Planning to visit India soon or in the near future? The country has much to offer for travelers from all across the globe, who come to explore the grandeur, diversity and colourful vibes. For those who plan to visit India, there are some basics to keep in mind, such as visa requirements. This article presents a guide you can use to get an idea about applying for a tourist visa for India.
What is a visa?
A tourist visa is an official government document that temporarily authorizes one to be in the country one is visiting. One must understand the basic difference between a passport and a travel visa. A passport is an official government document that certifies one’s identity and citizenship. You need both to travel to India for a tourist vacation.
What is a tourist visa for India?
This is a legal document that sanctions a person’s visit to India for a recreational purpose like meeting friends, relatives, going on sightseeing tours etc. This cannot be combined with any other purpose such as business. This visa is abbreviated as ‘T’. You cannot convert the Tourist Visa into any other kind of Visa. Exceptions are only made for very rare circumstances.
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Who needs a tourist visa to visit India?
Anyone who is not a national of India, and is coming to the country as a tourist needs to apply for a visa.
- Only those who are nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not need visas to visit India as tourists. Nationals of any other country need to apply for a tourist visa.
- Also keep in mind that if you plan to club your tour of India with a tour to any of its neighboring countries, you do not need a Permit. You need to have an itinerary for the trip in advance, and produce a copy of it for the Immigration Officer’s benefit.
Validity: The validity of the Tourist Visa depends on which country one resides in. U.S. citizens can get a 6-month, 5-year or a 10-year tourist visa to India.
- If you are national of a country other than the US, your Tourist Visa has a maximum duration of 6 months. The visa validity duration begins on the first day of the issuance of the visa. For instance, a 6-month via issued on the 1st of June would be valid until the 1st of November of the same year.
- In all situations you need to apply for a visa in the country of your permanent residence, where the Indian Embassy has updated information about visa requirements and the documents you need.
Indian Visa Online
The Indian government now stipulates that all forms and visa applications are to filled online. For online visa application and registration, check https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/, where one can reprint registered application, complete partially filled forms and check visa status enquiry. In order to check the Indian Tourist Visa Fee, take a look at http://www.immihelp.com/nri/indiavisa/india-tourist-visa-fee.html. For assembling the documents required for the same, you can look up http://www.immihelp.com/nri/indiavisa/documents.html.
Passport Seva has detailed and updated information on visa procedures for foreign tourists in India. To make it more convenient, Apple users can also download mPassport Seva, a mobile app available on iTunes. Visa agents can also fill the forms on behalf of applicants.
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Keep in Mind:
- It might take quite long to acquire a tourist visa for India. Hence, one must consider applying for the visa much before the time of the tour. Upon receipt of the Visa Application through Indian Visa Application Center or directly, the Indian Mission/ Post requires a minimum of three working days to process the case and issue a visa depending upon the nationality and excluding special cases.
- The requisite documents for the tourist visa application must be taken care of and arranged properly.
- A recent photo of the visa applicant is a must, along with the documents to be submitted. There are some specifications for the photo requirements for the tourist visa available at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/
- For the acquisition of the Tourist Visa to India, useful web links could be: http://www.mea.gov.in/ (Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India) and http://mha.nic.in/ (Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India).