Your nationality, purpose of travel, and lead time all play into the choices you have when it comes to getting an India visa.
If you are a US citizen, or have a passport from a country that is eligible to apply for an India ETA Visa, then you have 2 options. Below are the pros and cons of both options to help you decide how to proceed with your visa service.
Option 1: One or Five Year Tourist and Business Visas
If you are planning to go to India more than once this year or over the next 5 years, this is a great option for you.
- You won’t have to apply for a visa every time you go to India for as long as this visa is valid, even after your passport expires
- The visa has less restrictions- you can enter India multiple times with the same visa
- When you arrive to India you will most likely get through customs faster than if you get an electronic visa
- This visa typically takes about a week to process however it can take up to 3 weeks to process so you need to plan ahead and apply in advance
- If something comes up and you need to withdraw your application, it can take up to 72 hours to withdraw
- If you request a 5 or 10-year visa, the consulate may opt to give you a 1 or 2-year visa instead. They will not refund you if they issue a visa of lesser validity than what you paid for
- There is a more complex application process. Most people report that it takes 30-90 minutes to gather the paperwork for this type of visa
If the application is completed with a small error, you will need to start the application from scratch
- Once your visa is issued, it is shipped back to the address on your application. This address must match the address on your driver’s license, state ID, or major utility bill. It cannot be shipped back to your office or alternate address
Option 2: Electronic Business and Tourist Visas
If you do not have future plans to travel to India, then an electronic visa may be the way to go.
- The whole application process is completed online and takes about 15 minutes, it is really easy. Be prepared to have a scan of your passport and a passport photo with white background to upload. If you are getting an electronic business visa, you also need a business card image that you can upload
- The visa is issued in 2-4 business days, most frequently in 2-3 days
You do not have to send your passport to Swift- this whole process will happen electronically
- No shipping involved
- The visa is valid for 60 days and 2 entries only
- When you arrive to India there may be a long line- some travelers have reported a 30-minute wait, others a 3 hour wait to get through customs
- You will need to apply and pay for another visa if you decide to go back to India after this visa expires
- You can only get 2 visas like this issued each calendar year
Instructions for all of the different types of India visas can be found on our website, but if you still need help deciding, feel free to give us a call, and one of our visa experts can help you find the best fit for your travel needs.
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.