India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; in addition, India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four world religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—originated here, whereas Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium CE and also helped shape the region’s diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the United Kingdom from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi. India is a pluralistic, multilingual, and multi-ethnic society. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
The climate of India can broadly be classified as a tropical monsoon one. But, in spite of much of the northern part of India lying beyond the tropical zone, the entire country has a tropical climate marked by relatively high temperatures and dry winters. There are four seasons:
- winter (December-February)
- summer (March-June)
- south-west monsoon season (June-September)
- post monsoon season (October-November)
The major international airports in India, which serve traffic from all over the world, are in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Airports tend to be on the outskirts of cities.
India’s national carrier is Air India and the state-owned domestic carrier Indian Airlines (also offers flights to 20 countries in Asia and the Middle East (though it has a poor safety record). The more reliable private airlines Jet Airways and Air Sahara offer flights to Colombo, Kathmandu and the Maldives. Jet has recently started longhaul flights to London, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Other airlines flying to and from India are as follow:
Aeroflot, Air Canada, Air France, Air India, Alitalia, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Druk Air, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates, Finnair, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, Kenya Airways, KLM – Royal Dutch Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Lufthansa Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Qantas Airways , Qatar Airways, Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation, Singapore Airlines, South African Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Thai Airways International.
Foreign nationals wishing to travel to India are required to possess a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian visa. However, nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not require visa to enter India and nationals of Maldives do not require visa for entry in India for a period up to 90 days (a separate visa regime exists for diplomatic/official passport holders).
The Consular Passport and Visa (CPV) Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for issuing Indian visas to foreign nationals for their visit for various purposes. This facility is granted through various Indian missions abroad.
Visa fees are non-refundable and subject to change without notice. The Embassy/High Commission/Consulate reserves the right on granting and deciding the type/duration of visa irrespective of the fees tendered at the time of making the application. The granting of a visa does not confer the right of entry to India and is subject to the discretion of the Immigration Authorities.
Specific visas are granted for different purposes:
Type of Visa:
Type Period Document Required Tourist Visa 6 months Documents supporting the applicant’s financial standing Business Visa One or more years Letter from sponsoring organization Transit Visa Maximum for 15 Days Evidence of onward travel to a destination outside India
Visa on Arrival:
Only for citizens of Finland, Luxembourg, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar.
Visa Application Form:
Visa application form is available at the office of Indian Embassy/ High Commission/Consulate in the country where the applicant resides. Visa form for nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh are generally different. All applicants, including children need to apply for Visa in separate visa forms.
Procedure for obtaining Visa:
Visas can be applied for in person or by post at Indian Embassy/ High Commission/ Consulate based in the country from where the candidate intends to depart for India. You are requested to contact the nearest Indian mission for details. Specific visas are granted for a variety of purposes that are aforementioned.
Requirements for Visa:
Generally the following documents are required for obtaining Indian Visa. However, the requirement may vary from country to country.
- Original passport valid for at least 6 months
- Visa fee
- Two passport size photographs
- Supporting documents, where necessary
- Duly completed application form