India travel guide
As beautiful as it is bamboozling, India is an endlessly fascinating country that challenges and surprises even the most seasoned traveller.
Stretched between the golden beaches of the Indian Ocean and the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, India dazzles with an incredible tapestry of natural and man-made wonders. Home to some of the world’s most iconic monuments; its astounding temples, mystical monasteries, frenetic cities, pristine national parks, lavish palaces and mesmerising markets will capture and inspire your imagination.
Visiting India is an exciting assault on the senses. Sights, sounds, smells and sensations are all experienced at maximum intensity. It can feel intimidating on day one, but eventually, the noise and chaos become an ordinary part of everyday life. The sensory stimulation becomes strangely addictive. Presided over by an extraordinary array of gods and deities, approximately one-sixth of the planet's population can be found here, living in anything from high-rise apartments and inner-city shantytowns, to simple huts in remote villages. India is one of the world's great melting pots, where an incredible diversity of cultures, religions and ethnicities live in unexpected harmony.
An explorers paradise, you could spend a lifetime discovering the relics left behind from ancient empires and trekking its dramatic landscapes. From its tiger-filled jungles to the frozen Himalayan deserts, India’s veritable bounty of breath-taking scenery is sure to leave you awe-struck. On the first trip, almost everyone finds time for the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’; zipping from the colonial capital, Delhi, to the Taj Mahal at Agra, then on to Jaipur, the colourful capital of Rajasthan. With more time to spare, you can discover 36 UNESCO-listed sights ranging from creaking mountain railways and ancient fortresses to mangrove forests and temples overflowing with multi-armed deities.
Don’t expect to absorb all India has to offer in one visit; the country is best appreciated like a buffet table, with repeat visits to sample the next tantalising platter. And with India’s legendary cuisine, rest assured that on every trip, you will feast like a Maharaja.
3,287,263 sq km (1,269,219 sq miles).
1,339,180.13 (UN estimate 2017).
450 per sq km.
President Draupadi Murmu since 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for India on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities. More details on testing labs is available on the Indian Council of Medical Research website.
Regular international flights to and from India have resumed from 27 March 2022 in view of the decreasing cases of Covid-19. This means termination of air bubble arrangements and restoration to the pre-Covid level of services. To book and for more information you should check airline websites, which contain important guidance prior to travel. The British High Commission cannot assist with ticketing. The aviation sector remains unpredictable and is subject to change with limited notice.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in India.
More information and detailed guidelines for International Arrivals are available on the Ministry of Health website.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in India
COVID-19 cases are currently low across the country. Though some states have seen a small rise in cases. India’s overall caseload continues to remain low. Indian States are relaxing restrictions, including night and weekend curfews, and slowly reopening educational institutions. There still might be the requirement to present COVID-19 negative tests to enter some states or provide proof of vaccination, there may be random testing, thermal screening in public areas including at airports, stations and temperature checks at malls and restaurants. You should monitor local media and follow any procedures put in place by local authorities. Before undertaking inter-state travel in India you should check the latest entry requirements and other testing/quarantine restrictions.
Many of the COVID-19 restrictions are now being eased though people are encouraged to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour such as maintaining social distance, wearing face masks, hand washing, and avoiding crowds. Rules on wearing masks in public places vary across states in India but masking is still recommended. Some restrictions may vary between states. You may be penalised if you violate restrictions.
Domestic flight operations resumed on 25 May 2020 but some states may have restrictions on flight operations during COVID-19 waves. Check with airlines before booking flights. More information and detailed guidance is available on the websites of Ministry of Civil Aviation. Some states may have quarantine requirements in place and these may differ between states. Follow the advice of the local authorities.
For Travel Tips, Air Travel and Travel Smart information, passengers may check Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) website. All regularly scheduled international flights have resumed.
All train and metro rail services have resumed.
All essential services (including groceries, pharmacies, ATMs) continue to function.
Hotels have resumed operations. There may be some requirements like providing proof of vaccination or negative test reports when you check-in. Check specific requirements before making reservations. Restrictions may differ between states.
Public places and services
Many COVID-19 restrictions are now being eased and most public places and services are functioning as normal. There may be some entry requirements. Restrictions vary between states. You should follow the instructions of local authorities.
Healthcare in India
The healthcare infrastructure in India is not currently under significant strain, and critical care capacity is currently available for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care. RT-PCR testing is also available but you should monitor the situation before travel.
