India is a great place to enjoy a long vacation or during a gap year. However, overstaying an Indian Visa can have some severe consequences and should be avoided at all costs.
With the number of foreign visitors now exceeding over 10 million people a year, the Indian government has introduced increasingly punitive and costly penalties for those who contravene its immigration policy. This can be potentially damaging to tourists who fall foul of the requirements of their visa and stay longer in India than permitted.
To help you avoid this fate, this article explains the different ramifications of overstaying an Indian visa. It also covers the situations in which it is possible to extend a visa in India if you plan in advance to extend your stay in this fascinating country.
What Happens if I Overstay My Indian Visa
It is illegal for visa holders to overstay an Indian visa. The requirements of travel authorizations for foreign citizens specify the length of time that they are allowed to remain in the country. The time permitted to stay in India depends on the particular visa that has been issued. The validity of each visa is as follows:
If any of these visas are overstayed then you will immediately be considered an illegal immigrant from day 1 of your document’s expiry. From that point onwards you are then liable to receive one of a number of financial or legal penalties.
Fines for Overstaying a Visa
One of the consequences of being caught overstaying a visa in India is receiving a fine. These are levied at different and increasing amounts depending on the length of time that the visa has been breached.
Until recently, these fines consisted of a $30 flat fee combined with the cost of a new visa. However, as of late 2018, India’s immigration policy has tightened and these fines have increased exponentially in value.
|Overstay duration||Fine amount|
|91 days – 2 years||$400|
|2 years +||$500|
Legal Penalties for Overstaying an Indian Visa
In addition to fines, the Indian government can take legal action against visitors that overstay a visa. For shorter-term transgressions, full legal action isn’t normally applied, although if you have committed additional crimes whilst in India you may be barred from entering the country again for a period of time or even indefinitely.
However, in the worst-case scenarios, Indian law allows prison sentences of up to 5 years and a relevant fine for those who overstay for a duration that is the same or longer than the validity of the original visa. In this instance, it is very likely that you will also be barred from re-entering the country again in the future.
Can I Stay in India after my Visa Expires?
It is possible to extend your visa beyond its original expiry date. However, this must be done in advance of its expiration.
Be aware it is not possible to renew your visa and to extend your time in India if you hold a shorter-term tourist permit like an Indian eVisa. However, for holders of longer-term visas the application, this is possible.
Those who have visas that are valid for more than 6 months and who are registered with the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) may extend their permission to stay in India whilst in the country. In order to do this, the visa-holder must register for an extension at least 60 days prior to the expiry date of their document with FRRO.
In conclusion, overstaying an Indian visa is not recommended. There are numerous penalties, not least being barred from entering India on later occasions. It’s not worth letting a simple slip up with a visa cause your visit to this beautiful country to end stressfully.
Getting a valid Indian visa before you travel is easy if you apply for an Indian e-Visa online. Simply complete the web-based application form and get approved for a trip of up to 6 months in India in under 5 days processing time.