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If you’re wondering – ‘is it hard to get a visa for India?’ or ‘how do I apply for an Indian visa online?’, I’m happy to tell you that just a few years ago, it was pretty hard and time-consuming to get a tourist visa for India, but India has upped their game in the last few years and now it’s easy to get a visa for India online!
In 2018 it was pretty easy to get a 2 month / 60 day tourist visa for India online as an e-Visa, but for someone like me who went to India for 4 months, I had to book an Indian visa appointment at an office in the UK and hand over my passport for a few days in order to get a longer visa processed. However, in 2019, things changed again and for the better!
As of early 2019, the only way to get a visa for India is online and they now provide a multiple entry ONE YEAR visa straight away! This changes the game!
India is an intense and huge country. Although I think that a good amount of time to spend in India is 2 months, ideally one month in North India and one month in South India, like I’ve detailed in this 2 month itinerary, having a one year Indian tourist visa now gives us much more flexibility to stay longer, or come and go over a year period.
I know what you’re wondering ‘how do I get an Indian visa online for one year?’, well, I’m going to guide you through the step by step process of how to get an e-Visa for India the new 2019 way!
I am from the UK so this process is how to get a visa for India as a UK citizen however as you’ll soon see, the process is the same for most nationalities including people using a European Passport to enter India, an American passport to enter India and a Canadian or Australian passport to enter India.
There are 2 ways to get your Indian visa online:
This is the official India e-Visa website to get your India visa on for all nationalities, and this blog post is going to show you how to go through the online Indian visa application.
When you type into Google ‘how to get an Indian visa’, you may come across other sites to the one above, to get your visa on but they will charge you extra money on top of the standard visa fee as they are 3rd party sites.
The positive of using third party visa websites is that they offer you assistance and make the visa application process easier. I’ve been speaking to iVisa who offer visa services for India. I didn’t use them because I think the official site is easy to navigate and I’m going to explain how to use it below, but if you have any issue working the official system or you’re happy to pay a bit extra to get some assistance. I’d recommend getting your India visa through iVisa.
On the Homepage, click For eVisa by Bureau of Immigration. Apply here.
(If you are applying for a visa for India from Japan or South Korea, click the button with your flags next to it.)
You’ll be taken to this page:
Under Advisory you can check the Indian visa types on offer. When you click on the number, details will appear on the right about how long the visa for India lasts and extra nationality information so if you are not from the UK, check the details for your country.
(FYI that I am guiding you on how to get a visa for India using a desktop so the buttons may be in different places on a mobile.)
For example, at the time of writing this post, this is what the 1. e-Tourist Visa details show:
As you can see if you’re applying for an Indian Visa from the USA, Canada, UK or Japan you can stay for longer without leaving to go back.
Click the Apply here for e-visa at the bottom left of the page.
Page 1 asks for simple contact and personal details.
The only bit that may catch you out here is port of arrival and expected date of arrival if you do not know when you’ll enter India yet. If you do not know, the answers do not need to be exact or correct but try to get them as near as possible. For example, it’s fairly likely you’ll fly into Delhi, Mumbai or Goa as these are the 3 main airports in India.
If you plan to arrive by land, be sure to check what I’ve said about land border crossings into India in the important information section at the bottom of this post.
Page 2 asks for more details and your passport details.
On the question Citizenship/National Id No – type NA and for Visible identification marks – type NA too.
IMPORTANT TIP: Make a note of the Temporary Application ID at the start so if the form crashes midway through (which it may well do) you can go back to the homepage and continue to fill out the pre-filled out form from there rather than starting again.
Page 3 requests details for address, family details and occupation.
Page 4 gets you to confirm and check the type of visa you are applying for. Generally, unless you are visiting India for business, you will be applying for an eTourist visa. It also asks you for more details about your trip to India.
You’re asked for Places to be visited, in the box, name as many places as you can but you don’t need to name them all and there are limited characters for the box so you can’t name them all anyway.
