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Indian Visa and Travel Information

What comes to mind when one thinks about travel in India.....The world famous TAJ MAHAL ! 

It was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child! Its beauty ranges from the surrounding classical gardens and reflecting pool to the elaborate patterns of semiprecious stones decorating the white marble. Plan on spending a minimum of an hour to see the Taj Mahal. The new price to enter the Taj Mahal (Rs 500) applies to one admission per person on a single day, and is irrespective of the time of entry. The Taj is still closed on Mondays for cleaning.

A visit to India can be an adventure that you will never forget. India has an enormous variety of destinations to offer from the breath taking Himalayas to the artistic temples, tombs, forts, abandoned cities and ruins. You will be surrounded by the warmth and kindness of the Indian people. 

Though the sheer size of the country means that travel is seldom straightforward, the extensive road, rail and air links ensure that you can reach your destination invariably.

The widespread use of English makes communication easy for the majority of Western visitors as many understand and speak English fluently...although the accent maybe difficult to understand at times. 

The fun way to travel within India  is by train, with computerized booking now established almost everywhere, the Indian rail network is as efficient as almost any in the world. Rail journeys also offer the chance to meet other travelers and Indians from all walks of life. A constant stream of activity as chai-wallahs, peanut-sellers, musicians, astrologers and mendicants wander through the carriages...a great pastime. 

Indian Visas

Indian visas are necessary for all foreigners visiting India. Tourist visas are issued either for one month or for six months. Entry into India has to be within one month from the date of issue for the one month visa and the latter is issued for six month from the date of issue. Fees for both the categories are same. It is advisable to take the six month Visa only if you are planning to visit the neighboring countries.

Foreign citizens who visit India to study, do research, work or act as missionaries, as well as all travelers planning to stay more than 180 days are required to register, generally within 14 days of arrival, with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) closest to where they will be staying.  The FRRO maintains offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai (known as the "Chennai Immigration Office"), Kolkata and Amritsar.  In smaller cities and towns, the local police headquarters will normally perform this function.  General information regarding Indian visa and immigration rules, including the addresses and telephone numbers for the FRRO offices, can be found at the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs web site for its Bureau of Immigration at http://www.immigrationindia.nic.in.

If the stay in the country exceeds 180 days, then tourists are required to get a "tax clearance certificate". Also an extension beyond 180 days, is allowed only in exceptional cases, an extension fee of Rs. 100 for U.S citizens and Rs. 200 for U.K citizens is charged. 

For the most current information on entry and exit requirements, please contact the 

Embassy of India at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-9806 http://www.indianembassy.org or the Indian Consulates in Chicago http://chicago.indianconsulate.com, New York http://www.indiacgny.org, San Francisco http://www.cgisf.org or Houston http://www.cgihouston.org

Outside the United States, inquiries should be made at the nearest Indian embassy or consulate. To apply for a visa please visit this link to download visa forms and instructions needed for visas.  Indian Embassy website

Download Forms

(Application Forms for Passport, Visa and other Services)
Please note that most of the links carry multiple forms viz applying from India and Abroad and since the forms are clustered and hosted on Ministry of External Affairs Servers, downloading may take time.

Visa Application Download in pdf format

Passport Renewal Download Passport Renewal Application

Passport Application Download Passport Application (Fresh/After Full Term Expiry of Passports)

Passport Application & Instructions (Lost/Damaged)

Person of Indian Origin Card PIO Card

PIO Rules (Instructions for filling up PIO Cards)

PIO Application (Grant/Renewal of PIO Card - To be filled in Duplicate)

Affidavit (US)
Dowload Affidavit (Affidavit to be submitted by the single parent with the application for a passport of a minor child where the consent/signature of the other parent is not available)

Wavier Certificate (US)
Grant of Wavier Certificate

Miscellaneous Services (US)
(For change of name, birth/life/marriage/police clearance certificate, attestation of property, no obligation to return to India and endorsement for emigration not required etc.)

Download Acrobat Reader Free

In order to view PDF documents, users must first download the free Acrobat Reader software, which lets you view, navigate through, and print PDF documents. Detailed instructions for downloading and installing the Acrobat Reader. If you are not able to complete the indicated procedure, a Troubleshooting guide is available. For best results, make sure you have installed version 3.0 or later of the Acrobat Reader.


