If you’re wondering how to get an Indian visa from the USA or many other countries, I’m here to help! The Indian Visa application process is always changing and can seem complicated. It’s also complicated because there are many sites which look “official” offering the Indian visas. In this post, I share how to get a one-year E-Tourist visa. In the past, it was a 60-day visa but it has been increased to one year with a max stay at a time of 180 days for some.
UPDATE April 2019: E-tourists and e-business visas can now be applied for up to one-year validity. Those applicants from the US, UK, Japan, and Canada can stay continuously for 180 days at a time. Other applicants who qualify for the e-visa also get one year but can stay continuously up to 90 days maximum. Keep an eye on this, as they may soon allow everyone to stay for the 180 days. You’ll see it on your application once you select your nationality. When your visa has processed the length of stay will be on it. For the one year visa, that does not mean you can stay in India for one year, the length of stay will be listed on your visa and at 90 or 180 days you need to exit but can re-enter within the year. These are multiple-entry (previously only double entry). The e-medical visa which is 60 days and triple-entry. The e-conference visa is a single-entry valid for 30 days.
If you’re looking for a visa for MORE than one year, you need to do another process (mail-in) and cannot do the e-visa. They are no longer offering the six month paper visa. This is basically a moot point now as after one year, you can just apply again for an e-visa. There is almost no reason to do a paper visa now unless you want a long-term visa. I have complete guides for this, though, don’t worry! Here’s how to get a visa for India from the USA and how to get a visa for India from the UK. Each are complete guides with screenshots that take you through the entire process.
How to Get a Visa for India Online
The first thing you need to keep in mind is this is an “E-visa” NOT a visa on arrival. Visa on Arrival is often used when talking about this Indian visa and even is on the signs in Mumbai airport BUT you do not get your visa on arrival in India like you do in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Jordan, and many countries.
You MUST get the India e-visa sorted BEFORE you come to India.
Trust me, people get this confused. I get many e-mails from people who didn’t realize until the night before and have had to change their flights. Even if you rush it for an “emergency visa” it’s going to take 24-48 hours. Typically, this visa takes a week to get but sometimes you can get it faster. I’ve had people tell me they were approved the very next day even though they didn’t “rush” the visa application.
Cost of the India e-visa
The cost used to be $80 but it was quietly increased to $102 plus card fees over the last couple of years and if you select a one year visa, it could be higher, they are always changing it, but right now the one year is the same price.
The validity of the e-visa for India
Visas are valid from the DATE OF ISSUE, valid for one year, and you can apply up to 120 days before your arrival date. You should submit AT LEAST 4 business days before your date of leaving.
Who can get an India e-visa?
Most countries are eligible for the e-tourist visa, but not all. Check this list of countries valid for e-visa to India to see if your country is.
How to apply for the Indian E-Visa Online Before Your Trip
There are two ways:
- On the iVisa website. This is the easiest way as they have a “zero frustration policy”. You just tell them the date you are flying in and they take care of it for you. If you’re rejected for an error they pay to try again.
- On the Indian Government website. You do it yourself and follow the instructions they lay out. If you mess up or forget a piece of paperwork, they will not give you a second chance for free, you must pay again. Many people have issues with the government site which is why I always suggest using iVisa and personally use it.
Why I recommend using iVisa, a third party, and paying their $35 fee
iVisa charges a $35 fee to submit your visa for you. I have lived in India for over 5 years and blogging about it and have had THOUSANDS of emails about getting the e-visa. People have issues with the government site (card not accepted to pay, site crashing over and over, no receipt of submitting it, and more). They email me about to rip their hair out. I just think the $35 is a small price to pay to just not worry about this. From booking trains online in India to visas, they do not make it easy for foreigners. Often, our foreign cards don’t work, the systems are overloaded and crash, and the website just “spins” when you try to submit.
iVisa does the process for you and you pay them, so you just have zero of the hassle. Beyond that, India is very strict about submitting the information EXACTLY. So if you make one small error, a number, or letter wrong, they will decline it and you have to pay and submit again. iVisa offers a guarantee and they will be the ones submitted (on their dime) if you use them. It’s basically an added insurance policy.
Everytime someone emails me (daily nearly) about issues, I say you should have used iVisa, so I really cannot stress it enough. I give you both options, though, and you can certainly try the government site. I DO NOT recommend any other site than iVisa. iVisa is a professional site that is the most well-known and recommended Visa site in the world. Any other site charges more. They’ll also manage it in any language for you (if you don’t speak English). They can also do urgent visa requests of up to 18 hours before your trip.
You have options of 18 hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours with iVisa and with the government site the only option is 72 hours. You can also pay with all international cards or PayPal.
Note, there is no customer service help with the government site. iVisa has 24/7 customer service and that is a peace of mind on its own worth the $35. I know traveling to India is stressful to plan, so I just tell my readers to at least make the visa process the easiest way possible.
Step by Step here’s how to get the e-visa for India
I’ll take you through the process now so you can just check it off your to-do list.
- Go to this iVisa link.
- Enter your nationality and the country you are traveling to.
- Select tourist e-visa with the green “apply now” button.
- Enter your basic information in the boxes.
- Choose “standard processing” for the cheapest visa and then you’ll see the price listed with the $35 fee added. You can change it to another currency of your home country here.
- Click the green next button.
- Check all personal details are correct and put in your payment details and click send.
- It will pop up saying “Status Incomplete” this is good. You need to complete your application. Click “complete now”.
- A page comes up to add information. You need to make an email and password – just use your email and any password you want to log in.
- Enter the information asked (religion, where your parents are from) and click “save and continue”.
- Upload your passport copy in PDF format and a photograph in JPEG as per the instructions with a white background. Phone photos work fine! Click “save and continue”.
- Done. Now you can click “save and complete request”. You will get confirmation via email and then iVisa will deal the embassy. Your final visa will come to you via email. Print this and take it with you on your trip!
Remember if you have problems their customer service is there 24/7 to help you.
What you need to know ahead of time about Indian e-visa for tourists:
- Your passport must have at least 6 months expiration left on it from the date of arrival.
- You must have a return ticket or onward journey booked. This is a serious part of the Indian visa application process and they take it quite seriously. You will often be asked by the airline before you can even board your flight to India.
- You should print a paper copy of this E-visa once it’s issued to show the immigration officers when you land in India.
- This used to be a single entry visa. But now you can enter multiple times. As in you can go to Nepal or Sri Lanka, etc, and come back to India.
- The E-Visa is NOT valid for restricted and protected areas which includes my favorite place NE India, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, and parts of Himachal among others.
- With the E-Visa you could only fly into these 16 airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi but they are slowly adding more, now up to 24 airports, including Port Blair. You can leave from any airport.
- You can only apply for TWO E-tourist visas in one year.
These are pretty much the only things you need to know before coming to India for a one month or smaller trip. Make sure you do not forget to get the visa. SO many people somehow do! I recommend applying with iVisa as soon as you’ve booked your flight so that it’s going to 100% be taken care of.
The Indian visa application process has always been daunting. The paperwork visa for longer than 2 months is very difficult and you have to mail in your passport to the embassy which is why I wrote a step by step guide for getting a longer Indian visa. The e-visa was meant to be hassle-free but it’s still not really and they change the rules all the time. Hopefully, in the future, they will have a true visa on arrival where you can just buy it in person when you land.
PS: If you’re coming to India, check out my India Guide eBook. After 6 years living here, my experiences from backpacking to luxury travel have been put into this 100,000-word book which will plan you the most amazing trip in India. Read what’s inside and reviews here.
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