Passport & Visa’s
You require a valid passport from your country and a visa from an Indian mission abroad to enter India.
E-visa facility extended to 31 more countries
The government is set to give a major push to the e-tourist visa scheme by extending it to 31 more countries and allowing foreign tourists to avail of the facility at seven more airports by June 15, 2015. Among the countries that will benefit from the latest extension are Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Belgium, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Hungary , Ireland, Jamaica, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Mozambique, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Surinam, Sweden, Tanzania, East Timor, Turks & Caicos Islands, the UK, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The airports to be added to the existing list of nine where foreign citizens from eligible countries can land with an e-tourist visa are Jaipur, Amritsar, Gaya, Lucknow, Trichy , Varanasi and Ahmedabad. The airports have been chosen due to the large number of foreign tourists they receive on account of their proximity to major tourist spots.
The e-visa scheme presently covers 45 countries and can be availed across nine international airports.
With the expansion of the scheme by June, the list will go up to 76 countries and 16 airports.
Travellers who do not require a visa:
- Citizens of Bhutan and Nepal, who do not require visas.
- Nationals of Maldives who do not require a visa for visits of up to 90 days.
- Persons of Indian Origin and Non-Resident Indians who possess either an OCI or a PIO card, which are the equivalent of a long India visa.
India issues the following types of visas [Source / link tohttp://passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/online/visaServices]
- Tourist Visa: Up to 6 months. Apply with: documents supporting your financial standing.
- Business Visa: One or more years. Apply with letter from the sponsoring organisation.
- Student Visa: For the duration of the academic course of study or for a period of five years whichever is less. Apply with: proof of admission to recognised Universities / Institutions in India
- Transit Visa: Maximum period of 15 Days. Apply with: Evidence of onward travel to a destination outside India.
- Conference Visa: For the duration of the conference or seminar. Apply with: letter of invitation from the organiser of the conference.
When you apply for a visa at an Indian Embassy or High Commission you must include the following:
- Your passport valid for at least 6 months.
- Visa fee in cash or by postal order (cheques are normally not accepted).
- Two passport-size photographs.
- Supporting documents, where necessary.
- Duly completed application form.
- Note: Allow one month’s processing time for postal applications.
- Some parts of India are “restricted areas” and require special permits.
Government Offices/Shops: Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 17:00 hrs.
Banks: Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 14:00 hrs, Saturdays, 10:00 – 12:00 hrs.
Some commercial offices operate on a five-day week, with Saturdays and Sundays off. Others work a half-day on Saturdays. Office hours tend to be 09:30 – 18:00 hrs.
Shops do not have any standard timings. In major metros, you may find malls and department stores open until 20:00 hrs, seven days a week. Shops in business areas tend to close a little after office closing time. In tourist areas, you will probably find small stores open late into the evening. In many small towns, shops would tend to close around 20:00 hrs.
Restaurants and bars have different legally-enforced closing hours in different states. In most parts of the country, this would be around midnight or even earlier. The only food establishments legally open 24 hours a day are coffee shops in five-star hotels.
Note: Some government and commercial offices are open on alternate Saturdays.
India is a tropical country. Nevertheless, there are huge variations according to the region and the season. The coolest months are from mid-November to mid-March, which also happens to be the tourist season. In the south, and on the coasts, day time temperatures even in the cool months can be in be the mid-20s centigrade, though the nights are cool. In central India, and in the hills in the southern part of the country, night temperatures can drop to under 10°C in winter. In the north, winter temperatures can approach 0°C even in the plains, and of course it drops below freezing in the Himalayan region. Summers are very hot, with some parts of south and central India, and the plains in the north, getting temperatures over 40°C. The monsoons, the rainy season, stretch from June until October, with different levels of intensity in different parts of the country. The West Coast and the north-east get the heaviest rain (two towns in Meghalaya vie for the title of the place with the most rainfall in the world).
Winter – In the south, in the hills, you may need a light jacket in the evenings and early morning, or on overcast days. In the north, you may need to dress warmer, with light woollens even during the day. Consider dressing in layers and carrying a small day-pack to stow away some clothes as the day gets hotter.
Summer – Light cotton tropical clothing, sun hats or caps, and sunglasses are recommended. For those travelling in the hills or mountainous areas light woollens may be needed for the nights.
Monsoon – Light, quick-drying clothing, and either a raincoat or an umbrella or both (especially in places where there is a heavy monsoon).
Airport & Customs
International airports operate the conventional green and red channels, with officials liable to carry out sudden spot check on passengers passing through the green channel.
If carrying items of high value such as cameras, laptops and the like for your personal use during your trip, you may be asked to fill in a Tourist Baggage Re-export Form (TBRE) when you enter the country, which allows you to bring items into India free of duty, provided you take them back with you when you are leaving.
Personal allowances are one litre of spirits, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 gms of tobacco per passenger over the age of 18 years.
