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Can US Citizens Visit India Without a Visa?

There has been much talk off late regarding the large number of Indians seeking visas to the US. However, what is not talked about is the popularity of India as a business and travel destination among Americans. According to Statista, approximately 1.17 million travelers from USA visited India in 2016 alone. Things have become easier with India launching facilities like e-visas and Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for over 40 countries, including the USA. Also, a US citizen possessing an OCI card, that acts as a lifelong visa, can enter India multiple times without the need for a visa. All other US citizens will need a valid visa for entry into India. Here’s a look at the various options.

E-Visa for US Citizens visiting India

You can apply for a hassle-free e-visa at the Indian embassy or consulate closest to your home town. This visa is valid for 60 days from the date of issue and can be applied for twice in a year. The process is online and categorized into 3 types:

  1. e-Tourist Visa
  2. e-Business Visa
  3. e-Medical Visa

So, check which category best suits your travel needs. Make sure you apply for an e-visa at least 4 days in advance of your travel date with window of not more than 120 days.

Entry with an OCI Card

OCI or the Overseas Citizen of India card allows you to enter India not once but multiple times, although it is limited only to people fulfilling certain criteria.

If you’re traveling in 2021, I recommend checking out the updated travel rules for USA.

Where to apply for OCI?

If you are a US citizen of Indian descent, you can apply for an OCI card at the Indian embassy in Washington or at the Indian consulates in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Houston. I would recommend that you to go through the eligibility for OCI cardholders before applying.

Got comments? Please let me know.

Having lived in 3+ countries, worked for companies small and big in the USA, Middle East & India, I have a lot of experience to share about international travel, immigration and living as an NRI in the US. Add me on WhatsApp if you have any queries (+1-408-489-4785)