All visitors to India require a visa, except for citizens of neighboring Nepal and Bhutan. Visitors must either apply for a regular visa or an e-Visa (citizens of Japan and South Korea can also get a visa on arrival at six major airports in India). The e-Visa is hassle-free to obtain, and will be suitable for most tourists. Here's what you need to know about it.
Latest News as of September 2019
Three types of e-Tourist visas are now available with validity of one-month, one-year and five-years. The one-month e-Tourist Visa permits two entries. The one-year and five-year e-Tourist visas allow multiple entries but are subject to limitations on length of continuous stay. The fee for the one-year e-Tourist Visa has been reduced, while the fee for the new one-month e-Tourist Visa is discounted during the off-peak summer season from April to June.
The Indian government introduced a tourist visa on arrival scheme on January 1, 2010. It was initially trialed for citizens of five countries. Subsequently, a year later, it was extended to include a total of 11 countries. And, from April 15, 2014 it was extended to include South Korea.
Effective November 27, 2014, this visa on arrival scheme was replaced by an online Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme. It has been implemented in phases and progressively made available to more countries.
In April 2015, the scheme was renamed "e-Tourist Visa" by the Indian government, to remove confusion over the previous ability to get a visa on arrival without applying in advance.
In April 2017, the scheme was further extended to passport holders of 161 countries (up from 150 countries).
The Indian government has also widened the scope of the visa scheme to include short duration medical treatment and yoga courses, and casual business visits and conferences. Previously, these required separate medical/student/business visas.
The aim is to make getting an Indian visa easier, and to bring more business people and medical tourists into the country.
To facilitate this change, in April 2017, the "e-Tourist Visa" scheme became known as "e-Visa". Furthermore, it was divided into three categories:
- e-Tourist Visa
- e-Business Visa
- e-Medical Visa
Two additional categories -- e-Medical Attendant Visa and e-Conference Visa -- have since been added. Up to two e-Medical Attendant visas will be granted against one e-Medical Visa.
The visa categories can be clubbed together. However, e-Conference visas are only permitted to be clubbed with e-Tourist visas.
Who is Eligible for an E-Visa?
Passport holders of the following 166 countries: Albania, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia an Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon Union Republic, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Island, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Colombia, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'lvoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati,Kyrgyzstan , Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger Republic, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal , Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Uganda,Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
However, do note that if your parents or grandparents were born in or lived in Pakistan, you will be ineligible to get an e-Visa even if you're a citizen of the above countries. You will have to apply for a normal visa.
What is the Procedure for Obtaining an E-Visa?
As well as entering you travel details, you will need to upload a photograph of yourself with a white background that meets the specifications listed on the website, and the photo page of your passport that shows your personal details. Your passport will need to be valid for at least six months. Additional documents may be required depending on the type of e-Visa required.
Following this, pay the fee online with your debit or credit card. You will receive an Application ID and the ETA will be sent to you via email within three to five days (often earlier). The status of your application can be checked here. Make sure it shows "GRANTED" before you travel.
You will need to have a copy of the ETA with you when you arrive in India, and present it at the immigration counter at the airport. An immigration officer will stamp your passport with your e-visa for entry into India. Your biometric data will also be captured at this time.
You should have a return ticket and enough money to spend during your stay in India.
What are the Fees?
The visa fees depend on the nature of the reciprocal relationship between India and each country. Citizens of some countries can get visas free of cost. There are also differing fees for e-Tourists visas and other types of e-visas. The details can be found in this e-Tourist Visa Fee Chart and Fee Chart for Other E-Visa Types.
Citizens of the following countries are entitled to free visas:
- Argentina, Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, Niue Island, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay and Vanuatu.
Citizens of all other countries, except Japan, now pay the same fees for e-Tourist visas. These are as follows:
- One-month e-Tourist Visa (April to June): $10.
- One-month e-Tourist Visa (remainder of the year): $25
- One-year e-Tourist Visa: $40.
- Five-year e-Tourist Visa: $80.
Japanese citizens only pay $25 for one-year and five-year e-Tourist visas.
The fees for other types of e-visas are as follows:
- $100 Citizens of US, UK, Russia, Ukraine and Mozambique.
- $80: Citizens of the majority of countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- $25: Citizens of Japan, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
In addition to the visa fee, a bank charge of 2.5% of the fee must be paid.
How Long is the Visa Valid For?
The one-month e-Tourist Visa is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival in India, with two entries permitted. One-year and five-year e-Tourist visas are valid for 365 days from the date the ETA is granted, with multiple entries permitted.
E-Business visas are valid for one year from the date the ETA is granted, with multiple entries permitted.
E-Medical and e-Medical Attendant visas are valid for 60 days from the date of arrival in India. E-Conference visas are only valid for 30 days from the date of arrival. Three entries are permitted on e-Medical visas and e-Medical Attendant visas. Only one entry is permitted on e-Conference visas. The visas are non-extendable and non-convertible.
How Long Can You Stay in India?
It's important to note that although your e-Tourist Visa may be valid for one year or five years, this doesn't mean you can stay in India continuously for the whole time. The length of continuous stay mustn't be longer than 90 days -- except for citizens of US, UK, Japan and Canada. Citizens of these countries can stay for up to 180 days at a time.
Citizens of all countries can stay in India for up to 180 days continuously on an e-Business visa.
Which Indian Entry Points Accept E-Visas?
You can now enter at the following 28 international airports in India: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kochi, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Port Blair, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Varanasi, and Vishakhapatnam.
You can also enter at the following five designated seaports: Kochi, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai, Chennai.
In addition, separate immigration desks and help counters have been set up to assist medical tourists at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad airports.
Once you have the e-Visa, you can leave India (and return) through any immigration point.
How Often Can You Get an E-Visa?
You can apply as often as you want. The limit on the number of times in a calendar year has been removed.
Visiting Protected/Restricted Areas with Your E-Visa
The e-Visa is not valid for entry into these areas, such as Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India, by itself. You'll need to obtain a separate Protected Area Permit (PAP) or Inner Line Permit (ILP), depending on the requirements of the particular area. This can be done in India after you arrive, using your e-Visa. You don't need to hold a regular tourist visa to be able to apply for a PAP. Your travel or tour agent can take care of the arrangements for you. If you're planning on visiting Northeast India, you can read more about permit requirements here.
Need Help with Your Application?
Call +91-11-24300666 or email email@example.com
Important: Scams to be Aware of
When applying for your e-Visa, do be aware that a number of commercial websites have been created to look similar to the government of India's official website, and they claim to provide online visa services to tourists. These websites include but are not limited to:
The websites do not belong to the government of India and they will charge you hefty service fees.
Expediting Your E-Visa
If you do need to get your e-Visa in a hurry, iVisa.com offers 24-hour and 2-day processing times. However, this comes at a price -- $100 for 24-hours, and $65 for 2-days. Their standard fee for a 4-day processing time is $35. These fees are all additional to the e-Visa fee. The company is legitimate and reliable though.