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In domestic flights in India, penknives and other sharp objects, liquids, matchboxes and lighters, batteries and some electronic items are not allowed in your cabin baggage, so pack them into your check-in luggage, or they will probably be either confiscated or taken away from you only to be returned at the other end of the flight.
As with airports all over the world in this era, security checks are stringent, and you and your luggage may be searched more than once before you get on the plane. It may be necessary to identify your baggage on the tarmac before it is loaded on to the aircraft.
The normal free allowance while flying he government-owned Indian Airlines is 30 kg in Economy and 40 kg in First Class. For the private airline operators it is 20 kg in Economy and 30 kg in First Class, where available. You can carry only a single piece of hand baggage (within certain size specifications) on domestic flights.
Airport Departure Tax
Airport departure tax is usually included in your international tickets and does not have to be paid at the airport.
The Rupee, which is divided into 100 paise.
Coin denominations: 1, 2, and 5 rupees.
Note denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupees.
There are no restrictions on the importation of foreign currency by tourists, provided a Declaration Form is completed on arrival. The import and export of the Rupee is, however, prohibited and may not be spent in Duty Free Shops or on board aircrafts. Receipts for all currency must be kept, as it may be reconverted on departure.
It is advisable to carry money in the form of travellers’ cheques, preferably in US Dollars, as it is widely recognised and accepted.
Changing money through unauthorised persons is illegal as well as risky in respect of receiving counterfeit money.
Most hotels, restaurants and some shops accept major credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Visa and Mastercard. They will usually display signage to that effect.
UTC + 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Yellow Fever – Vaccination Certificate is required if arriving from an infected area.
Cholera/Typhoid – Innoculation recommended.
Malaria – No certificate required, but advisable to have a course of pills.
Medical treatment in India is inexpensive by European or North American standards, though India has a pool of some of the best doctors in the world. Most hotels have a doctor on call.
Sunshine stronger than you are used to, heat, especially if you are travelling in India’s summer months, digestive upsets, insect bites for which you have developed no immunities, all these can spoil your trip. So please take a few basic precautions.
Carry a kit containing sunscreens and other lotions for protection from the sun, insect repellents and sting relief creams, water sterilising tablets and medicines for possible stomach upsets or indigestion.
To protect yourself from mosquitoes when outdoors in the evenings, use an insect repellent on exposed skin, and wear socks, trousers and long-sleeved shirts.
Eating and drinking
Tap water is not purified for drinking. Unless you have access to a water filter, or are sure water has been boiled, it is safer to stick to bottled water. Avoid ice in your drinks outside your hotel.
Avoid ice cream or food sold by roadside vendors, uncooked or undercooked foods, fruit or vegetables that cannot be peeled.
The majority of India works on 220 volts AC 50 Hz. However, it is possible that certain areas have DC supplies and it may be a good idea to check before using electical appliances. Socket sizes vary, so it is well to take along a set of plug adaptors.
Note: You will probably need to get an adapter for your devices. It’s pretty easy to get “all-in-one” adapters that you can use to plug your device’s power chord into before plugging into the power supply.
English is widely spoken, especially in areas that are used to tourists, though accents and grammar may vary considerably. Hindi is the most widely spoken language in the country, but it also has regional variations and accents. There are totally 15 major languages 544 dialects spoken in India in addition to English.
Note that we always ensure that our clients are paired with guides who can speak their language.
India has both GSM and CDMA cellular phone systems. Reception is usually clear in urban areas, but can get patchy or non-existent in remoter parts of the country. If you plan to use international roaming, check with your phone service provider on whether they have tie-ups with any Indian providers that will give you favourable roaming rates. If you use a GSM phone, you may want to consider buying an Indian phone card to use for your trip. We can help you choose a good plan for your stay.
Landline telephone calls to most countries are now direct. Fax and Telex facilities are now ubiquitously available. Internet facilities are also easily available in most cities and tourist centres, in cybercafes and business centres, but free wireless connectivity is rare.
Connectivity – wireless or conventional broadband – in five-star hotels tends to be many times more expensive than cybercafes in the same areas though some hotels are now wi-fi.
The Indian postal service is huge; you’re likely to find post offices in the most remote towns. You can usually buy stamps and leave letters for posting at most hotels.
In India, a huge number of things are still hand-made, using skills and secrets passed down for generations. Dazzling silks and other hand-made fabrics, clothing, hand knotted carpets, religious imagery and decorative articles in bronze, wood, stone and more, jewellery, leather, musical instruments, perfumes… the list goes on and on, and each region has its unique specialities. And prices, you will find, are very reasonable. (Do note that we’d be happy to provide you with expert shopping assistance.) You can bargain hunt at colourful, crowded bazaars, (be prepared to haggle!) on roadsides in the hinterland, in air-conditioned hotel arcades and bustling modern malls. Many reliable establishments that cater to tourists offer to deliver purchases to you in your homeland. Remember, though, that these deliveries can take a long time to reach you.
Indian law prohibits the export of antiques over 100 years old. Keep sales receipts and certificates to show proof of purchase and legitimacy when you’re leaving the country.