In 2017, I was lucky enough to visit India and be part of Kerala Blog Express and document my travels around God’s Own Country with many other amazing digital content creators and storytellers. However, as a Finnish passport holder, it was required that I apply for an Indian tourist visa.
That said, Kerala Tourism kindly guided us through the visa application and had the opportunity to have a little knowledge of how the visa process goes. It typically does not cost a lot to apply, and it takes no more than a week to get your visa; therefore, it is not a hassle to apply for the Indian e-Visa.
If you are planning to visit India anytime soon, you can either apply for an e-Visa or opt for a regular tourist visa, or if you’re located in the UK, you can check out e-Visums for more information for visas and travel advice for India. The e-Visa has become a preferred authorization document for most people since it involves less hassle to obtain through its validity is for a considerably shorter duration.
Here is a guide that tells you everything that you had ever wanted to know about the Indian tourist e-Visa application process.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Indian E-Tourist Visa: A Complete Guide on How to Apply Plus Tips!
- 1.1 What is an Indian E-Tourist Visa?
- 1.2 Who can apply for an Indian e-tourist visa?
- 1.3 When to apply for an e-tourist visa?
- 1.4 Where to apply/submit an application for an Indian E-Tourist Visa?
- 1.5 How long does it take for an Indian E-Tourist Visa to be approved?
- 1.6 How much does it cost to apply for an Indian E-Tourist Visa?
- 1.7 How long is an Indian E-Tourist Visa valid?
- 1.8 Which Indian entry points accept e-visas?
- 1.9 How often can you get an E-Visa?
- 1.10 Need help with your application?
- 1.11 Important: Scams to be aware of
- 1.12 Expediting your e-visa
- 1.13 How much is the risk of getting denied?
- 2 Steps to be followed on how to apply for an Indian e-Tourist Visa
- 3 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Indian E-Tourist Visa: A Complete Guide on How to Apply Plus Tips!
What is an Indian E-Tourist Visa?
It was on January 1, 2010, that the Indian government introduced a scheme where tourists could get a visa on arrival in the country. Initially, a trial run was done for five nations, which were extended to include 11 countries after a year. South Korea became a part of the program from April 15, 2014.
With effect from November 27, 2014, an online Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme replaced the earlier visa-on-arrival plan. The implementation of this new program has gone forth in phases, with more countries being made a part of it in a progressive manner. The Indian government renamed this program as the “E-Tourist Visa” to remove any prevailing confusion over the previous visa-on-arrival scheme that did not require any advance application.
There was a further expansion to the program in April 2017 when the passport holders of 161 countries were brought under this program, up from 150 nations. The scope of this visa has also been widened, and now individuals looking to visit the country for conferences, casual business visits, yoga courses, and short medical treatments have been brought under its coverage. Previously these individuals would have to apply for business, student, or medical visas.
The whole idea of this exercise is to make it easier for individuals to obtain an Indian visa so that the number of medical tourists and businesses can be brought into the country. In a bid to make this change possible, the e-tourist visa scheme came to be known as e-visa and was further divided into three categories, namely:
- E-Tourist Visa
- E-Business Visa
- E-Medical Visa
Who can apply for an Indian e-tourist visa?
A citizen that belong to the following countries are eligible to apply for an e-visa – click here to see!
It is worth noting that if you happen to have roots in Pakistan (i.e., your grandparents or parents were born in or were residents of Pakistan), then you will not be considered eligible for an e-Visa even though you may be a citizen of one of the 161 eligible countries. In such a case, you will have to settle for a standard tourist visa.
When to apply for an e-tourist visa?
E-Tourist Visa applications need to be made online a minimum of four days and a maximum of 120 days before your intended date of travel.
Where to apply/submit an application for an Indian E-Tourist Visa?
The application for an Indian e-tourist visa needs to be submitted online at the following website:
The application process is straightforward. You submit the online application and pay the visa fee, after which your documents will be processed and validated. You will receive the e-Visa in your registered email id, and you need to take a printout of the same. Then you can happily travel to India.
How long does it take for an Indian E-Tourist Visa to be approved?
Once you have submitted the application and paid the corresponding visa application fee, you will get your ETA and application ID in your registered email ID within three to five working days. You can further check the status of your application at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/StatusEnquiry. Ensure that the status shows “GRANTED” before setting out on your travel.
How much does it cost to apply for an Indian E-Tourist Visa?
