You are requested to contact the nearest Indian Mission (Embassy/ High Commission/ Consulate or visit their websites for up-to-date information regarding visas, fees, procedures, etc.)
Foreign Nationals visiting India should ensure that they are in possession of a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian Visa; except nationals of Nepal and Bhutan who do not require visa and nationals of Maldives do not require visa for a period up to 90 days (a separate Visa regime exists for diplomatic/official passport holders). Different type of visas include Entry visa, Tourist Visa, Business Visa, Long term visa (up to 5 years with multiple entry). Visa fee ranges from USD 40 to USD 180 depending on the validity of the visa. For visa extensions beyond the stipulated 180 days, visitors have to approach the Foreigners Regional Registration Office in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. As per the new rule that there should be a gap of at least two months between visits to India on a Tourist visa. This rule does is not applicable to visitors on Business B or Entry E types of visas; to PIO and OCI card holders. The Indian Embassy has to be approached for grant of special permission to re-enter India within two months of leaving.
For citizens of Finland, Cambodia ,Indonesia , Laos, Japan, Luxembourg, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam and New Zealand and Singapore who plan their tours in short notice, the Government of India has decided to introduce Tourist Visa on Arrival. They have to contact the Indian Embassy in their country for complete details as the rules keep changing time to time as per the bilateral agreements.
Persons of Indian Origins and Non-Resident Indians who possess either OCI (Overseas Indian Citizenship) or PIO card don’t need to apply separately for an Indian Visa. OCI and PIO cards give them the freedom to visit India without visa within rules. However, those NRIs and PIOs who don’t have OCI or PIO card can apply for and get Indian visa through the procedure mentioned above.
Special permits are required for visiting North Eastern Frontiers and Andaman Islands. They can be specifically asked for, while applying for a visa or after arrival in India. The FRROs (Foreigners’ Regional Registration Offices) in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Chennai can issue the same as well as group permits. This permit is valid for a maximum period of 15 days. Permits must be applied for at least two weeks in advance for group tourists.
Foreign currency or traveler’s cheques are allowed into the country. Amount over US $ 1000 should be declared on arrival and a certificate obtained from the Customs. All money should be changed at official money changers, for which tourist receives a currency exchange form. These forms may be required for re-exchange; for airline tickets, for visa renewal and for obtaining income tax clearance, etc; Major nationalized banks have special foreign exchange counters. Credit cards are now widely accepted in India.
Usual duty free item regulations of one bottle whisky (950 ml or less), 200 cigarettes etc apply in India. Large items are likely to be entered on a ‘Tourist Baggage Re-export’ (TBRE) form to ensure that the article is taken away on departure. The form should be re-submitted on departure. If you do not have to declare anything you can walk through the Green Channel. For more information visit www.customs-rules-india.html.
Barring a yellow fever vaccination for tourists coming from infected areas (African and South American countries) there are no vaccinations requirements for tourists to India.
Military installations and areas,defence organizations and research organizations are considered protected areas .The visitors are required to obtain special permissions from the Indian consulates in their countries if they are planning on visiting them.
Photography is prohibited in places of military importance,railway stations,bridges,airports and other military installations.
Art treasures with aesthetic value such as sculpture, paintings, manuscripts, illustrative of science, art, crafts, religion of historical interest – which are more than 75 to 100 years old, cannot be exported out of India. For export of any of the antiquities concerned authorities have to be contacted. To conserve the endangered fauna, Govt. of India has restrictions pertaining to export of articles made from animals. This includes articles made from animal skin, pelts, furs, ivory, rhino horns, and trophies. Tourists can acquaint themselves with the provisions of Convention on International Trade endangered species of wild fauna and flora. All the member countries of the convention allow import of the articles covered by convention on basis of a certificate of export from the country of origin.
India has three major seasons: Summer, Winters and Monsoons. The Summers (April – June) are hot and a time to visit resorts of Shimla, Kashmir valley, Ootacamund, and Mount Abu, etc;, to take adventure tours in Leh-Ladhak regions of Himachal Pradesh. The Winters (November -March) are pleasant with bright sunny days. Winters are more severe in the northern plains and foot-hills of the Himalayas. The Monsoons start in June on the South-west coast and then gradually spread in the rest of the country. In south-eastern areas it’s between mid-October and end-December.
India is a vast country and different customs are followed in different parts of the country. You may find the metros more liberal and cosmopolitan – as would be case anywhere in the the world – and you may come across various unusual customs as you move in the hinterland, preserved over thousands of years. You may also find that in general, the attitude to life is vastly different from that in the western world. However, Indians are a hospitable people and usually people will accept your different ways as a foreigner. Nevertheless, there may be certain situations These are the situations you need to know about.
1. At holy places – (temple, Gurudwara or mosque); remove your footwear before entering, Gurudwaras require you to cover your head, dress conservatively, read rules written on notice boards – these may include ‘leather objects not allowed’, ‘cameras not allowed’ and so on.
2. Feet and left hand not used on any auspicious occasions. Avoid giving, touching or eating with left hand
3. Follow conservative behavior. Public show of affection, scanty\revealing attire, particularly in smaller cities, is generally disapproved. Metros are fairly more tolerant.
4. Always follow the rules written on notice boards at holy places. These may include ‘leather objects not allowed’, ‘cameras not allowed’ and so on.
5. Giving tips is customary. At restaurants, usual 10% applies. Drivers and representatives expect a nominal tip for their services.
6. Bargaining for a lesser price is a fairly common fact of life, especially at local bazaars, with rickshaw and auto drivers. Recognized and larger shops and departmental stores charge fixed prices.
Disclaimer: The above is only for information. You are requested to contact the nearest Indian Mission (Embassy/ High Commission/ Consulate) or visit their websites for up-to-date information regarding visas, fees, procedures, etc.