Home General Facts & Figures India Travel Guide101: Obtaining a Visa for India

India Travel Guide101: Obtaining a Visa for India



So one of the first steps in planning a trip to India is getting a Visa. All visitors across the globe need a visa to plan a trip. Only the citizens Nepal and Bhutan may not require a visa for India. India does not have any provision for the issue of visas on arrival, so obtaining a Visa is a per-requisit to arrive in India. Without a valid Indian Visa passengers can be deported or sent back without exiting the Airport.

Depending on your purpose of visit there are different visa’s available. So here’s a guide what you need to know to apply for an Indian Visa:

Types of Indian Visa’s

Tourist Visa

Tourist visas are the most common type of Visa’s issued for the sole purpose of visiting the country and enjoying the sights it has to offer. The holder is not allowed to work or be employed in the country with this visa. The tourist visa is valid for only 6 months. Though it varies from country to country ie. it may vary from 3 – 6 months.

For US citizen only a 10 year visa is available. That is in the bilateral agreement between India and US. However, you can’t stay in India for more than 180 days. ie. 6 months, in a single stretch.

Most tourist visas are multiple entry visas.
Visa’s available for-
US citizens: 6 months, 1 year, 5 years or 10 years. Multiple entry.
Non-US citizens: 3 months, 6 months or 1 year. Multiple entry.
Sri-Lanka citizens: 6 months single entry, 6 months multiple entry or 1 year multiple entry.

Business Visa

Foreign business people who have set up or wish to set up a joint business venture in India may apply for this type of Visa. It is usually valid for 6 months to 1 or more years with multiple entries. However, regardless of the length of validity of the Visa, the person may only stay up to a maximum of 6 months (180 days) for each visit.

10 year multiple entry visas are available to US citizens.

Employment Visa

The Embassy /Consulate may grant an employment visa which is valid for a year irrespective of the contract. Further extensions of upto 5 years may be obtained form the MHA/FRRO in the concerned state in India.

Entry Visa

An Entry visa is given only to persons of Indian origin. It is usually valid for 6 months to 5 years stay with multiple entry. However, members of a person employed in India are also eligible for an Entry visa.

Student Visa

Multiple entry visas are given to bonafide students to pursue studies at recognized institutions in India. It is normally valid for the period of study as approved by the educational institute.

Transit Visa

A transit visa is only granted for the sole purpose of enabling the holder to travel through India to reach his/her ultimate destination. The purpose cannot be changed. The visa is ordinarily valid for single/double journey and for entry within 15 days of issue. It is valid for a maximum of 3 days stay in case of transit and any for any stay longer than 3 days an appropriate visa must be obtained.

Other Visas: Research Visas, Journalist Visas, Missionary Visas, Collective Visas and Yoga Visas.

How to Apply for an Indian Visa

First thing is, you need to have a Visa Application Form. You can obtain the form from the Indian Embassy in your country or if that is a bit difficult to get then you can also obtain an on-line application form.

Indian Embassy has now started outsourcing the Indian visa application process to private agencies in many countries to make it more efficient and quick. Research a little about the agencies present in your country that can help you in getting the visa form.

Documents you’ll need

Along with your application form you need the following documents:

  • Original passport that’s valid for at least six months with at least two blank visa pages.
  • Two recent passport sized photographs. Photo could be black/white or color. It should be front pose on a light background.
  • residential proof (required in some countries) in the form of driving license or utility bill.
  • itinerary details.
  • the visa form may have the space for Indian referees or sponsors, but if you are applying for a tourist visa then its not mandatory, but may be required if you are applying for any other visa.


The Visa fees for an Indian Visa depends on the type of visa and duration applied for. The fee payment can either be made online with a credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or by money order enclosed with the application. Cash and personal checks are not accepted by post. If you are using Travisa Outsourcing an additional $13 will be charged per application, per passport.

For all visas other than transit visas, valid for 6 months the fee for US citizens is around $60 and $40 for non-US citizens (multiple entry).

For all visas other than transit visas, valid for more than 6 months up to 1 year the fee for US citizens is around $85 and $65 for non-US citizens (multiple entry).

For all visas other than transit visas and student visas, valid for more than 1 year up to 5 years the fee for US citizens is around $150 and $130 for non-US citizens (multiple entry).

For Tourist and Business visas (for US citizens only) valid for over 5 years and up to 10 years the fee is around $150.

What your Indian Visa will look like

1. Your Surname (Last Name)
2. Your Name (First Name)
3. Visa Type (T = Tourist, B = Business, X = Entry)
4. Date of Issue
5. Date of Expiration
6. Number of Entries (M = Multiple, S = Single)
7. Your Passport Number