How to Apply for a 1 year Tourist, Business or Medical Indian Evisa Online.
Important 2019 Update to Indian Visa Rules
Almost all visitors need to apply for a visa before traveling to India (apart from citizens of neighbouring Nepal and Bhutan) so applying for an Indian visa is an essential part of planning your trip to India. It also used to be a very complicated and frustrating part of traveling to India until recently when the new Indian Evisa was introduced which makes it so much easier, quicker and less hassle to travel to India.
Great News! Big Horay! Read on and I’ll give you all you need to know about applying for an Indian Evisa.
The Indian Evisa scheme was introduced in 2014 in order to attract more tourists to India by making the process of obtaining a visa easier. It has been called the Indian visa on arrival scheme, online Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme, e-tourist visa scheme and now just Indian E-Visa. This one replaces all of the previous versions and you always had to apply before traveling so the term visa on arrival was very misleading but you don’t have to worry about all that now!
The Indian Evisas used to only be valid for 30 or 60 days but as off Feb 2019 some Indian Evisas are now valid for upto 1 year! The duration and cost of the evisa depends upon your nationality.
For citizens of the UK, USA the fee is $100. For citizens of Australia, Canada, NZ and most European and Southeast Asian countries the fee is $80. See the full list of Indian visa fees here.
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It’s important to be aware that even though the Tourist Evisa is valid for 1 year, this does NOT actually mean that you can stay in India continuously for the whole year. For most passport holders the length of continuous stay mustn’t be longer than 90 days apart from citizens of the UK, USA, Canada and Japan who are permitted to stay for 180 days. You must leave the country and can then re-enter if your Evisa is still valid. You cannot get an extension and never overstay.
The Business Evisa is also valid for 1 year but the length of continuous stay is upto 180 days for all passport holders.
Always check your visa for the length of permitted continuous stay and any other stipulations and be aware that the rules can change at any time – it’s India after all! Make sure you keep track of when your 90 or 180 days is up – don’t forget to leave or leave even a day later as it will be counted as an overstay, even if your visa is still valid, and will result in a fine, ban or worse. Overstaying in India is a serious thing – don’t risk it. I usually leave the day before my visa expires just to be on the safe side incase my flight gets delayed or anything.
Previously you could only apply for an Indian Evisa 2 times in a calendar year but this limit has now been removed.
Who is eligible for an India Evisa?
Passport holders of 161 countries are now eligible to apply for an Indian Evisa and you can apply online without having to send off your passport for processing or visiting the Indian embassy. Your passport does need to be valid for at least six months
However, if you, your parents or grandparents were born in, or have lived in, Pakistan then sadly you are not eligible for an Evisa but you can still apply for a normal Indian visa the old fashioned way.
Countries eligible are: Albania, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia an Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon Union Republic, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Island, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Colombia, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan , Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger Republic, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal , Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
When entering India (or any country really) its best to have a return ticket or onward journey ticket and proof of sufficient money to cover your stay in India.( screenshot of a bank statement should suffice) In my experience they rarely check this but officially its a requirement. Sometimes airlines have been known to refuse boarding if you don’t meet these requirments.
Types of Evisa
Furthermore the Indian Evisa scheme has expanded to offer different categories of Evisa including:
- Tourist Evisa
- Business Evisa
- Medical Evisa
- Medical Attendant Evisa (2 Medical Attendant Evisas can be granted against one Medical Evisa.)
- Conference Evisa
Tourist Evisas and Business Evisas are now valid for 1 year with multiple entries permitted. It’s important to note that these Evisas are valid from the date of issue, not the date you enter India so plan accordingly.
Previously getting a business visa meant lots of paperwork with letters of invitation needed from both the Indian company and the company you work for in your home country but there is now no indication about this paperwork being required for the evisas. All they ask for now is a copy of your business card but it must be in English or your visa will be rejected.
For the medical evisa you will need a copy of a letter from the hospital concerned in India on its letterhead. It must be in English or your visa will be rejected.
For the conference evisa you need an invitation from the organizer and political clearance from MEA.
You are also now allowed to attend a short term yoga program under an evisa but longer studies will still require a student visa.
It’s also wise to be aware that a business visa is only meant for trips to India for business meetings etc not for employment or to actually run a business in India. There are different types of business visa if you own an Indian company and an employment visa is needed if you are to be employed and work for an Indian company and these cannot be obtained online yet. See here for more info about the different types on Indian visas not available online. Also see this government circular regarding guidelines for visas and different visa categories.
Remember that even though the Tourist Evisa is valid for 1 year, this does NOT mean that you can stay in India continuously for the whole year. For most passport holders the length of continuous stay mustn’t be longer than 90 days. Ctizens of the UK, USA, Canada and Japan who are permitted to stay for 180 days. You must leave the country and can then re-enter if your Evisa is still valid. All passport holders on a Business Evisa can stay in India for up to 180 days continuously.
Medical Evisas and Medical Attendant Evisas are valid for 3 entries and are valid for 60 days from the date of arrival in India, not the date of issue.