More information and detailed guidance is available on the website of the Ministry of Health. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (coughing and fever and/or shortness of breath) and would like to get tested and get more information, contact a registered medical practitioner. Testing is now also available on demand from private laboratories in the country. You may be liable for prosecution if you’re symptomatic or a confirmed case and deliberately attempt to hide symptoms and/or travel history.
For contact details for hospitals, including those with English speaking doctors, visit our list of hospitals.
View Health for further details on healthcare in India.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
India Coronavirus information:
call the government of India 24 hour helpline number toll free on 1075
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British High Commission or Consulate. Alternatively use these contacts, the telephone numbers are all 24/7:
- New Delhi: +91 (11) 2419 2100
- Kolkata : +91 (33) 4082 2200
- Chennai: + 91 (44) 4219 2151
- Mumbai: +91 (22) 6650 2222
- Goa: +91 (832) 663 6800 / +91 (22) 6650 2222
Keep a photocopy of your passport, Indian visa and flight ticket separately from the originals when travelling. Leave copies at home where others can access them, and also store them electronically so you can access them easily. If your passport is lost or stolen, notify the police immediately and obtain a police report.
Attitudes towards women vary across India but in general, women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India even if travelling in a group. There has been an increase in reports of sexual assault against women and young girls, including recent sexual attacks against foreign female visitors in tourist areas and cities. Women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men. Serious sexual attacks involving both Indian and foreign nationals have been reported. British women have been the victims of sexual assault, including rape, in Goa, Delhi, Rajasthan, Mumbai and Kerala. While travelling in India you should respect local dress codes and customs and avoid isolated areas, including beaches, when alone at any time of day. See these travel tips for women travellers.
If you’re the victim of a sex crime, see information for British nationals affected by rape or sexual assault abroad.
Taxis and public transport
Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially late at night. If you have to use a taxi, get one from hotel taxi ranks. Exercise caution when using unofficial transport at airports as there have been instances of British tourists becoming the victims of a scam by taxi drivers and others who offer cheap transportation and/or hotels, unwanted tours and extended taxi rides. Travellers who accept these offers have reported being threatened with violence when they have declined to pay. Official pre-paid taxi services are available from inside all terminal buildings and many hotels offer airport transfer facilities. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Ola are also widely available in India.
Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. If you’re being collected at the airport by a hotel driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off. If you book a taxi online, there’s a facility whereby you can let your friends/families know the details of your journey in case of an emergency. You can send your details to pre-selected contacts who can then pinpoint your exact location. If you’re the victim of abuse call 100 for police assistance or 1091 or 1096 if you’re the victim of sexual harassment.
Be particularly careful with your luggage when travelling by buses and trains, and keep your handbags safe in large crowds.
Be wary of confidence tricksters, particularly in Agra and Jaipur, who promise large amounts of cash for delivery of jewellery abroad in return for an initial deposit. The jewellery is worthless and the deposit, often amounting to thousands of pounds, is lost.
The Indian authorities have introduced new measures in relation to coronavirus. See coronavirus
Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh
The FCDO advise against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of (i) travel within the city Jammu, (ii) travel by air to the city of Jammu, (iii) travel within the Union Territory of Ladakh. The tourist destinations of Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg, the city of Srinagar and the Jammu-Srinagar national highway are within the areas where the FCDO advise against all travel.
There have been a number of terrorist attacks against army bases and other targets in Jammu and Kashmir. The last large scale attack in Kashmir took place on 14 February 2019 targeting Indian security forces on the highway between Jammu and Srinagar, with many killed and injured.
There have previously been violent protests and operations by security forces in the Kashmir Valley, which resulted in a number of deaths and serious casualties. There is a heavy security presence; curfews and other restrictions can be imposed and lifted frequently and quickly. You should remain vigilant, monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities and your travel company.
Foreigners remain vulnerable in rural districts and outside the main population centres and tourist areas. There is a risk of unpredictable violence, including bombings, grenade attacks, shootings and kidnapping. The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The level of consular assistance that the British High Commission can provide in Jammu & Kashmir is severely limited.
Other northern states
The FCDO advise against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan other than travel across the international border at Wagah.
Never trek alone. Trekkers should travel in groups and engage local guides. Use a reputable agency and stay on established routes. Leave a message at your accommodation about where you’re going and when you expect to return. It is extremely unlikely to get any phone signal in the mountains so please register your whereabouts using the online C form. The following hazards exist throughout the year, especially above 3000m: sudden weather changes, avalanches and snow drifts, landslides, flooding, rock falls and thunderstorms. For the more intrepid climbs you will need special permits.
It is illegal to possess and operate satellite phones in India, and British nationals have been arrested for bringing satellite phones into the country without prior permission from the Indian authorities.
There are no commercial mountain rescue services operating above 3,000 metres. In some border areas only the Indian Air Force is permitted to carry out air rescues. However, they are under no obligation to perform air rescues; have limited resources to do so and can only get clearance to carry out rescues during working hours. Make sure your insurance policy covers you for altitudes over 2,400 metres and mountain rescue and helicopter costs.
The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to the state of Manipur except the state capital Imphal and the Meiti Valley areas, which include Loktak Lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park and the Imphal War Cemetery. If you plan to travel to Imphal and the surrounding Meiti Valley areas then do so only by air after checking the latest security conditions. There is a risk of terrorism and organised crime in Manipur, especially in rural areas. Although foreigners have not been targeted, attacks can be indiscriminate.
Violent clashes along the disputed border between Assam and Mizoram led to loss of life in July 2021. Violent communal and political clashes have also been reported in Tripura in October-November 2021 . A number of civilians were killed by security forces in Nagaland near the Myanmar border in December 2021. There have been skirmishes on the India-Bangladesh border. Travellers are advised to check with local authorities before visiting these areas.
Protests and large gatherings are common in India’s north-eastern states. They can happen without warning and occasionally result in disorder. You should avoid them and leave the scene as soon as possible if a crowd develops. Review your security arrangements carefully and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Indian government permits are needed for travel to Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. You should apply well in advance (at least 3 months). In India, you should apply at the liaison office of the state for which you need a permit or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office. Permits for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands can be issued on arrival in Port Blair but this is not the case for the other states. Permit regulations can change at any time. Contact the relevant state liaison office or the Indian Bureau of Immigration for the latest guidance.
British nationals traveling to Manipur and Nagaland are advised to check guidelines issued by local authorities as traffic along National Highway 2 connecting the two states may be disrupted due to an indefinite blockade in the border areas.
Maoist (or Naxalite) insurgents specifically target police officers, paramilitary forces and government officials, causing several deaths and injuries in 2019. The government of India has identified25 districts as worst affected - 21 of these are in East India. If you plan to travel to rural areas of Gaya, Jamui or Lakhisarai (Bihar); Bastar, Bijapur, Dantewada, Kanker, , Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon , Sukma (Chhattisgarh); , Chatra, Giridih, Gumla, Khunti, Latehar, Lohardaga, West Singhbhum, Saraikela-Kharaswan (Jharkhand); or to Kandhamal, Kalahandi or Malkangiri (Odisha), you should seek the advice of the local authorities beforehand.
There is a risk of violent crime in the rural areas of Bihar and Jharkhand. There are certain security guidelines that need to be adhered to by foreign tourists and researchers during their visits to tribal areas in Odisha. Check the advice of the local authorities if you plan to visit these rural areas.
The FCDO advise against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, except for travel across the international border at Wagah.
The India/Pakistan border in Gujarat and Rajasthan is unmarked in some areas. Approaching it away from an official crossing point could be dangerous and where unmarked could lead to you straying into Pakistan illegally.
The vast majority of British nationals visiting Goa do so without any problems. However, there have been a few serious incidents involving British nationals. Eight serious sexual assaults occurred between October 2017 and December 2019. In March 2017, a young female traveller was murdered.
If you’re a solo female traveller, you should exercise caution around people you do not know well or may have just met, including other foreigners. If you’re travelling in a group, stick together and look out for each other. Check these travel tips for women travellers.
Take particular care of your bags, purses and other personal belongings; there have been instances of bags, mobile phones, jewellery and other valuables being snatched by people riding past beton bikes. Avoid unlit and remote areas after dark. Keep your passport and other valuables safe. You should observe and respect local dress and customs.
Do not leave your drinks unattended. There have been reports of drinks, and sometimes food, being spiked and travellers, including British nationals, subsequently being robbed or assaulted. From January 2020, it is an offence to consume alcohol in public places.
You should follow warnings posted at beaches and instructions issued by lifeguards. Every year several people drown due to the strong currents in the sea. Emergency service standards may differ from those in the UK.
Road traffic accidents are common and many fatal accidents occur each year. Wear a good quality helmet if renting a motorcycle or scooter.
Possession or consumption of drugs is illegal. If arrested, you may be incarcerated for several years whilst your case comes to trial, and a conviction for either offence may lead to a very long prison sentence.
Car and motorbike accidents are one of the biggest causes of injury and death overseas. Several British nationals die each year on Indian roads. If possible, avoid travelling at night. Always travel in a well-maintained vehicle with seatbelts. If you travel by motorbike, wear a helmet and proper footwear.
Tourist boats and other small crafts rarely carry life-saving equipment.
Although piracy has not so far affected India’s territorial waters, it poses a significant threat in parts of the Indian Ocean, especially for shipping/mariners that do not take appropriate precautions or follow agreed shipping industry best practice guidelines. Mariners should be vigilant.
Ships and their crew must have the necessary authorisation and paperwork before entering Indian territorial waters. They must abide by Indian laws and regulations as long as they are in those waters. If carrying weapons on board ships in Indian territorial waters Indian laws and regulations must be followed.
There are strong currents off many coasts. Most beaches do not have warning signs, flags or life-saving equipment. Drownings are common.
The Indian authorities have introduced new measures in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19). See Coronavirus
Additional security measures have been implemented at airports across the country. If you’re travelling through an airport you should allow additional time to complete check-in and security as you and your baggage may be needed to undergo random x-rays and baggage checks. You should allow sufficient time for transiting between flights if you need to change from international terminals to domestic terminals, even if you’re using the airport shuttle service.
There are specific rules around tourists flying on charter flights booked through a tour operator. Passengers can only fly into and out of the country by using the services of same charter operator, and are not permitted to fly on inward or outward journeys using a scheduled airline. If you have booked a package holiday to India and later find you need to amend your flights, you should contact your tour operator.
Do not accept food or drinks from strangers. There have been reports of travellers being drugged and robbed on trains often on overnight journeys. Take particular care of your passport and valuables when boarding and while on the train. Avoid individuals at railway stations offering tickets and tours.
Strikes or “bandh”, political rallies and demonstrations occur frequently throughout the country and can turn violent, particularly around elections or in the wake of the death of party or government leaders. Protests may also occur at short notice especially around national days of importance. Transport and public services may be disrupted at short notice. You should avoid protests or large gatherings, follow the advice of the local authorities and your travel company, monitor local media and follow any curfew restrictions that may be in place.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in India.
Terrorist attacks are carried out by a number of terrorist and insurgent groups including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and Naxalite. Media reports suggest Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and other groups are looking to attack targets in India, either directly or through inspiring self initiated attacks. Similarly, Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has previously targeted India. There may be an increased threat to places visited by British nationals such as religious sites, markets, festival venues and beaches and any places involving large gatherings of people.
Terrorist attacks have mainly focused on Indian government interests but terrorists have also targeted places visited by foreigners including restaurants, hotels, railway stations, markets, places of worship, festivals and sporting venues. Be vigilant, especially in public places. Always monitor local media for any local travel warnings before planning your travel. If you see unattended baggage, report it promptly. Security has been strengthened, notably at major hotels and transport hubs (airports, railway and metro stations).
Take particular care in the lead up to and on days of national and/or religious significance, like Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August), Diwali (usually in October/November) and Eid (usually May/June).
There have been frequent terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and less often in other parts of the north east India. A significant terrorist attack took place in Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir) on 14 February 2019. There is a continuing threat, predominantly towards Indian government targets.
A number of insurgent groups are active in Assam. There have been random incidents of violence and killings primarily directed at the Indian government. Violent extremist groups are also active in the rural areas of Jharkand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and in parts of Bihar and West Bengal.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should remain vigilant.
There may be very serious penalties for breaking a law which might seem trivial to you, or for doing something which may not be illegal in the UK. Hobbies involving cameras and binoculars, like bird-watching or plane spotting, may be misunderstood particularly near military sites, government buildings, airports and railway stations.
Indian family law is very different from UK law and particular caution is needed when, for example, child custody becomes an issue.
The laws governing alcohol vary from state to state. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Bihar, Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland and the union territory of Lakshadweep. There is a partial ban in some districts in Manipur.
Consumption or possession of alcohol in prohibited states can lead to arrest without bail and charges which carry a sentence of 5 to 10 years. In some states foreign nationals and non-resident Indians are able to buy 30-day alcohol permits. Seek advice from your local travel agent/hotel or the authorities to ensure you’re aware of any alcohol prohibition in the state.
During major religious festivals, national holidays and elections, a ban on the sale of alcohol is often imposed.
Smoking and E-cigarettes
Smoking is banned in public places, with the exception of airports, hotels and restaurants with designated smoking areas. E-cigarettes and related products are banned. You will be unable to buy e-cigarettes in India or bring them into the country.
Don’t get involved with illegal drugs. There is no categorising of drugs into Class A, B and C. There is a minimum sentence of 6 months for possession of small amounts deemed for personal consumption only. A 10-year sentence for possession of other amounts applies. The judicial process is slow and pre-trial detention lasting several years is normal.
Indian customs has strict rules about goods that can be brought into and taken out of the country. Failure to declare contents you’re carrying which may be prohibited or subject to a tax or duty payment can lead to heavy penalties including imprisonment. You can find more information about the list of items and rules and regulations on the Indian Customs website.
For information about rules on travelling with currency, see Money.
It is illegal to possess and operate satellite phones in India, and British nationals have been arrested for bringing satellite phones into the country without prior permission from the Indian authorities. More information on the use of satellite phones can be found on the Department of Telecommunications’ website.
You may need prior permission from the Indian authorities to bring equipment like listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars into India. Seek advice from the Indian High Commission in London.
In September 2018, the Indian Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality. Although homosexuality is no longer prohibited by law, same-sex marriage is still illegal. Indian society remains conservative and public attitudes towards LGBT people can be less tolerant than in the UK. This is especially the case outside of big cities. LGBT travellers should be mindful of local attitudes and be aware that public displays of affection may attract unwanted attention. See our advice page for LGBT travellers.
It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a licence. India has a strong legal framework to regulate and restrict wildlife trade and is also a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). If you’re caught purchasing or trafficking such goods illegally, you will be prosecuted and receive prison sentences or fines.
The penalties for child sex offences are severe. Legislation prescribes a minimum jail term of 20 years, which may go up to life imprisonment, or a death sentence to those convicted of raping a child below 12 years of age.
This page has information on travelling to India.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in India set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how India’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
All travellers must comply with all instructions and screening requirements at the airport. More information and detailed guidance is available on the website of the Ministry of Health. You may need to provide contact details and be asked to download the Aarogya Setu app (India’s COVID–19 “contact tracing and self-assessment” digital service).
You may be asked to take part in thermal screening and/or travel history checks when arriving into India. This is to assist the Indian Government in the detection of Monkey pox. More information and detailed guidance is available on the website of the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. See further information on Monkeypox on the TravelHealthPro website.
If you’re fully vaccinated
All travellers should submit a self-declaration form on the online “Air Suvidha” portal before scheduled travel. On 14th February 2022, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced COVID-19 vaccination certificates can be uploaded in place of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report.
As of 14th February 2022, for all international travellers, there is no longer the requirement to test on arrival or to quarantine at home for 7 days.
The requirement for a COVID-19 RT-PCR test on the 8th day of arrival in India has also been removed.
The only requirement on arrival currently is to self-monitor for 14 days. Other requirements may be introduced at short notice. More information and detailed guidance is available on the website of Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Some travellers may be subject to random testing on arrival in airports, and if you test positive, you may be subject to institutional quarantine.
All passengers will also be subject to thermal screening. If symptomatic, you may be isolated and taken to a medical facility.
You may be asked to present your self-declaration form, vaccination certificate or negative RT-PCR report to airport staff.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
If you are unvaccinated, you will need to upload a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report, with the test having been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.
You also need to submit a declaration to prove the authenticity of this report and will be liable for criminal prosecution, if found otherwise.
You should not use the NHS testing service to get a negative PCR test to facilitate your travel to another country; you should arrange to take a private test.
Residents of India
Special permits may be needed to cross land borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal in East and North East India. You should contact local authorities for more information and relevant permits.
Children and young people
Children under 5 years of age are exempt from COVID-19 testing before or on arrival. If found symptomatic for COVID-19 on arrival, you will need to follow the instructions of the health authorities, which may include testing or mandatory quarantine. Travelling parents/guardians should note that it may not always be possible for parents to have access to the child/children during their period of isolation. This guidance applies across India.
If you’re transiting through India
Since the requirement for on-arrival testing has been removed for those who are fully vaccinated, there is no requirement for you to quarantine before transiting. However, if you are unvaccinated, and you test positive on arrival, and do not have an address in the city of your arrival, you may have to follow institutional quarantine.
