Indian Visas – The Ultimate Guide

Indian Visa

Indian VisaLife is short and should be enjoyed by all means, especially by traveling the world and experience the rich cultures, see world class heritages and taste mouthwatering dishes. India should be included in your must-visit countries


Usual visas that are issued are tourist and business, other visas depends on the purpose of the travelers:

  • Journalists
  • Students
  • Researchers
  • Participant in a conference
  • Medical patients
  • Missionaries
  • Overseas employees

Electronic or Consular Visa?

Guests traveling for business or as tourists, there are two options in applying for a India visa, either via Indian consulate or an electronic visa online.

Electronic visa application have been available for a few years now, also known as “eTourist Visa” which may be used for tourism, visiting family or friends or undergoing a short treatment for medical reasons. It is convenient but has conditions:

  • One entry visa
  • Duration of stay must be 30 days or less
  • Entry must be via one of the 16 approved airports
  • Application must be done between 4 – 30 days before entering the country
  • For business purposes, you are not allowed to sign ANY DOCUMENTS.

Application via the Consulate is more pricey than the electronic visa but has advantages:

  • Multiple entry visa
  • Duration of stay is 180 days max
  • Entry can be anywhere via land, sea or air.
  • For business purposes, you can sign any document and do official business.
  • Visa is valid for 10 years

How To Apply

For eTourist visa:

  • Completely fill out a visa application form online and submit online through the website of the Indian government
  • Provide references (two), one should be in India and another in the US (to get a tourist visa, reference in India can be your tour operator, a personal contact or hotel. For business visa, Indian reference must be from the company that you will be visiting. References from the US can be anyone who does not live with you.)
  • Scan and upload a PDF format of your valid passport in and a digital image photo if you in JPG.

Consular visa:

  • Completely fill out online visa application form, print and sign the two pages

Where To Apply

The jurisdictions are:

  • Atlanta Consulate: Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Puerto Rico, Mississippi, South Carolina, US Virgin Islands, Tennessee
  • Chicago Consulate: Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota
  • Houston Consulate: Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma
  • New York Consulate: Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Vermont, Rhode Island
  • San Francisco Consulate: Alaska, California, Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Wyoming, Washington
  • Washington, DC Embassy: District of Columbia, Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia

Visa Outsourcing

Your visa will be released by the Consulate or Embassy assigned to your state but you will not submit your application to the consulate.

  • Upon completion of application form, printed and signed, proceed to an office for visa outsourcing (third party contracted by the government of India to collect visa applications, deliver to respective consulates and pick up completed visas)
  • Present your driver’s license to check on consular jurisdiction

Visa outsourcing office makes the work for the consulates easier by allowing them to focus mainly on the processing of your visa. It is different from a visa expediting service because a visa outsourcing office only collects and distributes approved visa applications and do not assist or guide applicants unlike services for visa expediting.

Long Term Indian Visas

As mentioned earlier, consular visas have longer validity and permits multiple entry to India as compared to eTourist visas that expires immediately and are only valid for a single entry. Usually, US citizens are issued a 10 year validity visa as long as their passports are not yet near expiry.