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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!
India Tourist Visa Application
As of 2020, there are now 3 tourist visas for India you can get – 30 Days, 1 Year, 5 Years.
How much does a visa for India cost? The costs seem to change a lot but right now the 30-day e-visa for India if $25.00 and the 1-year e-visa for India is $40.00.
(If you have travelled to India before you may know that there used to be a 60-day visa for India but this is no longer offered)
I know what you’re wondering ‘how do I get an Indian visa online?’, well, I’m going to guide you through the step by step process of how to get an e-Visa for India in the most up to date way in 2020.
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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you read this post too much, I want to tell you now that if you are applying for the 1 month visa for India (30 day visa), you can only apply when you are within 30 days of going, so if your trip is more than 30 days away, bookmark this post and come back to it 30 days before you visit India!
My Must Read India Blog Posts To Help You See the Best of India!
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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There are 2 ways to get your Indian visa online:
1) The Official E-Visa website.
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.
2) An India Visa Specialist.
When you type into Google ‘how to get an Indian visa’, you will come across other sites to the one above, they will tell you that this is how you get a visa for India, but they will charge you extra money on top of the standard visa fee because they are 3rd party sites.
However, 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 by clicking here.
Step 1 Indian Visa Application Form:
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 with the 3 different options:
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.
Step 2 Completing the form:
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.
However, if you are applying for the 30 DAY VISA, note that you can only apply for this within 30 days of your arrival date, so if you don’t know when you’ll visit India yet, you should probably think about this first. After this, your visa will be valid for 30 days once you arrive 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. If you plan to arrive into India from Pakistan, read this blog post about crossing the Wagah Border.
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!
Note that your photo may be too big, but it may also be too small so be sure to read the red warning correctly if it will not let you load a photo.
Once it is uploaded, you’re given the chance to crop it to the dimensions they need in the next screen. Easy!
Related Post: Are you still working out where to visit in India? Here are 24 places in India perfect for your first trip!
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 run tours in India, 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.
Step 3 Paying for the Visa:
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.
Choose your payment type and 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. Amex does work but there is an extra feee.
As you can see, the 30 day tourist visa for India costs $25.00, the one year visa for India cost is $40.00
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.
Important Things To Note About The Indian Tourist Visa:
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 1 year and 5 year visa for India starts as soon as it is granted by email. This isn’t too much of a problem because of the length of the 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.
However The 30 day tourist visa for India gives you 30 days from when you enter, not from when it’s approved!
With that being said, you can’t apply for the visa earlier than 180 days before your intended trip, or 30 days if you get the 30 day visa.
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 passport.
This was reconfirmed to me when I travelled from Pakistan to India via the Wagah Border, I could do it as I had the visa in my passport already but I could not have done it if I didn’t.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!