Baggage Declaration : Visitors are generally required to make oral baggage declarations in respect of baggage and foreign currency in their possession. Visitors in possession of more than US$ 10,000 or equivalent thereof in shape of travelers check, bank notes, currency notes are required to obtain a currency declaration form before leaving customs. They should fill in the Disembarkation Card handed over to them by the airlines during the course of the flight.

How much money (in dollars) one can carry without declaration while going to India?

The total value of Foreign Currency brought in by a person, in the form of Currency Notes, Travelers Checks etc. should not exceed total of 10,000 US Dollars or it's equivalent.

And Foreign Currency Notes should not exceed 2,500 US Dollars or its equivalent. If it is above this limit, then you need to declare it at the customs, and need to fill up a CDF (Currency Declaration Form).

Customs clearance : The two channels for customs are 
Green Channel - for passengers not having any dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage.
Red Channel for passengers having dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage or high value articles to be entered on Tourist Baggage Re-Export (TBRE) form.

Foreign Travel Tax : For international travel from Indian airports, Rs.150 must be paid for travel to neighboring countries and Rs.300 for travel to all other countries. This travel tax is also applicable to small infants who may not be occupying seats.

Health Regulations : Barring a yellow fever vaccination for tourists coming from infected areas (African and South American Countries ), there are no vaccination requirements for tourists visiting India.

Health Information for Travelers to the Indian Subcontinent : This page by the Center For Diseases Control lists some of the precautions to take before flying to India.

Accommodations  : There are modern hotels in all large cities as well as at popular tourist attractions. These have been classified under the internationally accepted star system ranging from 4 to 5-star hotels which are fully air-conditioned with all luxury features, 3 star hotels which are functional and have air-conditioned rooms, and 1 to 2 star hotels which offer basic amenities. Most hotels offer a choice of first class Western and Indian cuisine.

The Consular Passport and Visa division of the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for issuance of Passport, Visa and Person of Indian Origin Cards to eligible persons. Click here to go to their website.

Petty crime, especially theft of personal property, is common, particularly on trains or buses.  Pickpockets can be very adept, and women have reported having their bags snatched, purse-straps cut or the bottom of their purses slit without their knowledge.  Theft of U.S. passports is quite common, particularly in major tourist areas, on overnight trains, and at airports.  Train travelers are urged to lock their sleeping compartments and take valuables with them when leaving their berths.  Air travelers are advised to carefully watch their bags in the arrival and departure areas outside of airports. 

Otherwise travelling to India is very safe. 

Indian Consulates in the United States

Consulate General of India - New York Homepage
(Consular Jurisdiction: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virgin Islands)
NEW YORK, NY 10021
Phone : 212-774-0600 and 0699
Fax : 212-861-3788  and 212-570-9581

Consulate General of India - San Francisco Homepage
(Consular Jurisdiction: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)

540 Arguello Boulevard San Francisco, CA 94118
Tel: (415) 668-0662  Fax: (415) 668-7968

Consulate General of India - Chicago Homepage
(Consular Jurisdiction: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin)

NBC Tower, 455 North Cityfront Plaza Drive, Suite #850, CHICAGO, IL 60611
Tel: 312-595-0405 (06/07/08/09/10)
Special Hotline for Enquiries: 312-595-0417
FAX 312-595-0416 and 0418

Consulate General of India - Houston
(Consular Jurisdiction: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas)

Tel: 713-626-2148/2149
Fax: 713-626-2450

Indian Embassy in the United States Website

2536 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 939-9839/9806
Fax: (202) 265-7532/387-6946

Note : Visas can be filed online. PDF format. 

Indian Embassies Around the World : This page provides a list of Indian Embassies around the world. Also phone numbers and addresses.

