As an American, do I need a tourist visa for India?
First off, hey it's Matt! I don't write on here often but since I was the one who applied for our India visa and found the internet lacking in help I thought I would do a quick write-up on how to get a tourist visa for India.
I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that all tourists heading to India are required to get a visa ahead of time. The good news is that a tourist visa to India is relatively easy to apply for and arrives quickly in your email!
What makes getting a tourist visa to India so easy is that it is all online – they call it an “e-Tourist Visa.” There’s no stress from shipping your passport to another city and no overly complicated forms to fill out. However, a few parts can be kind of tricky – the requirements for the pictures of your passport and face are a bit quirky – so it’s best to get started early.
So, let me tell you a story just to emphasize how easy this process is. Now I don't want to tell this story because it makes me admit that even a seasoned traveler like myself makes mistakes, sometimes BIG mistakes.
For our big honeymoon trip, I was in charge of all the Visas. India, however, doesn’t accept visa applications until the arrival date is within 34 days, so I had to wait. The problem was that I forgot about it entirely… and then, two nights before we left Thailand for India, right as I was about to go to sleep – I remembered. Not my proudest travel memory. My stomach suddenly dropped. I hadn't applied for our Visa. Let me clear: our last-minute application was 1) not on purpose, 2) not a good thing and 3) completely my fault.
Yet, 1 hour later, I had submitted two visa applications. Then, miraculously the next day we received two India e-Tourist Visas in our email. The day after that, we were sightseeing in India. See, I told you it was easy.
Now that I have shared my unpleasant story here is the tutorial:
How to get a Visa for India
Qualifications for tourist visas
(Almost everyone qualifies for an e-Tourist Visa)
- Have a passport with at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival in India
- Be flying into India through one of their 16 biggest airports
- Have a passport from one of the listed countries on this page (or look at the list below)
If you qualify then do this...
Be prepared to apply at least a minimum of 4 days in advance (do as I say, not as I do) but also be aware that you can’t apply more than 34 days in advance of your arrival day.
So in simpler terms: if you’re arriving on the 4th of May, you can’t apply until at least the 1st of March. Since most of you will probably book your trip more than 34 days in advance it is worth getting steps 1 & 2 taken care of as they can be a bit tricky.
1. Take a front facing photograph with a white or plain light colored background with minimal shadows on your face or the background. The picture’s file type must be a JPEG, the size of the picture a minimum of 10 Kilobyte (KB) to a maximum of 1Megabyte (1MB=1000 KB) and it must be a minimum of 350 pixels by 350 pixels.
If the picture is too large or not a JPEG I can help.
Send the photo to your computer via email. If you need to convert your photo to JPEG, this site does the job. If your photo is too large, open it in preview. On the top bar click tools -> adjust size. If the dimensions are not in pixels switch it to pixels via the drop down menu. Adjust the numbers to 350 x 350.
2. Take a picture or scan the photo page of your passport, making sure that personal details like your name, date of birth, nationality, etc are all clear. The scan/picture must be in PDF format and the file size must be a minimum of 10 KB to a maximum of 300 KB.
Most computers will convert a JPEG or other file into a PDF if you right click the file and choose “convert to PDF.” If not, this site is handy for converting files to PDF.
Again, just a reminder, both of these steps can be done way ahead of time. The next steps you will do somewhere within the 34 - 4 days before you leave.
3. Go to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and begin the application! You can see all the informations required in the following pictures:
4. When you get to the last page asking for payment, click the “Pay Now” button and check either the box for “Sbi e-pay” or “Axis Bank”. The Sbi link allows you to pay with either a credit or debit card in addition to Paypal while the Axis Bank link only allows for a credit or debit card.
5. Once you pay – wait! In around a couple of days (or in my case, 12 hours) you will receive an email with the title “Status regarding e-Tourist Visa (eTV) application no 123456789” and your e-Visa will be inside if you are approved. Just print the email (yes it must be printed) and carry it with you on your way to India!