Visa policy of India
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
- 2 Freedom of movement
- 3 Overseas Citizens of India/Persons of Indian Origin
- 4 Visa-free entry
- 5 Visa on arrival
- 6 e-Visa
- 7 Reform
- 8 Costs for visa applications
- 9 Restricted and Protected Area Permits
- 10 Pakistani Passport Holders and Persons of Pakistani Origin
- 11 Diplomatic or official passports
- 12 Visitor statistics
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Visa policy map
Freedom of movement
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:
Overseas Citizens of India/Persons of Indian Origin
Foreign citizens possessing an Overseas Citizen of India registration certificate or holders of a Persons of Indian Origin Card are exempt from visa requirements, have the right of domicile in India and are allowed unlimited entries into India. Citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, mainland China, Nepal or Pakistan are generally not entitled to hold Overseas Indian Citizenship.
|Date of visa abolition|
Visa on arrival
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. The cost is ₹2,000. The VOA facility can only be used for no more than two times in one calendar year. 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.
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). 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. 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. The e-Visa fees are divided into four slabs of zero, US$25, US$50 and US$75, depending on nationality (based on reciprocity; see table below and notes), plus a bank fee of 2.5% of the visa fee.
e-Visa allows arrival at the following 25 airports and 3 seaports:
Exit is possible via any authorized immigration check post.
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
|Date of e-visa eligibility|
In October 2013, India decided to initiate the process of extending visa-on-arrival access to 40 more nations. In January 2014, plans were confirmed by Planning Minister of India. The sixteen different types of visa would also be reduced to three: work, business and tourism. The proposal initially met resistance from intelligence agencies and the possible problem of queues emerged.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. However, in October 2014 the planned introduction of the new e-Visa system was pushed from 2 October 2014 to June 2015. It was also revealed that the list of visa on arrival countries was unlikely to be expanded in 2014.
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. 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.
The manual processing of the visa on arrival was discontinued in January 2015. 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:
In February 2015, the Ministry of Tourism proposed extending the facility to citizens of China, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy and Malaysia. Subsequently, the Minister of Finance announced that the facility would be extended, in stages, to citizens of 150 countries. 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.
The e-Tourist Visa facility was extended to 31 new countries on 1 May 2015.
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.
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. The extension to 150 nationalities was scheduled to be finished by 31 March 2016.
In September 2015 it was announced that the list would be expanded by another 37 countries.
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.
The eTV list was extended for tourists from 37 more countries on 26 February 2016.
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. It was also announced that the list of visa on arrival eligible countries would be expanded.
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. 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. Five seaports - Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Goa and Mangalore - would receive tourists coming with e-visa.
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. The list of eligible nationalities was also further expanded with 11 new countries, and the list of arrival ports was increased from 16 to 24 airports and 3 seaports.
Costs for visa applications
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. Costs differ per consulate and region. Some visa-handling services charge a small fee in addition, to check that completed application form meets all requirements and submit the documents on the applicant's behalf.
Citizens of the following countries do not pay a visa fee – Argentina, Cook Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Niue Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Island, South Africa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay and Vanuatu.
Restricted and Protected Area Permits
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). 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.
Pakistani Passport Holders and Persons of Pakistani Origin
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. India also forbids Pakistani applicants with dual-nationality from applying on their non-Pakistani passport.
Visa on arrival for persons over 65 years of age
As of 31 March 2013, Pakistani citizens over the age of 65 with the sole objective of meeting friends or family are granted a 45-day visa upon arrival at the Attari-Wagah Checkpoint, so long as the applicant provides a sponsorship certificate from their contacts in India attesting that they will be responsible for the visit of their Pakistani friend or relative, and which must also be countersigned by a: DM, SP, SDM, Tehsildar, BDO, SHO, Groups A officer of State and Central Government, or principal/headmaster of a government college or government school who attest that they personally know the sponsor. This scheme does not apply to 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.
Diplomatic or official passports
Holders of diplomatic or service category passports of the following countries do not require a visa for India – Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam and diplomatic passports only of the following countries – Afghanistan, Armenia, Cuba, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.
India signed a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic, special and official passports with Azerbaijan, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Oman in February 2018, Panama on 9 May 2018, Saint Kitts and Nevis in February 2018, Swaziland, and Zambia in April 2018 and they are yet to come into force.
Most visitors arriving in India were from the following countries of nationality:
|Bangladesh||01 1,380,409||02 1,133,879||02 942,562||03 524,923|
|United States||02 1,296,939||01 1,213,624||01 1,118,983||01 1,085,309|
|United Kingdom||03 941,883||03 867,601||03 838,860||02 809,444|
|Canada||04 317,239||05 281,306||06 268,485||06 255,222|
|Malaysia||05 301,961||06 272,941||07 262,026||09 242,649|
|Sri Lanka||06 297,418||04 299,513||04 301,601||04 262,345|
|Australia||07 293,625||07 263,101||09 239,762||11 218,967|
|Germany||08 265,928||08 248,314||10 239,106||07 252,003|
|China||09 251,313||11 206,322||12 181,020||12 174,712|
|France||10 238,707||09 230,854||08 246,101||08 248,379|
|Russia||11 227,749||12 172,419||05 269,832||05 259,120|
|Japan||12 208,847||10 207,415||11 219,106||10 220,283|
|Total||13 8,804,411||13 8,027,133||13 7,679,099||13 6,967,601|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for India.|
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- Including Aruba, Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands
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