Visa and Customs

Passport and Visa Regulation

Foreign Nationals coming to India are required to possess a genuine and valid national passport or any other internationally recognized travel document establishing his/her nationality and identity and bearing photograph of the foreigner.

Nepal and Bhutan nationals if entering India by land or air from the Nepal or Bhutan border respectively do not require a passport for entering into India. However, they are required to possess an authorized identity proof. Further, if they are entering India from a place other than their own country then the possession of passport is a must.

There is no provision of ‘Visa on Arrival’ in India. Foreigners are advised to ensure that they are in possession of valid Indian Visa before they start their journey to India.

To get a visa for India, you need to submit a number of documents. Following is a list of important documents for Indian visa:

  1. Duly completed Visa application form
  2. Passport having a minimum validity of six months on the date of application
  3. Two identical latest passport sized photographs
  4. Supporting documents depending upon the type of visa, such as tourist, business, transit, journalist, student, conference or entry
  5. Visa fee

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For entry into India

A valid yellow fever certificate is mandatory for all persons (including infants) who have been, even in transit, in Africa or South America or Papua New Guinea in the last six days. The Certificate becomes valid 10 days after vaccination. India does not require immunisation against smallpox and cholera. A person arriving in India, who is required to possess a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate in accordance with these requirements will, in the absence of a valid vaccination certificate be quarantined for a period of upto six days, without exception.

For leaving India

There is no health check requirement by Indian Government on passengers leaving India.

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Certain parts of the country need special permits before they can be visited. These include Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Lakshadweep Islands & Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

These States / Union Territories have been designated as protected areas and foreigners cannot enter these areas without special permits. These permits are issued by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110 003. Indian Missions abroad, all FRROs, Immigration Officers at Airports at Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and New Delhi can also issue the permits at least 4 weeks before the date of the expected visit.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 provides for stringent penalties and control regulations. For instance, the import into India, export from India and transshipment of narcotic drugs are all punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years and up to 20 years, and with a fine of not less than ₹ 100,000 and up to ₹200,000. Persons possessing small quantities of narcotics (such as cocaine, morphine, diacetyl-morphine) intended for personal consumption are subject to imprisonment for up to one year, with or without fine depending upon the court’s judgment. If the substance intended for personal use is other than those mentioned above, the prison sentence is for up to six months, with or without fine.

The visitors can take back all articles brought in by them. In addition, they can take back the following items purchased in India:

  • Souvenirs (including Indian silk, wool and handicrafts) without any limit.
  • Gold jewelry and silverware up to ₹ 100,000 in value (and in excess of ₹ 100,000 after obtaining an RBI permit).

Other jewellery and precious stones of large value should be appraised by Customs Appraiser at the airport. For these items an RBI permit should be obtained in advance and thereafter declared to Customs. There are restrictions on the export of antiquities and art objects more than 100 years old. In case of doubt, consult the Director, Antiquities, Archaeological Survey of India, Janpath (Tel. 23017443). It is advisable to obtain a certificate of proof. Export of most wildlife products is prohibited or strictly regulated; therefore, avoid buying items made of ivory, reptile skin, tortoise shells and any part of wild animals.

There are DUTY-FREE shops at the airport both in the Arrival and Departure lounges.

Articles for your personal use can be bought in, including cameras with 5 rolls of film, a reasonable quantity of jewelry, one pair of binoculars, one portable musical instrument, one radio set, one tape recorder, one portable typewriter, laptop computer, one perambulator and professional equipment, on the undertaking that you will take them back with you when leaving India. The duty rate beyond the free baggage allowance is 61.4 percent. Drugs and narcotics and the import of firearms is prohibited. There are DUTY-FREE shops at the airport both in the Arrival and Departure lounges.

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There is no restriction in bringing in any amount of foreign currency and travelers cheque, and taking out as much as you brought in. However, if you are carrying more than US$ 10,000 in the form of currency notes, bank notes or travellers cheques, and/or currency notes alone in excess of US$ 5,000 (or equivalent). This should be declared, on arrival, on the Currency Declaration Form (CDF), to be attested by the Customs Officer. When remitting money to India, indicate the bank, branch and full address. No Indian currency may be brought into or taken out of the country.

Any money in the form of travelers’ cheques, drafts, bills and cheques in convertible currencies should be exchanged to Indian currency only through banks or other authorized money changers who will issue an encashment certificate. The certificate would be required at the time of reconversion of any unspent money and for obtaining tax clearance certificates.

Disclaimer: Kindly verify all the above information with the respective agencies.

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