If you do not know your India route yet, popular places to visit in India that you’ll probably go to are Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodphur, Varanasi, Mumbai, Goa, Kerala. After you’ve finished with your visa, you can look at one of my India itineraries to help you plan your trip!
Have you booked any room in Hotel/Resort etc. through any Tour Operator? – If you’re visiting India solo and you’re not visiting India on a tour, click no. If you are visiting on a tour click yes and give the tour operator details.
When they ask for Countries Visited in Last 10 years, note that although it lets you add 50+ Countries as I added, when you proceed you’ll get an error message to say you can only add 20. So only add up to 20 if you have been to more.
Have you visited SAARC countries (except your own country) during last 3 years? The SAARC countries are Afganistan, Bhutan, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal.
Reference Name in India: Put your first hotel / hostel name if you have one booked, if not pick any accommodation in the city you might go to first. For example, I used the details of Backpacker Panda in Colaba, Mumbai as I have been there before and might go back.
Reference Name in Home Country: This is where you add your next of kin details.
Page 5 asks you to answer, what should be, pretty easy questions!
Page 6 is where things can get a bit more tricky but it’s not too hard if you follow these steps.
You need to upload a passport photo to go along with your Indian online visa.
They give you the dimensions and details- it must be a JPEG photo, between 10KB and 1MB, and a minimum of 350×350 pixels.
This can seem tricky but my secret is that I tried scanning in 2 different sized passport photos and uploading them but it didn’t accept them. I then took a photo of a passport photo on my phone, transferred it to my laptop, uploaded it and it worked!
Once it is uploaded, you’re given the chance to crop it to the dimensions they need in the next screen. Easy!
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR INDIA
First off, have you got travel insurance for India yet? I am covered by World Nomad’s and I really recommend them for their great customer service, their choice of policies and the fact that they were created by travellers for travellers!
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SIM CARD FOR INDIA
I really recommend having a sim card in India as it makes travel in India so much easier! You may have heard that it’s hard to get a sim card in India but now you can get a sim card in Delhi, read this post to see how to buy a sim card in Delhi Airport and you’ll be connected in just a few hours!
If your phone is locked or you don’t want to go to the hassle of getting a sim card, I suggest getting a portable wifi device for India which you can get delivered to your home free of charge 2-3 days before you leave for India!
Page 7 asked you to upload a copy of your passport photo page in a PDF format.
What I did is take a photo of my passport on my phone and transferred it to my laptop, like I did with the passport photo.
I opened the photo and changed the size to fit the minimum 10KB and maximum 300KB requirements and I exported it into PDF all on my Mac before uploading it. If you do this, make sure you rename the photo with .PDF at the end or it won’t accept it and will keep telling you it’s not a PDF.
See the screenshots below for help on how to resize a photo and export to PDF on a Mac.
Then, make sure you click upload under the file name so you get the green ‘uploaded’ status on the right.
If you are having real issues at this stage and cannot upload the right photo, this is where I’d suggest you look into help from iVisa!
If you need to go away and take photos before you can upload them remember you can save your application and come back to it. Make a note of the Temporary Application ID and return to it within 7 days, otherwise, you’ll need to start again after 7 days.
(Note that I applied for a business visa for India as I’m running 2020 India tours, so my screenshot asks for my business card, you won’t be asked for this if you’re applying for a tourist visa.)
Page 8 asks you to confirm the details you have entered so far.
Page 9 is where you complete the online Indian visa payment.
Make a note of the application ID, this is a different from the Temporary Application ID you were given before. You’ll also be shown how much a visa for India costs here based on where you are from and what visa you are applying for.
I applied for a business visa in August 2019 which as you can see cost $100.00 USD.
Click Pay Now.
I clicked onto Paypal which took me to this SBIePay site where I could pay via PayPal or by debit or credit card using Visa or MasterCard. I couldn’t seem to pay my AMEX.
