India Foreign Travel Advice

Need India Foreign Travel Advice . Traveling to India requires understanding of local laws and customs. Women should respect local dress codes. Alcohol laws vary by state and public consumption is an offence. Smoking is banned in most public places and e-cigarettes are prohibited. Illegal drug involvement carries severe penalties.

India Foreign Travel Advice

Be cautious with belongings and avoid unofficial transport at airports. Use official taxi services and be wary of scams. Emergency services can be reached at 112. The Indian Ministry of Tourism helpline is 1800 11 1363. Contact your travel provider and insurer in case of emergencies.

FCDO provides guidance on safety and support abroad. Tropical cyclones pose risks in certain areas at specific times. Always follow local advice and warnings. For urgent help from the UK government abroad, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate, or high commission. Read more on the India Foreign Travel Advice on here.

Entry Requirements:

This information is based on what the UK Government understands about the current rules for people traveling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for most types of travel.

The authorities in India are the ones who set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure about how these rules apply to you, you should reach out to the High Commission of India in London or another Indian consulate in the UK.

COVID-19 Rules: Good news! There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travelers entering India.

Passport Validity Requirements: Before you travel, make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your date of entry into India. Also, your passport should have 2 blank pages for your visa.

It’s important to check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements. If your passport is about to expire, you should renew it.

Remember, if you don’t have a valid travel document or if you try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen, you will be denied entry.


Visa Requirements:

You’ll need to apply for the right type of visa for your travel. Unless you’re an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder, you’ll need a visa to travel to India. India offers a variety of visa categories. So, make sure you get the right visa for your travel purpose and duration.

Be aware, if you have the wrong visa, you could be refused entry or deported. This could also result in you not being allowed to enter India in the future. For the latest information on Indian visas and immigration requirements, you can visit the e-FRRO online portal (part of the Indian Foreigners Registration Office), the Bureau of Indian Immigration website, and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs website. Read more on the India Foreign Travel Advice on here.

Applying for a Visa or E-Visa: You can find out how to apply for a visa from the Indian Bureau of Immigration. Depending on your needs, you might be able to apply for a regular (paper) visa or an e-visa (but make sure to check the website’s ‘FAQs’ for restrictions on airports and seaports of entry).

Before you apply, check your eligibility and any restrictions. Also, give yourself plenty of time for your application to be processed. You can find more information on the website of the High Commission of India in London.


Applicants of Pakistani Origin:

If you’re of Pakistani origin, a British-Pakistan dual national, or holding a National Identity Card for overseas Pakistanis (NICOP), your visa processing time will be substantially longer than other visa applications. You can find more information from the High Commission of India in London.

If you’re a British-Pakistan dual national, you must apply for an Indian visa on your Pakistani passport. If you’ve renounced your Pakistani nationality or cancelled your Pakistani passport, you’ll need to provide proof of this. Read more on the India Foreign Travel Advice on here.

Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) Cardholders: If you hold a valid Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card, you can use this, along with your valid British passport, to visit India. You won’t need a visa. If you have a Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card, you’ll need to convert it to an OCI card. You can find more information from the High Commission of India in London and the Indian Bureau of Immigration.


Arrival, Registration, and Extensions:

If you plan to stay in India for more than 180 days and you don’t hold an OCI card, you should register within 14 days of arrival with the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO). If you don’t do this, you might be denied permission to leave. Check if you need to register your arrival.

Overstaying in India on a visa is an offence. Make sure you leave the country before your visa expires or get an official extension if needed. You can find more information on the Indian Bureau of Immigration website. Read more on the India Foreign Travel Advice on here.


If You’re Hospitalised:

If you or someone you’re travelling with has a short-term Tourist Visa and is hospitalised, you might be able to extend or ‘convert’ to a Medical Visa.


Exit Requirements:

When you’re leaving India, you’ll go through immigration. The officials there will check the date you entered the country. If you don’t have an entry stamp, like if you have a new passport, you’ll need to apply for a special exit visa before you travel. This process is done online and can take anywhere from five to fifteen working days for simple applications. So, when you’re booking your flights, make sure to factor this into your schedule to leave India. For more information, you can visit the e-FRRO online portal, which is part of the Indian Foreigners Registration Office.


Political Situation:

General elections are scheduled to take place between 19 April and 1 June, with results being announced on 4 June. During this period, political rallies and public meetings will be common across the country. It’s advised to exercise caution around large gatherings and stay updated with local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

Strikes, often referred to as ‘bandh’ or ‘hartal’, along with political rallies and demonstrations, occur frequently and can sometimes turn violent. The risks are higher during elections and following the death of party or government leaders. Protests can also occur at short notice, especially around nationally important days. Local authorities may impose curfews and other restrictions at short notice, and transport and public services, including mobile and internet network coverage, may be disrupted.

You should avoid protests, be cautious around large gatherings, including at religious sites, sports stadiums, and shopping centers, follow the advice of local authorities and your travel company, and monitor local media and adhere to any curfew restrictions.



If you become a victim of crime, call the Police helpline number 100 or National Emergency Number 112 and ask for police assistance. The Women Helpline Number in India is 1091.

Safety and Security: This information should be read in conjunction with FCDO’s overall travel advice and warnings for India.

Protecting Your Belongings: When traveling, keep a copy of your passport, visa, and flight ticket separate from the originals. Leave copies at home where others can access them, and also store them electronically for easy access. If your passport is lost or stolen, report it to the police immediately and obtain a police report.

