Latest Update On India Visa: 15 Questions Answered For ANYONE Traveling To India Right Now

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 15 India Visa Questions

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

Yes, regular visas are being issued right now. Apart from Indian citizens, their children and spouses as well as OCI holders, tourists wanting to visit India can apply for a visa.

  • Is there a fee for an India visa?

For all purposes, regular India visas are being charged a fee. However, in an effort to stimulate tourism and restart travel to India, the first 500000 applications are being issued at no cost.

  • I already have a previously approved visa to India, can I now travel to India based on that?

No, all India visas issued prior to October 6, 2021 are suspended and cannot be used to travel to India. You have to apply for a new visa and use it within 120 days of issuance.

  • Where can I apply for a new India visa?

New India visas can be applied on indianvisaonline.gov.in.

  • Can I make multiple visits to India based on my new visa?

No, new visas are being issued for single entries only and have to be utilized within 120 days of issuance.

  • 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?

As of October 15, 2021, all categories of travelers are being permitted to enter India. They can board a chartered flight to India if traveling in a group. After November 15, 2021 all flights will fly to India for single visitors. This includes regular tourists, Indian citizens and OCI holders, 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.

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

VFS Global handles issuance of all regular visas. They do not to issue any e- visas at this time. If you have an emergency and wish to travel to India right now without having to wait for a regular visa, you may contact the Indian Consulate or Indian mission abroad.

  • Is visa on arrival available in India now?

No, most travelers have to apply for a visa before boarding their flights to India. Certain nationals of UAE, Japan and South Korea may be eligible for a visa on arrival if they had previously obtained an e-visa or paper visa. You are advised to travel to India only after confirming these details with your local Indian mission.

  • 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. Please visit their website for further guidance.

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

  • 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 cardholder.