Visa policy of India

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Entry stamp
Exit stamp
Entry and exit passport stamps issued to a German citizen at Delhi airport
Indian tourist visa issued in Australia with Indian entry and exit stamps

Visitors to India must obtain a visa from an Indian diplomatic mission unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries or a country whose citizens may obtain a visa on arrival, or an e-Visa online.[1]

Visa policy map[edit]

Visa policy of India

Freedom of movement[edit]

Citizens of the following countries do not require visas or passports to enter India (unless arriving from mainland China), and may remain in the country without any limit of stay. Citizens of these countries may also live and work freely in India:[1]

Overseas Citizens of India[edit]

Foreign citizens possessing an Overseas Citizen of India registration certificate are exempt from visa requirements, and have the right of domicile in India. Citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, mainland China, Nepal or Pakistan are generally not entitled to hold Overseas Indian Citizenship.

Visa-free entry[edit]

Citizens of the following countries do not require visas to enter India (unless arriving from mainland China):[1]

Visa on arrival[edit]

Citizens of the following countries can apply for a visa on arrival (VOA) in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata or Mumbai. The visa is issued for business, tourist, medical and conference categories, and has a validity of 30 days.[3] The cost is ₹2,000. The VOA facility can only be used for no more than two times in one calendar year.:[4][1] Alternatively, foreign citizens eligible for a VOA can apply for an e-Visa instead if they intend to visit India for a period longer than 30 days, or if they intend to enter the country through an airport or seaport not covered by the VOA scheme.

e-Visa[edit]

Amritsar Delhi Jaipur Ahmedabad Mumbai Goa Bengaluru Kochi Thiruvananthapuram Tiruchirappalli Chennai Hyderabad Kolkata Gaya Varanasi Lucknow Chandigarh Nagpur Pune Mangaluru Kozhikode Coimbatore Bagdogra Guwahati
This clickable map shows a list of airports that accept the e-Visa.

On 27 November 2014, the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) facility became operational for citizens of over 40 eligible countries, including those who are eligible for visa on arrival. The list was further expanded to 113 countries in August 2015 (see chart below).[5] ETA is issued for tourism, visiting friends and family, short duration medical treatment and business visits. The scheme was renamed to e-Tourist Visa (eTV) on 15 April 2015.[6] On 1 April 2017 the scheme was renamed e-Visa with three subcategories: e-Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa and e-Medical visa.

An application for e-Visa must be made at least four calendar days in advance of the date of arrival and can be made as early as 120 days in advance. The visa is valid for 60 calendar days from the date of arrival, and can be obtained twice in a calendar year. Double entry is permitted on e-Tourist Visa and e-Business Visa. Triple entry is permitted on e-Medical Visa. The duration of stay cannot be extended.[7] The e-Visa fees are divided into four slabs of zero, US$25, US$50 and US$75, depending on nationality (based on reciprocity), plus a bank fee of 2.5% of the visa fee.[8]

e-Visa allows arrival at the following 24 airports and 3 seaports:[9]

Exit is possible via any authorized immigration check post.

Citizens of the following countries and territories who hold ordinary passports are eligible to obtain the e-Visa (unless the citizen is of Pakistani origin):[10][11][12]

Note: Since 3 November 2015, the visa fee for citizens of

  • countries with mark "1" are US $75
  • countries with mark "2" are US $25
  • countries with mark "3" are free of charge
  • countries without mark are US $50

Reform[edit]

2013[edit]

In October 2013, India decided to initiate the process of extending visa-on-arrival access to 40 more nations.[21] In January 2014, plans were confirmed by Planning Minister of India.[22] The sixteen different types of visa would also be reduced to three: work, business and tourism.[23] The proposal initially met resistance from intelligence agencies and the possible problem of queues emerged.[24][25]

2014[edit]

In February 2014 it was announced that Indian intelligence agencies had given their approval to visa-on-arrival for up to 180 countries, largely due to the new possibilities provided by the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners' Registration and Tracking (IVFRT) system. The system would not be a typical visa on arrival in order to avoid clutter at the airports, but a system based on a prior online applications modelled after Australian Electronic Travel Authority system.[26][27][28]

On 5 February 2014 it was decided to introduce visa-on-arrival to tourists from 180 countries. Technical implementation, such as setting up the website for applications, was expected to take about 6 months and the authorities hoped to have it in place for the tourist season beginning in October 2014. Prospective visitors would have to pay a fee and the electronic version of the visa should be granted within three days. The program was expected to apply to all international airports. However, nationals of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan were to be excluded from this program.[29]