Take extra care of your belongings on buses, trains, and in crowds. Criminals may ride past on motorbikes and snatch valuables. Be cautious in tourist areas, where scammers, pickpockets, and ticket touts target foreigners.


Cybercrime, internet scamming, card skimming, and confidence scams are common. These scams come in many forms and can result in significant financial loss for the victims. Criminals often use the details of British High Commissions and embassies to carry out their fraud. Be cautious and verify the authenticity of details. Read more on India Foreign Travel Advice.


Laws and Cultural Differences:

In India, you might face serious legal penalties for doing something that may not be illegal in the UK.

Dress Code: Women traveling in India should respect local customs and dress codes.

Alcohol Laws and Bans: The laws on alcohol, including buying, drinking, and the legal drinking age, vary by state. It’s recommended to get advice from your travel agent, hotel, or the authorities about the laws in the areas you are visiting. Drinking alcohol in public places, like public parks, is an offence.

In some states, foreign nationals and non-resident Indians can buy 30-day alcohol permits. There’s often a ban on the sale of alcohol during major religious festivals, national holidays, and elections.

The consumption, production, or transportation of alcohol is banned in Bihar, Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland, the region of Lakshadweep, and Manipur. If you drink or possess alcohol in these states, you could be arrested without bail. Charges can carry a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years.


Smoking and E-cigarette Bans:

Likewise smoking is banned in most public places in India. You should only smoke in designated smoking areas. E-cigarettes and related products are banned. You won’t be able to buy e-cigarettes in India or bring them into the country.

Illegal Drugs and Prison Sentences: Avoid getting involved with any illegal drugs. Unlike in the UK, drugs are not categorized into Class A, B, and C. There’s a minimum sentence of 6 months for possession of small amounts deemed for personal consumption only. Possession of other amounts carries a 10-year sentence. The judicial process is slow, and it’s normal to be detained for several years while your case is processed.

Using Cameras and Binoculars in Secure Areas: Activities involving cameras and binoculars, like photography, bird-watching, or plane spotting, may be misunderstood. Be particularly careful near military sites, government buildings, airports, and railway stations.

Swimming Safety: Not that every year, several people drown due to strong currents in the sea. There are strong currents off many coasts. Most beaches do not have warning signs, flags, or lifesaving equipment. Take local advice, follow warnings and instructions issued by lifeguards. Emergency service standards may differ from those in the UK. Likewise see also the British Deputy High Commission Hyderabad on here.


Taxis and Rickshaws:

When using taxis or rickshaws, it’s best to:

  • Avoid traveling alone and hailing taxis on the street, especially at night.
  • Use official taxi ranks. Pre-paid taxi services are available inside all airport terminal buildings, and many hotels offer transfers. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Ola are also widely available in India.
  • If you’re being picked up at the airport by a hotel driver, ensure they properly identify themselves before you set off.
  • If you book a taxi online, there’s usually a way to share journey details with your contacts who can then track your location.

Rail Travel: India has an extensive passenger train network. While train travel in India is generally safe, accidents do occur and have previously resulted in death and serious injury. There are police or guards on trains and stations if you need help.

Be Cautious of Unofficial Transport at Airports: Likewise British tourists should be wary of drivers offering cheap transportation or hotels, unwanted tours, and extended taxi rides. Those who have accepted these offers have reported threats of violence when they refused to pay. Lastly also see the TB test for UK visa in India.


When traveling by train:

  • Do not accept food or drinks from strangers.
  • Thefts are common – take care of your passport and valuables.
  • Avoid people at railway stations offering tickets and tours as you may be scammed.

Cyclones and Tropical Storms:

The highest risk areas are:

  • East coast of India (September to December)
  • Bay of Bengal (April to June and September to December)
  • South India (June to November)

Tropical cyclones can cause:

High winds: Buildings can be damaged or destroyed, trees, power and telephone lines toppled, and flying debris can be dangerous.

Storm surges: These can cause a temporary rise in sea level of several meters which can flood coastal areas and damage buildings on the shoreline.

Very heavy rainfall: This can cause localized or widespread flooding and mudslides. Likewise also read the article on No Objection Certificate’ for Marriage in India.


Emergency Services in India:

In case of an emergency, you can dial 112 for ambulance, fire, and police services. These services provide support in English, Hindi, and additional languages. You can also download the 112 India mobile app, which can track your location to support response in an emergency.

Indian Ministry of Tourism Helpline: Likewise the tourism helpline number is 1800 11 1363. This helpline provides advice on reputable sites and services and gives you the option to make a complaint about a company.

Contact Your Travel Provider and Insurer: If you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad, contact your travel provider and your insurer. They will guide you on what you need to do.

Refunds and Changes to Travel: Likewise for refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first. Likewise see also the British High Commission in India.



Support from FCDO: The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad. This includes finding English-speaking lawyers, funeral directors, translators, and interpreters in India, dealing with a death in India, being arrested in India, getting help if you’re a victim of rape or sexual assault abroad or in India, getting help if you’re a victim of crime, and what to do if you are in hospital or affected by a crisis, such as a terrorist attack.

Contacting FCDO: Likewise you can follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

Help Abroad in an Emergency: Likewise if you are abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate, or high commission. You can also contact FCDO online.

FCDO in London: Likewise if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, you can call FCDO in London at 020 7008 5000 (available 24 hours). Finally also see the contact details for the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai on this webiste as well.




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