India also has a large number of visas
On more than one occasion, India has topped the list of most complicated visas to apply for.
Despite the fact that the government has a modern digital visa system, travellers planning a trip to India often find it difficult to get their applications sorted out.
As a result, many tend to turn to private agencies for a quicker and easier experience.
In this article, we’ll go over how India’s visa system works, and tips on how to make applying easier.
Why is it so Difficult?
While there are many countries in the world where getting a visa to travel there is very difficult due to political reasons, such as North Korea or Iran, India is in fact a very hospitable country that happily accepts tourists.
Each year, millions of tourists from all over the world head to this country to enjoy the atmosphere, the delicious cuisine and the amazing sights.
However, many tourists often report difficulties when it comes to obtaining a visa.
The main reason for this is the sheer amount of information the Indian immigration service asks of you.
This doesn’t just include information about yourself. Information about your parents, employer and other information is also asked.
This is something other countries rarely ask for.
India also has a large number of them which can make it difficult for people to know which one to apply for.
Below, we’ll try to navigate through these difficult waters to help show potential travellers to India that getting a visa does not have to be a complicated process you dread.
What Visa do I need?
The first hurdle that needs to be overcome is figuring out which one you need.
India has a wide variety of visas, but most short-term foreign visitors generally travel to India for the following reasons: tourism, business or medical treatment.
The names already make it clear what these visas can be used for.
However, sometimes people stumble over the exact definition of their trip.
For instance, a yoga or Ayurveda trip might be meant to heal yourself physically and spiritually, but these still qualify as tourist trips, meaning you need to apply for the ‘eTourist visa’ and not the ‘eMedical visa’.
Likewise, some business travellers might think they need a special business visa from the embassy when in actuality their trip can be made with the easier to apply for ‘eBusiness visa’.
For example, with this visa, you can deliver products, install them and perform maintenance.
You can also negotiate deals with other companies and even recruit employees.
The only requirement is that you officially remain employed by your company outside India and do not enter into employment with a company in India.
How Long does the Visa last?
All tourist and business visas for India are valid for 365 days.
During the year, you are allowed to stay in India for a maximum of 90 days per trip as a tourist, and 180 days as a business traveller.
If you are planning to stay in India for longer, or want to enter into employment with an Indian company, you need to apply for a specific visa which generally requires a visit to the embassy.
How do I apply?
All three of the above visas can be applied for online, no visit to the embassy for an interview or to take fingerprints is required.
The application procedure is a lot shorter compared to the physical visa variants.
This is because you do not need to hand over your passport in person or provide a payslip.
The requirements for documents such as passport photos are also a lot less strict.
All that is required is to fill out the application form and make the required payment.
However, the Indian visa application form is quite extensive.
A lot of information is asked for, some of which might seem illogical or unnecessary.
For instance, if both your parents have passed away, you still need to provide their personal information.
If you have never been employed by a company, you need to provide the employment information of your father.
India also wants information on the countries you visited in the past 10 years.
Once you have provided all of the required information, you need to upload a scan of your passport as well as a passport photo.
Business travellers must also provide a business card.
Once all this has been done, you will receive a confirmation by e-mail and the Indian visa application will be processed.
Typically, this takes one week to process.
The visa is then sent to you by e-mail. Print it and carry it with you on your trip.