The new Indian visa on arrival application form is a far cry easier than navigating through the old visa process.
With this new system implemented on November 27, 2014, citizens of 113 countries can now receive an Electronic Travel Authorization within four days of applying online. The ETA is then swapped for a visa on arrival (now called an E-Tourist Visa) in one of India’s major airports.
Get ready for your big trip by first reading these India travel essentials before you go.
Who is Eligible for the New Visa on Arrival?
The first phase of the Indian visa on arrival makes citizens from 113 countries eligible, including 12 countries that already had visa-on-arrival allowances in place.
Note: Anyone with Pakistani parents or grandparents, despite holding a passport from one of the eligible countries, will still need to apply for a tourist visa via the old Indian visa application form.
If your country isn’t on the list yet, don’t despair: additional nationalities will be included in future phases, bringing the count up to 150 countries!
How Does It Work?
Before leaving home, you’ll apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization via the new system. After applying and paying the non-refundable fee, you’ll be emailed your authorization code within four days. From the approval date, you’ll have 30 days to present your printed ETA in one of the visa-on-arrival airports in India to be stamped into the country. Think of the ETA as a pre-approval process to speed things through at the immigration counters.
A handful of other countries, including Sri Lanka and Australia, use ETA systems.
Note: After arriving in India, visitors with ETAs won’t have to get in the lengthy queues at the visa-on-arrival counters in airports. You can proceed directly to the immigration counters to be fingerprinted and stamped into India.
You can only receive two E-Tourist Visas per calendar year.
What You’ll Need to Get the ETA Before Flying to India
Don’t even think about turning up in India without an approved ETA! To apply for your ETA online, you’ll need the following:
- The ability to open PDF documents
- A planned arrival date for India (read about visiting India during the monsoon season)
- A credit card or debit card to pay the US $60 fee
- A scanned PDF image of the first page in your passport (max size: 300 KB)
- A full-face JPEG photo of yourself, facing forward, from the top of hair to bottom of chin, no borders, with white background (max size: 1 MB)
What You’ll Need for the E-Tourist Visa Once You Arrive
After arriving in one of the many airports with visa-on-arrival facilities, you will proceed directly to the immigration counters for what will hopefully be rapid processing. Be sure that you have the following:
- A passport still valid for at least six months
- A printed copy of your approved ETA
- Proof of a return flight out of India
- Proof of funds (this is loosely enforced; having a bank statement or credit card may do the trick)
Details of the ETA and Indian Visa on Arrival
- When to apply: no less than four days and no more than 30 days before your arrival date
- ETA application fee: US $60 (payable via credit or debit card)
- Processing time: 3 – 4 working days
- Validity: the ETA is valid for 30 days after approval date
- Visa-on-arrival duration: 30 days (single entry/non-extendable) on the ground in India
- Number of ETAs allowed per year: 2
Which Airports Support Visa on Arrival?
You can trade your ETA for a visa-on-arrival stamp at any of these nine airports:
- Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum International Airport)
Completing the Indian Visa on Arrival Application
The new visa-on-arrival application (to obtain your ETA) is straightforward and contains self-explanatory drop-down lists and instructions. Really, the only reasons an applicant could possibly be rejected would be for not disclosing Pakistani origins or for uploading unclear/low-quality files.
Have all of your documents ready, then go to the official Indian visa on arrival site to apply.
If you run into trouble, you can email with questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the 24-7 visa support center (+91 11 24300666).