I’m guessing you’re here because you need a visa for India. Well you’re in luck because I wrote this blog post just for you! As someone who has been to India myself, I’ve already been through this process and can now help you with it.
In this blog post, I’m going to introduce you to a couple different ways of obtaining your India visa. Because my travel website is geared towards budget backpackers, I’ll be upfront and tell you that you’ll be paying a big premium if you choose to get your visa through iVisa or a similar service provider.
While iVisa may seem like the easiest way to get your tourist visa for India, it’s much cheaper to apply for your eVisa directly with the Indian government.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each, but first some logistics.
Do US Citizens Need a Visa for India?
Yes. US citizens are required to have a visa for entry into India. Most other countries also need a visa to visit India. It’s my understanding that citizens of Japan, South Korea, and UAE are the only countries eligible for an India visa on arrival under some circumstances.
Anyway, depending on which duration you choose, your tourist visa will grant you entry into India for either:
- 30 days
- 1 year
- 5 years
With the 30 day tourist visa, you can leave the country and re-enter once. On the other hand, the 1 and 5 year tourist visas allow multiple entries.
How to Get Your eVisa for India
You can either apply for your eVisa directly with the government of India here, or use a visa service provider like iVisa.
In both cases, you’ll fill out an online application. While the iVisa application is much shorter than that of the government of India, you’ll have to provide a copy of your passport in each case.
After review of your application, the Indian government will issue your electronic visa via email.
My India Visa Review of iVisa
India was the first country I traveled to where I needed a visa. Prior to that, the only country I traveled to solo was Italy.
As a noobie backpacker at the time, I can certainly understand the anxiety of obtaining your visa. What if I fill out the online application form wrong? I just wanted an expert to do it for me.
So that’s pretty much why I chose iVisa to obtain my India eVisa on my behalf.
The application procedure on iVisa.com involves typing in your passport information and uploading a copy of your passport. Additionally, you need to specify your date of arrival in India, port of arrival, and anticipated departure date from the country.
Within 48 hours of applying for my Indian visa, I received an email containing my India tourist visa. Just two days later, I presented a paper copy of my eVisa to an immigration officer in the Delhi airport and was granted entry into India without problem.
I can say that my experience getting an Indian visa online with with iVisa was painless and fast. While that’s the case, I realize that I paid a premium to use their service (more on that below).
Indian eVisa Cost and Fees
The cost of a 30 day, double entry visa purchased from the Government of India is $10 USD for most countries. This price goes up to $25 for a 1 year, multiple entry India visa. Finally, a 5 year, multiple entry visa for India costs $80.
Compare the cost of a 1 year India visa to the cost of a 30 day Vietnam visa… they are the same, both $25. I bet you’re already starting to see how cheap traveling to India is going to be.
On the other hand, you can expect to pay $26 for your 30 day tourist visa plus a $35 processing fee when purchasing from iVisa. Well, actually that’s for 5 day processing time. If you want your visa in 3 days, the processing fee goes up to $65. And finally if you need your visa “expedited” in 2 days, it’ll cost you $100 in processing fees.
Similarly, the processing fees stay the same for the 1 year and 5 year visas, but the cost of the visa goes up to $41 and $82 respectively.
Now I understand the urge to fork out $100 extra to expedite your visa because you suddenly need to travel to India by the weekend; however, iVisa states on their website that they are not affiliated with any government agencies. In other words, iVisa is filling out the same application on the Government of India’s website on your behalf. This tells me that the 2, 3, and 5 day processing times are probably artificial and just a way to make more of a profit from you.
India Visa Tips
As you can see, visa service providers like iVisa exist because uneducated travelers like myself back in 2018 have no clue about foreign visas. My hope is that you read all the way through this blog post and don’t fall into that trap.
As far as India visa tips, here are a few for you.
- You can apply at most 120 days prior to your date of travel.
- Apply for your visa at least 4 days before your date of arrival.
- Although it’s an electronic visa, make sure you print out a paper copy of your eVisa so there’s no issue when you enter India.
I’m really excited that you chose to travel to India. When people ask me what’s my most memorable experience traveling, I often reference my 5 week India trip.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions about obtaining your India visa or just to say hello.