India Entry Requirements: What to know before travelling

Few places in the world are as vibrant, colourful and exciting as India. A country of incredible contrasts, the sizeable South Asian state has all of the historical landmarks, natural landscapes, safari parks and buzzing metropolises you could ever hope to experience as a visitor. And as home to the world’s fastest-growing major economy between 2014 and 2018, there are also huge business opportunities, so it’s no surprise that India welcomes around 17 million tourists a year.

That said, it isn’t easy for outsiders to secure entry to India, as the visa application process can be a little challenging to say the least. However, that shouldn’t put you off visiting altogether. Read on to learn everything you need to know about India’s travel requirements.

Visa requirements to travel to India

VISA TYPES

UK citizens must have a valid visa to enter India, though certain nationals can stay in the country in transit for up to 72 hours visa-free. There are a number of Indian visas available, including:

  • Tourist visas – please note that the Indian government has currently suspended tourist visas as part of its coronavirus response.
  • Business visas
  • Employment visas
  • Student visas

GENERAL VISA REQUIREMENTS

Generally speaking, all individuals must include the following in their application:

  • An original, machine-readable passport valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India. It also needs at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer. If you are a British-Pakistani citizen, this must be your Pakistani passport, unless you can provide documentary proof that you have renounced your Pakistani nationality or cancelled your passport.
  • A completed visa application form with a 350×350 pixels passport-style photograph taken in front of a white background.
  • A copy of your driver’s licence with the same home address as the one in your application form.

VISA CATEGORY REQUIREMENTS

Different visas have additional requirements which must be met before their documentation is secured:

Tourist visa

  • Details of your itinerary.
  • A copy of your flight tickets.
  • Proof of your residential address.

Business visa

  • A business cover letter from your home country employer printed on company stationery.
  • A certificate or letter of incorporation from the inviting company.
  • A signed letter of invitation from the business you’re visiting in India, which must be written on paper with a company letterhead, including the organisation’s address and contact details. It should also feature a document in which your sponsor accepts full responsibility for you during your stay.

Employment visas

  • An employment contract signed by both parties.
  • A copy of the registration papers from the company in India offering employment.
  • Biometric information provided at a designated application centre.

Student visas

  • A letter of admission from a recognised Indian educational institution for the duration of the course.
  • A receipt of fee payment from the relevant school or college.
  • A document showing financial support for the tuition fee and stay in India.

HOW GULFVISA CAN HELP

Here at GulfVisa, we take charge of the time-consuming Indian visa application processes, allowing you to focus on planning your trip. With almost two decades worth of experience, our dedicated UK visa agents can sort out your application quickly and efficiently. We also offer passport application and renewal services should you need to update yours ahead of your trip. Using a visa agent like GulfVisa has numerous advantages you may not have considered, from increasing the chances of your application being approved to saving money on the visa application process.

Temporary COVID-19 entry rules

In response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Indian government has introduced a number of temporary travel measures. While flights to India from the UK have resumed after a brief cancellation, travellers must meet certain requirements.

SCREENING ON ARRIVAL

Health officials will carry out thermal screening on all new arrivals into India. You must follow all the instructions.

QUARANTINE REQUIREMENTS

International passengers arriving without a negative PCR test certificate, or those who fly into an airport which does not have a testing facility must undergo seven days’ institutional quarantine (usually in designated hotels) and seven days’ home quarantine. Some regions, such as Delhi, have also implemented a compulsory institutional quarantine period for all arrivals.

DATA COLLECTION

Passengers may have to give contact details upon arrival, and could also be asked to download Arogya Setu, India’s COVID-19 contact tracing app.

VISA RESTRICTIONS

At time of writing, foreign nationals can visit India on any visa except the tourist visa. All OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) and PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) cardholders are exempt from visa and travel restrictions.

Other health requirements

POLIO VACCINATION CERTIFICATE

You may have to present a valid polio vaccination certificate if you are travelling to India from Pakistan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Afghanistan or Somalia. Contact your nearest Indian Embassy or High Commission for further information.

YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATE

You might also have to show a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. Visit the National Travel Health Network website for more information.

Airport tax

Many Indian airports apply user development fees of around 1000 rupees (£10) per international passenger. This should automatically be included in the cost of your flight ticket, but in some cases, you may instead be charged at the check-in counter once you touch down in India.

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