In July 2014 it was announced that India hoped to implement the program for citizens of 40 countries in the first phase by December 2014 and later on for 109 additional countries if the first phase were implemented successfully.[30]

In August 2014 it was revealed that ministries of Tourism, Home Affairs and External Affairs could not agree on the list of countries for the ETA. The Ministry of Tourism proposed to allow the new system for the citizens of the 15 countries with the most visitors to India, the Ministry of External Affairs proposed to create a balanced list with some Asian and African countries, while the Ministry of Home Affairs proposed to exclude all countries with high security concerns.[31]

In September 2014 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the United States would be added to the list of countries whose citizens may obtain a visa on arrival.[32] However, in October 2014 the planned introduction of the new e-Visa system was pushed from 2 October 2014 to June 2015.[33] It was also revealed that the list of visa on arrival countries was unlikely to be expanded in 2014.[34]

In November 2014 it was announced that the e-visa system might be rolled out for about 25 countries including the 13 countries which were already eligible for visa on arrival.[35] Later that month it was announced that 28 countries would become eligible for an electronic visa on 27 November 2014 and that the list would include visa on arrival eligible countries as well as Brazil, Germany, Israel, Jordan, Mauritius, Norway, Palestine, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States.[36][37]

In November 2014, the Indian Prime Minister announced visa on arrival facility for nationals of all Pacific countries and Australia.[38][39]

2015[edit]

The manual processing of the visa on arrival was discontinued in January 2015.[40] Until 26 January 2015, citizens of the following countries holding ordinary passports were granted visa on arrival without obtaining an ETA (unless they were of Bangladeshi or Pakistani origin), for a single stay up to 30 days in India when traveling as a tourist or for visiting family or friends:[1][41][40]

In February 2015, the Ministry of Tourism proposed extending the facility to citizens of China, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy and Malaysia.[42] Subsequently, the Minister of Finance announced that the facility would be extended, in stages, to citizens of 150 countries.[43] In March 2015 it was announced that 53 nations were shortlisted for the second round of expansion of the system based on the number of tourist arrivals in the previous years.[44]

After the Government was criticised for naming the new policy "Visa on arrival" it decided to rename it to "e-Tourist Visa (eTV)" in April 2015.[45][46]

The e-Tourist Visa facility was extended to 31 new countries on 1 May 2015.[47]

In May 2015, Indian Foreign Ministry announced that Chinese citizens will be able to apply for e-Tourist Visa facility in order to coordinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting China between 14 and 16 May. Disputes about the Sino-Indian border and national security would be postponed.[48]

On 29 July 2015 Indian Ministry of Home Affairs announced the extension of e-Tourist Visa facility to China, Hong Kong and Macau with effect from 30 July 2015.[49]

The list of eligible nationalities was extended with 36 new countries on 15 August 2015. On the same day the list of eTV airports was expanded with 7 new airports.[11] The extension to 150 nationalities was scheduled to be finished by 31 March 2016.[50]

In September 2015 it was announced that the list would be expanded by another 37 countries.[51]

2016[edit]

In January 2016 it was announced that the extension would take place by March 2016.[52] In November 2015 it was announced that the visa validity will be extended to 180 days.[53]

In January 2016 it was announced that the multiple entries would become available and that e-Tourist Visa holders would receive a gift pack on arrival.[54]

The eTV list was extended for tourists from 37 more countries on 26 February 2016.[55]

In September 2016 it was announced that the electronic visa scheme would be reformed to include 27 visa codes denoting various visit purposes such as tourism, business or medical visits.[56] It was also announced that the list of visa on arrival eligible countries would be expanded.[57]

On 30 November 2016 the Government of India approved further liberalization, simplification and rationalization of visa regime in India. It also announced that more countries would be added to the e-visa list.[58] The e-visa would have a validity of 60 days and could be applied for by foreign nationals up to four months ahead of the visit.[59] Five seaports - Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Goa and Mangalore - would receive tourists coming with e-visa.[60]

2017[edit]

From 1 April 2017 e-visas are granted under three categories of tourist, business and medical. The window for application under e-visa scheme was increased from 30 days to 120 days, and duration of stay on e-visa was increased from 30 days to 60 days, with double entry on e-tourist and e-business visa, and triple entry on e-medical visa.[61] The list of eligible nationalities was also further expanded with 11 new countries,[58] and the list of arrival ports was increased from 16 to 24 airports and 3 seaports.[10]

Costs for visa applications[edit]

