Heading to India? Indian visa regulations are changing. Here’s what you need to know to plan your trip:
New Indian Visa Rules
Last month, the Indian government announced that they plan to expand the country’s visa-on-arrival program. Currently, only citizens of 11 lucky countries are eligible for visas on arrival. Those countries are: Japan, Singapore, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand , Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia.
One country missing from that list: The United States. US citizens are required to apply in advance for an Indian visa, even for short tourist stays. However, times are changing and the Indian government is trying to make it easier for tourists to visit.
Indian Visa On Arrival Details
Once the new rules are in effect, US citizens planning to visit India as tourists will be able to obtain a visa on arrival when they fly into one of the following nine airports:
To save time at the airport, tourists will also have the option of filling out the paperwork and paying the fee online before their trip, and then picking up the visa when they arrive in India.
According to the Times of India, Indian visas on arrival will be single-entry and valid for 30 days.
But don’t pack your bags without a visa in hand yet…this change won’t happen overnight. Planning minister Rajiv Shukla told the Times of India:
“We have decided to extend visa-on-arrival to tourists from 180 nations. It will take 5-6 months to put the infrastructure in place. We hope to implement this from the next tourist session beginning October.”
Who Still Needs to Apply in Advance?
Not everyone traveling to India will be able to take advantage of visas on arrival. If you’re going for reasons other than simply tourism or you plan to stay for extended amounts of time, you may still need to apply in advance. A visa expediter can review your itinerary and make sure you have all the documents you need before you depart.
The details of India’s visa on arrival program may change as we get closer to October, so be sure to check back for updates and the most current information!