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It is expected that a foreign national wanting to travel to another country must be in possession of a valid passport and a visa to enter. With 1.3 million and more US citizens visiting India in 2016 alone, it stands to reason that obtaining an Indian visa for US citizens must be pretty straightforward.

And it is. While US citizens may approach the Indian Consulate which handles their region of the US, it is easier to take advantage of the country’s eligibility to apply for an Indian visa for US citizens online. In November 2014 the Indian Government brought out the Indian e-Tourist Visa Facility, which has subsequently been extended to benefit the citizens of some 160 countries. Foreign nationals from those eligible countries are permitted to apply for Indian e-tourist visa through an online application procedure. Applicants may complete the application online from the comfort of their homes or offices without visiting a VAC or Indian Consulate or undergoing an interview. The electronic visa (e-visa) does not take the form of a stamp or label in the passport but is issued in PDF format via email. To be eligible for the Indian visa for US citizens, the application must be made between 4 and 240 days prior to entry into India for a stay of up to 90-days. Travelers must arrive in India by air or sea through any of the designated airports or seaports.

The Government of India grants Visas varying types, depending on the applicant’s reasons for visiting India. Among the most common visas available are the Indian Tourist Visa, Business Visa, and Medical visas. Less well-known Indian visas include the Research, Diplomatic, Sports, Conference, Missionary, Mountaineering, Medical Attendant, Film, Employment, Entry, Student, Emergency, and Transit visas. Application for all of these, as well as Tourist, Business and Medical Visas for stays longer than 90 days, must be made through the Consulate General of India. In the USA, the Indian Consulate outsources its visa processing to Visa Application Centers. US citizens would, therefore, complete the online application form, submit the scanned copy of the front page of the passport and the required photograph, print out the application form, and submit it to the VAC. Handwritten applications are not acceptable wherever online facilities are provided.

Upon processing of the application, the applicant is prompted to make an appointment for an interview. It is imperative that the required supporting documents such as the national passport, official identity card, or official birth certificate be submitted on the date of the interview or before, together with the proof of payment and the application form. It is vital that the details be verified before final submission, as corrections cannot be made after the fact. The information which does not match the passport or supporting documents will lead to the visa application being denied or rejected. When applying via an Indian post or mission, it is important to know that applications take at least three days to process and issue. Exceptional cases and circumstances, such as diplomatic visas, will be processed in ways that differ to the norm. A copy of the application document should be saved for later verification and to assist in completing the visa issuing procedure.

Various reasons persist for Visa applications to be rejected. Among these are the submission of incorrect information, as explained, or a photograph which is not according to the strict specification. Fees charged for the e-Tourist visa vary according to the origin country of the applicant, and service fees are added to the Government fee charged. Should payment not be received at least four days before the scheduled appointment, the application cannot be processed. Refunds are not given on Visa Fees, for any reason.

Applying online for an India visa from the USA is simple. Go online to complete the steps for an India Tourist Visa. Added to the application form, a scanned copy of the front page of the passport must be submitted as well as a photo showing the full face with eyes open against a white background.

Regarding payments, after only three attempts to pay online, unsuccessful applications will be blocked and then declined. A receipt number is issued once the online application form has been electronically submitted and can be used to track the progress of the online application. Approval should be received within 3 to 5 business days and is emailed to the applicant in PDF format.

Indian Visa Online assists with the online application’s simple 3-step process.