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How to apply for your India Visa

Author: David Pettitt

When visiting India you must ensure you have a valid visa before entering the country . There are two types of visa available, the e-Tourist Visa, which allows you 30 days in India, and the Regular Tourist Visa which allows you to stay in India for 180 days and is required if you are visiting certain specific restricted areas. Nearly all visitors will require the 30 day e-Tourist Visa but we will advise you at the time of your enquiry. Please also note the information provided in this guide applies only to British Citizen passport holders.

The application process for each visa is slightly different. However to apply for either it is important to note:

1. You must have your own passport. You cannot apply for the visa if you are included on a parent/spouse passport.

2. Your passport must have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India and have at least two blank pages for the Immigration Officer to stamp.

3. International travellers should have a return or onward journey ticket.

4. Each person travelling will need their own individual visa.

5. You must keep your visa with you at all times.

The option for both visas can be found at the top of the India Visa website. The e-Tourist Visa is referred to as ‘e-VISA’ and the Regular Tourist Visa is referred to as ‘Regular Visa Application’. 

To make the application process as quick and easy as possible, ensure you have all the relevant documents scanned in pdf format and your photograph in jpg format. The photograph will need to be in colour, 2in x 2in (51 mm x 51mm) and show your full face, from the top of your hair to the bottom of your chin, with your eyes open.

E-Tourist Visa

The Indian e-Tourist Visa (eTV) is valid for 365 days from its date of issue. You can therefore apply for your visa 12 months prior to the date of your return. However we would recommend applying for your visa 10 months from your return date, at the earliest, to allow a bit of an overlap. The eTV is not valid for protected or restricted areas.

When you begin the e-Tourist Visa online application process you will have to fill out basic details such as passport type (select ordinary), nationality and port of arrival. Once these details have been submitted you will be taken to the main visa form. This form is the same for whichever visa you are applying for and is quite self-explanatory. Below is clarification on some of the questions we frequently get asked:

1. Given Name: This is more frequently referred to as your first name.

2. Have you ever changed your name?: If your name now is different to when you were born, e.g. you have been married, you must fill in the details here.

3. Citizenship/National ID No: Simply type NA if you do not have a citizenship or National ID number.

4. Visible identification marks: Here you will need to include any visible tattoos or birth marks, or simply type NONE.

5. Occupation: If you select any of the below occupations you will need to be prepared to provide further documentation such as a signed letter from your employer which states you are only going to India for tourism. If you are unsure, you can simply type Business Person:

Air Force


Charity/Social Worker


Film Producer








The most technical aspect of the visa application is uploading your photo. Detailed instructions on ensuring your image is the correct size, width and height can be found here.

However, as a guideline, the photograph should be in a jpg format between 10kb and 300kb and not 1MB as mentioned on the website. The photo must also be square and a minimum of 350 x 350 pixels. The passport page also needs to be uploaded to the application and this should be in a pdf format and under 300mb. The titles of these image files should be continuous, i.e. mr_smith_passport.jpg, not Mr Smith passport.jpg.

It is worth noting that the application process can be stopped and saved at any time and a ‘temporary application ID’ number will be generated. This will allow you to log back in to the application so that you are able to complete it at a later date.

Once completed an ‘Application ID’ number is generated. This always begins with an ‘I’ for e-Visas.

Please note that when paying, a choice of SBIEpay or AXIS bank is offered. Generally we find that SBIEpay works more consistently. The payment section does not like Apple Macs so, if you are having an issue with making a payment, it is worth trying to do this in a Google Chrome browser which seems to work best.

Alternatively, the visa experts at CIBT are also able to assist you through the process of applying for your e-Tourist Visa (eTV) application. CIBT do charge for this service and further details can be found at where the information is listed under 'India - eVisa'.

Regular Tourist Visa

If you are planning on visiting India for longer than 30 days, or if you are visiting a restricted or protected area, you will have to apply for a Regular Tourist Visa. This can still be done online here however you must also make an appointment at one of the VFS Global offices that deal with visa applications. During this appointment you will need to submit your documents along with your passport. You will then receive your passport and visa via special delivery. Alternatively you can post your application and passport to VFS Global who should return your passport, with visa, within 2-3 weeks.

The information required for a Regular Tourist Visa is very similar to an E-tourist Visa. On the first page of the online visa application tool you will need to select tourist visa as your visa type and the purpose that fits you best out of:

  • individual tourist
  • group tourist
  • cruise tourism


For both visa types you can view the status of your application at any time by entering your application ID and passport number here.

As with the e-Tourist Visa, CIBT are also able to assist with applying for a Regular Tourist Visa for an extra charge.

We have been creating tailor-made holidays to India for over 30 years and therefore have a vast amount of experience in applying for Indian visas. For anybody that has booked a holiday to India with us, our team are happy to advise you on the application process. resizeimage 93


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