Which India visa is right for my travel needs?

Most travellers from countries like the EU or the UK are allowed to travel to India with an electronic version of the India visa. This version of the India visa is much easier to apply for because you can apply with a simple online form. For a physical visa, you must apply with visa agencies authorized to provide physical Indian visas. This obviously means that the physical version will cost more because of the time and logistics involved in the application process.

How long can I stay in India

There are two variants of the electronic version of the India visa. The most common India visa which is used for most standard travel is the 30 day India visa. This visa is valid for 30 days from the moment it is approved. Most travellers can use this visa if they are going on a holiday, visiting friends and family, for business meetings, or for short medical stays. With this visa, you may enter the country twice within that 30 day window.

The second variant of the Indian visa is valid for 1 year. This is obviously a slightly more expensive visa, and allows for multiple entries into the country. The visa will be valid for 1 year and allows for a stay of up to 180 days. There might be a few reasons that you would rather have a 1 year visa instead of a 30 day visa.

  • Length of Stay

One popular reason is the duration of the stay in India. If you would like to stay with family for an extended period of time, then you might indeed consider obtaining either 1 year visa since you will be visiting often, and for extended periods of time. This is very common for those living in other countries who still have close family and friends in India.

  • Medical Treatments

It has become increasingly common to travel to India for medical purposes, and the country has certainly become a strong player in the medical tourism world. This can be for traditional medicine, for Ayurvedic treatments, or even a combination of the two. Obviously if the recovery period is longer than 30 days, or if there are several treatments scheduled, a longer validity period would be more ideal. Since the 1 year visa is valid for 180 days, those travelling for medical reasons can travel with much less pressure to leave in a hurry.

  • Cruises across India

This version of the India visa is ideal for those travelling on Cruises throughout India. Many travellers might start a cruise in a different country, and they may not arrive in India until several weeks into the cruise. Having a 1 year visa can eliminate hassles related to trying to find internet access on a cruise, and worrying whether you will arrive within your visa’s allotted time.

India visa application form

The application form for the India visa consists of several steps. First, you will need to fil in contact details for each and every traveller. At this step it is wise to have all of the passport data and information of every traveller. Once the contact details have been filled in, you can then fill in the travel details. This includes information like where you expect to arrive. There are designated expected arrival locations on the form, and you can fill this in to the best of your ability. If you do not have an exact arrival location chosen, it is indeed possible to change your travel plans. As long as your arrival is on the list of allowed locations on the form, it will not be an issue.

The next steps involve filling in passport details, and information about parents, employers, and partner history. If you are married you must fill in your partner’s details, and you must fill in your parent’s information. You must also fill in the employer information for each traveller, if the traveller is too young to be employed, or has never been employed, then you must fill in the employment history of the traveller’s father.

The final questions on the application form involve travel history and security questions. You must indicate which countries you have visited in the last 10 years, as well as whether you have visited India before. The security questions are simple yes or no questions involving entry into other countries, criminality and asylum. These questions are to assess if the traveller is a threat to the country, and is very common for most visa applications. Upon answering these questions, you are then asked to provide a digital image of the information page of your passport.

Once the visa is approved

Both variants of the India visa area valid from the moment they are approved. However, many travellers might find themselves confused by the expiry date on the visa. The expiry date for the visa will be 30 days from the approval date. However, this expiry date merely indicates the very last day you are allowed to enter India. For example, if your application is approved on 1 June, the expiry date will likely say 30 June, which means can enter India until 30 June. Upon arrival in India, your passport will be stamped on that particular date, and you are allowed to stay in India 30 days after that stamp on the passport.

For this reason, if the traveller applies for an India visa more than 3 weeks in advance of the expected arrival date, the application is then put on hold until approximately 3 weeks before that indicated arrival date. This allows for the time needed to have the visa approved, leaving some room for unexpected delays, such as a background check or administrative delays such as official holidays taken by the immigration authorities.

With this in mind you can make sure that any holiday to India will be stress-free. Leading to a lovely holiday whatever the reason.

By Beata