The cost of the visa is dependent on the kind of reciprocal relationship shared by India and your resident nation. The fee amounts are divided into four different categories and apply as follows:
- Free: Argentina, Cook Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu
- $25: Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka
- $50: Citizens of the rest of the countries. This is the category that the majority of the countries fall into
- $75: US, UK, Russia, Ukraine, Mozambique
Apart from the visa fee, an additional banking charge of 2.5% of the fee is also applicable.
How long is an Indian E-Tourist Visa valid?
The visa is currently valid for 60 days from the time of entry, up from the previous tenure of 30 days. E-Business and e-tourist visa holders are permitted two entries while the e-Medical visa will let you enter the country up to three times. The visas are non-convertible and non-extendable.
Which Indian entry points accept e-visas?
Entry to the country is permitted at one of the following 25 international airports:
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Previously this used to be possible at only 16 airports. There are also five designated seaports through which entry is possible:
Separate help desks and immigration counters have also been set up for the assistance of medical tourists at the airports in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi. Once the e-visa has been acquired, you are free to move in and out of the country through any immigration point.
How often can you get an E-Visa?
E-Visa can be obtained twice every calendar year, between January and December.
Need help with your application?
If you are in need of any kind of assistance with regards to your e-visa application process, please call on +91-11-24300666 or drop an email with your query to [email protected]
Important: Scams to be aware of
When you are submitting your e-visa application, beware of the fact that numerous commercial websites have been set up replicating the official government of India website for visa applications. These fraudulent websites claim that they provide tourists with online visa services. Some of these websites include:
These websites are in no way owned or operated by the government of India, and the additional charges demanded here are inappropriate.
Expediting your e-visa
If you are in need of the e-visa in a hurry, iVisa.com can help you obtain the same within an 18-hour processing duration, but you will have to pay a premium for it. The fee applicable for this “Super Rush Processing” service is $65 in addition to the e-Visa fee and a $35 service fee. This is, however, a reliable and legitimate visa company.
How much is the risk of getting denied?
Incidents of e-tourist Visa applications being denied are very rare. If all your documents are in order and as per the specifications mentioned on the official websites, you can rest assured that your application will get approved. In case of queries, you can always reach out to the customer support team, details of which have been provided above.
Steps to be followed on how to apply for an Indian e-Tourist Visa
1. Determine if you need an Indian E-tourist Visa
If you are a citizen of one of the 161 countries mentioned in the Indian government website, and you are visiting India on a short trip, business, or medical purpose, then you can avail the benefits of e-tourist visa. Residents of all other countries not listed will be required to avail of a normal visa since the Indian government does not have a system that allows citizens of other countries to enter without a visa.
2. What do you need prior to the application?
For e-tourist visa:
- Scanned Bio page of your valid passport that shows the details and photographs
- If there is, an invitation letter from someone, who is a resident or a citizen of India (in our case, Kerala Tourism provided this letter). This is, however, not necessary for those who are visiting for tourism purposes and have no invitation to visit the country whatsoever.
Requirements for the digital photograph to be uploaded:
- JPEG format
- Minimum 10 KB and Maximum 1 MB in size
- Equal height and width of the photograph
- The photo should present the full face on the front view with eyes open. No spectacles allowed
- Center head should be within the frame, and the head should be presented in full on top of hair to bottom of the chin
- The background should be in plain light color or white
- The face or the background should not have any shadows
- The photograph should not have any borders
- Scanned bio page should be in PDF format with a minimum and maximum size of 10 KB and 300 KB respectively
- Other documents to be uploaded should also be in PDF format with a minimum size of 10 KB and a maximum size of 300 KB
3. Prepare the basic requirements
The e-tourist visa application is a simple process, so as long as you have the necessary documents in order, your preparation will be hassle-free. In an overview, here are the things you need:
- Register in their online service
- Fill out your application form online
- Attach a copy of your valid passport
- Attach a copy of your passport size photograph
- Additional: An invitation letter from someone who resides or a citizen of India. It can also be from tourism boards such as Kerala Tourism.
- Pay the application fee
4. Register online and create an account
Create an account over at Indian Visa Online, follow the instructions that it will walk you through. You can submit your application, check the application status, and get all the information you need in order to obtain an e-Visa on this website.
5. Submit your application
Once you have filled in the application form, you need to submit it online and pay the corresponding visa fees.
6. Wait for the results
It will take around three to five working days for the result to be known. If all your documents are in order, you should not have any issue in getting the visa. You’ll get your visa through the email you registered with.