India recently implemented a liberalised tourist visa on arrival (TVOA) scheme to include nationals of 43 countries. While still short of the goal to include nationals of 180 countries, it is a step in the right direction.
The TVOA is now issued as an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) that needs at least four days to process. For example, if you are arriving in to India on March 5th, you must complete the application and pay the fees latest by March 1st, Indian time (GMT +5.5). It costs $60 and you need a passport valid for six months from the date of travel, a photograph, return or onward tickets showing your departure from India. There other requirements and these are some of the fine print points you would should know and are detailed below.
Nationalities eligible for India visa on arrival
You can apply for a Indian TVOA if are a citizen of, and hold a passport issued by the following countries:
Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Russian Federation, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, or Vietnam. [Updated August 2015] Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Island,Chile, China, China- SAR Hongkong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand,Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, or Vietnam
Holders of a Pakistan passport or those of Pakistan origin (even if currently a citizen of another country) cannot apply for a TVOA and instead may apply for a regular visa at an Indian mission overseas.
Indian tourist visa on arrival application process
- You apply for the TVOA on this official visa website.
- Upload a scanned copy of the first/photo page(s) of your passport, which contain your personal information like name, date of birth, nationality, passport issue and expiry date, etc., in PDF format, minimum 10KB and max 300KB in size.
- An electronic passport photo, in JPG format, in a square (i.e. height and width equal), a plain and light or white background, front facing, with a clear view of the full face (top of hair to bottom of chin) and eyes open. You face must occupy most of the photograph, not be covered in shadow, and the photo must be without borders.
- Make payment using your credit or debit card at least four days prior to your expected arrival date as per Indian Standard Time (UTC +5.5). While the accepted cards are not indicated, it is safe to assumee only VISA and MasterCard will be accepted. American Express and Discover cards are generally not accepted. Payments will not be refunded.
- Wait up to four days for your ETA to arrive by e-mail. (The website has a visa status enquiry option).
- Carry a printed copy of the ETA along with your passport and ticket when you arrive in India. We advise you to always carry a spare photocopy of your documents, ETA, and ticket, and always carry a couple of passport sized photos.
The fine print of the Indian TVoA
- You must be visiting India for either recreation, sight-seeing (tourism), casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or a casual business visit.
- Your visit must be of a maximum duration of 30 days.
- You can use the TVoA facility only twice in a year.
- The TVoA may not be converted or extended.
- The TVoA cannot be used to visit Protected or Restricted areas. More details here (download PDF).
- The Indian tourist visa on arrival scheme is not available to diplomatic or official passport holders.
- You must be prepared to show you have sufficient funds to bear your expenses during your stay in India.
- The ETA is valid for entry only through nine designated Airports Bangalore (Bengaluru), Chennai, Cochin (Kochi), New Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram).
- Your biometric data will be captured at the airport of arrival.
The TVOA website contains detailed instructions which we encourage you to read carefully. We also suggest you plan to apply five days in advance instead of four.
We encourage readers to share their TVOA experience via a comment.