Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
All U.S. citizens need a valid passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose (also see Special Circumstances below). Visitors, including those on official U.S. government business, must apply for visas at an Indian Embassy or Consulate abroad before entering the country. Visas are not available upon arrival for U.S. citizens. If you don’t have a valid passport and visa you may be immediately deported. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in India cannot assist you if you arrive without proper documentation. Please carry photocopies of the bio-data page of your U.S. passport and the pages containing the Indian visa and Indian immigration stamps. If your passport is lost or stolen, copies will help you apply for a replacement passport and an exit visa from the Indian government. Replacing a lost visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.
U.S. citizens wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate. There are generally no provisions for changing your immigration category (e.g., from tourist to work visa) once you have entered the country. Indian visa regulations change frequently, often with little advance notice, and changes may be poorly advertised and inconsistently enforced. Travelers are urged to check the website of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. before any travel to India to review the most current information. If you travel on a tourist visa, you are generally given six months of legal stay upon entering India; extensions are rarely granted. Indian visas may be obtained in the United States through BLS International Services, the Government of India’s visa contractor. Diplomatic and Official visa applications, however, are accepted directly at the Indian Embassy and Consulates. Please review the information on the BLS website to determine your purpose for travel and the most appropriate visa category. All U.S. government employees, including military personnel, must obtain country clearance for travel to India.
U.S. citizens of Pakistani origin should expect additional delays when applying for Indian visas due to administrative processing.
Foreign citizens who visit India to study, do research, work, or act as missionaries, as well as all travelers and residents planning to stay more than 180 days, are required to register their visit to India with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) closest to where they will be staying, within 14 days of arrival. The FRRO maintains offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Calicut, Goa, Cochin, Trivandrum, and Amritsar. District Superintendents of Police serve as Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) in all other places. Some U.S. citizens traveling to India on tourist visas may not be allowed re-entry to India within two months of departure without specific permission from an Indian embassy or consulate abroad. We recommend all U.S. citizens review the entry requirements described on the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section on the Indian Bureau of Immigration website. Travelers have reported that enforcement of this rule at ports of entry may be inconsistent.
If you overstay your Indian visa, or otherwise violate Indian visa regulations, you may require clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs in order to leave the country. Generally you will be fined and, in some cases, may be jailed until deportation can be arranged. Visa violators seeking an exit clearance are requested to schedule an online appointment at the Ministry of Home Affairs website before visiting the Visa Facilitation Center at The Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, NDCC-II Building, Sai Singh Road, New Delhi 110001 (tel. 91-11-2343-8037). Processing of an exit visa under these circumstances can take up to 60 days.
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, Atlanta, or Houston. Outside the United States, inquiries should be made at the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.
There are no disclosure requirements or restrictions for HIV/AIDS patients who enter India on a tourist visa. Disclosure regarding HIV/AIDS is required of anyone seeking a resident permit in India. Foreign residents found to be suffering from HIV/AIDS will be deported. Please verify this information with the Embassy of India before you travel.
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 Bureau of Immigration website.