A Visa gives permission to the person who wishes to stay in a country for a specific period of time to fulfill a specific motive. It is usually attached or stamped in the individual passport. All travelers to India (except citizens of India going to Nepal and vice versa) must possess visas.
Duration of Visa
Tourist visas are normally available for duration of three months to six months for multiple entries (important for side trips to Nepal and other countries). Other options include a one-year student visa, journalist visa or business visa, or five years visa for non-resident Indians. When applying for a visa, make sure your passport is valid for 6 months beyond the date of intended return journey.
Getting the Visa
If you apply for a visa through the Indian embassy in your resident country the process becomes much fast. You are required to fill an application form providing your current passport with at least two passport size photographs. Applications can be sent through mail with the payment in the form of money orders. No cash or cheque payments are accepted. If applying in person, the consulates and embassies will usually accept cash otherwise only money orders are accepted. The visa formalities cost and the time lag between the application and issue of visa varies from country to country.
Certain regions of India require a special permit in addition to an Indian visa. Permits are issued by Indian High Commissions and Embassy of India abroad, by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi, or by Foreigner's Registration Offices (FRRO's) in Indian cities.
These areas include:
Northeast India: The region of seven sisters in India except Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura states which are open for tourism. If visiting Assam then consult your embassy before starting your journey. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram require restricted area permits due to tribal insurgencies and fears of conflict with China. A minimum of four people can travel together, and the group must be sponsored by a Government approved travel agency. These permits generally cost Rs. 300-400. Permits are valid for 15 days and renewable for next 15 days at the Foreigner's Registration Offices in each state capital. The permits are issued in 2 days-2 months depending on the state.
Sikkim: Sikkim borders China and is treated as a military buffer by the Indian Government. Foreigners need a permit to enter Sikkim and the maximum stay period cannot exceed more than 15 days an year. Permits are free of cost and readily available in the major Indian cities. The validity of permits can be extended at the Commissioner's Office in Gangtok under special circumstances, but then only for 3-5 days, and only once a while. For North Sikkim, an inner line permit is required. It is issued only through tour companies to the groups of four or more. A guide must accompany the group and the minimum charge is US$ 30-35 per day, including the guide. It is issued in a day but is available only in Gangtok.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The Nicobar Islands are off-limits. Leave plenty of time if applying for a permit for Andaman Islands from the Ministry of Home Affairs or from Indian Embassies abroad. Those arriving by air can obtain permits in Port Blair on arrival.
Lakshadweep: Only Bangaram Island of this archipelago is open to foreigners. The necessary free permit can be obtained through the Liaison Officer, Lakshadweep or at some of the hotels in Cochin. You'll need four passport size photographs. The permit can be obtained in a day or two.
Foreign Nationals desirous of coming into India are required to possess a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian Visa.
There is no provision of ' Visa on Arrival ' in India and no fee is charged for immigration facilities at the airports. Foreign passengers should ensure that they are in possession of valid Indian Visa before they start their journey to India except nationals of Nepal and Bhutan who do not require visa to enter India and nationals of Maldives who do not require visa for entry in India for a period up to 90 days (a separate Visa regime exists for diplomatic/official passport holders).
The Consular Passport and Visa (CPV) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for issuance of Indian visas to the foreign nationals for their visit for various purposes. This facility is granted through various Indian missions abroad.
Visa fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice. The High Commission reserves the right on granting and deciding type/duration of visa irrespective of the fees tendered at the time of making application. Granting of Visa does not confer the right of entry to India and is subject to the discretion of the Immigration Authorities.
Specific Visas are granted for a variety of purposes. Listed below in a tabular form are the types of visa; categorized on the basis of purpose of staying in India.
Visa fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice. The High Commission reserves the right on granting and deciding type/duration of visa irrespective of the fees tendered at the time of making application. Granting of Visa does not confer the right of entry to India and is subject to the discretion of the Immigration Authorities. Visa can be applied for in person or by post at the High Commission of India in London. Visa applications from persons not ordinarily residing in the UK or from people of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan origin are considered only in the High Commission of India, London and Consulate General of India, Birmingham and their processing may take one week or in some cases much longer. Applicants not ordinarily resident in the UK and Sri Lankan nationals are required to complete an additional form. Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals have to file special visa application forms. In the following cases processing of applications will take longer: (a) British Nationals holding dual nationality or of other origin, (b) applicants not resident in the UK, (c) where clearance from India is mandatory, (d) visitors to restricted areas and (e) certain cases where documents may need to be verified. Visa Section will contact the applicant about the time of delivery for such passports. Please note that each application is examined individually and the time taken for issuing Visa will vary from case to case.
Specific Visas are granted for a variety of purposes. The principal types of Visa issued are mentioned below. Please contact the High Commission of India for further details if you are visiting India for purposes other than tourism, such as journalism, conferences, yoga, voluntary work, mountaineering or other expeditions. The visa application form is, however, the same. Separate forms are available for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Nationals.
||Documents' supporting the applicant's financial standing
|One or more years
||Letter from the sponsoring organization
||For the duration of the academic course of study
or for a period of five years whichever is less.
|Proof of admission to recognized Universities/Institutions in India
Maximum For 15 Days
|Evidence of onward travel to a destination outside India
|For the duration of the conference or seminar
||Letter of invitation from the organizer of the conference
Visa Application Form
Visa application form is available at the office of Indian Embassy in the country where the NRI/PIO resides. Visa form for nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh are generally different. All NRIs / PIOs, including children (who don't possess OCI or PIO card) need to apply for Visa in separate visa forms.
Procedure for obtaining Visa
Visas can be applied for in person or by post at the High Commission of India based in the country from where the candidate intends to depart for India. Specific visas are granted for a variety of purposes that are aforementioned.
Requirements for Visa
Generally the following documents are required for obtaining Indian Visa. However, the requirement may vary from country to country.
- Original passport valid for at least 6 months
- Visa fee
- Two passport size photographs
- Supporting documents, where necessary
- Duly completed application form
Visa for NRIs and PIOs
Persons of Indian Origins and Non-Resident Indians who possess either OCI (Overseas Indian Citizenship) or PIO card don't need Indian Visa. OCI and PIO give them the freedom to visit India without visa. OCI and PIO cards are multi-purpose life long visa for visiting India.
However, those NRIs and PIOs who don't have OCI or PIO card can apply for and get Indian visa through the procedure mentioned above.
For more details visit Indian Missions / Embassies Abroad website: