Almost all nationalities, including US citizens, need to apply for a visa before traveling to India which means that applying for an Indian visa » is an essential part of planning any trip to India. As the process of applying for an Indian Visa for US citizens can sometimes be a little confusing and I get a lot of questions about applying for Indian visas » and wrote a post for UK citizens and Canadians.
If a trip to India is approaching and time is in short supply, apply online at the Indian Government's website for an e-Visa. United States citizens must have a valid passport and visa to visit this vast, diverse, ancient country and it takes a minimum of four days for the visa application to process. Once granted, an e-Visa is valid for 60 days after the arrival date.
Indian e-Visa Restrictions:
Only visitors entering India at certain airports or seaports can use an e-Visa. The 24 designated airports include Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Mangalore, Amritsar, Jaipur, Kolkata and Hyderabad, and the designated seaports are Goa, Mangalore and Cochin. E-Visa holders can exit India from any authorized Immigration Check Post the validity dates on e-Visas aren't extendable.
A passport that's valid for six months after the arrival date and a digital photograph are the minimum requirements to apply for an Indian e-Visa. You must submit a copy of your passport's bio page along with a recent, passport-style photograph in JPEG format. Medical visa applicants must also submit a copy of a letter from the relevant Indian hospital, and business visitors need to include a copy of their business cards. On arrival, visitors must be able to show they have a return or onward ticket and enough money for their stay.
How to Apply for an Indian e-Visa:
Apply for an Indian e-Visa online via the Indian Government's website. Complete the application form for the correct visa type, whether it's an e-Tourist visa, e-Medical visa or an e-Business visa, and attach the relevant documents. You must pay a fee before the application is accepted. After you apply, the visa application status becomes available to view on the website. When the visa application has the status "Granted," print off a copy to take on your trip.
Regular Visa Applications:
The processing time for Indian visas that aren't e-Visas is variable, but the application website supplies estimation when the application is submitted. Though a non-e-Visa application for travel, business, medical or other visits usually takes longer to process than an e-Visa application, the validity duration of the visa is often longer.