COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: India, the world's largest democracy, has a very diverse population, geography and climate. India is the world's second most populous country, and the world's seventh largest country in area. Tourist facilities have varying degrees of comfort, and amenities are widely available in the major population centers and main tourist areas.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens require a valid passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose. Visitors, including those on official U.S. Government business, must obtain visas at an Indian Embassy or Consulate abroad prior to entering the country, as there are no provisions for visas upon arrival. Those arriving without a valid passport and valid visa are subject to immediate deportation. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are unable to assist when U.S. citizens arrive without proper documentation. Each visitor should carry photocopies of the bio-data page of the traveler's U.S. passport and the page containing the Indian visa in order to facilitate obtaining an exit visa from the Indian government in the event of theft or loss of the passport. Replacing a lost visa in order to exit the country takes up to three business days.


Tourist Visas:
Usually, a multi-entry visa, valid for a period of 180 days, is granted for the purpose of tourism. The visa is valid from the date of issue. Tourist Visa can also be given for 3 months, valid from date 1st entry into India which should be within 2 months from date
of issue.
Collective Visas:
The facilities exists for issuing collective visas to group tours of not less than 4 members and sponsored by a government
recognised travel agency. Such groups may split into smaller groups to visit different places in India after obtaining a collective "licence to travel" from Indian immigration authorities. They must reassemble and depart as the original group.

Transit Visas:
Transit visas are granted by Indian Missions abroad for a maximum period of 15 days.

Employment Visa
This visa is issued to skilled and qualified professionals or persons who are engaged or appointed by companies, organizations, economic undertakings as technicians, technical experts, senior executives, etc. Applicants are required to submit proof of contract/employment/engagement of foreign nationals by the company or organization.

Exemption from Registration:
Foreigners coming to India on tourist visas for 180 days or a shorter period are not require to register themselves with any
authority in India. They can move about freely in the country, except to restricted/protected areas and prohibited places.

Visa Extension
For extending the visa apply for a letter of permission from the
Ministry of Home Affairs
Lok Nayak Bhavan, 1st floor
Khan Market, New Delhi 110003
Phone: 24693334, 24612543, 24617649

There after the letter is to be presented to the FRRO.

The Foreigner's Regional Registration Office (FRRO) is located at
Hans Bhavan
Tilak Bridge, New Delhi
Phone: 23319489, 23318179
Timings: 9.30 am to 1.30 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm
(weekends and national holidays closed)
In the cities of Kozhikode, Kochi, and Thiruvananthapuram, the Police Commissioners function as the Foreigners' Registration Officers (FRO). In other district headquarters, the Superintendents of Police (SP) hold the charge of FROs.

Restricted Areas
Certain parts of the country need special permits before they can be visited.

Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
These States/Union Territories have been designated as protected areas and foreigners cannot enter these areas without special permits. These permits are issued by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110 003 at least 4 weeks before the date of the expected visit.

Certain areas of Sikkim like Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodang and Zongri in West Sikkim and Pemayangtse have been excluded form the inner line and declared as restricted areas. Individual tourists are permitted to visit Gangtok, Rumtek and Phodang. Tourists
are permitted to visit Zongri and Pemayangtse. The duration of stay has been raised from 7 to 15 days. Permits can be issued by
all Indian Missions abroad, all FRROs, Immigration Officers at Airports at Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and New Delhi. Manipur. Manipur has also been opened to foreign tourists; permits can be issued by all Missions abroad, all FRROs, Home Commissioner, Manipur, Imphal. The duration of stay has been raised from 3 to 5 days. Permits are no longer required for Darjeeling, Assam, Meghalaya & Tripura.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Individual foreign tourists can visit Port Blair Municipal Area, Havelock Island, Long Island, Neil Island, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Rangat, where a night halt is allowed and Jolly Buoy, South Cinque, Red Skin, Mount Harriet, Madhuban where only day visits
are allowed. Prior permit is necessary.

Lakshadweep Islands
Only Bangaram and Subeli Islands are open to foreign tourists. Permits are required, obtainable from the Lakshadweep Administration, Wellington Island, Harbour Road, Kochi -3.

Export Regulations
The visitor can take back all articles brought in by him. In addition, he can take out the following purchased in India;
" Souvenirs (including Indian silk, wool, handicrafts, etc.) without any limit.
" Gold jewellery and silverware up to Rs.100,000 in value (and in excess of Rs. 100,000 after obtaining an RBI permit).
Other jewellery and precious stones of large value should be appraised by Customs Appraiser at the airport. For these items an RBI permit should be obtained in advance and thereafter declared to Customs. There are restrictions on the export of antiquities and art objects more than 100 years old. In case of doubt, consult the Director, Antiquities, Archaeological Survey of India, Janpath (Tel. 23017443). It is advisable to obtain a certificate of proof. Export of most wildlife products is prohibited or strictly regulated; therefore generally avoid buying anything made of ivory, reptile skin, tortoise shells and any part of wild animals. There are DUTY-FREE shops at the airport both in the Arrival and Departure lounges.

