Visiting India from USA – Process for US Citizens

Every US citizen should possess a valid passport and visa to travel to India. Applicants must possess a passport that is valid for at least six months, starting from the date of arrival in India. In addition, you need to submit proof of sufficient funds and return or onward journey tickets to be granted a tourist visa. Remember, India is among the few countries that does not provide visa on arrival, so make sure you get your visa before leaving the US.

You can also apply for an electronic visa or e-visa, though an online application process, following which they will receive a visa confirmation email. Take a printout of this email, since it is proof of your visa status. You will need to produce it before the airport authorities at your port of entry in India. It is important to note that an e-visa is valid only for a single entry and stay of up to 60 days. If you are traveling to India for a longer period, you will need to apply for a paper visa that allows you stay in India of up to 10 years, with multiple entries.

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A few grounds on which US citizens can apply for a visa are sightseeing, business and medical treatment, among others. The visa that you apply for will depend on the purpose of your visit.

Steps for Visa Application

The first step is to fill up the visa application form. The printed copy of the filled form needs to be submitted to the Indian Visa Application Center or the Indian embassy or consulate closest to you. The form must include accurate and complete information. Misrepresenting any information could lead to visa rejection.

With the form, you will need to submit a digital photograph, meeting all the dimension requirements for an Indian visa, in JPEG format, as well as required documents for proof of identity, address and so on. You can check out the list of required documents here.

Once the form has been filled and submitted successfully, the next step is to pay the visa fee, which is about $160 for most visa types. If you are applying for an e-visa, you will need to pay an additional fee of $100 and processing fee of $19.90.

Once you’ve submitted the form and paid the fees, you will receive a confirmation receipt. Make sure you keep this safe, since you might need it at a later point. It is important to keep in mind that the US citizens need to apply for the correct visa type because it cannot be modified after arrival. For example, those traveling to India with the intention of taking part in a religious ceremony should apply for a missionary visa, rather than a tourist visa. 

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Things to Keep in Mind While Traveling to India

  • If the applicant is a scholar who has plans to conduct research work in India, they need to bring an additional research clearance letter, along with their visa.
  • If you are planning to stay for more than 180 days, you will need to register within 14 days of arrival in India with your nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Office.
  • Immigration clearance is absolutely necessary for stepping onto Indian soil. This is done through the Indian Arrival Card and the Customs Declaration Form, which will be provided to you during your flight to India. You will need to submit it to the airport officials at your port of entry.
  • It is highly advised to apply for travel insurance too. This will keep you protected during times of emergency.

Getting an Indian visa is not a difficult process. In fact, once you log on to the visa application site, it will guide you through the entire process.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.