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India Visa Policy

When planning a trip to India, it's important to research the visa policy for your home country. Due to the number of changes to the visa policies in the past five to ten years, you may find that your country has different requirements in comparison to a trip you have taken in the past. While some visitors can apply for an eVisa online or obtain a visa on arrival, today we're going to look at how you go about applying for an Indian visa at your local consulate this year.

India Visa Background

Over the years, there have been many updates and changes to the visa policy for various countries entering India. Just as recently as 2014, they established the Electronic Travel Authorisation for over forty countries, which then added more countries to total 113 countries in August 2015. ETAs are used for shorter visits, such as tourism, family and friends visits, business, and medical procedures. They are divided into three categories: tourist, business, or medical e-Visa. At the same time, in 2014, visa on arrival was expanded to 180 countries. However, visitors from Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia were excluded from these programs at that time.

Visa charges for an Indian visa vary from country to country. Certain countries do not pay a fee at all, whereas others will be charged for their application with the Indian consulate. For anyone looking to enter certain parts of India, a Protected Area Permit will be required. Sometimes these restrictions are lifted for a year, so you'll need to keep an eye on these regulations if you are planning to enter these areas on a trip. On top of that, certain nationalities, such as Pakistanis, have had their visa applications cut back in recent years. Due to the ever-changing political climate in the country, it's important to research the visa options thoroughly before booking a trip in the future to India.

Popular Visas for India

When it comes to applying for a visa for India, you'll find a wide range of categories available. If you need to apply for a visa from your home country for tourism, you'll need to ensure you are only undertaking the activities listed in this type of visa's rules. For example, journalists visiting India must apply for the J visa, which allows them to stay for up to three months for this type of work in the country. The business visa is regularly used for trips to India and allows you to undertake a wide range of business activities in the country. This could include establishing contacts and making sales, and you'll be allowed to stay for up to six months at a time. You'll find various options on offer for this visa, ranging from three months to a year, and with single or multiple entries.

Student visas are available for anyone looking to study in India, and the entry requirements of your visa will be dependent on the course you are registering for. A medical escort visa is offered to anyone visiting someone traveling on a medical visa, and you'll need to provide proof of the treatment that's going ahead in the country. While these are the most commonly used visa types, you'll also find research visas, intern visas, urgent business visas, and many more options on offer, depending on the nature of your upcoming visit.

Applying for an Indian Visa

After establishing the type of visa you need for your trip to India, you'll need to get in contact with the local Indian consulate in your home country. From there, you'll be provided with the application forms for your visa and can book an appointment for your interview. To begin your application, you'll need to ensure your passport has at least 180 days of validity and that you have two blank pages to affix your visa. Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, you'll need to show various documentation to support your application. This may include proof of employment, education, or sufficient funds to cover your trip. You'll also be asked about the dates and accommodation for your trip.

After collecting together the necessary documents for your visa, fill in the online application form, which you can then submit to book your appointment with the consulate. This procedure may vary from country to country, and it may be completed manually in some parts of the world. Ensure you complete the application properly and that your referees, signatures, and photo are correct. You are advised to also print off your application to bring with you to the appointment along with your appointment confirmation.

The Visa Appointment

During your visa appointment, you'll be required to show your application form, any supporting documents, your appointment confirmation, a declaration form, and then the payment for the visa fee. The payment will vary depending on your visa category. Processing times will vary between each country and depending on how busy your local consulate is, so ensure you don't confirm all of your travel plans until you have obtained the visa. Allow good time ahead of your trip to collect all of the required documentation. Some countries allow you to track your application online or by email. Most countries allow you to collect your application at the consulate where you had your appointment, or you can pay for your passport to be sent to your home address. It's recommended that you only book your flights and accommodation after receiving your approval.

As you can see, the process for applying for an Indian visa is very similar to other countries. However, their policies are constantly updated, so ensure you are keeping an eye on any changes to your home country's policies. We recommend that you allow plenty of time to apply for your visa at your local consulate to avoid any delays to your trip. With so many visa categories on offer, ensure you pick the right one to match the purpose of your upcoming visit to India and prevent any issues with your application.
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