India is a remarkable travel destination with plenty to do and see, and most visitors have to apply for a standard visa to enter India at an embassy outside of the country before they can head there officially. If you are a US citizen who only wants to go to India for tourism purposes, however, there is another type of visa option available to you that better accommodates this unique circumstance.
The Tourist Visa On Arrival
Travelers such as this could obtain a 30Day visa for India, also known as a “Tourist Visa On Arrival”, which allows them to see the country instead of applying for a tourist visa for a period no longer than 30-days. It restricts you to single entry at one of a select number of airports (which include Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad), and cannot be extended or changed to another kind of visa during your time in India.
There are some eligibility requirements, naturally. In addition to having just a casual stay as the meaning of your visit to India, your passport should also have at least six months of validity from the date of arrival. The passport will also require at least two blank pages that your immigration officer can stamp. You must not be a holder of a Diplomatic/Official Holders visa, and you must have sufficient money for your stay in India, and for a return ticket once you have completed your trip.
Thankfully the application process is straightforward, and can all be completed online. You'll need to upload some documents, pay some fees, wait for a confirmation email, etc. of course, but that's far better than waiting in a long line at a government building!
Your application will require a front-facing photograph with a white background (standard passport style), and a scan of the first page of your passport (the part that includes your name, DOB, and other identifying information. You will be required to pay a Tourist Visa On Arrival fee of $60 per person. The fee must be paid four days before the day you expect to travel (otherwise you might face rejection).
Now You're All Set!
Once you are approved, you will be sent an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) which you must print and carry for your entire stay in the country. Also, you can only use a Tourist Visa On Arrival a maximum of two times per calendar year, so plan your trips carefully. Have fun on your visit to India!