India visa application

Get Your Indian Tourist Visa

My India visa was the first supplementary entry visa I ever had to procure. I’d only traveled to European countries up that point, none of which require anything but a passport from American tourists. Two years and literally dozens of visas later, I can safely say the process of getting an Indian visa is one of the most straightforward I’ve completed.

Whether you travel to India to see the Taj Mahal in Agra, hit the beach in Goa, explore the desert sands of Rajasthan or learn about Indian history in the capital city of Delhi, obtain an India visa at an Indian embassy or consulate in your home country or in any foreign city you visit prior to India that has an Indian embassy or consulate.

Plan any trip to India

India Visa Types

The good news for the rest of us is that even the six-month India visa for tourists, which costs $67.70 as of November 2013 ($60 consular fee plus $7.70 in service fees), allows you to enter India multiple times over the course of its validity. The better news is that old immigration rules, which required you to depart India for at least two months every time you left, are no longer in place.

Travisa Outsourcing or BLS International for Indian Visas>

If you’re an American bound for India and haven’t yet left the states, applying for an India visa is incredibly simple since the government of India has outsourced processing of Indian visa applications for U.S. citizens to a company called BLS International. (Note: Prior to 2013, a company called Travisa Outsourcing handled India visas for U.S. citizens). No matter where in the country you live, you can mail your application to one of BLS’ five offices, which are located in Chicago, Houston, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Before you get started with the online application, make sure your passport has at least six months remaining validity and two consecutive, blank visa pages. Once you’ve done that, click here to begin the India visa application. After providing your email address, you’ll be prompted for personal information including your full name as it appears on your passport, your marital status, your permanent address and your phone number.

Once you input this initial set of information, you’re given an India visa application ID and password. Take note of these in case you need to exit the application and resume at a later date — you have seven days from when you begin to complete it. Additional information required includes your employer name and address, a list of places you plan to visit in India as well as an 80-word “objective” for your trip. As much whimsy as this last bit invites, be as to-the-point as possible when filling it in.

The India visa application further prompts you for an estimated departure date from the U.S., your port of arrival in India and a reference in India who can verify your journey. Provide the address of the Indian ticketing office for the airline you plan to fly in this space.

Select a payment option as well as a return shipping option if you don’t plan to pick your password up in person once the India visa has been affixed into it. Strangely, BLS prefers that you send a money order for the amount of the transaction, although you may use a Visa or MasterCard if you so choose.

Once you submit the last of your information, the BLS website generates a PDF of your India visa application. Print it out and a place it into an envelope with two passport-sized photos (you can have these taken at Walgreens), your money order (if you haven’t chosen to pay via credit card), a photocopy of your photo ID confirming an address in the United States and your passport — and yes, your actual passport. Don’t worry, it will be fine. Send the package off to the address listed on the India visa application or deliver it in person.

If you apply by mail, you can expect to have your passport (with Indian visa affixed inside) within a week or so, while in-person applicants can sometimes receive their passports back the same day. Track your passport online to monitor the status of your India visa application.

Applying for an India Visa at Embassies and Consulates Abroad

If you’re not a citizen of the U.S. or are but are not currently in the U.S., you obviously can’t apply for an Indian visa using BLS International. Instead, you’ll need to visit the Indian embassy or consult nearest to you in-person and apply for the India visa there. Although you won’t be able to complete your India visa application in advance online, requirements for India visas and the information you need to provide are the same abroad as they are in the U.S.

Consult the list of Indian embassies and consulates abroad provided here and call your local branch prior to your visit to confirm the cost of your Indian visa, how long you can plan to wait for processing and when the best time to submit your India visa application is.


About The Author

is the author of 669 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell.

Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!

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  • Wilder Hobbs

    Thanks Robert… This was very helpful… I just popped in to check on the visa req’s for India, and will check out your blog more since I plan to leave and travel India soon… Alexis

  • Missghayes

    Thank you so much for the information. I am traveling to Mumbai next month for my nephew’s wedding. You make the visa process seem so simple. Appreciate your input, Geraldine

  • Robert Schrader

    You’re welcome! I hope you have fun in Mumbai!

  • Bf

    They have now discontinued the two month exit and re-enter rule. At least that’s my understanding.

  • Robert Schrader

    Thanks Barb! I’ll update the article to reflect this…

  • Linta Thomsun Madukkakuzhy

    Hi, I know this section is for visas but what is the minimum airfare to travel to India?

  • Robert Schrader

    Hi Linta? From the US, you should realistically expect to pay no less than 1000 USD return.

  • Jose Martinez

    Hi Robert,
    Thanks for your great post on Visas for India. My Partner and I are avid travelers and noticed you have not made it to Ecuador’s Galapgos Islands yet. I would like to return the favor if you ever need any pointers for travel there since I am Ecuadorian. Also traveled a lot in Central America and have pointers for Rio de Janeiro too that include getting into Argentina via Iguazu and avoid paying the entry/exit fee, sweet!! I’m a top contributor for tripadvisor , user name there is pepecrusader70.
    Happy travels.

  • Lindsay Archuleta

    Would it be easier or faster to go directly to the San fransisco office?

  • Robert Schrader

    Hi Lindsay:

    If you can arrive in the morning, it might be faster to go there yes. Usually, however, if you aren’t there by noon, you can’t get it the same day.

  • sundance

    I can not see wether I need a ticket to India or not. I will travel to Bankok, then buy a ticket to India there. Do they require a ticket to Delhi before they issue a visa? (Been to Nepal many times)

  • Robert Schrader

    Sundance: Technically speaking, you are supposed to have a ticket, but they don’t always check. If you are concerned, you can buy a nonrefundable ticket with your credit card, then have it refunded after the visa is approved.

  • Unhappy applicant

    Travisa no longer handles visas. BLS International does as of July 1, 2013. Good luck with that. Took me 5 personal visits to New York and 7 weeks of frustration to get mine.

  • Robert Schrader

    Wow, that is an unfortunate development. I am sorry to hear it!

  • jojobee

    hi thanks for the info. I am an American traveling to India on a tourist visa. Can you buy a one way to india or do they require you have a departcher date upon arrival?

  • Robert Schrader

    I have never been checked, Jojobee, but they can always ask. One strategy is to buy a refundable one-way ticket home then, once you pass through customs, call the airline and have it refunded.

  • NA

    Hi, I am an American currently living in the Netherlands. I am planning a trip to Mumbai coming February, any ideas on how I should go about obtaining a tourist visa?

  • jawa

    Sounds good but it doesnt work. You get directed to the online Indian visa form– and then get a phony temporary number that you will never, ever, ever be able to enter and recover your data that you spent all that time putting in. You cannot upload a photo–ever–its too big or too small or is not EXACTLY the same width and height. And– there is no address to send anything to on the form. Good luck, probably wont be spending any time or money in this country unless it gets easier to get through the red tape

  • Karen

    Hi. Thanks so much for all this useful info about getting a visa. I realize this site is about travel, not moving permanently to another country, but I was wondering if you know of a good site for someone (me) who will be moving to India (in my case, Kolkata, West Bengal). Thanks!

  • Karen

    Forgot to add that I am an American, living in the US.

  • Robert Schrader

    Hi Karen:

    Thank you for reading and also, for the compliment about my blog. One resource you might to check out is InterNations, whose India-specific page I’ve linked you to here.


  • Karen

    What a great site. Thank you again! Thanks also for providing the link for InterNations, the expat communities site!

  • Robert Schrader

    No problem whatsoever, thank you!

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