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How to get a visa for India: Essential information

by Juan José Herranz | January 4, 2021
Get your visa to travel to India

India is known as the country of a thousand colours. However, this definition is only a small indicator of this country of immense contrasts.

It is the second most populated country in the world after China, with over 1,375 million people. Hinduism is the most widespread religion in the country. India’s culture and religion are part of its charms, as well as its customs and traditions.

The city of Agra has one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, which is one of the main things to do in India and a jewel of art and a masterpiece of world heritage.

Remember to check out our India travel guide to make sure you have all the information you need about the country. Now, keep reading to find out how to get a visa for India.

Do I need a visa to travel to India?

In India, it is compulsory to know how to get a visa for India if you are a foreigner. You may do this either online or in-person at the embassy. We recommend doing it online, applying for the E visa India.

The most common and requested Indian visas are tourist visas, ranging from 30 days to 5 years. Eligible nationalities may apply for one of these visas; however, there are nationalities exempt from visa requirements and others with further restrictions.

We recommend that you check with our eligibility verifier to find out the specific situation for your nationality.

Types of visas for India

Every tourist needs to know how to get a visa for India. Depending on your needs and the days you will be in India, you will have to choose one of the following visas.

Visas that are processed online

One-month e-Tourist visa

This has a duration of 30 days and is valid for double entry. The e-tourist visa India is not extendable nor convertible.

One-year e-Tourist visa

This lasts 365 days from the date of the granting of the ETA and allows multiple entries.

Five-year e-Tourist visa

This visa is valid for five years from the date of issue of the ETA and allows for multiple entries. Each visit may not exceed 90 days of continuous stay except for nationals of the USA, UK, Canada and Japan, who may extend their visit by 180 days.

E-Business visa

This has a maximum duration of one year from the date of its approval and can be used for multiple entries. However, you cannot stay more than 180 days in the country continuously. If the stay is going to last more than 180 days, you will have to request permission from the Regional Office for the Registration of Foreigners.

E-Conference visa

This has a maximum duration of thirty days from the date of entry to India and is for a single entry.

E-Medical Visa

This has a maximum duration of sixty days from the date of entry to India and is for a maximum of three entries.

e-Medical Attendant Visa

This visa has a maximum duration of sixty days from the date of entry to India and with a maximum of three entries.

man on a boat in India

Visas that can be obtained at the embassy or consulate

Tourist Visa

This visa allows a traveller to enter India either for a holiday, to visit family, or to attend a wedding, etc. Typically, the embassy issues a visa valid for up to 6 months. If you wish to change your stay for a different duration, you must specify this on the application form.

Business visa

This visa will allow you to enter India for business purposes, including:

  • Searching for clients to sell products
  • Searching for suppliers, buying products, specifications, checking orders, quality controls and audits
  • Attending or exhibit products at a trade fair or exhibition
  • Managing human resources or hire personnel
  • Attending business meetings
  • Providing support and teach technical procedures to an Indian company
  • Participating in an event as an artist
  • Participating in an official business trip relating to projects of national importance
  • Students sponsored by AIESEC who are going to do an internship in a company

Foreigners who wish to work in India and live there as expatriates must apply for a working visa. It is possible to apply for a business visa of 3 months, 6 months or 1-year duration.

Employee Visa

This visa allows entry to India to work in a company. Visas are valid for 6 months or 1 year. If you need to extend or renew the Employment Visa, you will have to apply at the Foreigners Registration Office in Delhi (FRO) or the Regional Foreigners Registration Office (FRRO). 

Student Visa

This visa allows you to enter the country to study in a university or institute of technology, for academic exchange programmes or to continue a course in school.

Trainee/Internship Visa

This visa will allow you to enter India for an internship in a company. One year must have passed since graduation to apply for this visa.

Entry Visa

This visa allows for longer stays in the country. However, this visa is only for people of Indian origin, or for the spouse and children of a person of Indian nationality or origin. This visa is also relevant for persons who are dependent on a relative holding an employment, business or research visa.

It is also intended for people who own property in India. Note that people who apply as a dependent or spouse must be legally married. A civil union is not recognised by the Government of India.

Conference Visa

This visa will allow entry to India to attend a conference. Attendees for internal conferences of the company they belong to will have to apply for a business visa.

