VISAS AND DOCUMENTS PASSPORT
You must have a passport with you all the time; it is the most basic travel document. Ensure that it will be valid for the entire period you intend to remain overseas. If your passport is lost or stolen, immediately contact your countries representative.
Six months multiple entry – visas (valid from the date of issue) are issued to most nationals (check visa option with the Indian embassy in your country) regardless of your whether you intend staying that long or re-entering the country. Visas cost A$75(an extra A$10 service fee applies at consulates) for Australians, US$65 for US citizens, UK£ 30 for Britons and 320 FF for French passport holders.
A special people of Indian origin (PIO) card are available only to people of Indian decent (excluding those in Pakistan and Bangladesh) who hold a non-Indian passport and live abroad (maximum forth generation). The card costs US$1000 and offers multiple – entry for 20 years. People of Indian origin can also apply for a five year multiple entry visas, which is about a quarter of the cost of the PIO card. Both are valid from the date of issue.
Fifteen-day extensions may be possiable (only under exceptional circumstances, not as a matter of routine) from foreigner’s registration offices in the main Indian cities. You can only get another six months visa by leaving the country.
Restricted Area Permits
Even with a visa you are not allowed everywhere in India. Certain places required special additional permits.
Foreigners require permits to visit the Andaman Island; thankfully the procedures are much easier than in recent years, and the fees have been waived. Additional permits are also required for many of the outlying lands.
Himachal Pradesh & Uttaranchal
Permits are required to enter some regions close to the India - Tibet border in Himachal pradesh and Uttaranchal. For the crossing from Kinnaur to Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, tourist must obtain a free inner – line permit.
The Millam glacier in northern Kumaon in uttaranchal, which also falls under Indo-Tibetan border Authority jurisdiction, is currently open to visitors at the discretion of the local police. Other areas around Nandadevi are officially off- limits, but groups may succeed in getting the relevant Inner line
Permits from the District Magistrate in Pithoragarh.
You don’t require a permit for most of Ladakh, however, you must fill-out a foreigners’ registration Form upon arrival at Leh airport or at a road checkpoint en route, and again at each hotel you stay in. Once in Leh you can apply for permits to the newly opened regions of Ladakh - you can either pay around RS100 for agent to handle bureaucratic formalities, or battle the red tape yourself.
This southern archipelago is opening up. Five islands (Agatti, Bangaram, Kadmat, Kalpeni and Minicoy) are currently open to the foreigners, while to others (Androt and Kavarotti) can be
Visited by Indian visitors. In future, foreigners might be allowed to take the boat cruises currently now only available to Indians. For booking and permits for Lakshadweep contact the society for the promotion of recreational tourism and sports in Lakshadweep (sports), part of main Lakshadeep tourism organization. Its office (0484-668387, fax 668647) is an IG road, Willingdon island, Cochin, Kerela 682003.
North Eastern Region
There is a number of permit regulations for this part of part of India. Permits are no longer required for Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, though you should check to see if its’ safe to go.
Foreigners may be issued a permit allowing independent travel in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, but most visitors go on an organized tour.
A-15 day is required to enter Sikkim. These are free and easy to obtain.
Foreigners need a permit (no charge) for the Sunderban Wildlife Sanctuary and these are issued on the spot (on presentation of your Passport) at the West Bengal Tourism Center in Kolkata.
Many Indian Embassies and Consulates will not issue a visa to enter India unless you hold an onward ticket, which has taken as sufficient evidence that you intend to leave the country.
A travel insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems is a good idea. Some policies offer lower and higher medical expense options; the higher are chiefly for countries such as USA, which have high medical costs. There is wide, so check the small point variety of policies available. Some policies specifically exclude dangerous activities, which can include scuba diving, motorcycling or even trekking. A locally acquired motorcycle license is not valid under some policies.
You may prefer a policy that pays doctor to hospitals directly rather than you having to pay on the spot
And claim the later. If you have to claim later make sure you keep all documentation. Some policies have asked you to call back to a center in your home country where an immediate assessment of tour problem is made.
Check that policy covers ambulances or an emergency flight home.
If you are planning to drive in India, get an international driving license from your national motoring organization. In some cities such as Delhi, it possible to hire or purchase motor cycles, and you will often need to produce a driver license of some sort. An international driving license can also come in handy for other identification purposes, such as plain old cycle hire.
A health certificate, while not necessary in India, may be required for onward travel. Student’s cards are virtually useless these days many student concessions have either been eliminated or replaced by youth fares or similar age concessions. Similarly a youth hostel card is not generally required for India’s many hostels, but you do pay slightly less at official youth hostels if you have one. It’s worth having a batch of passport photos for visa applications and for obtaining permits to remote regions. If you run out, Indian photo studios will do snappy portraits at pleasantly low prices.
Important documents should be photocopied before you leave home. Leave one copy with some one at home and keep another with you, separate from the originals.