An Indian cruise is an excellent way to see as much of the country as possible on one trip. Cruises in India call at many major cities, beach resorts, and places of interest: popular destinations such as Goa and Mumbai are included on many routes.
Travelers are often unsure whether or not they need a visa to go on an Indian cruise and, if so, what type.
The information below explains everything cruise passengers need to know about India visa requirements when entering Indian territory by water.
Do you Need a Visa for an Indian Cruise?
The vast majority of foreigners need a visa to enter India, this applies whether arriving by air, land, or sea. Only citizens of the Maldives enjoy visa-free access to India.
This means that cruise passengers must have a valid visa for India, even if they do not intend to disembark the boat and go ashore.
Families planning a cruise holiday should be aware that children need an eVisa for India too.
The most convenient way to get a visa for India is online. The India eVisa is fully electronic and can be applied for from home 24 hours a day. The eVisa saves time as there is no need to present paperwork in person at a consulate or embassy.
The India Tourist eVisa is multiple-entry and valid for up to 90 days, more than enough time for most cruises.
If the India seaport of entry does not accept the eVisa, it is necessary to apply for a traditional India visa at an embassy or consulate.
Indian Cruises with an eVisa
Travelers can take advantage of the India eVisa program provided that their ship leaves from and stops at any of the following seaports:
- Kochi (also known as Cochin)
- Mormugao (Goa)
- New Mangalore (Mangalore)
Cruises that stop at a combination of these 5 seaports can be boarded with an India online visa.
Anyone taking a flight to India to then join a cruise can do so using an eVisa, as long as the ship does not stop at another Indian port after setting sail.
How to Apply for an India eVisa for a Cruise
Obtaining an eVisa for an Indian cruise is straightforward. It takes just a few minutes to complete the India eVisa application, all information and supporting documentation is submitted electronically.
Passengers should have the following at hand when completing the request:
- Passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in India
- Credit or debit card to cover the eVisa fees
- Current email address
Questions asked on the Indian eVisa application form
Just a few personal information such as the passenger’s full name and contact details, in addition to passport details, are required. The Indian eVisa application also includes questions about:
- Places to be visited in India
- Port of entry (if arriving by ship, it should be at one of the 5 ports listed above)
A passport-style photo that meets the India visa photo requirements and a scanned copy of the biographical page of the passport must also be provided.
Applications that meet all the India eVisa requirements and have been completed correctly should be approved within 2 to 4 business days. It’s a good idea to submit the request at least a week in advance in case of any delays or complications.
Embassy Visa for an India Cruise
Whenever possible, travelers are encouraged to apply for the India eVisa as it is more convenient than a traditional visa.
However, foreigners departing from or stopping at seaport other than the 5 listed above cannot do so with an eVisa for India. Instead, passengers will need to get a traditional visa.
To get a paper visa, visitors have to submit documents in person or by mail and in some cases may also be required to attend an interview at an embassy or consulate.
As the traditional visa process is much lengthier than when applying for an eVisa, it is advisable to begin the process well in advance of departure or risk not receiving the approved travel document in time for the cruise.
Popular Cruises in India
Many companies now offer Indian cruises, the routes vary offering passengers the opportunity to select the holiday which best suits their interests.
Some of the best cruises for tourists in India include:
- Mumbai to Goa
- Kochi To Kozhikode
- Ganges river cruise
- Sunderbans cruise
Depending on how long the stop-offs are at each port, passengers on ships can take the opportunity to explore different areas of the coast and further inland.
Travelers should be sure to check which ports their selected cruise calls at and whether or not they can take advantage of the Indian eVisa program.