Any foreigner who wants to enter India must have a valid visa affixed on his or her passport. This can be obtained from the Indian Consulate in various countries. Foreign nationals of Indian origin, their spouses and children also need visas. They can however obtain Entry Visas valid upto 10 years. Tourist Visas can be obtained for 6 months, 1 year or even 10 years. Visas of the appropriate type should be obtained by students, businessmen, journalists and others who want to visit India for professional purposes.
Validity of Visa
All types of visas are valid for the indicated period from the date of issue (and not from the date of first entry into India). Post-dated visas are not issued.
Application form and picture requirements
All applicants for Entry and Tourist Visas are required to fill out an application form and provide one recent passport size photograph. Applicants for Business, Research, Journalist and some other types of visas are required to submit two forms duly filled in and two pictures.
Visa to Non Residents
Visas can also be issued to persons who normally do not live in the jurisdiction of this Consulate (this also includes people holding Tourist / Business visas) after obtaining clearance from the Indian Mission under whose jurisdiction the applicant normally resides. This, however, takes a few weeks. The applicant may, however, pay an additional charge for clearance by fax or telex.
Restricted Area Permits
Persons desiring to go to a restricted area should fill in special forms and apply well in advance as clearances are required before a permit can be issued to travel to these places. It takes at least 6 to 8 weeks to receive the Government of India’s clearances in such cases.
Requirements for Student Visas
Firm letters of admission from Universities, recognized Colleges or Educational Institutions in India are required for issuance of Regular Student Visas. Applicants are also required to produce satisfactory evidence of financial support. In case of admission in a medical or a para-medical course, the applicants also need to produce a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Ministry of Health, Government of India, to obtain a Student Visa. Applicants for Student Visas who want to pursue graduate or post-graduate studies in Engineering / Technology are required to produce a similar ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Education).
Provisional Student Visas for a period of 6 months can, however, be issued on production of a Provisional Admission Certificate issued by a University / recognized Educational Institution in India. It can be changed to a regular student visa in India on completion of the formalities listed above. However, no change of institute/purpose is allowed.
Extending your Visa
Tourist visas are valid for a maximum period of 180 days. There is no charge for visa extension within the maximum period of 180 days. However, in case of an extension after 180 days (permissible only in exceptional cases), an extension fee is charged. You must ensure that you submit identical passport photographs.It is advisable for tourists from other countries to check current visa fee/visa extension fees applicable with the Government of India Tourist Offices or respective Indian Consular Offices located in their countries.