Traveling To India During Covid
In this post, you will find all the essential information about traveling to India. This post will outline information such as India travel requirements and the required documents.
While US passport holders (like myself) greatly benefit from visa waivers for international travel worldwide, we will still need a valid visa to enter India. Luckily, US citizens can apply for the Indian e-Visa.
I had a great time in India and made it back a week later! So, I'm sharing my experience to help others looking to visit India.
Here's what you need to know:
Applying for an e-Visa for India from USA can seem stressful and like a lot of work, but that's why Atlys is here to help you. Applying for your visa through Atlys is super easy. All you need to do is download Atlys on your phone, enter your travel details, and the rest will be taken care of for you.
You'll have your visa to travel in no time!
You probably have many questions about the e-Visa for India, which is understandable. You need to know a few things before applying for the India Visa online, so in this blog section, I will explain all the details.
Next, you'll find the basics of the e-Visa for India from the USA:
To enter India, you need a visitor's entry visa. The e-Visa for India is exactly that. It's an electronic visa that allows travel to India for numerous purposes such as tourism, business, etc. Unlike traditional visas, the e-Visa for India from the USA is completed online, hence the "e," which stands for electronic.
Applying for an India Visa online is much easier than applying at the embassy. It eliminates travel time and uncertainty and is relatively easy to do.
When you travel to India and arrive at the border, authorities will check your e-Visa for India from the USA before allowing you to enter the country. Therefore, think of your India e-Visa as an entry permit.
Yes. Most foreign nationals must apply for a visa to travel to India.
No matter how short your trip is, you must get a visa to visit India unless you possess an OCI card. The type of visa depends on the purpose and duration. Please remember that citizens with an NRI/PIO card must apply for their OCI Card before the end of 2022.
Suppose you have not renounced your Indian Citizenship. In that case, you must apply for your OCI Card before applying for your Indian E Visa. Please check out our guide on how to get your OCI Card in the USA.
All tourists, including children, must obtain a visa before arrival. The Government of India does not grant visas on arrival.
"Do US citizens need a visa to travel to India"
Yes. All US citizens need a valid passport alongside a valid e-Visa for India when traveling to India for any travel purposes. In this guide, you'll discuss the exact steps you need to take when applying for an India e-Visa to travel to India. Alternatively, US citizens can apply for the 10 year India Visa before traveling to India.
For more detailed information on the India Visa, please check our guide on the India Visa for US citizens.
You must complete the e-Visa for India from the USA online through the official government website. Although the website does an excellent job of explaining the application process, it can sometimes have issues loading correctly.
Therefore, to avoid unnecessary issues, the easiest way to apply for your Visa to India from the USA is through Atlys.
Nonetheless, I will explain the Indian e-Visa application process later in this post.
Currently, India has 6 different types of e-visas available. You may wonder which visa you should apply for; the type of e-Visa you need depends on the purpose of your trip. The names of the visas in the list below are pretty self-explanatory but later in the post, I'll briefly explain the main categories of the India e-Visas.
This mainly depends on the duration of your trip. Typically, you need to apply for an Indian e-Visa. However, suppose you're visiting for more than 60 days. In that case, you'll need to apply for a regular consular visa at an Indian mission near you. Furthermore, the type of e-Visa/Visa you apply for needs to align with the purpose of your trip.
Suppose you plan to visit India for tourism purposes. In that case, you must apply for the India e-Tourist Visa and not the e-Medical or e- Conference Visa.
The India e-Visa processing time is about 4 business days. Therefore, I recommend starting your application as early as possible before departure to India.
This ensures that you leave enough time for authorities to process your application. Keep in mind that the India e-Visa processing time can be longer. Different factors can delay your India e-Visa processing time. These include:
The visa for India from the USA is valid for 4 months from the date of issue for a single entry.
Therefore although your visa is valid for 4 months, you will only be able to stay in India for 30 days max. However, as a US citizen, you can stay in India for a maximum of 180 days but cannot exceed that.
E-Visa holders will have to contact the authorities if they stay for more than 30 days.
If your trip is extended, you must apply for another visa. Similarly, suppose you're going for more than 30 days. In that case, it's best you apply for a traditional Indian visa - it takes 15 business days to be processed, is more expensive, and can be applied at an Indian consulate near you.
You are required to pay a visa fee for every application you make. However, before I explain the Indian E-Visa fee, you must know that the Indian Visa cost depends on your visa type. Here is a list of the different India Visa costs that you must be aware of:
Keep in mind that the India Visa fees may change at any time. The above amounts are the current India e-Visa costs.
You should apply for any Indian Visa online a minimum of 4 days before the arrival date. Also, you can apply for your Indian Visa online 120 days before your intended arrival date in the country.
For the e-Tourist Visa, you can only start the application as early as 30 days before the date you plan to travel.
Before you start the application, make sure to have these documents ready:
This is only applicable if you have previously traveled to a country where yellow fever is present. Without a Yellow Fever Vaccination Card, you will be required to be quarantined for 6 days after you arrive in India.
Atlys has a variety of free tools which you can use to check your passport photo, flight itinerary, and hotel itinerary.
Once your documents are ready, you can start completing the application form for the India visa online.
The online application process is split into 8 steps:
To apply for your e-Visa for India from the USA, you must head to the official website and apply there. You'll be greeted by a simple page showing an infographic. It explains how to apply for your new e-Visa.
Tap on Apply Online and create an online account. You've to select what type of visa you require while creating the account. I was going to visit my family, so I selected tourist, the most common use case. The date of arrival doesn't have to be the exact date; you can provide a rough date within 45 days, more or less.
Keep in mind to apply for the right kind of visa.
