Can I enjoy a visa-free entry to India?

Generally speaking, citizens of most countries need to get a visa for India unless they meet the India visa exemption policies. Therefore, before preparing documentary for visa, it’s necessary to check whether you can make use of the India visa free schemes. Here we list the main scenarios where you can enjoy a visa-free entry to India.

24-hour Visa-free Transit for Passengers Not Leaving the Airport

If you are transiting in India for a layover of less than 24 hours, you may enter India visa free. The layover time is determined by your scheduled arrival and departure times. You should have a valid passport and a confirmed air ticket to a third country. Remember that you are only allowed to stay in the airside, which means you cannot change from an international terminal to a domestic terminal in India. Neither can you clear the immigration, re-check your luggage, or go out to stay in a hotel. In case that your layover is longer than 24 hours but shorter than 72 hours, you can apply for a transit visa; otherwise you will be required to apply for a tourist visa.

Freedom of Movement for Bhutan and Nepal Citizens

If you are a citizen of the neighboring Bhutan or Nepal, you can enjoy visa-free entry to India without visas or passports as long as you do not enter from mainland China. The stay length is unlimited and you can even work in India.

India Visa Free for Maldives Citizens up to 90 Days

All passport holders of Maldives can enjoy a visa-free stay of up to 90 days in India provided that they visit for tourism, medical, education and business purposes. Besides, it’s easy to convert such visa-free entry to medical visas, work visas, or visas for foreign students’ dependents.

Visa Waiver for Persons with Overseas Indian Citizenship or India Origin

Foreigners with an Overseas Citizen of India registration certificate or Persons of India Origin (PIO) Card do not need entry visa for India. However, this is not applicable to citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, mainland China, Nepal and Pakistan citizens because they generally can’t get Overseas Indian Citizenship.

India Visa Exemption for Diplomatic & Official Passport Holders

India visa free is guaranteed with stay ranging from 30 days, 45 days, 90 days, to unlimited days for diplomatic and official passport holders from countries which have signed bilateral visa agreements with India. However, countries like the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand are not among them.

Actually we can see that India has very limited favor in issuing visa-free entry to ordinary passport holders. However, don’t get frustrated as it is quite easy to apply for an Indian E-visa online.

See Essential Guide to E-Visa India, How to Apply for an India Visa – 6 Steps, Indian Visa Requirements