A Detailed Guide to eVisa for India – Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)
EVisa for India – Avoid India Tourist Visa Surprises. Make sure to check your visa requirements before you book your trip to beautiful India. – by Sandro Paladini
- Here’s the story about my eVisa application experience for India (Indian e-Tourist Visa)
- How does the Indian eTourist Visa look like?
- India eTourist Visa Duration and Validity
- Number of Entries on Indian eVisa (eTourist Visa)
- Indian E Visa restrictions
- What will you need for your online visa to India application?
- The traditional embassy Indian visa
As a European, it is really easy for me to travel around the world. The euro goes far and I only have to worry about visas to a few countries. But here is the thing, India not only requires a visa for German citizens but US citizens also need a visa to India. Are you planning on visiting India too?
I am now writing this article hoping that you have a better experience than I did when trying to get my India eTourist visa.
Here’s the story about my eVisa application experience for India (Indian e-Tourist Visa)
A few months ago I decided to try the new India eTourist Visa. My employment visa for India had expired and I needed a new visa to fly back to India with Sonal.
Instead of going through the lengthy embassy visa application process (which I also explain in the latter part of this post), I decided give eVisa a try . For those of you that don’t know yet, India has an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for tourists and it is called eTourist Visa scheme. Travelers from 113 countries can get an Indian visa online.
This system supersedes the existing tourist visa on arrival where certain travelers were able to pay a fee upon arrival at immigrations. Travelers now have to apply before arrival to India for a tourist visa. They get a PDF that the airline desk clerk will check before boarding the flight.
Once in India, there is a special immigration queue for eVisas and voila, you are set! This eVisa is actually a great implementation as it not only boosts the tourism industry for Indian locals but it also eliminates costs and is a great benefit to all us travelers.
As I said, the tourist visa is now issued online and you will simply receive it in PDF format via email. Your Indian visa will be linked electronically to your passport so you will no longer receive a visa sticker.
Enough about the benefits of the program. I started the process at 8PM and finished 12 hours later, in a nightmare night in the Philippines. The Government website (https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html) is tortuous.
I had innumerable problems uploading my ID photo, my passport information page and worse of all, paying. The user experience was even more frustrating than getting a traditional visa.
Instead of sleeping before my early morning snorkeling trip in Palawan, I ended up wasting my entire night on this website. So when a blogger friend talked about iVisa.com, I instantly thought this was an interesting option for my readers.
Wait, what is iVisa? It is a US based company whose motto is “zero frustration policy when it comes to visa processing”. For an additional fee, they’ve made an impressively easy interface that makes the visa application a pleasant one (or as pleasant as it can be). That additional fee is sort of nothing if you compare it to the headache of applying on the Indian government visa website.
They provide a few great service options that are very interesting: travelers can save an application and complete it at any time, iVisa system takes any type of image and they make it compliant to the visa application format (versus the Government website which only accepts a few formats and in ridiculously small sizes), they take any form of payment (including Amex and paypal), and best of all, unlike the Government website, they accept visa applications far in advance from the trip.
It’s crucial to understand that there have been applications rejected by the government in the past so waiting until the last minute to process the visas is not a great idea. The government service will only accept applications 120 days before your actual travel date, which made me a bit anxious.
How does the Indian eTourist Visa look like?
India eTourist Visa Duration and Validity
The validity of e Tourist Visa (or eVisa) and e Business Visa for India is one year as of February 2019. The maximum continuous stay allowed in one visit is 180 days for the citizens of USA, UK and Canada. For all others, the maximum duration per entry is 90 days.
One thing to remember is that the validity of your eVisa for India will only begin on the day of your arrival and you can not apply more than 120 days before your arrival to India. Earlier, you could only apply for this visa no earlier than 33 days before your arrival date but this limitation has been relaxed.
Number of Entries on Indian eVisa (eTourist Visa)
The eTourist Visa for India allows multiple entries. Earlier the maximum number of entries were just two but the government made amendments in February 2019
Indian E Visa restrictions
If you want to apply for an Indian eTourist visa, make sure you are arriving to India via plane and through one of these 28 airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochi (Kochin), Kolkata, Kozhikode, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangaluru, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Port Blair, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchirapalli, Varanasi and Visakhapatnam.
You can also enter from India’s 5 seaports with an eTourist visa – Cochin, Goa, Mangalore, Mumbai and Chennai.