The first step involves entering basic personal information. Some questions, however, can be confusing:
After filling out your personal information, you must complete the section that requires your passport details. Here you will enter your passport number, date of issuance, and expiry date. During this step, you must also fill in the country where your passport was issued.
This refers to your home address in the country where you currently live, not where you'll stay in India. The Indian government or immigration will not ask you for proof of address. If you're a nomad, you can put your most recent address.
India requires details about your parents. While you're not required to submit proof of their identity, you must provide their names and citizenship status. This is easy but make sure you provide the correct legal names of your parents.
This section can be confusing, and I spent a reasonable amount of time figuring out which category I fall under - they didn't have digital nomad as an option. I recommend choosing your occupation as OTHERS. If self-employed, put your business address. If unemployed, select that and put 'NA' in other fields.
Students are required to put in the name of their educational institute.
This is someone you know in India and someone you know in your home country. If you don't know anyone in India, provide your hotel or Airbnb details.
India requires 2 documents: your passport and your recent photo.
Take a photo against a white background. Transfer it to your computer and convert it to JPEG. Many people face problems with the Indian eVisa system here - it's best to use Atlys' free passport photo tool to get around this.
The photo has to be 350x350 px and not more than 1MB.
Finally, you have to upload a photo of your passport bio page. The copy of our passport bio page has to be of a specific size and in PDF format. Because of so many requirements, I recommend using Atlys instead.
Once you have successfully uploaded your photo, you can finally submit your application for it to be processed. That's it! Now you've applied for your India Visa online.
Your thumb or anything else should not be in the picture.
Your passport needs to have a validity of at least 6 months, with blank pages available for entry and exit stamps.
This was a pain. I'd advise doing the above steps right to avoid this. But if you need to contact the helpline: email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org usually works better. Their phone line (+91-11-24300666) doesn't work mostly, but I found that they've available operators between 1 pm and 3 pm IST.
Have your Passport number, Application ID, Date of Birth, and Full Name ready before contacting.
It takes 4 business days for your visa's outcome to be determined. You might also get an email requesting clearer documents (like I did) or further information. The approval email looks like this:
Important: This is not the ETA or e-Visa. You will not be allowed entry based on this email. To retrieve your actual e-visa, you must visit the official portal and select Check Visa Status.
After inputting your details, select Print Status to print your e-Visa for India from the USA.
Once your India e-Visa has been approved, the first thing you need to do is ensure you download a copy thereof. Remember, without the e-Visa for India, border authorities will not allow you to enter the country.
Once you arrive in India, you must follow the general entry protocols. Generally, you'll find a lane within the airport dedicated to "foreign arrivals". Here, you'll approach border authorities, who will ask you to present your valid passport and your e-Visa for India. After authorities check your travel documents, your passport will be stamped, and you'll be allowed to enter the country.
Just as a heads up: Border authorities have the right to ask for additional documents should they feel it's necessary. Typically, they want to see documents that prove the purpose of your trip and if you have sufficient funds to support yourself. As such, I recommend you have the following documents in hand upon arrival (alongside your Indian e-Visa):
I highly recommend having an additional copy of your e-Visa for India, just in case. Rather be safe than sorry.
Before we end this blog post, we must first discuss other types of Indian E-Visas.
Here are the different Indian E-Visas and their purposes:
The e-Business Visa will allow you to travel to India for business purposes. As with the tourist e-Visa, you can apply for your Indian e-Business Visa a minimum of 4 days before your intended departure date to India.
For the Indian e-Business Visa, you'll need to submit the following documents:
Your next question is probably "What classifies as a business card?". According to the official website, a business card is a card provided to you by the company you are working for. Suppose you can't provide a business card for whatever reason. In that case, you can upload an invitation letter from the inviting company in India. The information that must be included in the invitation letter includes:
You can apply for an Indian e-Business visa if the reason for your trip includes the following:
The Indian e-Medical Visa is only granted to those seeking or needing medical treatment in India. Note that family members who plan to support your medical procedures in India won't be able to apply for an e-Medical Visa to travel alongside you. Instead, they'll need to apply for a different type of Indian e-Visa (the Indian e-Medical Attendant Visa).
You'll need to provide the following documents when you apply for your Indian e-Medical Visa:
With your e-Medical Visa, you'll be allowed to enter India a maximum of 3 times. Your visa will be valid for 60 days. Note that you can only enter India 3 times within 60 days.
The e-Medical Attendant Visa will allow you to enter India to support a friend or family member during medical treatment or medical procedures. To apply for this visa, you must be a blood relative of the person who applied for an Indian e-Medical Visa.
There is only one document you need to submit with your application:
You're now an expert in the India e-visa. Once you've successfully applied, you can travel to India to enjoy all the country offers. After reading through this in-depth guide, you should understand the India e-visa processing time, cost, and application process well.
Yes, they can. US citizens can now apply for an Indian e-visa. This means that you don't have to go to an Embassy to apply for a visa; you can apply from the comfort of your own home.
Yes, the E-Tourist Visa is available, so visitors can apply for it to visit India.
Only nationals of Japan, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates (only for UAE nationals who had previously secured an e-Visa or regular/paper visa for India) are eligible for Visa on Arrival. The application must be completed online for nationals from other countries who qualify for an e-Visa. The applicant must wait for confirmation/issuance of an ETA before traveling to India.
Your Indian e-Medical Visa will be valid for 60 days, and you'll be able to enter India 3 times within that period.
Foreign Nationals of the following list of countries meet the eligibility criteria to apply for an Indian e-Visa:
Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon Union Republic, Cape Verde, Cayman Island, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'lvoire Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, 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, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
With your e-Visa, you're allowed to enter India only through the designated international airports, namely:
Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Bagdogra, Calicut, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Trichy, Trivandrum, Varanasi, Visakhapatnam.
Yes, you can. US citizens are eligible to apply for a 10-year visa for India.