An Introduction to Indian Tourist Visa and Who Needs It

For years, India has been renowned as a diverse nation with a mixed cultural background, secularism, and distinct natural landscapes. This has eventually served the purpose of tourism in India and captivated the attention of a plethora of local and foreign tourists. Although Indian tourists can traverse in entire India with no difficulty or restrictions, foreign tourists are required to obtain an Indian tourist visa to get an entry in India. A tourist visa is an official permit granted by the Indian government to the eligible foreign nationals who intent on traveling to Indian to explore its tourism sector. The purpose of travel served on an Indian tourist visa is recreation, sightseeing, or visits to friends or relatives. You cannot obtain a tourist visa for any purpose other than these, neither business nor medical treatment. Also, if you are a foreign national and applying for an Indian tourist visa, make sure you don’t own any occupation and residence in India.

For foreign tourists, an Indian tourist visa will be a permit to explore most of the country but not all. There are certain regions in India, where even an Indian tourist visa holder is not permitted to enter. These areas include certain secluded and security concerned regions like Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, northern Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, border regions of Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir military area, etc. This rule has been introduced for the safety of the foreign nationals only, so they stay protected while on Indian tour. Although there is a Protected Area Permit (PAP) that such tourists can obtain while on their tour in India, yet they will be allowed to travel to these regions only with a trekking group.

Every year, different foreign nationals request Indian tourist visa for different duration of time, hence, this visa is issued based on the duration of stay in India. Those foreign nationals who are planning an Indian tour for as short as ninety days should opt for an Indian e-tourist visa and those who aim to stay from six months to more than a year must apply for a regular tourist visa. While the validity of an Indian tourist e visa is only one year, the applicants can get it for more than one year to at most ten years on a regular tourist visa.

As per the bilateral agreement between the Indian government and the government of Nepal and Bhutan, a tourist traveling from Nepal and Bhutan is not entitled to obtain an Indian visa and can travel in and out of the country with no particular possession of the Indian visa. Moreover, those foreign nationals whose desired duration of stay in India is less than seventy-two hours and don’t have a return ticket with them, should apply for an Indian tourist visa. In case, they have a return ticket, they can disclose it to the Indian consulate and obtain an Indian transit visa instead of a tourist visa, no matter what their purpose of travel is.

In a nutshell, an Indian tourist visa is suitable for only tourism purpose and that too in areas that are not protected or pose a threat to the security of the travelers. If you try to go against the Indian visa rule and travel on a tourist visa for a purpose other than tourism, you can call for a serious penalty or even imprisonment.