Conference Evisas are valid for 1 entry only and are valid for 30 days from the date of arrival.
All the Indian Evisas are non extendable and non convertible. You cannot change the purpose of your visa. NEVER OVERSTAY any Indian visa, even by 1 day, as there are serious repercussions. If you overstay then you may not be allowed to leave unless you go through the hassle of getting an exit visa, paying a fine and can then be banned/ blacklisted from coming to India again. A few of my friends forgot to leave after their 90/ 180 days were up and had to go through all this. They said the ban was a 1 year but 3/4 years later they still get rejected every time they try to apply for a visa. 🙁 Don’t risk it! Read this cautionary tale on overstaying in India.
How to apply for an Indian Evisa
The process of applying for an Indian Evisa is fully online, you apply for the visa and pay online and receive your documents by email. So there’s now no need to send off your passport for 2 weeks or visit the embassy! 😊 You just have to make sure that you print out your documents and have them handy at the airport.
The official government website to apply for your Indian Evisa is https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/ However, applying on this site can be time consuming, complicated and stressful. The forms are 7 pages long and the website often crashes and if your visa is rejected for even the smallest reason your money will not be refunded.
When my family and friends come to visit me I recommend they use a trusted agent to make the process easier and to avoid the stress. We have been using iVisa for a few years now, they do charge a service fee but in my opinion it’s worth it as it makes the process much easier and its a lot less likely that your visa would be rejected as they check your paperwork before submitting it.
I’ll talk a bit more about them further down… But if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind the hassle then this is how you apply on the government website: Go to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/ Click on the blue ‘E-Visa’ tab on the right and then on the next page click on the red ‘E-Visa Application’ tab on the left and it will bring up the application forms.
The government website is better than it used to be but it’s still not the easiest to use and often has technical difficulties. The application process is 7 long pages long with all sorts of questions including your religion, marital status, education, occupation, parents names, addresses and place of birth, details of previous Indian visas, all the countries you’ve visited in the last 10 years etc etc …
Always take a note of your temporary application number incase it crashes – it’s happened many times to me but if you have that number you might not have to start over.
You’ll need a scanned copy of the Bio page of the passport showing the photograph and details. You also need to upload a full face passport photo on a white background with no spectacles. The height and width of the photo must be equal and the size between 10 KB and 1 MB. If you mess any of this up the application will be rejected and the fee won’t be refunded. See more info here.
Also bear in mind that there are some questions there to trip you up – like if you have any connection to Pakistan you will not be granted this evisa and also if you mention anything to do with media or journalism related occupations it’s likely you could get rejected too. Possibly also the one about have you ever been in the military, police or security organisation.
You will need to upload the photo page of your passport and a passport photograph of yourself with a white background that meets the specifications listed on the website. You need a debit or credit card to pay the fee online and it will be emailed to you after 3 – 5 days. You can apply for your Indian Evisa no less than 4 days and no more than 120 days before the date of travel.
Bear in mind that the visa fees are non refundable, even if your visa is rejected. Many people I know have made a mistake on the forms or uploaded a photo that doesn’t met the specifications. Their visa gets rejected and they lose the fee and have to reapply.
Make your Indian Evisa application hassle free
For the easiest and most hassle free way of applying for an Indian E-visa I recommend going through iVisa. All you need to apply for an Tourist Evisa is your passport copy in PDF format, a digital passport photo in JPEG format and a credit/debit card or Paypal account to make the payment.
I’ve been using this company for years and they’ve always been reliable and efficient. The website is better and the application with iVisa is much easier and quicker and more straightforward. iVisa will check your paperwork and photos are correct before submitting the application so there’s less chance of your visa getting rejected for not adhering to the specific specifications.
iVisa do charge a service fee, but I think it’s worth it. Another added advantage or using iVisa is that you can pay with Paypal. The standard processing time for evisas is 5 days but with iVisa you can also opt for rush processing for an extra fee if you left it to the last minute. The shortest iVisa can process your Indian Evisa is 36 hours. With iVisa you can also apply further in advance than on the official government website which only takes applications between and days of travel. With iVisa you can apply for the visa anytime (subject to another fee) Handy if you like to get organised and book your trip well in advance but don’t want to worry about having to remember to apply for your visa nearer the time.
iVisa are a trusted and reputable visa agent which will make your life easier, however, as with anything in India, there’s always scams to be aware off. There are a number of commercial websites that have been created to look like to the government of India’s official website, including: indianvisaonline.org.in, e-visaindia.com and e-touristvisaindia.com. Don’t use these websites.
Once you apply for your Indian Evisa, make sure it is listed as granted before you travel and don’t forget to print off the documents and have them handy when you get to the airport.
You can enter India at any of these 28 international airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kochi, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Port Blair, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Varanasi, and Vishakhapatnam.
You can also enter at these 5 seaports: Kochi, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai, Chennai.
Once you have your Indian Evisa you can leave and re-enter at any Indian immigration point.
Hope this post makes it easier to get your Indian visa leaving you to focus on enjoying your trip instead of stressing about the paperwork!
Happy Travels 🙂