Getting into India is relatively simple, with standard immigration and customs processes. Most travelers can combine their India tour with side trips to neighbouring countries.
Visitors to India need to declare Indian rupees in excess of ₹10,000, any amount of cash over US$5000, or a total amount of currency over US$10,000 upon arrival. Further, you are not allowed to import more than one laptop more than 2L of alcohol, more than 100 cigarettes or equivalent, or gifts and souvenirs worth over INR 8000.
In order to enter Indian land, you need to own a valid passport and an onward/return ticket, and a visa. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 180 days after you enter India and should have at least two blank pages. In any event, if your passport is lost or stolen, you are advised to immediately contact your country’s representative. Keep digital photos or photocopies of your airline ticket and the identity and visa pages of your passport handy in case of an emergency.
Required for most visitors; e-Visa (valid 60 days) available for more than 150 nationalities. Longer trips require a standard six-month tourist visa.
The length of the Tourist visa depends on your nationality. Citizens of the United States, Canada, and Japan are provided Tourist visas of up to 10 years’ validity. Please note that the visa is valid from the date of issue, NOT the date of arrival in India.
The tourist visa fees differentiate between countries, according to the arrangement between governments. The current fee for US citizens is $160 for up to 10 years. Processing is additional and costs $19.90. Some nations, like Japan and Mongolia, have special agreements with India that allow their citizens to pay a smaller fee for a visa.
Apart from citizens of Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, who do not need a visa for visiting India unless they are arriving from mainland China, and citizens of Japan and South Korea, who can get a visa on arrival; everyone needs to apply for a visa before arriving in India.
India is quite stringent when it comes to visa extensions. At the time of issuing, the government was granting extensions only in situations which comprised of medical emergencies or theft of passport just before the applicant planned to leave the country (at the end of their visa).
If you do need to extend your visa due to an emergency situation, you need to first apply online at e-FRRO ((e-Foreigners Regional Registration Office) which also deals with stolen/lost passports. If you require to see someone in person, or are called in for an interview, the place to go is the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office in Delhi.
In case you meet the criteria, the FRRO is permitted to issue an extension of 14 days (free for nationals of most countries). You need to bring at least one passport photo (keep more just in case), your passport (or an emergency travel document, if your passport is lost/stolen), and a letter from the hospital/medical center where you’re taking treatment if it’s a medical emergency.
Please note that this system is designed to help you get out of the country without any hassles with the right official stamps. It does not give you extra days of travel/leisure.