If you have issues paying as the system is crashing or doesn’t look like it’s processing the payment, leave the page and to go back to the homepage and click on Verify Payment / Pay e-Visa Fee which takes you to a page you can enter the application Id you were given and check the status. If the payment has processed, it will say.
Shortly after I got an email to say my visa application had been successfully received and the application will take up to 72 hours to be processed.
To my delight, I got an email 18 hours later to say it had been granted! That’s quick!
To finish the Indian visa process, I went back to the official Indian visa homepage, clicked Check Visa Status, filled in the details, and then clicked Print Status, which downloaded a copy of my granted ETA visa for India as a PDF which I printed to take with me to enter.
I hope you can tell from this post that you MUST apply for your visa for India in advance and as you can see it can take up to 3 days / 72 hours to process so give yourself time.
DO NOT ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT WITHOUT A GRANTED VISA FOR INDIA. India does not offer a visa on arrival and you’ll be refused on your flight or into India.
The visa for India starts as soon as it is granted by email. This isn’t too much of a problem now that it’s a 365 day visa but it means the earlier you apply for the visa, the earlier it expires so don’t apply for it too far in advance if you think you’ll go back and forth to India over the next year.
With that being said, you can’t apply for the visa earlier than 180 days before your intended trip.
Although this is a 365 day visa, most nationalities can only stay for 90 days at a time, then they will have to leave and come back. People with a UK, USA, Canadian or Japanese passport (as of writing this) can stay for up to 180 days at a time.
PRINT off the visa ETA application that is sent to you as you may need to show it when you arrive in India.
As of August 2019 when I applied, applicants can arrive at 28 e-Visa designated airports in India which are Ahmedabad , Amritsar , Bagdogra , Bengaluru , Bhubaneshwar , Calicut , Chandigarh , Chennai , Cochin , Coimbatore , Delhi , Gaya , Goa , Guwahati , Hyderabad , Jaipur , Kolkata , Lucknow , Madurai , Mangalore , Mumbai , Nagpur , Portblair , Pune , Tiruchirapalli , Trivandrum , Varanasi , Vishakhapatnam, and 5 designated seaports– Chennai , Cochin , Goa , Mangalore , Mumbai. However, he/she can depart from any of the authorized Immigration Check Posts in India.
It’s popular for travellers to travel into India by land border from Nepal, there are also land borders to cross into India from Pakistan and Bangladesh however with this new visa because it is not technically in your passport already like it used to be if you went to a visa office in your home country. From what I understand you CANNOT arrive into India via land border for the first time on an e-visa as they need to put a special stamp in, you can re-enter India via land though once your e-visa is in your passpirt.
If you plan to travel into India by land from Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh or any other way, I would strongly recommend speaking to the Indian Visa Office first to check if thats ok, their email is email@example.com and their number is +91-11-24300666.
Lastly, the visa rules for India state that you need proof of exit from India so you may be asked to show a flight out of India when you check in at your departing airport. If you don’t have this because you don’t know when or where you’ll leave India from, you can either book a super cheap flight on Skyscanner, or you can use Expedia.com to book a flight when you get asked at the airport and to book a flight with a 24 hour cancellation notice so you can cancel it within 24 hours with no charges!
Now you’re set to go to India!
Remember you’ll need travel insurance. I am covered by WorldNomad’s and I really recommend them as it has been designed for travellers by travellers. They offer 24/7 emergency assistance, trip cancellation, protection of gear, and a lot more. Plus they’re flexible and simple! Just what we need! Get a quote here whilst you’re thinking about it and you don’t need to be in your home country to become covered.
If you want some personalised travel advice for India and to know all of my top tips for visiting India you can book a travel planning session with me and we can chat on the phone or exchange some detailed emails.
These posts will get you started:
Finally, if you want to start looking into how to get from place to place by train and bus in India, although I recommend getting the train as much as possible, head on over to 12GO Asia to check out some routes and I suggest you book these in advance too!
I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
NOV-DEC: PROBABLY INDONESIA
If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.