The incredible land of India is easily accessible from the various parts of the World. There are several points of entry to India. Amongst the main are the international airports across India. According to the classification of Airports Authority of India, presently Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram are in the category of international airports and are available for scheduled international operations by Indian and foreign carriers. These airports cater to around 85% of international and 50% of domestic air traffic in India.
Tourist visas are issued either for one month or for six months. In case of the former, entry into India has to be within one month from the date of issue. This visa is not available by post. The latter is issued for six months from the date of issue. Fees for both categories are the same, so it is advisable for tourists planning to visit neighboring countries to ask for the latter. It is preferable for tourists to apply for visa in the country of their residence.
Tourist visas can be extended by three months at the foreigners' registration office in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, or with the Superintendent of Police at any District Headquarters. Four passport size photographs are needed for obtaining a visa.
If stay in the country exceeds 180 days, then tourists are required to get a tax clearance certificate, available at the foreigners' section of the income tax department in every major city. It is also advisable to keep bank receipts to show that the money has been changed legally.
Special permits may be required additionally with the visa to visit certain areas of the country. Areas such as parts of Sikkim and the northeast frontier states, and northeast of Himachal Pradesh near the Tibetan border are out of bounds for foreign nationals. In case you need to visit any of these areas, apply for a permit at least four weeks in advance at the Ministry of Home Affairs Foreigners' Section, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi 110 003.
Special permits may be obtained from all Indian embassies, consulates and high commissions abroad, including all foreigners' registration offices, immigration offices at main international airports in India.
While traveling in India, you must carry your passport all the time. Before starting your travel trip you must ensure that the passport is valid for the entire travel period. In case your passport gets stolen or lost while traveling in India contact your country's embassy or consulate in Delhi and report at nearest police station.
Departure from India
All persons, except nationals of Bhutan & Nepal, leaving by air, road or rail have to fill in an Embarkation Card at the time of departure.
Every foreigner who is about to depart finally from India must surrender his Certificate of Registration either to the Registration Officer of the place where he is registered or of the place from where he plans to depart or to the Immigration Officer at the Port/Checkpost of exit from India.
Foreign Travel Tax
Passengers embarking on trips to any place outside India from a Customs airport/seaport will have to pay a Foreign Travel Tax (FTT) of Rs. 500 and Rs. 150 on trips to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Transit passengers traveling by air who have to leave the airport on account of mechanical trouble but continue their journey by the same aircraft and the same flight number by which they arrive are also exempt from FTT.
Visitors are generally required to make an oral baggage declaration in respect of baggage and foreign currency in their possession. They are also required to obtain the Currency Declaration Form from the Customs. They should fill in the Disembarkation Card handed over to them by the airline during the course of the flight.
There are two channels for clearance at the International airports, namely, the Green Channel and the Red Channel.
Green Channel is for passengers not in possession of any dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage.
Red Channel for passengers with dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage or high value articles to be entered on the tourist Baggage Re-Export Form.
Dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage or high-value articles must be entered on a Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form (TBRE). These articles must be re-exported at the time of departure. A failure to re-export anything listed on the TBRE becomes a payable duty levied for each missing item. The following duty-free possessions are permissible- clothes and jewelry, cameras and up to five rolls of film; binoculars, a portable musical instrument, a radio or portable tape recorder, a tent and camping equipment, fishing rod, a pair of skis, two tennis rackets, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 95 liters of liquor, and gifts not exceeding a value of Rs. 600 (about $20). Depending on the attitude of the customs' official, one may or may not have to enter a portable computer on a TBRE form.
There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers' cheques a tourist may bring into India provided he makes a declaration in the Currency Declaration Form given to him on arrival. This will enable him not only to exchange the currency bought in, but also to take the unspent currency out of India on departure.