Do I need a Visa for India?
Yes, you do! The Indian government requires all foreign nationals to have a valid travel visa issued at one of the several Indian diplomatic missions and posts all over the world before they can travel to India. You can choose to apply for one manually or use the online application process that is somewhat expedited. The requirements, processing fees and wait times vary for different nationals. The standard details that apply to most international jurisdictions will be covered in this guide on getting a visa for India.
What types of Visas can you apply for?
The individual Visa types issued by the Indian Government can be broadly categorized into three groups; these are:
- Tourist Visas: If you are traveling as a tourist, then you need to apply for a Tourist Visa. Currently, you can either apply for a single entry the visa’ which is valid for a single trip for a maximum duration of 60 days; and the tourist multiple entry visas which can be valid for periods ranging between 1 – 10 years.
- Business Visas: If you are traveling for business purposes, then you need to apply for a Business visa. Currently, you can either apply for a single conference visa; a business multiple entry visas with 1-year validity or a business multiple entry Visa with a validity ranging between 5 and 10 years.
- A special visit visa: This applies to people visiting India for medical treatment, missionary work, student visa, research visa, transit visa, employment visa amongst others.
For the purpose of this guide, we shall focus on the business and tourism multiple entry visas.
Requirements for getting a multiple entry tourist visas
To apply online for a multiple entry tourist visas, you will need:
- 1 recent passport photo
- A passport that is valid for at least 6 months, with two blank visa pages
- Proof of jurisdiction (drivers license, identification card etc)
- A completed visa application form which can be accessed on line at ( www.indianvisaonline.gov.in )
- The embassy processing fee (currently at $135 for US nationals)
- A printed travel itinerary
Requirements for getting a multiple entry Business visas
They are somewhat similar to the requirements for getting a multiple entry tourist visas with the exception of the requirement of an official document (on company letterhead with official stamps) from your organization stating the purpose, and duration, of your business trip to India.
The host organization(s) that you will be interacting with also need to corroborate this information with official letters confirming that you will be conducting the stated business with them for the duration stated in your application form.
Terms of a multiple entry Indian Visa
For both types of multiple entry visas, you will be allowed to stay for up to 180 days for a single visit with a two month period between subsequent visits. For special circumstances, you can obtain special permissions concerning the length of stay, as well as the period between visits, from the Indian Department of Immigration.
Indian Visa processing time
According to the Indian immigration department, it takes a minimum of three working days for your online application to be processed. From past applicant experience, you should expect to wait for between 5 and 8 business days for most applications.
Getting your Visa
Even when you apply for an Indian Visa online, you will have to visit an Indian diplomatic mission to confirm your details before being given the Visa.