Once upon a time it was pretty tricky trying to figure out how to get a tourist visa online. We’ve done a massive update to Rachel’s original guide to reflect how much has changed since she first had to get hers all those years ago. Read below for the quick and easy guide!
PS: Check out our India Guide eBook. After 6 years living there, Rachel’s experiences from backpacking to luxury travel have been put into this 100,000-word book which will help you plan the most amazing trip in India. Read what’s inside and reviews here.
Types of e-Visas for India
The e-visa can be broken down into:
- e-Tourist Visa (30 days, 1 year, 5 years)
- e-Business Visa (1 year)
- e-Conference Visa (30 days)
- e-Medical Visa (60 days)
- e-Medical Attendant Visa (60 days)
Chances are, you’re only going to need to be concerned with the e-Tourist Visa. We do have a post on e-Medical and e-Business visas here if you need those.
There are 3 options for the e-Tourist Visa are as follows:
- One Month e-Tourist Visa: Valid up to 30 days and includes double entry.
- One Year e-Tourist Visa: Valid up to 365 days and includes multiple entries.
- Five Year e-Tourst Visa: Valid up to 5 years and includes multiple entries.
Important Note: For the 1 and 5 year visas, this does not mean you can stay in India for the whole time. You must exit the country after 90 days. If you’re from the US, UK, Canada, or Japan, you can stay for 180 days before needing to leave. If you have multiple entries selected then you are able re-enter India but you must leave before your visa expires and continue to stick to the capped number of days per visit – 90 or 180. For visas that allow you to stay longer, check this post for USA applicants and this post for UK applicants.
FAQ About the India e-Tourist Visa
Which airports is the e-Visa valid for?
Airports include: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Bhubaneshwar, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Portblair, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Varanasi & Vishakhapatnam.
Seaports include: Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai, Chennai
You can, however, exit through any other authorized Immigration Check Post (ICP) in India.
Are the e-visas like visas on arrival?
No (unless you are from Japan, South Korea, or the UAE).
If you’ve ever applied for tourist visas to other countries, like Vietnam, those are typically visas on arrival. This means you apply online, get a letter of approval, and at the airport before you go through customs, you go to a separate area where they take your passport and add the visa.
The India tourist visa is not that, though you will get an email of your visa, which you need to print and bring with you to the airport.
Is the e-visa good for all parts of India?
Not all but most. It is not valid for restricted or protected areas such as Northeast India, Sikkim, Jammu, Kashmir, and parts of Himachal.
Can I apply for my visa right before I fly?
No. Even if you rush it for an “emergency visa” it’s going to take minimum of 2 days through iVisa‘s 2 day super rush processing.
Trust me, people get this confused. Rachel got many e-mails from people who didn’t realize until the night before and had to change their flights.
Usually the visa takes about 72 hours to process, sometimes faster. If you haven’t gotten it after 72 hours, you’re encouraged to call +91 11 24300666 or email email@example.com.
Can I just do a one way ticket to India?
No. 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.
How much does the e-tourist visa cost?
Base on this calculator from iVisa, the government fees for a US Citizen are:
- 30 Day e-Tourst Visa: $26 USD
- 1 Year e-Tourist Visa: $41 USD
- 5 Year e-Tourist Visa: $82 USD
This should be roughly the same for other countries.
When does my e-visa time period start?
The e-visa will begin from the date you arrive in India.
It’s valid from the date of issue, and you can apply as early as 120 days before your intended arrival date. The latest you are recommended to apply is 4 business days before departure.
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 many times can I apply for an e-Tourist visa?
You can only apply for TWO E-tourist visas in one year.
How to Apply for Your India Tourist Visa
There are two ways we’ll go over in this post. The first is the most straightforward way, which is through the Indian Government website and the other is through iVisa, which Rachel always preferred. We’ll outline both below. First up:
Through the Indian Government Website
Luckily for you, the process has become a lot more straightforward over the years. This way allows you to do everything yourself, and you simply follow the directions the website has laid out.
Warning: Just a word of warning that if you mess anything up with your application or wind up canceling your trip, you can not get a refund and must go through and pay all over again.
Step 1: Go to this page
This is the government page where you can begin your application. As you can see they now have a lot of information to help you out while you’re applying; including a sample application page.
