If you’re planning on taking a long or short term trip to India you’ll need a visa – the only foreign nationals who are allowed to enter India without a visa are those from Nepal and Bhutan.
There are several different types of visa and which kind you apply for depends on your purpose in visiting India.
This is the kind of visa you apply for if you’re visiting India for a holiday. Although the maximum amount of time you’re allowed to stay in India with this form of visa is 6 months, you can get tourist visas with validities of 3 months, 6 months and 1 year, with single, double or multiple entries.
If you are accepted as a student by a recognised educational institute in India you can apply for a student visa. This form of visa is valid for the duration of your period of study, and can be approved for multiple entries.
This is the visa required if you plan to attend business meetings or establish business contacts on behalf of a foreign company while in India, and can be valid for 6 months to a year or more with single or multiple entries. While you can get a business visa which is valid for over a year the maximum length of a single visit is 6 months.
This is different from a business visa in that it is granted to those who are employed by an Indian company. It is also issued to those who are employed in Registered NGOs honorary work. Bear in mind that the validity of the employment visa you are issued by the Embassy/consulate doesn’t always correlate with your employment contract. If you need to extend your visa you must contact your local MHA/FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office).
These visas are issued to people who have a non-business related reason for being in India (such as an unpaid internship). In order to qualify for this type of visa you must be able to produce an invitation letter from the relevant authority. The family members of a person working in India are also able to apply for an entry visa.
Long Term Entry VISA
You will only be considered for this kind of visa if you are of Indian origin. Long-term entry visas are typically valid for five years.
Other kinds of visa available include: Conference visa, journalist visa, research visa, transit visa, medical visa and medical escort visa. For information on applying for these kinds of visas and for more information for those already mentioned, go to VFS.Global
Please note that any foreign national entering India from a yellow fever country will need to have a valid vaccination certificate.
Visas are valid from the moment they are issued.
Any foreign nationals entering India on visas with validity of more than 180 days must follow the relevant registration formalities. E.g. anyone residing in India under an employment/student or research visa with more than 180 days validity must register with the nearest FRO (Foreign Registration Office) or FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) within two weeks of first arriving in India.
Applying for a VISA
Applications for any of the aforementioned visas must be submitted either by person at the application centres or by post. However, an online form must also be completed and sent with the documents checklist.
The personal documentation you need to submit with your application (valid passport etc) can vary according to your country of origin and the type of visa you’re applying for.
For the most up to date information contact your local Indian consulate/embassy or go here for a step by step breakdown of the visa application process.