1. Do I need a visa, and if so how do I get one...?
All foreign nationals entering India are required to possess a valid international travel document in the form of a national passport with a valid visa.
There are many visa application sites, however most of them are agents charging for what you can do yourself. The process is a little complicated, but if you take your time you can certainly do it yourself…
The official Government Visa Application for the Visa is here: https://www.indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index,html
The visa application system has changed since we travelled to India before Covid. At the moment UK citizens cannot apply for E-visas which is the simpler process and can all be done online. This is available for travellers from other countries.
The E-visa is a Tourist visa valid for one entry within 6 months. PLEASE NOTE: The visa is valid for 6 months from date of issue, not date of travel, so do not apply too early. If you use this system be sure to print a copy of your completed application for the airline check in. No proof of visa, no travel.
UK travellers currently need to apply for a regular tourist visa which involves filling in a form online and then attending a face to face meeting at an Indian Mission. These meetings are very quick and just involve somebody checking through your online forms. You do need to take print outs of everything with you, as well as passport sized photos and payment. It is worth starting this process a number of months before you plan to travel as part of the process is taking you passport and sending it back to you with a visa inserted...
I have compiled a 'cheat sheet' with all of the answers that you will be expected to know when completing the online application. I will send this to you once you are booked onto one of our Tours.
2. What is the currency in India and how do I get hold of some before I travel?
The Indian rupee (INR) is the official currency of India. The rupee is subdivided into 100 paise, though as of 2018, coins of denomination of 50 paise or half rupee is the lowest value in use. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India.
There are 80-90 INR to one UK Pound, so the Paise has virtually no value. Most Indian money is in the form of notes and these can get very tatty.
The Indian Rupee is virtually a closed currency. It is very difficult to obtain rupees outside India. This means visitors arrive without any local currency – but don’t worry there are always exchange counters at arrival airports.
All major foreign currencies are welcomed in India (£ / $ / €).
Normal rules for dealing with money apply in India as for anywhere else you might travel. Do not leave your money unattended, and do not keep it all together in one place. It is often a good idea to keep your change in an accessible place, so most of your cash is hidden. Use of a money belt is a good idea.