You must have a passport with you all the time. It's the most basic travel document. Also ensure that your passport will be valid for the entire period you intend to remain overseas, if your passport is lost or stolen, immediately contact your country's embassy or consulate in Delhi and also to nearest police station.
Apply for Passport
The best time to apply for a passport or to renew is during the fall and winter. Before any trip, be sure to check your passport's expiration date and, if necessary, renew it as soon as possible.
Citizens of all countries, (except Nepal and Bhutan), require a valid national passport or valid travel documents and a valid visa granted by Indian Missions / Consulates abroad for entering India. Nepalese or Bhutanese citizens need no passport or visa but should possess suitable documents for their identification when proceeding from their respective countries.
Visa fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice. The High Commission reserves the right on granting and deciding type/duration of visa irrespective of the fees tendered at the time of making application. Granting of Visa does not confer the right of entry to India and is subject to the discretion of the Immigration Authorities. Visa can be applied for in person or by post at the High Commission of India in London. Visa applications from persons not ordinarily residing in the UK or from people of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan origin are considered only in the High Commission of India, London and Consulate General of India, Birmingham and their processing may take one week or in some cases much longer. Applicants not ordinarily resident in the UK and Sri Lankan nationals are required to complete an additional form. Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals have to file special visa application forms. In the following cases processing of applications will take longer: (a) British Nationals holding dual nationality or of other origin, (b) applicants not resident in the UK, (c) where clearance from India is mandatory, (d) visitors to restricted areas and (e) certain cases where documents may need to be verified. Visa Section will contact the applicant about the time of delivery for such passports. Please note that each application is examined individually and the time taken for issuing Visa will vary from case to case.
Visitors to restricted/protected areas need special permits and for this purpose an additional form has to be completed. Please contact the High Commission of India, London if you wish to ascertain whether any of the places you intend to visit fall in the category of restricted/protected areas. Specific Visas are granted for a variety of purposes. The principal types of Visa issued are mentioned below. Please contact the High Commission of India for further details if you are visiting India for purposes other than tourism, such as journalism, conferences, yoga, voluntary work, mountaineering or other expeditions. The visa application form is, however, the same. Separate forms are available for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Nationals.
Requirements for Visa
- Original passport valid for at least 6 months
- Correct visa fee
- Two passport size photographs (5 photographs in case of Pakistani Nationals)
- Supporting documents, where necessary
- Duly completed application form (Pakistani and Bangladeshi Nationals need to apply on special application forms)
Additional requirements for different types of Visa are given below.
- Tourist Visa
Tourists wishing to visit India will normally be granted tourist Visa, effective from the date of issue. Tourist Visa are non-extendible and non-convertible. Travel Agents who have to visit India frequently may be granted tourist Visa for a longer duration.
- Business Visa
Business Visa are normally granted for 3 or 6 months. However, multiple-entry Business Visa for up to 2 years validity may be granted to technicians/experts going to India in pursuance of bilateral agreements or joint venture projects having government approval.
- Student and Employment Visa
Student Visa can be obtained on furnishing proof of admission to recognized Universities/Institutions in India. Employment Visa can also be obtained on furnishing of proof of employment with companies in India.
- Transit Visa
Transit Visa are valid for halts of up to 72 hours in India within 15 days from the date of issue of the visa and must be obtained before departure. Transit Visa cannot be obtained from immigration counters at ports of entry in India. Evidence of onward travel to a destination outside India is required.
- Entry Visa
Entry Visa are issued to persons of Indian origin for a duration of up to 5 years. These can be obtained, depending on the purpose of visit and eligibility, on a case by case basis.
- Visa to Missionaries
Are valid for single entry and duration as permitted by Government of India. A letter in triplicate from sponsoring organization indicating intended destination in India, probable length of stay, and nature of duties to be discharged should be submitted along with guarantee for applicant’s maintenance while in India.
- Journalist Visa
Are issued to professional journalists and photographers for visiting India. The applicants are required to contact on arrival in New Delhi, the External Publicity Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and in other places, the Office of the Government of India's Press Information Bureaus.
- Conference Visa
Are issued for attending conferences/seminars/meetings in India. A letter of invitation from the organizer of the conference is to be submitted along with the visa application. Delegates coming to attend conferences may combine tourism with attending conferences
Please Note : Persons holding long term Visa (having validity exceeding 6 months) are normally not expected to stay in India more than 6 months during each visit. Please refer to the boxed note further down for requirement to register with the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO)/Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
Visa Exemption Letters for Minors
Visa Exemption Letters previously granted to children of Indian origin (for a maximum validity of 90 days from the date of issue) have been discontinued since 1 July 1999. Visa Exemption Letters issued in the past are hence no longer valid. All children holding separate passports are now required to obtain regular Visa.