Since April 2017, the process of visa application and approval for Indian visa have got much easier. You can now apply for an Indian visa online, named as an E-visa which allows a foreign national to travel to India without having to deal with the consulate and an Indian embassy.
E-visa? Isn’t it a visa on arrival?
The core difference between visa on arrival and E-visa is that you obtain an E-visa prior to your travel date while a visa on arrival allows you to fly to India and then get a visa. However, even with an E-visa, you can be denied entry just as you can be denied a visa on arrival.
The applicant needs to submit the India visa form online and make the required payments online. The applicant will be informed on the website itself if they are granted the E-visa. Approval is easy to obtain for an e-visa than a traditional visa, just like a visa on arrival but the core difference remains.
The E-tourist Visa
An E-visa is valid until 90 days and you have to leave the country before the date of expiry. You can enter the country twice within 90 days. The window to apply for Indian visa online has increased from 60 days to 180 days, also now you can get a maximum of 2 E-visas in a year.
Eligibility for E-tourist Visa
- What is your purpose? The government of India considers 4 reasons for obtaining this visa. You should apply for this visa only for recreational and sightseeing (tourism), medical treatment, conducting short and casual business, or visiting friends and family. If you wish to apply for an E-visa for medical or business reasons, please check the official Indian government website to check the documents required.
- Passport: Applicants with a non-machine readable passport will be denied entry into the country. Your passport must be valid for a number of 180 days and must have 2 blank pages for stamps. It is important to note that citizens holding dual citizenship of countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the citizens of China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran will not be allowed entry on an E-visa. The citizens of these countries can apply for a regular tourist visa. Even diplomatic passport holders or those who are endorsed by their Parent’s/Spouse’s passport should apply for the traditional travel visa.
Requirements to apply for an Indian visa online
- Passport: You have to submit a scanned copy of your passport information page.
- Photo: A digital copy of your passport sized photo wherein you should not be wearing glasses or any kind of headwear except that for religious purpose.
- Proof of departure: You might require a confirmed return or onward ticket.
- Fees: The fee of e-visa depends on the country of origin.
- Entry ports: Entry in India is restricted to certain airports and seaports where the immigration official will stamp your passport after checking your credentials. You are required to carry a physical copy of your E-visa and should have a machine-readable passport.
Regular tourist visa in India
If you wish to stay in India for a period longer than 90 days, then you are advised to apply for a traditional tourist visa. You can apply for Indian visa for tourism by sending your application and passport to the Indian consulate. The validity of the regular tourist visa can extend from 6 months to 10 years depending on your country of origin. However, for most countries, the period of stay without exit is always limited to six months.