For foreigners, visiting India can be a thrilling experience, but they also need to be well prepared for it. Don’t be beset with fears of the living conditions in India. Hotels, especially the 4 and 5-star ones, are of international standards. The comforts and cuisine they provide are comparable to any you can find in other places across the world. The Deluxe and Heritage hotels are a world apart, each unique in its own way.
Except for nationals of Bhutan and Nepal, all foreigners need to possess a valid Passport and obtain a Visa for visiting India. A Tourist Visa is valid for 6 months from the date of issue and is usually a 90-day visa. A Tourist Visa does not permit the holder to do business, academic or research work in India. Extension of tourist visa may be granted by the Foreign Registration Officer. Tourists staying for more than 90 days have to register themselves with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer or the Superintendent of Police of the district within a period of one week from their arrival. They also have to report changes of address and any intended absence from the given address for 15 days or more.Foreigners in India need to get special permits to visit various restricted and protected areas in some states.
Advisory on Fake Indian e-Visa Portals :
This is to inform you that, Ministry of Home Affairs (India) is receiving multiple complaints from people who have either been cheated or who have compromised their personal information due to use of fake e-Visa portals.
Ministry of Tourism-Government of India does not appoint any authorized agents to apply for e-Visa on behalf of any applicant. It is advised not to fall prey to such fake e-Visa portals claiming to provide Express e-Visa services by charging a hefty amount for the same.
The official website of Government of India for e-Visa and related Visa Services is www.indianvisaonline.gov.in
In the cities, offices are generally open from about 9.30am to 5.30pm on weekdays. Saturdays may be off, half-days or full working days. Banks are open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Shops generally open at 9.30 a.m., but often are not really active till an hour or so later. Closing time is usually 7.00 p.m. In some shopping complexes there is also a lunch break between 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. Unlike offices, shops do not invariably close on Sundays. Different areas are closed on different days of the week.
Indian cuisine is a part of the Indian Culture and should be sampled. But watch out for the especially spicy dishes. Be careful that you eat non-vegetarian dishes only at good restaurants, as the quality can be dubious at the smaller, cheaper establishments. Beef is not generally eaten in India. Pork, too, is rarely eaten.
Foreign currency above US$ 10000 brought into the country needs to be declared in a Currency Declaration Form. Currency should be changed only at the authorised dealers. Airports, most banks and many hotels fall under this category. Banks at International Airports, as well as some authorised money changers, are open 24 hours a day. They will issue an encashment certificate which is later required for reconverting local currency into foreign currency. Local currency cannot be legally taken out of the country due to exchange regulations.
Mosques and Temples are not always open to foreigners or women. Dress codes for religious places can include covering your head, being barefoot, not wearing leather articles etc.
If travelling in scorching summer heat, remember to drink enough water and use Sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat.
Photography is not always permissible and at many places is permitted only at a fee. There is usually a higher fee for video cameras. Museums and monuments are usually closed one day in a week. Photography at airports and metro stations is prohibited.