When American travelers are thinking about heading to India, the first questions we often hear concern visas. Some ask “Do you need a visa for India for business?” Others want to know “Do you need a visa for India for tourism?”
The answer to both questions is yes, you do need a visa to travel to India. Keep reading for more information on obtaining a visa for India and how Swift makes the process simple and hassle-free.
Types of Visas for India
Both business and tourist visas for India have three options. These are:
- Visa for multiple entries into India, valid for five years
- Visa for multiple entries into India, valid for one year
- ETA visa, or Electronic Travel Authority visa for two entries into India, valid for 60 days
More on the ETA Visa for India
An ETA visa is also known as an on-arrival visa. Rather than obtaining a hard copy of the visa in advance, the ETA visa is processed electronically and requires you to go through a special line for ETA visa holders upon arrival to India.
At that point, you will have to show your return ticket to the U.S. or to another destination out of India, prove you have enough money to spend while in India, and submit biometric details to the immigration officer.
Nine designated airports in India accept the on-arrival ETA visa option. Although your ETA visa will indicate that it does not guarantee entry into India, travelers rarely, if ever, encounter problems.
Obtaining an on-arrival ETA visa involves filling out an online application and paying the fees electronically. Once processed, you should receive an electronic confirmation that your on-arrival ETA visa is ready for you to travel.
How to Get Standard Visas for India
If you prefer or need a traditional work or tourist visa for India, the process for obtaining one is a bit different than the ETA visa. You can still head online to fill out the paperwork, but you must also mail in your documents for processing.
Swift makes it easy to obtain an Indian visa with step-by-step instructions. Head to the India visa service page, where you’ll see the documents you’ll need to mail in for processing. They include:
- Valid passport, with at least six months validity from time of arrival into India
- India visa application
- Copy of valid ID
- Passport photo
- Swift letter of authorization to allow Swift to submit materials on your behalf
Business visas for India additionally require:
- Letter of invitation from your host company in India
- Articles of Incorporation from your host company in India
- U.S. company letter of intent
- Additional particulars form
All the required forms are accessible online through the Swift website, allowing you to simply move down the checklist, gather your materials, and pay the fees. You’ll then mail your documents to Swift, and we’ll handle all subsequent details from there.
What Else You Need to Know
While Swift offers an Indian visa processing time of 10 to 15 days on our end, the overall processing time is at the sole discretion of the Indian Consulate. Because processing can take up to 25 business days, it’s advisable to obtain your visa for India while before your expected departure date.
Now that you know the answer to the question “Do you need a visa for India?” as well as how to go about getting one, you may be set to move forward with your travel planning. Contact us if you have any questions – we’re here to help!
Laurie Lee is co-founder and CEO of Swift Passport and Visa Services. A Chicago native, Laurie loves adventure travel, especially to the Caribbean. She enjoys writing for the Swift Post, as well as for her personal blog, Spare Parts- www.sparebodyparts.com.