People traveling to India on a tourist or e-Business Visa can stay for up to one year with 1 year with multiple entries.
Continuous stays cannot last for more than 90 days with the exception of US, UK, Japan and Canada who can stay for up to 180 days.
New Visa Rules for India
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Note: we are in the process of updating this article as the rules have changed drastically since we were in India.
A few years ago, India changed its Visa rules after learning that the American terror suspect freely exited and entered India several times without arousing suspicion.
Headley, who was on regular 6 month multiple entry visas, took part in the 2008 26/11 terror attacks killing 173 people.
But things are now back to normal and people can stay longer with multiple entries.
What does this mean for travelers?
This poses a problem for the normal 6 month multiple entry Visa holders. With the new rules, a person cannot re enter India within two months of leaving.
If you stay for the entire 180 days of your Visa, you will also need give two months before being allowed back in unless you have obtained special permission.
Travelers (like us) who wish to visit neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal and then return to India could face a problem.
Canadians traveling to India
It is easy for Canadians to get an Electronic tourist E-Visa without having to go to an embassy.
Canadians can stay in India for 180 consecutive days. And up to 1 year with multiple entries.
To apply for an India visa you will need:
- A passport, (that must be valid for 6 months after the date of arrival in India.
- Digital Passport photo
- Scan of your passport.
It only takes 4 days to get an Indian Visa, but you can put a rush to receive it withint 24 hours.
How this will affect you the traveler?
The government has stated that even though they have passed the new legislation, the 2-month gap rule will be flexible for tourists traveling on a 6 month visa. If the person keeps all documents and a detailed itinerary of their travels, they will be able to re enter India after visiting another country like Sri Lanka or Thailand.
It looks like the multiple entry Visa will fall by the wayside as the government plans to issue travelers with only two or three entries.
What you should do
If you are trying to re-enter India within two months time of departure, seek approval from the consulate in the country that you will be traveling from. For example, if you left India for Nepal for a two week trek and want to come back to India afterward find the Indian Consulate and obtain permission to re-enter India.
That way you will save yourself a trip and wasted ticket if you are turned away at the border.
Once you do re-enter from another country, you must report to a Foreigners Regional Registration office within 14 days of arrival.
In the past, we had heard that it was easy to extend your Visa, however now with the new regulations, you do not want to take the chance of over staying your time. Rules will be enforced more strictly and you may face deportation.
Things Won’t Change too Much
While the new rules sound harsh, for the average traveler it shouldn’t be a problem. If you need to reenter more than 2 or 3 times in a 6 month period during your travels, you should probably reevaluate your itinerary.
That is a lot of backtracking and hopping about. If you are only reentering India one or two times, you should be O.K. If you keep all of your documents and papers showing that you have been legitimately traveling through a neighboring country, you should have no problem entering India.
It never hurts to register with a government office during your travels so a visit to the Foreigners Regional Registration isn’t such a bad idea.
Just follow the rules, check with the Indian consulate from your country and visit their website to keep up to date on further information and your trip to India should be painless and hassle free.
Note: Visa Rules are constantly changing in India.