Step 2: Fill out your application
At the bottom of the web page, click the button for “Apply here for e-visa.” Once you go through the application, you’ll be asked to upload a passport photo of yourself and a photocopy of your passport. Keep the specifications they have for each in mind and make sure your passport has at least 6 months left.
Step 3: Payment
You’ll them come to a page that prompts you to pay now or pay later. If you choose to pay later, you still must pay at least 4 days before arrival. You can choose between Payment Gateway or Paypal. Payment Gateway will have a 2.5% fee while Paypal will have a 3.5% fee.
Step 4: Approval
From there, within 72 hours, you should have a copy of an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Go back to the government website to confirm that your ETA status is GRANTED, and you can always track the status of your application on the site.
Step 5: At the Airport
You’ll need a physical copy of your approval with you at the airport, and there they will stamp your passport.
iVisa is a 3rd party site that will handle everything for you for an additional $35 fee. It is the ONLY 3rd party site we recommend.
Rachel always preferred using iVisa and paying the extra fee because often the information around applying changes and can be confusing. And, of course, if you mess up, you wind up paying around $35 or more to redo your application.
Over the years, she had gotten THOUSANDS of emails about getting the e-visa. People have had issues with the government site (card not accepted to pay, site crashing over and over, no receipt of submitting it, and more).
iVisa on the other hand has a “zero frustration policy” and is like an added insurance policy. If for whatever reason you’re rejected, they’ll cover the cost to try again.
Here’s how it works for them:
Step 1: Go to this iVisa link.
Just a note this is an affiliate link for iVisa, which means we make a small commission if you visit through us. It’s no added cost to you, and we wouldn’t recommend the iVisa if it didn’t help countless HIH readers over the years make the whole process hassle free.
Step 2: Fill in Your Information
Simply add your nationality and where you’re traveling to (in this case, obviously India).
Step 3: Pick which e-Visa you want
Choose which e-Visa you want. They offer all the tourist visa options as well as the e-Business and e-Medical. Click “Go to Application Form” once you’re done.
Step 4: Fill out your application
Same drill as with the government site.
Step 5: Choose processing times
- Standard Processing: $35, 5 Business Days
- Rush Processing: $65, 3 Business Days
- Super Rush Processing: $100, 2 Business Days
Step 6: Finish Application and Pay
Finish your application and make sure all your details are correct. Then you’ll be prompted to pay. You’ll get a pop up that says “Status Incomplete.” Just click “Complete Now.”
You’ll then be prompted to make an account.
Step 7: Upload Your Passport Photo & Copy
Make sure your passport copy is in a PDF format and your passport photo has a white background and is in a JPEG format. Click Save + Continue.
You’re done! Click “Save and Complete request.”
Step 8: Print & Travel
Once you hit this, you’ll have a confirmation email from iVisa. Once they have your e-visa, they’ll send it to you over email. Print and show at the airport.
If you have any issues, you can use their customer service, which is available 24/7.
And there you have it! Everything you need to know about how to get a tourist visa for India! It’s not difficult, just a lot of detailed paperwork. We recommend starting the process as soon as you’ve booked your flight so it’s one less thing to take care of.
For More India Travel Advice
Check out some of these posts to help you continue planning your trip to India:
Trip Planning Tips
- The 30 Best Places to Visit in India
- Travel to India Made Easy With This Step By Step Guide
- 100 India Travel Tips You HAVE To Read
- 10 Tips for First Time Travel to India
- Travel Insurance for India
- How to Get a SIM Card in India
- How to Book a Train in India As Foreigner
- Do You Need a Filtered Water Bottle For India Travel?
- How to Dress in India: the Ultimate Dos and Don’ts
- 10 Travel Essentials For India
- Men’s India Packing List
- The Only Backpacking Through India Packing List You Need
- One Month Backpacking India | Itinerary, Hostels, Tips
- My Guide: the BEST Itinerary for India
- Kerala Backpacking Tips & 10 Day Kerala Itinerary
- Have The Perfect Rajasthan Trip By Copying This Two-Week Itinerary
- Goa One Week Itinerary for the Beach Lovers and Foodies
And, of course, we recommend joining the Hippie in Heels: India Travel Tips Facebook group if you have more specific questions.