Tourist Visa on Arrival for US Citizens Traveling to India

by Protima Daryanani

Getting to India as a visitor just became much easier. As of early December 2014, US citizens may now apply online for permission to enter India as a visitor. Prior to this, US citizens had to go through a lengthy visa application process (similar to the US visa application process, one might argue) in order to get a three- or six-month visitor visa stamped into their passports.

Now, a US citizen traveling to India need only complete an application on-line at least 4 days before they travel to India, pay $60 and submit a recent photograph. Once approved, travelers must present their passport (valid for at least 6 months) and a copy of the approved travel authorization at one of 9 airports in India (Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai & Trivandrum). The single-entry tourist visa is valid for 30 days, cannot be extended, and a traveler may apply twice in a year at most. Business visas are not covered currently but might be included at a later date. In facilitating the visitor visa application process, India hopes to attract more tourists, particularly Americans who apparently spent a lot of money abroad! 

The program is currently open to citizens of 43 countries including Germany, Australia, Brazil, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Russia, Thailand, and Ukraine.  It is expected that the United Kingdom and other countries will be added at a later date.