The new E-Visa (also known as an ETA (electronic travel authority) is the cheapest, quickest and easiest way to get an Indian visa for US Citizens and is good for trips up to 60 days. The E-visa has sometimes been described as a ‘visa on arrival’ but you must still apply for the visa in advance before you travel.
Citizens from 161 countries are eligible to apply online for an E Tourist Visa to India, including citizens of the USA, Canada, UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and many European Countries. At first the ETA was only valid for 30 days.
The cost for an E-Visa for India depends on your nationality. The cost for an Indian E-visa for US citizens. The application process is fully online, and you can apply a minimum of 4 days before your arrival date in India. However, E Visas are NOT extendable or convertible and you can only apply for an E-Visa » twice per year.
You can enter India on an E Visa at 24 airports and 3 seaports; Cochin, Goa, and Mangalore. The E-visa has three subcategories; e-Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa and e-Medical Visa. Double entry is permitted on E-Tourist Visa and E-Business Visa. Triple Entry is allowed for E-Medical visa.
How to apply for an Indian E Visa online:
You can apply for an E Visa to India on the government website at Indian E Tourist Visa » . The process is fully online and your visa will be emailed to you but you need to make sure that a printed copy of your visa approval must be with you when you arrive in India. The visa will then be affixed to your passport at the airport when you arrive in India.
As the process is fully online (i.e. you are not required to send off your passport and wait for 2 weeks for the visa to be processed like you do with the longer term visas) the E-Visa makes planning a holiday to India so much quicker and easier.
However, bear in mind that applying for the E Visa can still be quite confusing as there is still a lot of paperwork to fill out and the forms ask you a lot of questions. You also need to make sure the photo you upload meets the specific requirements. Plus, the fee for the visa and for processing of the application are non-refundable, even if the visa is not granted, so if you make a mistake on the forms you could be rejected and has to apply and pay again.
Longer Term Indian Visas for US Citizens:
While most nationalities apply for 6 or 12-month Indian visa, US citizens are lucky are as we can apply for a 5 or 10-year multiple entry tourist visa for India. These two options come with multiple entries, which will be helpful if you travel frequently across Asia and plan for different visits to India. As with any visa application, there is no guarantee that the visa will be granted. Should the visa be refused, there will be no refund of the visa fees.
The passport must be valid for 6 months at the time of visa application. The Passport must have at least 2 blank Visa pages available for India Visa stamp. Amendment pages in the back of the passport are not suitable for Indian Visa.