Indian Tourist Offices

Level 1, 17, Castlereagh Street,
 Sydney, New South Wales 2000, 
Tel: 0061-2-232-1600/, 17961, 0061-2-233-7579
Fax: (02) 2233003
P.O. Box 11294. 
Vlla No. S, Gudaibiya,
Tel: 715713, Fax: 00973 71527
60, Bloor Street (West),
Suite, 1003, Toronto, Ontario M4 W3 B8 , Tel:416-962-3787,416-962-3788 Fax: 416-962 6279
8, BouleVard de la Madeleine 
 75009 Paris
Tel: 42-65 83-86, 42 65 7706, Fax: 42-65-0116
Indisches Fremdenverkehrsamt, 
Baseler Strasse 48, 60329, Frankfurt AM-Main
Tel: (069) 2429490, Fax: (069) 24294977
9, Via-Albricci, Milan 20122
Tel: 804952, 8053506, Fax: 72021681
Pearl Building, 9-18 Ginza. 7, Chome, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo 104
Tel: (33) 571-5062/3., (33)571-5197 Fax: (33) 571-5235
 Wisma HLA, Lot 203, 2nd Floor, 
Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 2425285, Fax: 00603-2425301
Rokin 9-l5, , 1012 KK Amsterdam 
Tel: 020-6208991, Fax: (+)31 20-6383059
20, Kramat Lane, # 01-O1A United House,
Singapore 0922, 
Tel: 235 3800 , Fax: 235 8677
C/o Embassy of India, 
Avenida PIO XII 130-32, Madrid 28016
Tel: 3457339, 3457340, Fax 4577996, 3457340
SVeavagen 9-11, Ist Floor, S 11157, Stockholm, 11157, Tel: 215081/101187 Fax 210186
1-3, Rue De Chantepoulet, 1201 Geneva
Tel: (022) 7321813/1677, Fax: 0041-22-7315660
3rd Floor, Kentucky Fried, Chicken Building, 
62/5 Thaniya Road, (SILOM), Bangkok 10500
 Tel: 2352585, 2356670, Fax: 662-2352585, 2368411
Post Box 12856, , NASA Building ,
Al Maktoum Road, Deira, Dubai
Tel: 274848, 236870, Fax: 274013
7 Cork St London, WIX 2AB
Tel: (Gen.) 01-437-3677/8, 01-434 6613
Fax: 00447-494-1048
New York
Rockerfeller Plaza, 
Suite I5, North Mezzanine, New York, NY 10112
Tel: 212-584901, 4902, 4903, 4904
Fax 001-212-582-3274, Telex: 9102508316
Los Angeles
3550 Wilshire Boulevard, Room 204
 Los Angeles, California 90010
Tel: (213) 477-3824, 380-8855
Fax: 011-(213)3 80-6111, 30

Things to Know and Travel Tips

Best Time to travel : Broadly speaking October to March tend to be the most pleasant months over much of the country. 

Major Airports : India's major international airports are Mumbai (Bombay) Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai (Madras) and a newly constructed international airport at Kerala.

Film : Take lots of film : you wont want to miss out on the numerous photo opportunities. Caution :  Keep your camera bag zipped - beware of the beggars who tug on your arm. Dust is a big problem; bring a lens brush and small can of air. Some places charge to take pictures.

Time: GMT plus 5 hours 30 minutes
Electricity: 230-240V, 50 HZ
Weights & Measures: Metric

Shopping and the Art Of Bargaining in India :  Never take anything at the first price offered. Always halve the price first and bargain from there.  It works!! If they don't give in, walk away slowly and they'll eventually call you back to negotiate until you get the better deal. Some of the bigger shops in the cities may have fixed prices. Most of the shops maybe air conditioned and the owners may hand out free cold drinks / tea to keep their potential customers happy.

Staying Connected : Almost all major cities now have Internet Access Centers so you can remain connected. Faxing centers are places that will charge per minute or per page faxed. 

Hand Towel : Take a hand towel with you while traveling since temperatures and humidity can get unbelievably high if visiting during the summer months.

Travel Light : Travelers make the mistake of taking too much stuff. Take a good pair of walking shoes and a pair of flip flops.

Taxis : Make sure that the meter is working. If not decide on a fare ahead of time. Many taxi drivers in India never admit to having change (though often they obviously do), so you're better off negotiating a fare that you can pay precisely.

Where to Stay :
Hotelstravel.com This is a great page connecting you to the most wonderful hotels in many major Indian Cities and Towns across India. 

Travel Websites

More to come.................




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