Journalist Visa

This visa will be issued to journalists, filmmakers, television producers, professional cameramen, writers, advertisers, professional photographers, graphic designers or any audio-visual media.

Cinema Visa

With this visa, you can enter India to record a film or some commercial audio-visual action.

Transit visa

This visa allows very short stays to change flights in an airport. This visa is valid for 15 days, with 2 entries, but you can only stay in India for 72 hours for each visit.

Research visa

This visa allows you to enter India to work as a teacher, academic, or participate in research work.

Medical Visa

If you are going to receive medical treatment in India, you must apply for this visa.

Medical Assistant Visa

This visa allows you to travel to India to repatriate a patient from a hospital.

Project Visa

This visa will allow you to travel to India to carry out a project or contract in the energy and industry sector.

Transfer of Visa

This visa will allow you to travel to the country to carry out bureaucratic procedures, passport renewal, etc.

Visa for diplomats/officials

These visas will only be issued to passport holders of diplomats and officials.

How to get a visa to India to see the elephants

How to get a tourist visa to India

The India visa for tourists can be applied for onlineVisagov.com has the advantage of having all the information in your own language and assistance 7 days a week to help you with any setbacks that may occur. We take care of the full Indian visa application, so you don't have to worry about anything!

You should go to the consulate or embassy nearest to your residence for specific visas of longer duration or special permits.

Who needs to know how to get a visa for India?

Except for nationals of Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, all foreigners wishing to visit India, for whatever reason, must know how to get a visa to India.

The following countries have an official agreement with the authorities of India and they don't need to know how to get a visa for India. Their citizens may arrive simply with their passport:

Argentina, Cook Island, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kiribati, Marshall Island, Mauritius, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Niue Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Island, South Africa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

What are the requirements to apply for a visa to India?

You have to meet certain requirements to travel to India when applying for your visa. 

You must have a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months before entering the country. In other words, this means that once you enter the country, the passport must have at least 6 months before it expires. If this is not the case, then you must apply for a new passport before applying for an Indian visa. This passport must be in perfect condition when you arrive in India. If the passport is damaged in any way, then it can cause problems with customs officials who may refuse entry.

You will also need a recent personal photograph, taken from the front, without sunglasses, necklaces, or any garment that prevents correct identification of your person. If possible, this photo should be with a white background.

And finally, you must fill in a long but straightforward form, where you must correctly indicate your details and answer the relevant questions.

Once all of these procedures have been completed, the reply or acceptance for your visa will be sent via email. This will complete your Indian visa application.

Can the India visa be changed once it has been processed?

If your visa has been processed and delivered, then it cannot be changed. However, you can cancel the current visa and apply for one again, at your own expense. You will be starting the whole Indian visa application again.

golden temple gurdwara India

How much does a visa to India cost?

Government fees vary depending on the visa for which you apply. They range from 10 US dollars for the 30-day e-tourist visa India, to 80 US dollars for the 5-year visa.

There will be an additional charge of 2.5% to the e-visa or online visas.

For visas processed at embassies or consulates, you will be informed on site of the relevant costs, as these can vary based on a variety of factors.

How far in advance do I need to apply for an India visa?

The usual recommendation for starting an Indian visa application is at least 15 days before your trip. You will not be able to process the visa if you have less than 4 working days left to enter the country.

If you process your visa in advance, you should be aware that you will not be sent the approval until about 20/25 days before your departure to India. Visas to India have an expiry date from their date of issue and must be used within 30 days of issue. 

What are the entry borders to India?

India has multiple entry and exit points by land, sea or air. If you have an e-tourist visa India, you can enter through these international airports:

Airports

Delhi, Mumbai Chennai, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Cochin, Goa, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Gaya, Jaipur, Lucknow, Trichy Varanasi, Calicut, Mangalore, Pune, Nagpur, Coimbatore, Bagdogra, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Visakhapatnam, Madurai, Bhubaneswar and Port Blair.

Seaports

The 5 major seaports of India are also authorised for access with electronic visas: Mumbai, Cochin, Mormugao, Chennai and New Mangalore. 

You can leave the country through any authorized point, either by boat, plane, vehicle or train.

Do I need a transit visa to travel to India?

Yes, but only if you stay in transit for more than 24 hours