Visa applications can be submitted in person or sent by post to an Indian consulate. It can also be submitted to designated Visa service provider in certain countries.[62] Costs differ per consulate and region. Some visa-handling services charge a small fee on top of it to check that completed application form meets all requirements and submit the documents on the applicant's behalf.[63]

Citizens of the following countries do not pay a visa fee — Argentina, Cook Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Island, South Africa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay and Vanuatu.[64]

Restricted and Protected Area Permits[edit]

A Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required to enter the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim and some parts of the states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. A Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required to enter the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and parts of Sikkim. Some of these requirements are occasionally lifted for a year at a time. Permits are not required for nationals of Bhutan travelling by air to/from Thimphu via Bagdogra and for nationals of Nepal travelling by air to/from Kathmandu (if travelling by land a pass issued by either the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, Superintendent of police or the diplomatic representation of India in Bhutan or Nepal is required).[1] Special permits are needed to enter Lakshadweep Islands. Maldivian citizens are allowed to visit Minicoy island for fifteen days if allowed by the High Commissioner of India to the Maldives.[citation needed]

Pakistani Passport Holders and Persons of Pakistani Origin[edit]

As of 31 March 2013, Pakistani citizens over the age of 65 with the sole objective of meetings friends or family are granted a 45-day visa upon arrival at the Attari-Wagah Checkpoint, so long as the applicant provides sponsor letters from their contacts in India.[65] This scheme does not apply for those who wish to visit Punjab, Kerala and Restricted Areas, nor does it apply to those who have ever been denied an Indian visa before.[65] Persons who ever held Pakistani citizenship, or who have a parent or spouse that held Pakistani citizenship are ineligible for India's new E-Visa scheme, and so must apply to their local Indian mission for visas. Applicants who once held Pakistani citizenship require lengthy processing times, while foreign spouses and those of Pakistani origin who never held Pakistani citizenship typically experience shorter processing times.[65] India also forbids Pakistani applicants with dual-nationality from applying on their non-Pakistani passport.[65]

Diplomatic or official passports[edit]

Visa policy for diplomatic or official passport holders
  India
  Visa-free for diplomatic and official passport holders
  Visa-free for diplomatic passports
  Visa required for diplomatic or official passports holders

Holders of diplomatic or official passports of the following countries do not require a visa for India — Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam and diplomatic passports only of the following countries — Afghanistan, Armenia, Cuba, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.[1][66]

India signed a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic, special and official passports with Qatar in January 2017,[67] Rwanda in February 2017[68] and Palestine[69] and it is yet to come into force.

Visitor statistics[edit]

Most visitors arriving to India were from the following countries of nationality:[70]

Country 2015 2014 2013
 United States 01 Increase 1,213,624 01 Increase 1,118,983 01 Increase 1,085,309
 Bangladesh 02 Increase 1,133,879 02 Increase 942,562 03 Increase 524,923
 United Kingdom 03 Increase 867,601 03 Increase 838,860 02 Increase 809,444
 Sri Lanka 04 Decrease 299,513 04 Increase 301,601 04 Decrease 262,345
 Canada 05 Increase 281,306 05 Increase 268,485 05 Decrease 255,222
 Malaysia 06 Increase 272,941 06 Decrease 262,026 08 Increase 242,649
 Australia 07 Increase 263,101 08 Increase 239,762 10 Increase 218,967
 Germany 08 Increase 248,314 09 Decrease 239,106 06 Decrease 252,003
 France 09 Decrease 230,854 07 Decrease 246,101 07 Increase 248,379
 Japan 10 Decrease 207,415 10 Decrease 219,106 09 Increase 220,283
Total 11 Increase 8,027,133 11 Increase 7,679,099 11 Increase 6,967,601

