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India is genuinely among the most inspirational countries for Foreign nationals to visit. Whether looking to enjoy a family vacation, spend some time in a yoga or meditation retreat, experience an ashram up close and personal or simply enjoy all there is to the people, cultures and shopping opportunities this scenic country has to offer, it is as easy as obtaining an e-tourist visa online to begin the journey. This article will inform on obtaining the e-tourist visa, the requirements for the application, and the process you will likely experience to get the e-tourist visa as a US citizen traveling to India.

A US citizen wanting to journey to India must be in possession of a passport valid for a minimum of 6 months after the date of arrival in India. The passport will have to have at least two blank pages for the Immigration stamps.  Since the US is among the more than 160 countries eligible for the e-Visa from the Indian Government, the easiest way to get the visa would be online. Using this facility, US citizens can apply online from home without having to visit a VAC or Indian Mission, Post, or Embassy. The e-tourist visa is valid for short stays of up to 90 days in India for the purpose of recreation, business, or medical visits only. Application for an e-tourist visa online must be made between 4 and 240 days before the expected date of arrival in India, with a window of 90 days for US nationals.

Should you as a US citizen be visiting India for reasons other than these or a period longer than 90 days, it may be necessary to obtain one of the many regular visas offered by the Indian Government. The Government of India issues the following types of travel visas, depending on the reason for visiting India: 

  • e-Visa
  • Business Visa
  • Conference Visa
  • Diplomatic Visa
  • Employment Visa
  • Emergency Visa
  • Entry Visa
  • Journalist Visa
  • Medical Visa
  • Missionary’s Visa
  • Research Visa
  • Student Visa
  • Tourist Visa
  • Transit Visa
  • Intern Visa
  • Film Visa

To apply for a longer stay or specific visa from the Indian Government, the application must be made through an Indian Consulate or Visa Application Center (VAC). Applications for regular visas start with the same online application procedure. Successful online application results in the receipt of an automatically generated application ID to use for subsequent communication. An appointment is scheduled with the Indian Consulate for an interview. Certain supporting documents must be produced at the interview. Indian visa processing takes at least 3 business days after that a visa is inserted into the applicant’s passport.

The processing time for an Indian visa is typically around three to five days. In the US, the Indian Consulate has outsourced its visa processing to an agency, known as a Visa Application Centre or VAC. These agents process applications, but the Indian Consulate still issues the actual visa.  Emergency visas may, however, be requested under very specific circumstances, and these can be issued within hours.

Visa processing will not advance until such time as the payment of the visa fee has gone through. It is therefore imperative that the visa fees be paid in full at the very least four days before the intended date of travel. To receive a payment status update when applying as a US citizen, the ‘verify payment’ feature online is the way to go. Should the payment not yet be reflected, it is advisable to wait at least four hours for the system to update before attempting to pay again. When making payment online, care must be taken as the application process is blocked after only 3 unsuccessful attempts. When the application is blocked, the application process must begin again from scratch, which may delay your plans for no good reason. Rather be safe than sorry as you would not want to have to apply again to generate a new application identity.  Upon successful application, the e-tourist visa is emailed to the applicant. This must be printed out and kept on the person for the entire trip. On arrival in India, the Immigration officials will check the holder’s biometric details.