The prevalence of diverse tourist spots, educational opportunities, business prospects, and medical solutions have significantly increased foreign traffic in India in the last decade. To enter Indian territory it is mandatory for foreign nationals to hold an Indian visa duly approved by the ministry of home affairs. Possession of a valid visa along with an international passport permits the entry and stay in India for a specific period of time.
Although there are some nations citizens of which are not entitled to obtain an Indian visa to travel to India such as Nepal and Bhutan. Citizens of Nepal and Bhutan are free to move into and out of India for an unlimited duration of time. People holding the citizenship of Maldives can travel to India without a visa but can stay for not more than ninety days only.
People who have the possession of Overseas Indian Citizenship are exempted from the law of Indian visa because Overseas Citizen of India certificate holder is treated as an Indian citizen. However, citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, mainland China, or Pakistan cannot have the possession of Overseas Indian Citizen certificate and to visit India they will need to acquire a visa as a compulsion. Whereas citizens of Japan and South Korea can obtain the visa on the date of arrival in any of the city whether Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, or Hyderabad.
The acquisition of an Indian visa has been made easy in the last decade. Successive amendments in Indian visa policy by the government of India have made the procedure to obtain the visa hassle-free. The selection to go for whether a regular visa or an E-Visa depends on the required duration of stay in India. The e-visa scheme was earlier known as ETA which is short for Electronic Travel Authorization in 2014 but renamed in November 2017.
An e-visa is valid for only sixty days and anyone willing to stay for more than sixty days can apply for a regular visa whose validity extends from six months to five years or to ten years and in some exceptional cases, it can also be valid for 12 months. The traveler can enjoy a double entry on a tourist e-visa and business e-visa and a triple entry on a medical e-visa in a single year. On a conference e-visa, one can stay for not more than thirty days in India and is allowed a single entry in a year. Any foreign national having the possession of regular Indian visa can make multiple entries and exits. The holder of regular visa shall be allowed to stay in the country for not more than ninety days at a time and with a gap of at least two months can revisit the country.
The applicants can apply for Indian visa online through the online e-visa portal. All the necessary instructions are given there regarding the eligibility and required documents. Applicants should apply for an Indian visa by submitting the required documents electronically at least four days prior to the date of arrival but not more than 120days. For obtaining a regular visa, applicants need to fill the printed application form duly attached with all the necessary documents and submit it personally or by post to the designated visa service provider. The application should be submitted at least four days prior to the date of issue.
E-Visa is sent via mail within seventy-two hours after the application is submitted and payment is made. The applicant can get the e-visa printed and carry it while traveling to India along with two photographs and an international passport which holds the validity of at least six months and have two blank pages. Payment should also be paid at least four days prior to the date of arrival and make sure that the unsuccessful attempts do not exceed three as it may lead to the blocking of application id. The waiting period for a regular visa is a little longer, which may extend from two working days to two months because it is sent via post.
Note that, possession of just visa does not allow entry to protected areas. Protected areas are those having security concerns for foreigners, where entry is prohibited for their safety. One can apply for a Protected Area Permit (PAP) while on the tour and before entering the protected area and carry it along with the visa and passport.