As of April 1st, the Indian government has made a number of important changes to the visa rules that will make things easier for most visitors to India.
New E-Visa Rules
There are now three categories of e-Visas: e-Tourist visa, e-Business visa, and e-mMedical visa. Until now, the e-visas were only available for tourists. Now they are available for entry through 24 airports as well as the ports of Cochin, Goa and Mangalore. Also they are valid from for stays of up to 60 days instead of 30, with double entry for e-tourist visas and triple entry on the e-medical visa. Apply online here, at least four days and no more than 120 days before the date of travel. You can only get an e-visa twice in a calendar year. A regular visa is a better deal if you think you might be coming again later.
Revisions to Other Visa Types
In addition to e-visas, multiple-entry tourist and business visas with 5-year validity will now be available to nationals of most countries. Indian missions having bio-metric enrolment facilities have already started giving 5-year long-term tourist and business visas. The remaining missions will provide this facility in due course.
Business visas and medical visas can now be granted within 48 hours of application in urgent situations.
There are two new categories of visas: intern (I) visa and film (F) visa. The intern (I) visa is available for those intending to pursue intership in Indian companies, educational institutions and NGOs, subject to certain checks and conditions. The validity is restricted to the duration of internship programme or one year, whichever is less. The intern visa will be granted immediately after completion of graduation/post-graduation. The film (F) visa is a one-year multiple entry visa.
The minimum salary limit of for grant of employment visa, which is presently US $ 25,000 per annum, has also been modified. This will facilitate foreign nationals engaged as teaching faculty by the central higher educational institutions.
The Indian government has also widened the scope of the visa scheme to include short duration medical treatment and yoga courses, and casual business visits and conferences. Previously, these required separate medical/student/business visas.
The governments hopes that making it easier to get an Indian visa will bring more business people and medical tourists into the country.
If you are in doubt about which kind of visa to get, click here.
Fees for US Citizens
For US citizens, visa fees have been revised effective April 1. The best news is that 10-year Tourist Visas are now only $100, which is a great bargain—especially when a 60-day e-Tourist Visa costs $75. Check the complete list of revised fees for US citizens here.
New Immigration Facilities for Medical Tourists
Separate immigration counters and facilitation desks to assist medical tourists are now provided at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.