Covid Travel: 10 Frequently Asked Questions About The India Visa

Posted on September 14, 2021
India Visa

With several travel restrictions in place and constant changes in rules, there are many questions about the India visa. Many are left unsure about the travel requirements for India. One of the most essential elements of traveling is having the right paperwork in place – valid passport, appropriate visa in the appropriate category and other travel documents including a negative Covid test result

We have answered the top 10 questions regarding the India visa when traveling to India. Most important factors to consider is that there is NO regular visa being processed anymore. All regular visa processing has been suspended for more than 18 months. Any new visas being issued are only emergency visas directly from the Consulate 

Covid Travel: New Guidelines For Travelers To India – Which visa is available to travel? And who is exempt? 

Top 10 India Visa Questions

  • Can I get a regular visa to travel to India now?

No, only emergency visas are being issued right now. Only Indian citizens, their children and spouses as well as OCI holders can travel to India during the Covid-19 imposed travel restrictions. Others will require an approved emergency visa to travel to India.

  • What is an emergency visa for India travel?

The emergency visa process is a visa granted during extraneous circumstances like a pandemic.  Visas during such time is granted for a short duration unlike regular times. The Indian consulates have a different application process, different criteria, different validity period for the emergency visas being issued.

  • Which visa categories are allowed to travel to India right now?

Apart from Indian citizens and OCI holders, all pre-existing, previously approved (before April 20, 2021) and valid (at the time of travel) visa holders including some pre-approved e-visas may enter India now. Apart from these, emergency business, emergency medical and emergency employment visas holder are also allowed to enter India.

Others will have to apply and qualify for emergency visas only.

Related Article: New Covid Testing Requirements For India Trip

  • Can I apply for an emergency visa from VFS Global?

Only regular visas are handled by VFS Global. They have been instructed not to issue any new visas at this time. If you have an emergency and wish to travel to India right now, you will have to apply for the visa from the Indian Consulate. 

  • Can I walk in to the Indian consulate to apply for an India emergency visa?

No, the Indian consulate is not allowing any walk-ins for any services at this time due to the newly issued Public Health Emergency order by the CDC. All Emergency Visa & Miscellaneous Services will be handled at the Indian Consulate through regular post only.

Related Article: When Do You Need A New OCI Card?

  • I have a US passport & fall in the list of permitted categories for travel to India, but my visa has expired – Where can I apply for an Indian visa? 

You can apply for a visa online at Indian Visa Online and submit a copy of the filled-out application, valid US passport along with:

 (i) Copy of address proof;

(ii) Copy of Birth Certificate of the child (if applicable).

(iii) Marriage Certificate (if applicable)

(iv) Copy of passport and OCI/Existing visa (if any of your and spouse or parents);

(v) Notarized Parental authorization form, for minors; 

(vi) Supporting documents for reason of travel (death certificate or doctors/hospital certificate).

(vii) Visa fees (for entry visa) of US$103.00 in money order/cashier’s check in favor of Consulate General of India San Francisco. 

(viii) One passport size photograph (2″ x 2″ on white background)

(ix) Copy of Renunciation certificate

Related Article: Emergency Travel To India – How To Plan, What To Expect On Arrival

  • How long is the validity for the emergency visas being issued for?

All new (emergency) visas are being processed under the emergency validity periods. This varies from visa to visa category and issued for reduced periods instead of the normal time period it was previously issued. For example, Business visas are being granted for only one year. Pre-pandemic, it was issued for 5 or 10-year validity periods.

  • Is there a fee for a visa to travel to India?

Yes, there is a fee for all permitted visa categories.

  1. Emergency Visa – USD 103.00
  2. Business Visa – USD 163.00
  3. Employment Visa – USD 223.00
  4. Medical Visa – USD 103.00
  • Can I make multiple entries once I have an approved emergency visa?

Yes, as long as your visa is valid, you can make multiple entries into India. Please note, that unlike previous times, emergency visa validity is for a shorter duration.

  • Do I need to have an ‘emergency’ to travel to India?

All new visas are marked as ‘emergency’. This doesn’t mean the traveler needs an emergency reason to travel. Children and spouses of Indian Citizens or OCIs don’t need any urgent reason to travel. Any traveler that doesn’t fall under the permitted category but needs to travel to India, will be approved on a case by case basis and is being issued an emergency X1 visa.

Contact the Indian consulate in your local jurisdiction to apply for the most appropriate category of Indian visa, unless you are an Indian citizen or OCI card holder.

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