The majority of foreign citizens are required to obtain a visa for India to visit the country, no matter the duration of the stay or the purpose of the travel. The only two counties who can enter India visa-free, for unlimited periods of time, are Bhutan and Nepal.
Most travelers will need a visa for India even if just passing through India for transit on the way to an onward destination. However, this depends on the period of time the traveler will spend in India and whether or not they intend to leave the Transit Area of the airport.
Some nationalities are required to apply for a transit visa for India in advance from an embassy or consulate. However, the majority of foreign passport holders are now able to obtain an Indian eVisa for transit through a simple online application.
Do you need a visa to transit in India?
Indian visa requirements state that all non-visa-exempt travelers who are passing through an Indian airport for more than 24 hours, or who intend to leave the airport Transit Area, are required to have a visa to transit through India.
Therefore, an India transit visa is required for connecting flights with a wait time of over 24 hours, as determined by scheduled arrival and departure times.
Even though the traveler has a connecting flight within 24 hours of arriving in India, they may be required to leave the airport Transit Area for one reason or another. For example, it may be necessary to clear immigration to recheck luggage for the connecting flight, or because the travel wishes to stay in a hotel outside the transit area.
In such cases, it will be necessary to obtain a transit visa for India in advance through the Indian electronic visa application online.
Can I transit through India without a visa?
It is possible to transit through an airport in India without a visa if:
- The traveler holds confirmed flight tickets for a third country
- The scheduled layover time in an Indian airport is less than 24 hours
- The traveler does not leave the designated Transit Area of the airport.
Travelers transiting through India for less than 24 hours are advised to book the connecting flight on the same ticket as the flight to India. This way, there will be no need to leave the designated Transit Area in order to re-check luggage for the connecting flight, and so a transit visa will not be required.
Those entering India by sea are not required to have a transit visa for India if they remain on board their ship while it is docked at an Indian port.
Those who are already in possession of a valid eVisa for India, such as an approved business visa or medical visa, will not be required to obtain a transit visa if passing through India for more than 24 hours. This is because these visa types are multiple-entry visas for India which allow the holder to enter India multiple times during their validity.
How long does it take to get a transit visa for India?
Eligible applicants for a transit visa for India are able to complete the online eVisa application form, which only takes a few minutes to fill in with basic passport, passport, and travel information.
When completing the form, it is necessary to indicate the type of visa required: in this case, the Indian transit visa. It is also necessary to provide the expected date of arrival and intended port of entry to India, and to pay the visa fee using a valid debit or credit card to submit the application.
Once submitted, it can take around 4 days for the transit visa application to be approved. Applicants should submit an eVisa form at least 4 days before the intended date of entry to India to allow for sufficient processing time.
Once the transit visa has been approved, it is sent to an email address provided by the applicant on the eVisa form. The traveler is then able to print a copy of the transit visa to present alongside their passport at border control in India.
An approved transit visa for India is available as either a single or double entry visa and is valid to enter the country for 15 days from the date of issue. It allows a maximum stay of 3 days in India and is valid for direct transit only.
Those who wish to stay in India for longer than 3 days are required to apply for another type of visa relevant to the purpose of their visit, such as a tourist visa for India.