India Tourist Visa Information
Any foreigner who wants to enter India must have a valid visa affixed on his or her passport. This can be obtained from the Indian Consulate in your country. Foreign nationals of Indian origin, their spouses and children can obtain Entry Visas valid upto 10 years from the consulates. Indian visa is not issued at the port of entry unlike in some countries.
Tourist Visas can be obtained for six months, one year and 10 years. Students, businessmen, journalists and others who want to visit India for professional purposes should obtain visas of the appropriate type.
Validity of visas
All types of visas are valid for the indicated period from the date of issue (and not from the date of first entry into India).Post-dated visas are not issued.
Application form and picture requirements
All applicants for Entry and Tourist visas are required to fill out an application form and provide one recent passport size photograph. Applicants for Business, Research, Journalist and some other types of visas are required to submit two forms duly filled in and two pictures.
Visas to non-residents
Visas can also be issued to persons who normally do not live in the jurisdiction of this Consulate (this also includes people holding Tourist / Business visas) after obtaining clearance from the Indian Mission under whose jurisdiction the applicant normally resides. This however takes a few weeks. The applicant may, however, pay an additional charge for clearance by fax or telex.
The Foreigner (Protected Areas) Act requires foreigners to obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit certain areas in India. This requirement is in addition to getting an Indian visa. In order to get this permit, you must meet certain requirements. Such restriction is in place due to security reasons.
Even Indian citizens who are not residents of those areas require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter these places. The Inner Line Permit is significantly easier to get. However, NRIs (Indians who are staying abroad for more than 6 months), PIO Card holders, and OCI holders are not eligible for Inner Line Permit. They will have to apply for a regular Protected/Restricted Area Permit.
However, most of these areas are remote and away from normal tourist destinations. Some tourists still visit the restricted areas because they are very beautiful and fascinating remote places.
The previous PAP requirements have been lifted for Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and the Darjiling area of West Bengal.
There is no fee for Protected/Restricted Area Permits.
Please keep in mind that Protected/Restricted Areas are not necessarily dangerous to foreign travelers. However, there may be other parts of India that may be dangerous to foreign travelers, but no special permit may be required to visit those areas.
Tourists must travel in groups of at least four people. However, in some places like Nagaland, this restriction does not apply to married couples. They must travel with a registered travel agent. Only certain entry/exit points are allowed in some areas. Non-Indians are not allowed to enter certain areas at all.
A PAP is normally issued for 10 days and has a option of a 7 day extension. The PAP is issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Also, different authorities of the concerned Indian states, FRROs, and Indian missions abroad can also issue such permit. Normally, your travel agent should be able to get the PAP for you.
Exception: Citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar (Burma) can get the PAP only with the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Hypothetically, a native of Arunachal Pradesh (one of the Protected Area) goes to the USA on H1B visa and stays for 6 years. While in the USA, he marries a US Citizen and has a child born in the USA, also a US citizen. If he wants to return to his native place for permanent settlement, his entire family can't settle there. This is because foreign citizens are given permission only for 10 days with possible extension of 7 more days. They are not allowed to permanently settle in Protected/Restricted Areas. Long-term or permanent permits are not given to non-Indian family members, not even to persons of Indian origin but foreign citizens now.
Restrictions for protected/restricted areas are in place for security reasons and to protect, from outside influence, the culture of native people living there. However, as it is easy to get an Inner Line Permit for Indian citizens, many Indians from other regions are moving to protected/restricted areas. It is unsure whether temporary visiting tourists would have more of a cultural impact to the native people than many Indians with significantly different cultural backgrounds from other areas of the country.
Restricted area permits
Persons desiring to go to a restricted area should fill in special forms and apply well in advance as clearances are required before a permit can be issued to travel to these places. It takes at least 6 to 8 weeks to receive the Government of India's clearances in such cases.The entry of foreigners, stay, movements and departure is regulated by the Acts passed by the Indian Parliament and rules framed there under by the Central Government from time to time.
Foreigners who enter India should have a valid passport, visa or other accredited travel documents. All foreigners should enter India through authorized check post or airport only. They are subjected to immigration check at the airport or check post.
All foreigners who enter India or depart from India either by air or sea shall furnish a true statement of particulars setting it out in form 'D' embarkation card
The civil authority under Foreigners Order 1948 has powers to impose restrictions on the movement of any foreigner in India. The authority can also refuse a foreigner entry into India if he/she does not posses a valid passport, or is insane or is suffering from any infectious disease or has been convicted for an extradition offence or if his/her entry is prejudicial to the interest of the country.
All foreigners who desire to stay in India beyond 180 days have to register themselves at the Foreigners Registration Office within two weeks of their arrival. Those who intended to stay for less than 180 days but ended up staying longer also have to register themselves. Any violation of this provision makes them liable for prosecution under section 5 of the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939.The State Registration Officer in the State capital functions as the liaison office between the Foreigners Registration Officers (FRO) and the government.
A foreigner who enters India on a valid visa shall report before the Foreigners Registration Officer within two weeks of arrival and get himself registered. He has to produce 6 sets of photos, passport copies, visa page, etc. Thereafter the FRO will issue registration certificate and a residential permit up to the validity of the visa period India.
A foreigner coming to India on a tourist visa valid for 6 months need not register his name. However this depends on the condition noted on the visa.
Children of foreigners under 16 years of age residing in India need not register their name as they are exempted from Registration (Exemption) Order 1957. But they will be issued a residential permit for their stay in India. They should also obtain extension for their stay from time to time.
Foreigners who wish to stay in India beyond the visa period should apply for extension of stay 90 days before his Residential Permit is due to expire. The Central Government has delegated limited powers to the FROs to grant extension of stay to foreigners and in all other cases the following documents are to be sent to the State government.
Application duly filled and signed by the foreigner in duplicate. Photostat copy of the valid passport along with visa page. HIV certificate issued by a recognized medical institution. Copy of the registration certificate and residential permit.
- Financial guarantee given by an Indian citizen on a Rs 10 stamp paper.
- Photostat copy of the bank account and remittance and letter given by the bank manager.
- Police report in English issued by the jurisdictional police station where the foreigner resides.
- Receipt for having paid the prescribed fee to the RBI under head of account OAS-0070.
- In case of businessmen, the agreement between the firm and the Government of India.
- In case of employment visa, letter of consent of the firm where the foreigner is employed.