It is accepted that to travel abroad, one requires the necessary travel documents, a passport and more often than not, a visa. A US citizen wanting to visit India must have such valid travel documents. With well over a million US citizens making the trip in 2016 alone, it is now easier than ever before for US citizens to get a short stay visa for India.
The Indian Government offers a selection of visas, depending on the reason for visiting India. These include the e-Visa, Tourist Visa, Business Visa, Conference Visa, Diplomatic Visa, Employment Visa, Emergency Visa, Entry Visa, Journalist Visa, Medical Visa, Missionary’s Visa, Mountaineering Visa, Research Visa, Student Visa, Tourist Visa (longer than 6 month stay), Transit Visa, Intern Visa, Film Visa, and Permit to re-enter within 2 months. Once the application is made, the Consulate General of India takes at least three days to issue the visa. By its very nature, however, an Emergency visa can be issued within hours, depending on the circumstances.
The easiest way to obtain an Indian visa for US citizens, however, is to take advantage of the e-Tourist facility. USA is among the more than 160 countries who can benefit from this facility which allows the visa application to be done online in the comfort of the home or office without the need to queue at a VAC, Indian Embassy or Consulate. International travelers from the US whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visits to meet family or friends, short duration medical treatment, or casual business visits can apply for the eTV. Applicants must be in possession of a passport valid at least six months from the date of arrival in India with at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer. US citizens with the eVisa must have a return ticket or onward journey ticket, and enough money to spend for the duration of the stay in India. The application must be made between 4 and 240 days in advance of the date of arrival, with a window of 90 days. Confirmation is received within 72 hours. The visa is valid for 365 days.
Online applications require the submission of the scanned front page of the passport and a photograph which meets the specific requirements set out by the Indian Government. Photos can be taken with a smartphone or uploaded, but should they fall outside of the parameters given, the application will be rejected.
Applications for Indian visa for US citizens can also be made through the Visa Application Centre (VAC) used by the Indian consulate or Embassy in your area. Handwritten applications are not acceptable wherever online facilities are provided, which means the application form must be downloaded off the Indian Government website. This form must be completed and submitted to the Indian Embassy, Consulate, or Visa Application Center (VAC). It cannot be stressed enough that the details be verified for accuracy before submitting the application form. Successful online applications result in the issuing of an application ID. After payment, you will be prompted to schedule an appointment if required.
The USA is among the many countries in which the Consulate General of India has outsourced the processing of visas to outside agencies or VACs which specialize in visa processing. These VACs only process the applications, and the visa is still issued by the Indian Consulate. Where applicants must be interviewed, supporting documents must be produced dependent on the type of visa required. These usually include:
- Passport valid for 6 months after the date of arrival in India, with 2 blank pages;
- Signed application form, and one recent 2 x 2 passport type color photograph, front view against a plain/white background;
- Proof of State Residency: Identity cards/valid driver’s license; recent utility bills (water, gas, electric, sewage), not older than 90 days; Copy of valid lease showing the signature of landlord and tenant;
- Signed additional particulars form;
- Copy of payment receipt;
- Visa checklist;
- Order form; and
- Courier service form.
India is a country of spirituality, friendliness, picturesque sights, amazing natural scenery, and cost-effective shopping. Apply for Indian Visa for US citizens and have the experience for yourself.