You can exit India by any means of transportation and from any point of exit.
What will you need for your online visa to India application?
You will need a valid passport (valid at least 6 months after your arrival date) and a scan of your passport photo page along with a recent digital photograph of yourself.
After you make the payment online, you’ll receive an email with your visa after a few days, which you can print and take to the airport with you. It’s that easy. Show the printed copy to the immigration officer and a visa will be attached to your passport on the spot.
Again, I recommend that you use www.iVisa.com to avoid any frustration with the process. Remember you can apply online at any time with them, and the visa will be processed exactly 120 days prior to departure (so they apply on the first available date, ensuring that the traveler doesn’t have to worry about the visa at all).
The traditional embassy Indian visa
For the unlucky ones that can’t get an eVisa, I thought it would be good to explain the traditional bureaucracy involved in getting a paper visa. I wish you luck 🙂
- How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post
Step 1 – Visit the India Visa Center for Cox and King website, fill in your details and click on “Proceed”. Make sure to check your info though as you CAN NOT change this later.
Click on “Proceed” again and then on “Click Here” which takes you to the application website and a redirect button will pop up.
Step 2 – Be sure to check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your arrival date in India. Fill in details.
Step 3 – Start the online application. It says “Regular Visa Application”. Click that link.
Another page will pop up which is the actual application with an orange banner across the top.
At the end of your application it will ask if it’s all correct. Once you say YES, you cannot change your details so verify that you entered everything correctly before continuing.
Step 4 – While filling out this application, note that the format for entering dates are as follows: DAY/MONTH/YEAR which is not the typical way we write dates in the U.S (month/day).
Step 5 – Fill out all the pages. I used this EXAMPLE Application Form whenever I had doubts filling in my details.
Step 6 – Once you completed your form, you then have to click on “APPOINTMENT AND PAYMENT” to go back to the CKGS website to complete the rest of your application.
Step 7 – You will now sign and complete extra supplementary forms.
Step 8 – Select your mode of submission. I used Shipping. Simply print out your label at the end which will automatically be created.
- You have to go to a FedEx office to send your documents, no pickups allowed. At FedEx, only use the free envelope (see picture below) to send with the shipping label provided by CKGS. If you use the wrong envelope then your entire application will be cancelled or kept on hold.
- Send ONLY 1 (one) application per envelope. You can not send 2 applications in one. That goes for the payment as well.
- DO NOT request a pickup by FedEx, your application will be put on hold/cancelled. I called CKGS to verify this so I would advise against it!
- Again, DO NOT send more than 1 application in the envelope.
Step 9 – You can pay by using a Credit or Debit Card/Money Order/Cashier’s Check/Bankers Check (Name of ‘Cox & Kings Global Services USA LLC.) I confirmed this various times by calling their call center and your payment HAS to be made separately for each applicant. You cannot create a payment for multiple applicants.
Step 10 – Once you completed the online process, you will submit your physical application via shipping.
You should arrange your documents in the same order as mentioned in the document checklist.
Tick off the boxes on both the checklists, and add 1 copy of the document checklist in your envelope.
- How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from Germany via post
Step 1 – Complete your application form online by clicking here. Click on Regular Visa Application.
Step 2 – Complete your details online. Remember that you will have to upload a recent digital passport-sized photo as well as a physical one in your application. Make sure to verify that all your details are correct as you will not be able to edit it later.
Step 3 – you will need to send your physical application to the following address:
Residents of Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen–Anhalt, Thueringen, should submit their applications to: International Visa Services Europe GmbH, Fritschestraße 61, 10627 Berlin
Residents of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria should submit their applications to:International Visa Services Europe GmbH, Schellingstr. 35, 80799 Munich
You will need to add the following documents with your application:
- Copy of your online application form.
- 2 recent photographs (50×50 mm, colour & identical with a light background).
- Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months).
- If you are applying for something different than a tourist visa, check that you have everything that’s listed in the Check List.
- Proof of Payment
- Self addressed and stamped envelope (including € 3.95 stamps for up to 2 passports) to return passport
- Visa Order Form for Postal application for Munich.
Visa Order Form for Postal application for Berlin.
Notes. Minimum processing time is 2 weeks. Ensure that your envelope is properly sealed.
Incomplete applications and incorrect fees will delay the processing of your application.
The passports will be returned only through registered mail (‘Einschreiben Uebergabe’) or through DHL.