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India Visa Preparations and Pre-Travel Checklist

Traveling to India is fun and rewarding. It's even better if travelers know for sure that they have everything they need to go through customs, enter the country, and participate in the activities they've arranged once they're there.

Sure, India has plenty of stores and most visitors can get something they need if they forget it. However, there are a few things that cannot be replaced.

Be Well Prepared Before Departure to India 

Travelers to India need to make sure that they have the proper documentation before they try to enter the country. Since India does not grant visas on arrival anymore (except in a few, very limited, cases), travelers who do not have the proper permission before they get there may not be able to enter India at all.

Fortunately, getting a visa to India is usually easy and can be done online. People traveling for fun, for business, or for medical reasons can apply for their eVisa here. Others will need to do some research to find out how to get the visa they need before they enter India.

Checklist for Your India Travel 

Travelers to India will need to have a few items ready when they go through Immigration. These include:

A copy of their approved visa to India. Travelers who do not have a hard copy of this document may not be able to enter the country and/or will have their entry delayed. Each person traveling needs his or her own visa.

Their current passport. This should be the same passport they used to get their visa to India. It needs to have at least 6 months of validity left on it and at least 2 full open pages for use by Indian officials.

Proof of a flight leaving India within the time allowed by their visa. Travelers need to demonstrate that they plan to return home or continue their trip elsewhere.

Proof of their travel plans within India. This can include tours they have booked, hotels where they plan to stay, car rentals, etc.

Proof that they have sufficient funds to cover their stay in India.

Officials may not ask to see all of this documentation but they can ask, so it is good to have it along. Other items to take care of before entering India include:

Transportation away from the airport. This can be private transportation, like a car. It can be rented transportation that the traveler drives himself. It can be getting picked up by a bus to go to a nearby hotel.

Hotel details, at least for the first few nights. Even if travel plans remain open, it's a good idea to know where one plans to stay upon arrival in the country.

A general plan. Some travelers like to plan out every detail. Others like to plan as they go along. No matter what, it's a good idea to have some sense of sights to see and how to spend time in India.

Tours booked. For travelers who want to have very specific experiences in India, whether that's a yoga retreat at an ashram, an encounter with elephants, or a float down a river, it's a good idea to book these before arrival in the country. These tours can fill up fast! See a list of India tourism companies here.

Meetings planned. Business and/or medical travelers will want to be sure that the people they need to meet with know they are coming. That way, they won't have to waste one minute on the ground once they are in India.

Traveling to a foreign country can be exhilarating. It is always good to plan ahead and to be prepared for a seamless travel experience. Before applying for an Indian visa foreign tourists can create a checklist. They can focus on the following:

Select an Appropriate Visa Type

The Indian government offers different types of visas for different purposes. Foreign nationals can opt for a short-term/long-term visa based on the purpose and duration of the visit.

Foreign tourists can select an e-Tourist visa depending on the intended duration of their stay. There are three types of e-Tourist visas with varying validities such as 30 days, one year and five years.

International businesspersons can choose from different types of business visas based on their planned stay. 

Similarly, the Indian government issues several other visa types like e-Medical visa, e-Conference visa, employment visa, student visa and transit visa. Ensure to select a visa suitable for the nature of visit. 

Fill in All the Fields

The first step for applying for an India visa is to fill in an online application form wherein applicants need to enter their identity details like name and date of birth, passport information including its number and issuance/expiry dates and travel information like flight and accommodation reservation facts.

Ensure to fill in correct information that matches the details given in the passport.

Applicants have an option to re-upload their details/data before the final submission. Ensure to verify all the data entered before clicking on the submit button. 

Missing fields and incorrect information can delay the visa procedure and in some cases visa denial.

Upload Passport Image

Irrespective of the type of visa that they are applying for, all applicants need to upload a scanned copy of their passport. Only ordinary and standard passport holders can apply for Indian eVisas and their passport should be valid for at least six months. 

They need to upload a clear and non-pixelated copy of the first biographical page with identity and passport details like given name, surname, date of birth, gender, passport number, nationality, expiry and issuance date of the passport.

All the corners and edges of the passport should be visible in the image. 

Upload Image of Self 

Applicants should submit their passport size photographs along with the visa application. The image can be a scanned copy of a physical photograph or a digital photograph taken using a webcam/camera.

The size of the image should be between 10KB and 300KB and its height and width should be equal.  

Pay for the Visa Fee

Applicants should make online payments using an approved debit/credit card issued by MasterCard or VISA. The processing fee differs from country to country and from embassy to embassy. The processing fee is not refundable in case of visa denial. 

Receive Document

An Indian eVisa will usually take three to four working days to deliver. Applicants can check the status of their application at the same website. For regular visas, the applicants need to submit all the documents at the visa application center. The center will courier them back once the visa is approved.   

Print Document

It is important to take a print of the Indian visa once it is delivered. Officials at the immigration counter will ask for it and forgetting to take the print copy can delay the customs and immigration checks and, in some cases, it can result in entry denial. 

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