid for three to six month entry to simplify visits to neighboring countries.
Foreign tourists travelling in group of at least four, and under a recognized travel agent, may be granted tourist visas or collective visas without prior reference The procedure is :
1) At least three days before departure the agency sponsoring the group must submit to the Indian Mission in that country four copies of a list. Containing particulars of each member of the group;
2) After checking, the Mission stamps a collective visa- it is not necessary to stamp individual passports – and returns three copies of the list to the sponsoring agency;
3) The person in charge of the tourist group lands over two copies of the list to the immigration authority on arrival in India;
4) Indian agents must furnish a list of group members to the immigration authority at least four hours before the flight arrives;
5) If the tourist group is to split into smaller groups to visit different parts of India, the immigration authority grants a collective ‘license to travel’, listing the particulars of the members of the smaller groups.
Tourist visa up to five years may be approved if the foreigner is connected with the tourism trade. If visa is for more than 180 days, registration is compulsory within 14 days’ of arrival in India.
Extension of visa in Delhi -Ministry of Home Affairs
- Director (F), Lok Nayak Bhawan, (1st Floor) Khan Market, New Delhi -110003 Instructions have been issued whereby Nepalese and Indian citizens, while travelling by air, between the two be in possession of any of following documents to prove their nationally.
- Valid national passport · Valid photo identity card issued by the government of India/ state government or Union Territory Administration / Election Commission of India.
- ·Emergency certificate issued by the Embassy of India, Kathmandu to Indians and by the Embassy of Nepal in Delhi in respect of Nepalese citizens
Transit Visas : Granted by Indian Missions abroad for a maximum of 15 days.
Extension of Visa:
As a rule, no extension of stay is granted on a tourist visa beyond 180 days, except in exceptional cases. If a foreign tourist obtains extension beyond three months, he must surrender his Certificate of Registration and Residential Permit before leaving India. To extend a tourist visa contact MHA, Lok Nayak Bhawan, New Delhi.
Exemption from Registration:
Foreigners coming to India on tourist visas for 180 days or less do not need to register with any authority; they may visit any part of the country except restricted/protected areas and prohibited places. Landing Permit Facility (for group tourists):
Foreign tourists in groups of four or more arriving by air or sea, sponsored by recognized Indian travel agencies and with a pre-drawn itinerary, may be granted a collective landing permit for a specified period of time on the written request of the travel agencies.
Other Types of Visas:
Business Visa: Foreigners can use this five-year, multiple-entry visa only for business trips granted by Indian Embassy Abroad.
Student Visa: Indian Embassies may grant visas for up to five years.
Employment Visa: Issued to foreigners by Indian missions, initially for one year, but extendable in India up to the period of contract.
Conference Visa: Delegates to international conferences in India can get a visa for the conference. Delegates should apply to the Indian Embassies well in advance.
Trekking: Foreign trekkers etc in a team must provide full details for visas for the required duration.
Sports: Visas may be granted to teams or individual sportsmen wishing to participate in international sports events being held in India.
Media: Foreign journalists, media persons and documentary and feature film-makers may obtain visas after undertaking due formalities from the Indian Embassy. In case of problems at Immigration, contact the Assistant Commissioner of Police at the Airport Immigration Office.
The Government of India has revised the PIO Card Scheme, which was launched in 1999.
To apply for the PIO card, contact The Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Divisions, Lok Nayak Bhawan, New Delhi -110003 Tele: 2469334 or the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Offices at New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Amritsar.
Some sensitive areas in India- usually border districts -are out of bounds for most travellers.
However, if tourist groups wish to visit these remote, fascinating places, they may obtain special permits at no extra charge from the Indian missions abroad or governmental agencies within India, for a limited number of days.