Classic tourist visas for India :
Let us first take a moment to look at the traditional visa for travel to India for tourism. This type of visa is also known as a "passport visa" as it will appear physically in your passport. The application for this type of visa is made through a travel agent or by post and requires a number of supporting documents, as detailed below:
- A visa application form that you can fill in online and print.
- A copy of your valid passport, which must be valid for more than 6 months.
- 2 recent and identical passport photos of which the size will be 5cm by 5 cm as per the Indian passport photo standards.
- For travellers who are minors and have an individual passport, it is necessary to add to the file a handwritten authorisation from the father and mother authorising the trip, as well as a copy of the family record book.
- A recent proof of address such as a rent receipt or energy bill.
- For non-EU nationals, an additional form must also be filled in and attached to the file at an additional cost. They must also provide a copy of their residence permit.
In the official Indian visa application form, you will of course have to fill in information about your identity, but also the identity of your parents, your spouse and the name, address and telephone number of the hotel where you will be staying during your trip. If you have not yet decided on a place of residence in India, you can indicate a provisional hotel here.
This classic tourist visa is valid for 3 months, 6 months or one year from the date of issue. There are also single, double and multiple entry visas. In any case and whatever its form, the classic tourist visa allows you to stay in India for a maximum of 90 consecutive days. It should be noted that there is also a multiple-entry visa valid for 5 years, but this is complex to obtain and requires the approval of the embassy.
The classic business visa for India :
If you need to travel to India for work or for a business meeting, you will need to apply for a business visa. This application can also be done partly online but requires documents to be sent by post. Here is the list of documents you will need to provide:
- The official India business visa application form which you can fill in online and print out and sign.
- A copy of your valid passport valid for at least 6 months.
- 3 identical passport photos, 5cm x 5cm in size, in accordance with Indian photographic standards.
- A letter of assignment to the Indian Embassy, which should be dated, signed and stamped and written in English. This letter must include the contact details of the Indian partner and specify the dates of entry and exit of the planned stay.
- The letter of invitation from the Indian correspondent, also addressed to the Indian Embassy, also in English, in duplicate, dated, signed and stamped, indicating the same dates as the mission letter and the desired visa duration.
- A copy of the simplified balance sheet of the company for which the applicant works with a minimum of 2 pages and a maximum of 5 pages.
- A copy of the flight ticket or e-ticket in case of an urgent request.
- In case of an urgent request, a letter from the company stating the reasons for the urgency and a letter written and signed by the applicant stating the same reasons should also be provided.
- A recent proof of address for EU residents and the additional form for foreign nationals which generates additional fees. The latter must also provide a residence permit.
The period of validity of this type of business visa is the same as for a classic visa.
Travelling to India easier with an online e-visa:
Many travellers to India quickly find themselves lost in the paperwork involved in obtaining a traditional visa, i.e. a paper visa physically attached to the passport. Fortunately, there is now a more modern way of obtaining a residence permit for India that is entirely electronic. This is the e-Visa.
This e-Visa is a dematerialised visa application system which is reserved for nationals of certain countries that are part of the system set up with India. This concerns in particular most of the nationals of the European Union.
Here, as you will have understood, everything is simplified because the entire process is carried out online via the platform of a service provider such as the one we will recommend at the end of this article. This means that you no longer need to send any documents by post and you benefit from a very fast processing time.
However, this type of e-Visa is subject to certain conditions which, as we have just seen, relate to the country of residence of the traveller who applies for it, but also, in particular, to the duration of the planned stay. Indeed, an e-Visa for India will only be valid for stays of 90 days or less. But this visa also authorises one or more entries depending on the type of e-visa subscribed to.
As you can see, applying for an e-visa for India online has many advantages, but there are also restrictions that you need to be aware of.
What are the restrictions of the e-visa for travel to India?
As mentioned above, there are a number of conditions that need to be met in order to benefit from the simplified visa application procedure for India with the e-visa. However, in addition to these requirements, there are some important restrictions to be aware of, as follows.
Firstly, the Indian e-visa does not allow travel to any airport in the country as its validity is limited to airports equipped with readers to check it on the traveller's passport. There are 25 airports that accept travellers with an e-visa. These are Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirappalli, Varanasi and Visakhapatnam. If you are travelling to India by boat, you can use the ports of Cochin, Goa and Mangalore.
The e-visa cannot be used for land travel either. If you want to travel to India by car or train, for example, you will not be able to use this type of e-visa and you will have to apply for a regular visa. However, you can still leave India by land with this type of e-visa.
As you can see, using an e-visa has few restrictions and is therefore the preferred method of travel to India. However, obtaining an e-Visa for India is at the discretion of the Indian authorities who will consider applications based on the answers you provide in the online application form.
What is the procedure for applying for a visa for India online?
Whether you choose to apply for a classic visa or an e-visa, you can find specialised service providers online who will help you with the process. Remember, however, that the e-visa is the only visa that can be applied for solely on the Internet and does not require a physical file. For traditional visas, you can simply print out an order form and the official pre-filled form and attach these documents to the other necessary supporting documents.
The e-visa application is very simple and will allow you to obtain a visa for India in a fast and reliable way without having to travel or to use a travel agency. However, to complete this procedure, you will also need to have the passport photos required for the classic visas and respecting the Indian standards, i.e. a size of 5cm by 5cm. You will also need to have a scanner that will allow you to scan these documents in order to send them online.
The website where you can apply for an e-visa for India should be chosen with care, as there are all kinds of providers for this type of application. Make sure that the form is written in your language, that there is an online help facility and that there is a secure payment area.
Take the time to fill in the online application form correctly, answering the various questions asked as accurately and truthfully as possible. Also take a few moments to re-read all your answers as a simple spelling error can lead to your e-visa being refused.
Once you have completed your official e-visa application online, you will be asked to attach a square passport photo. This photo format is unusual as it is not the format of passport photos used in the European Union. Some professional photographers can take care of this for you by telling you that this photo will be used for your visa application for India. You will also need to scan your passport, especially the double page where your photo and identity details appear. Please ensure that the first and last names on your passport are the same as those on your visa application and that your passport is valid for at least 6 months.
The site where you make this request will explain what document formats are allowed and the maximum size of the file to be downloaded from your computer.
All you have to do is pay the application fee and processing fee online. A reply to your e-visa application will be sent to you by email within an average of 4 days from the validation of your application. However, we recommend that you apply a little early to avoid any delays in processing, especially if your travel date is close.
If the email you receive says "Approved", you just need to print it out and present it when you arrive at the airport at the E-Tourist Visa counter. An agent will then take your fingerprints and affix the official stamps that will allow you to travel in the country.