Visas for India

visa and passport
Updated 2020-06-03 09:08

Just like any other country, India requires you to have a valid visa and a passport for staying in the country. Except for nationals of a few neighbouring countries, most of the foreigners who wish to travel to India are required to apply for a visa.

Once you are issued a visa by the immigration authorities you can enjoy your stay in the country for the duration permitted. There are different types of visas available like the transit visa, the tourist visa, the business visa, the employment visa, the student visa, the research visa, etc. Make sure to enquire about procedures and required documents before proceeding so as to avoid any unnecessary hassles.

Transit visa in India

A transit visa is a short period visa that allows the holder to pass through a country during a journey. You will need to have a transit visa if you have a stopover in India before reaching your final destination in another country. The transit visa is a double-entry visa which is valid for 15 days. However, it's important you have the possession of your travel tickets for your next flight on your arrival in India. Otherwise, you will not be authorized into the transit area.

Tourism visa in India

If you are planning to travel to India for a vacation or to take part in an event, you can request a tourist visa. The tourist visa is valid for 90 days, except for the citizens of the US, UK, Japan and Canada where validity is six months (180 days) upon each visit. In some cases, you can even be eligible for a one-year visa, provided you make several 90 days stay in the country. Extension of stay is not allowed on tourist visas and it cannot be converted into any other visa.
You can even apply for a five-year tourist visa if you have a tourism-related business. In the case of a tourist visa with a duration of more than 180 days, you are required to register with the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to your place of residence within 14 days following your arrival in the country.

Business visa in India

If you are moving to India for business purposes, you must apply for a business visa. A business visa is valid for one year or more with multiple entries. Each visit should not exceed 180 days for nationals of all countries that are eligible. One year business visas in some cases can be reduced. On the other hand, you can be eligible for a five-year business visa, if you can prove that your business activities are particularly important for the country's economy. However, usually with a business visa, each visit is limited to six months.

Entry visa in India

The entry visa is a long stay multiple-entry visa with a variable duration of either six months, a year, or even more. In general, it applies to persons of Indian origin, their spouses and children. Foreigners too (accompanied with family) who have secured an employment contract in India, or who intend to perform an internship can also apply for this visa.

The principal visa holder's visa must be issued first before the spouse and dependant family members can apply. Finally, high-level alpinists, as well as aged foreigners looking forward to a spiritual retirement in India can also apply for the entry visa.

Like in the case of foreigners with a tourist visa, you are also required to register with the nearest FRRO to your place of residence within 14 days following your arrival if you intend to make a more than six months stay in India.

Student visa in India

If you wish to pursue higher education in India, you will need a student visa. Multiple-entry student visas are given to bona fide students to pursue regular studies at recognised universities. You can even apply for a student visa to perform an internship or to register for language or art classes in the country. The student visa is valid for a period of study as approved by the educational institute in India.

A provisional visa can be issued several in the event that an admission test is pending or other requirements have yet to be fulfilled, or when the applicant doesn't receive a confirmation letter from the university or Institute. This visa is valid for three months which cannot be extended. If the admission is not confirmed in the stipulated period the student will have to leave India.

Internship visa in India

To perform an internship in India, you can apply either for a long-stay visa or for a student visa. These visas generally have variants, that is the X visa and the E visa which allow an extension of the visa's initial duration period. However, it is always better to inquire on related conditions and criteria with Indian diplomatic representations in your home country.

Special authorisations in India

For security purposes, India has put certain restrictions regarding access to some regions in India. These areas include Sikkim, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman Islands and Nicobar, as well as the Kashmir borders. So, if you wish to travel to any of these restricted regions, you will have to obtain special authorisation and permits from the respective authorities.

Visa application procedures

Different countries may have different application procedures for applying for visas. Also, the cost involved in applying for a visa also differs from country to country.

When applying for a visa, you will generally have to produce the following:

  • your passport (which should be valid for at least six months following your trip to India, including three blank pages)
  • a duly filled visa application form
  • two passport-size identity photos
  • a health certificate proving that you are not suffering from any contagious disease
  • a copy of your return tickets or tickets of the following destination in the case of a transit visa
  • a support letter in the case of a business trip (specifying the purpose and estimated duration of your stay and your host's contact details) and an invitation letter issued by your host.

Other documents may also be requested according to the purpose of your stay (work, studies, internship, etc.).

Useful link:

Indian Visa Online - Information on visas

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