India is a destination that every curious traveler should add to their bucket list. The diverse foods and abundance of culture draw in hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens yearly. The warm climate and colorful atmosphere make India a unique and exciting country for anyone to visit.
Unfortunately, if you are a U.S. citizen, you will need more than your passport to enter India. Like many other countries, you will need a tourist visa to stay in their county for any amount of time. Applying for a tourist visa may sound complicated, but it is quite simple.
Fortunately, the Indian government has been processing electronic visas online since 2014, making applying for a visa pretty straightforward. If you are a U.S. citizen, you must complete an application form, upload a photo of your passport, and pay a fee.
Read on for more details and information about the electronic visa application process.
Different Types of Visas
To travel to India, U.S. citizens must complete a visa application and have it be approved before arrival. It is important to apply for the correct type of visa.
India has different types of visas you can apply for depending on your reason for travel. These include:
- Medical Treatment Visa
- Tourist Visa
- Business Visa
- Student Visa
- Employment Visa
When you apply for a tourist electronic visa, you will complete the application form online. Then once you are approved, the visa will be uploaded to your passport.
Your visa must be approved and uploaded before you board your flight. India does not allow U.S. citizens to apply for a visa after arriving in their country.
How Long Is My Tourist Visa Valid?
Your tourist e-Visa is valid for 180 days and will expire one year after the date of issue. You may visit India multiple times with the same e-Visa for up to a year.
If you wish to stay longer, you can apply for an extended visa, but these are generally granted to students and workers.
What Kind of Information Is Needed For the Application Form?
The first step in the e-Visa process for U.S. citizens is to fill out an application form. This form can be found online and generally does not take longer than 10 minutes to complete. You will be asked a series of questions detailing your personal information.
Having your passport nearby while filling out the application form will be helpful. You will be required to fill out your nationality and passport number, as well as your full legal name, date of birth, and home address. All the information you provide should match the information on your passport exactly.
In addition to this general information, you will also need to provide your marital status, educational background, religion, and occupation. The application form will also require you to answer where your accommodations will be, the places you plan on visiting, and the ports of entry and exit.
If you are a frequent international traveler, you may have to take some time to remember all the countries you have traveled to within the past ten years. The application form also requires you to list all the countries you have visited in the past decade.
To successfully obtain an e-Visa, your passport must be valid for at least six months after your arrival date in India. You will also need to upload a colored photo of the first page of your current passport and an additional passport-style photo.
When uploading the passport-style photo, there are a few rules to follow for it to be accepted. First, it must be in color, and it must be a recent photo. Your face should be visible, and your head must be centered.
The uploaded photo must be free of any glares or shadows. Remember to keep a neutral expression and that the photograph must have a plain white background.
How Much Does a Tourist Visa Cost and How Long Does It Take to Process?
Obtaining your e-Visa through iVisa offers you three different processing options, depending on how quickly you need your tourist visa. This process will require you to provide a credit card or debit card for payment and a valid email address.
For the standard processing time, your e-Visa will cost $86 and will take approximately 15 days to process. They also offer “rush” and “super rush” options.
Rushed processing will cost $116 and takes three days to be processed, and the super rushed processing takes just two days and will cost $151. iVisa also includes all service fees in their pricing.
When you arrive at the airport, you should have your passport, photo ID, and e-Visa. iVisa strongly suggests printing a hard copy of your e-Visa to carry with you.
How iVisa Can Help You
When using iVisa for your electronic visa, you can be assured that your personal information is protected and kept confidential. They will provide any help you may need every step of the way, and you can contact a member of their customer service team with any questions.
If you have already submitted your application to iVisa and realize that you have made an error, call customer service immediately. They will do their best to fix the issue, but they cannot make any changes after they submit your application.
Any mistakes made and not noticed in time may result in your visa being rejected. If this occurs, you will have to begin the application process again.
Recommendations From the U.S. Embassy
When traveling to India, the U.S. Embassy recommends that all U.S. citizens register with The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This program offers several additional safety precautions to travelers.
This program will:
- Contact citizens about potential travel restrictions in India due to international events.
- Provide updates and safety information.
- Provide help to both travelers and their families in case of emergency.
Registering with the U.S. Embassy is a separate process from the visa application, but you can easily enroll in their program online.