To be allowed to travel to India, you must have a valid visa. Here is some information on the different types of visas available.
Like most Asian countries, India has also set a series of specific criteria for foreigners wishing to travel and settle there. Hence, most foreigners, except nationals of a few neighboring countries, are required to apply for a visa, regardless of the duration and purpose of their stay. You can therefore choose from different types of visas, namely the transit visa, the tourist visa, the business visa, the employment visa, the student visa, the research visa, etc. Make sure to inquire about procedures and required documents before proceeding so as to avoid any possible hurdles.
You will need a transit visa if you intend to transit by India before reaching your final destination in another country. The transit visa is a double-entry visa which is valid for 15 days. However, you must be in possession of your travel tickets for your next flight on your arrival in India. Otherwise, you will not be authorized into the transit area.
If you wish to travel to India for holidays, whether to visit or to take part in an event, you can request for a tourism visa. The tourism visa is generally valid for six months. In some cases, you can even be eligible to a one-year visa, provided you make several 90 days stays in the country. However, the tourism visa can neither be extended nor renewed.
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You can even apply for a five years tourism visa if you have a tourism related business. In the case of a more than 180 days tourist visa, 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.
If you are moving to India for business purposes, you must apply for a business visa which is a multiple-entries visa. One year business visas are also available, but these can be reduced in some cases. On the other hand, you can be eligible to a five years business visa if you can prove that activities in which you are involved are particularly important for the country's economy.
However, the business visa allows you to make a maximum of 30 days stay only on each trip. Moreover, this visa cannot be renewed.
The entry visa is a long stay multiple-entries visa with variable duration, that is either six months or a year, or even more. In general, it applies to persons of Indian origin, their spouses and children. Foreigners accompanying their spouse who has secured an employment contract in India, or who intend to perform an internship their, can also apply for this visa. 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 tourism 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.
You will need a student visa to be allowed to study in India. The student visa is generally a multiple-entries visa with a five years validity period. It allows you to enroll in an Indian university or other higher education institution. 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 will allow you to make a continuous stay in India throughout its validity period, without having to leave the country. However, it cannot be renewed.
You are also required to register with the nearest FRRO to your place of residence within 14 days following your arrival in the country.
To perform an internship in India, you can apply either for a long stay visa or for a student visa. Note that these visas have variants, that is the X visa and the E visa which allow an extension of the visa's initial duration period. Nevertheless, you are advised to inquire on related conditions and criteria with Indian diplomatic representations in your home or residency country.
India has put certain restrictions regarding access to some regions, namely on Sikkim, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman Islands and Nicobar, as well as Kashmir borders. Indeed, you have to obtain special authorizations to travel there.
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 your 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.)
Indian Visa Online – Information on visas indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa
Indian Visa Online – Online visa application indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/info1.jsp
Indian Visa Online – Checking your visa status online indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/VisaEnquiry.jsp