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Country information (visa section)". Timatic. International Air Transport Association (IATA) through Flightworx. Retrieved 1 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Visa Appendix, Government of India, 8 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Visa-on-arrival for Japanese citizens from tomorrow". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Visa-on-arrival for Japanese citizens
  5. ^ E-visa notification
  6. ^ Government Changes Name of Visa on Arrival Scheme to E-Tourist Visa
  7. ^ Instructions for e-Visa
  8. ^ Country/Territory Wise e-Tourist Visa Fee
  9. ^ Instructions for e-Visa
  10. ^ a b Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. "e-TOURIST VISA (eTV)". India: National Informatics Centre. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Press Note - Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to 36 more countries and 7 more airports from 15 August 2015
  12. ^ E-tourist visa extended to 37 more nations
  13. ^ Including Aruba, Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands
  14. ^ ETA enabled Visa on Arrival Scheme, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 15 December 2014.
  15. ^ TVoAs in February 2015 show an increase of 1162% over the TVoAs of February 2014, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 13 March 2015.
  16. ^ Prime Minister's media statement during visit to Sri Lanka, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 13 March 2015.
  17. ^ Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to 31 more countries, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 29 April 2015.
  18. ^ Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to China, Hong Kong and Macau from tomorrow, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 29 July 2015.
  19. ^ Government extends e-Tourist Visa scheme to 36 more countries and 7 more airports from August 15, 2015, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 7 August 2015.
  20. ^ Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to 37 more countries from tomorrow, Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 25 February 2016.
  21. ^ http://news.in.msn.com/national/visa-on-arrival-for-40-more-nations
  22. ^ "Visa on arrival for 40 more countries to be a reality soon". The Economic Times. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  23. ^ India revamps visa system to boost visitor numbers
  24. ^ Visa-on-arrival facility extended to tourists from 180 countries
  25. ^ Waiting time in immigration queues ‘has almost doubled’ at Mumbai airport
  26. ^ Intel nod for visa-on-arrival
  27. ^ India set to ease visa restrictions for 180 countries except Pakistan
  28. ^ "India visa-on-arrival scheme to be extended". BBC. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  29. ^ India to extend visa-on-arrival to tourists from 180 countries
  30. ^ India to Offer Electronic Visa for Canadians From December
  31. ^ E-visa scheme hits inter-departmental roadblock
  32. ^ Modi US visit: Visa on Arrival facility on anvil for US tourists
  33. ^ E-visas may make visa-on-arrival redundant, says Tourism Minister Naik
  34. ^ Visa on arrival faces project infra hurdle
  35. ^ E-visa system likely to be rolled out next week
  36. ^ US, Israel to be given e-visa facility from 27 November
  37. ^ "US, Israel, Palestine to be given e-visa facility on Nov 27". Zee News. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  38. ^ "Modi announces visa on arrival for 14 Pacific Island countries". India Today. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  39. ^ "Modi assures visa on arrival for Australian tourists". The Hindu. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  40. ^ a b Discontinuation of manual TVoA to 12 Nationals namely (Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and South Korea) w.e.f. 27.01.15
  41. ^ Bureau of Immigration (India): Tourist Visa on Arrival
  42. ^ India may extend e-visa facility to six more countries
  43. ^ Budget 2015: Government to increase visa on arrival facilities to 150 countries, says FM Jaitley
  44. ^ 53 nations to get nod for e-visa soon
  45. ^ It's Not Visa-on-Arrival, Cedes Government, Scheme to be Renamed
  46. ^ Govt decides to rename its e-visa scheme to 'Visa Online'
  47. ^ e-Tourist Visa scheme extended to 31 more countries
  48. ^ "Govt may snub agencies, clear e-visa for Chinese". The Times of India. 
  49. ^ Extension of e-Tourist Visa scheme to China, Hong Kong and Macau from tomorrow
  50. ^ "E-tourist visa to be extended to 150 countries by March 31". The Economic Times. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  51. ^ e-visa facility to be extended to 37 more countries
  52. ^ Govt on track to extend e-tourist visa facility to 150 nations
  53. ^ India extends e-Visa scheme
  54. ^ Govt mulls new e-visa rules: Multiple visits, 180-day validity in the pipeline
  55. ^ Now, e-visa for tourists from 37 more nations
  56. ^ Govt plans to modify e-tourist visa scheme, bring in coding
  57. ^ Now, citizens of more nations set to get visa on arrival
  58. ^ a b 8 countries added to e-visa list, Tourism Breaking News, December 5, 2016.
  59. ^ Government approves new visa policy to attract foreigners, boost trade, The Economic Times, December 1, 2016.
  60. ^ Five seaports to receive tourists with e-Visa, Press Trust of India, December 1, 2016.
  61. ^ New e-visa regime comes into effect from April 1
  62. ^ "Indian Embassy in US outsources Indian Visa Services to Cox & Kings". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  63. ^ Step by Step: How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA, Hippie in Heels, August 18, 2014.
  64. ^ Indian Visa Information
  65. ^ a b c d Visa on Arrival, High Commission of India in Pakistan.
  66. ^ List of countries with which bilateral agreements on exemption from requirement of visa by diplomatic, official/service and ordinary passport holders are signed/currently in force
  67. ^ India and Qatar sign agreements to ease visa norms, step up cyber security cooperation
  68. ^ [1]
  69. ^ [2]
  70. ^ [3]

External links[edit]