|Everyone needs a visa to visit
India. Tourist visas are valid for six months from the date of issue,
and cost around $30. If you apply in a country other than your home
country a telex charge is applied to your application. This can range
from $5 to $50 depending on the embassy where you apply. If you would
like to stay in India for longer than six months, you will need to leave
the country and apply for another visa. Getting another visa after you
have had two in a row may prove a little difficult. Special permits may
be required additionally with the visa to visit certain areas of the
country. Areas such as parts of Sikkim and the Northeast frontier
states, northeast of Himachal Pradesh near the Tibetan border, are out
of bounds for foreign nationals.
U.S. citizens require a valid
passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose.
Visitors, including those on official U.S. government business, must
obtain visas at an Indian Embassy or Consulate abroad prior to entering
the country, as there are no provisions for visas upon arrival. Those
arriving without a valid passport and valid visa are subject to
immediate deportation. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are
unable to assist when U.S. citizens arrive without proper
documentation. Each visitor should carry photocopies of the bio-data
page of the traveler's U.S. passport and the page containing the Indian
visa in order to facilitate obtaining an exit visa from the Indian
government in the event of theft or loss of the passport. Replacing a
lost visa in order to exit the country takes up to three business days.
wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct type
of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate, as there generally are no
provisions for changing one's immigration category (e.g., from tourist
to work visa) once admitted. As of October 1, 2007, the Indian Embassy
and Consulates in the U.S. outsourced the visa application process to
Travisa Visa Outsourcing: http://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com. Diplomatic and Official visa applications, however, are still accepted directly at the Indian Embassy and Consulates.
citizens whose primary purpose of travel is to participate in religious
activities should obtain a missionary visa rather than a tourist visa.
Indian immigration authorities have deported American citizens who
entered India with a tourist visa and conducted religious activities.
American travelers to India who work in “designated institutes and
technology areas” will be subject to a two week waiting period in the
visa application process and will be required to submit supplemental
information with their visa application. Scholars planning to conduct
research in India often need research clearances in addition to their
visas. Specific information is available at the Indian Embassy and
If a foreign citizen (e.g., an American) overstays
his or her Indian visa, or otherwise violates Indian visa regulations,
the traveler may require a clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs
in order to leave the country. Such travelers generally must pay a
fine, and in some cases, may be jailed until their deportation can be