For more information on obtaining Indian visas and Indian embassies and consulates, please visit the following Web site of India's Ministry of External Affairs and select "Missions and Posts Abroad":

For Indian visa, visa extension, visa registration rule, registration forms, etc., please visit the following Web site of the Bureau of Immigration which functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs:

For information on Kerala Police, nearest police stations, and police officials, please visit the following Web site:

Americans wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate, as there generally are no provisions for changing one's immigration category (e.g., from tourist to work visa) once admitted. As of October 1, 2007, the Indian Embassy and Consulates in the U.S. outsourced the visa application process to Travisa Visa Outsourcing: Diplomatic and Official visa applications, however, are still accepted directly
at the Indian Embassy and Consulates. Foreign citizens whose primary purpose of travel is to participate in religious activities should obtain a missionary visa rather than a tourist visa. Indian immigration authorities have deported American citizens who entered India with a tourist visa and conducted religious activities.

American travelers to India who work in "designated institutes and technology areas" will be subject to a two week waiting period in the visa application process and will be required to submit supplemental information with their visa application. Scholars planning to conduct research in India often need research clearances in addition to their visas. Specific information is available at the Indian Embassy and Consulates.

Foreign citizens who visit India to study, do research, work or act as missionaries, as well as all travelers planning to stay more than 180 days are required to register, generally within 14 days of arrival, with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) closest to where they will be staying. The FRRO maintains offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai (known as the "Chennai Immigration Office"), Kolkata and Amritsar. In smaller cities and towns, the local police headquarters will normally perform this function. General information regarding Indian visa and immigration rules, including the addresses and telephone numbers for the FRRO offices, can be found at the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs web site for its Bureau of Immigration at

If a foreign citizen (e.g., an American) overstays his or her Indian visa, or otherwise violates Indian visa regulations, the traveler may require a clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs in order to leave the country. Such travelers generally must pay a fine, and in some cases, may be jailed until their deportation can be arranged. Visa violators seeking an exit clearance can visit the following office any weekday from 10 a.m. - 12 noon: Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Jaisalmer House, 26 Man Singh Road, New Delhi 110 011 (tel. +91-11-2338-5748).

For the most current information on entry and exit requirements, please contact the Embassy of India at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-9806 ( or the Indian Consulates in Chicago (, New York (, San Francisco ( or Houston ( Outside the United States, inquiries should be made at the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.

AREAS OF INSTABILITY: Jammu & Kashmir: The Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to the state of Jammu & Kashmir, with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh. A number of terrorist groups operate in the state, targeting security forces that are present throughout the region, particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating Indian and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, and those stationed in the primary tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam.

Since 1989, as many as 60,000 people (terrorists, security forces, and civilians) have been killed in the Kashmir conflict. Many terrorist incidents take place in the state's summer capital of Srinagar, but the majority of attacks occur in rural areas. Foreigners
are particularly visible, vulnerable, and definitely at risk. In the summer of 2008, serious communal violence left the state mostly paralyzed, due to massive strikes and business shut downs. In addition, there have been attacks specifically targeted at civilians.
For example: in October 2007 five soldiers and two civilians were killed in an IED blast carried out by militants in the Baramulla district of Kashmir; in August 2007 terrorists lobbed a grenade at the venue of an Independence Day function in the Bandipora district; in July 2007 a blast on an out-of-state tourist bus killed six and injured 20 civilians in the capital, Srinagar. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC (see the section on Restricted Areas, below). U.S. Government employees are prohibited from traveling to the state of Jammu & Kashmir (except for Ladakh) without permission, which is only granted in exceptional circumstances, from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. When traveling to Kashmir, U.S. official travelers attempt to lower their profiles, limit their lengths of stay, and exercise extreme caution

Restricted Areas: Certain parts of India are designated as "restricted areas" by the Indian Government, and require special advance permission to visit. These areas include:-
" The state of Mizoram,
" The state of Manipur,
" The state of Arunachal Pradesh,
" The state of Nagaland,
" The state of Sikkim,
" Portions of the state of Himachal Pradesh near the Chinese border,
" Portions of the state of Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) near the Chinese border,
" Portions of the state of Rajasthan near the Pakistani border,
" Portions of the state of Jammu & Kashmir near the Line of Control with Pakistan,
" The Andaman & Nicobar Islands,
" The Union Territory of the Laccadives Islands (Lakshadweep), and
" The Tibetan colony in Mundgod, Karnataka

"Restricted Area Permits" can be obtained outside of India at Indian embassies and consulates abroad, or within India, from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) at Jaisalmer House, 26 Man Singh Road, New Delhi. The states of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim all maintain official guesthouses in New Delhi, each of which also can issue Restricted Area Permits for their respective states for certain travelers. Tourists also should exercise caution while visiting Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu as the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Center, Kalpakkam, is located just south
of the site and is not clearly marked as a restricted and dangerous area.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor travel information included on the websites of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi as well as the Consulates General in Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras) and Kolkata (Calcutta) (see contact information below). Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs' web site at, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living or traveling in India are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site and to obtain updated information on travel and security in India. Americans without Internet access may register in person with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.
The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is located at Shanti Path, Chanakya Puri 110021; telephone +91-11-2419-8000; fax +91-11-2419-8407. The Embassy's web site is (Note that the "+" sign indicates your international access code, which in the United States is 011-, but which is 00- in most other countries.

The U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai (Bombay) is located at Lincoln House, 78 Bhulabhai Desai Road, 400026,
telephone +91-22-2363-3611; fax +91-22-2368-5483. The web site is

The U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata (Calcutta) is at 5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, 700071; telephone +91-33-3984-2400;
fax +91-33-2282-2335. The web site is

The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai (Madras) is at 220 Anna Salai, Gemini Circle, 600006; telephone +91-44-2857-4000;
fax +91-44-2857-4443. The web site is

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