Passport & Visa
Tourist Visas which are now valid for 6 months are issued only to those foreigners who have no residence or occupation in India and whose sole objective in visiting India is recreation, sight-seeing or casual visits to friends and relatives. Tourist visas count from the date of issue and cannot be extended or converted into any other category in India.
All visas other than transit visas are issued only after telex clearance is received from the Indian Mission in the country to which the applicant belongs. This process takes around 1 week after telexes are sent. Applicants should therefore be prepared to wait for one week after telex clearance is sought before visas are issued to them .
Requirement of Visa
Foreigners desirous of visiting India can do so after obtaining a visa from the Indian Mission in the country of their residence. They should posses a valid National passport – except in the case of nationals of Bhutan and Nepal , who may carry only suitable means of identification.
Transit visa are granted by Indian Missions abroad for a maximum period of 3 days.
Exemption from Registration
Foreigners coming to India on tourist visas for 180 days or a shorter period are not required to register themselves with any authority in India . They can move about freely in the country, except to restricted/protected areas and prohibited places.
Individuals without nationality or of undetermined nationality (stateless person; IRO refugees, persons receiving legal or political protection, holder of Nansen passport etc.) should have valid passport, identity documents or sworn affidavit with visa for which they should apply at least two months in advance.
LAND PERMIT FACILITY
Tourists may note that no Landing Permit Facility is available to any foreign tourist landing without a visa. A limited facility exists only for group tours consisting of 4 or more members and sponsored by a travel agency recognized by the Government of India.
Children below the age of 12 years of foreigners of Indian origin may be granted a landing permit by the Immigration authorities up to a period of 90 days to see their relatives, in case they happen to come without a visa.
A tourist group arriving by air, ship or by a chartered or scheduled flight may be granted a collective landing permit for a period upto 30 days by the Immigration authorities on landing, provided the group is sponsored by a recognized travel agency, a predrawn itinerary is presented along with details of passport etc. of the members, and the travel agency gives an undertaking to conduct the group together.
Extension of Visa
Facility exists for an extension of tourist visa beyond six months. In such a case, however, the foreigners’ Registration Officer throughout the country and obtain an extension of visa from him. All formalities of registration under the law would have to be fulfilled.
Other Types of Visas
If a foreigner wishes to come to India for a purpose other than tourism, he should come after obtaining an appropriate visit out of the following:
1. Business Visa: A foreigner can obtain from an Indian Embassy abroad a multiple entry business visa valid for one year or five year but with a cumulative stay in India of not more than 180 days, provide he wishes to come for some business.
2. Student Visa: A student visa can be obtained from the Indian Embassy on the production of proof of administration and means of sustenance while in India , etc. The visa is valid for one year but is extended in India for the duration of the course.
3. Conference Visa: Delegates coming to attend International Conferences in India can be granted “Conference Visas” to cover the conference as well as tourism in India . Delegates are advised to apply to the Indian Embassies well in advance.
4. Foreigners wishing to undertake trekking, botanical expeditions, mountaineering expeditions, canoe-rafting, etc., in a team may be granted visas for the required duration on presentation of full details of he touring members, nature of the event, area to be visited and any other tourist information that may be asked for by the Indian Embassy.
5. Sports teams or individual sportsmen wishing to participate in international sports events being held in India may apply to an Indian Embassy/Mission for the grant of visa for the necessary duration. Requests for such visas may be made well in advance.
6. Foreign journalists, media men, documentary and feature filmmakers may obtain necessary visas after due formalities from the Indian Embassy.
7. Yoga: Visa for study of Yoga, Vedic Culture, dance, music etc. Foreigners wishing to come to India to study these subjects are required to apply well in advance with all necessary particulars. The Indian Embassies may grant visas for a period of one year which may be extended on an annual basis in India.