There are no exemptions to India’s entry requirements.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
To avoid possible problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.
Your passport must be machine readable, with 2 blank pages for your visa and valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of your visa application.
OCI and PIO card holders
In March 2016, the government of India announced that OCI cardholders would no longer need a visa to enter India. The ‘U’ visa sticker that was placed in the foreign passport of OCI cardholders has been discontinued with immediate effect and you’ll no longer need to show this sticker to the immigration authorities when you enter and leave India. You’ll only need to present a valid passport and your OCI card. For more information, visit the website of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has issued new guidelines permitting all OCI and PIO cardholders to visit India. British nationals who do not hold these cards may also travel to India if they have a valid visa but are not eligible for eVisas at present. For information on categories and process, visit the Indian Bureau of Immigration website.
You’ll need to get a visa before travelling to India.
Make sure you get the right visa for your travel and that it’s valid for the purpose and duration of your stay. If you enter India on the wrong visa, you could be detained on arrival and you may be deported and blacklisted, meaning that you cannot enter India again. Make sure you meet entry requirements. You can find further information on the Indian High Commission website or the Indian Immigration Bureau website.
You should check your visa for any endorsements that state you should register your arrival in India within a certain amount of time. Failure to do so could lead to you being denied permission to leave.
There have been changes made by the Indian government on visa formalities for foreigners who are hospitalised in India when travelling on a short-term tourist visa. If you or someone you’re travelling with is travelling on a tourist visa and is hospitalised, get in touch with the local Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) to check if visa conversion is needed.
India’s Bureau of Immigration has announced that with immediate effect, foreign nationals who arrive at an Indian port holding non-machine readable passports will be denied entry. Carriers who transport foreign passengers holding non-machine readable passports may be subject to a fine.
Overstaying on your visa is an offence. Make sure you leave the country before your visa expires.
Applicants of Pakistani origin
All applicants of Pakistani origin who hold dual British-Pakistan nationality must apply for an Indian visa on their Pakistan passport. If you have renounced your Pakistani nationality or cancelled your Pakistani passport, you will need to submit documentary proof of this.
The processing time for visa applications received from persons of Pakistani origin is 7-8 weeks or more. Processing time for applications from those holding dual British-Pakistan nationality will be substantially longer. For further details see the Indian High Commission website.
User Development Fees (UDF) apply at many airports. The fees are around Rs.1,000 per international passenger and Rs.150 to 260 per domestic passenger. This should already be included in the cost of airline tickets. If for any reason the fee is not included in your ticket it will be collected at the airport check-in counter in Indian rupees.
If you travel to India from Pakistan, Israel, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Afghanistan or Somalia you may need to hold a valid polio vaccination certificate. Contact your nearest Indian Embassy or High Commission for further information.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
Accommodation and C-Forms
Make sure you stay in accommodation that is licensed with the Indian authorities. Ask your accommodation provider whether they’re registered to file ‘C-Forms’ with the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO). You’re strongly advised to use accommodation that is registered with the FRO.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK ETDs are valid for entry to or exit from India with the relevant Indian visa. They are also valid for airside transit. However, a holder of an ETD will not be able to both enter and exit India using the same ETD. You should be aware that you will have to apply to the local authorities for an exit permit if you’re leaving India on a passport or ETD that is different to the one on which you entered. This must be done online, and can take anywhere between five and 15 working days for straightforward applications. You should factor this into your timeframe to leave India when you are booking flights. For further information visit the FRRO website.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
Preparing for travel
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. You can take medicines into India as long as you carry the prescription with you. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances are prohibited. For further information, contact the High Commission of India in London or view the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website and the Indian Customs website. Guidance on best practice when travelling with medicines is also available on the NaTHNaC website.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
Severe air pollution is a major hazard to public health, especially during the winter months. New Delhi and other North Indian cities are currently experiencing extremely high levels of pollution. Children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. If you’re pregnant, or have a respiratory or heart condition you may wish to consult a medical practitioner before you travel.
You can find advice on air quality on the World Health Organization (WHO) website and check air quality levels for Indian cities in real time on the World Air Quality Index website. More information and advice is available on the TravelHealthPro website and from the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research, Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
The Indian authorities have introduced new measures in relation to coronavirus. See Coronavirus
Local medical facilities are not comparable to those in the UK, especially in more remote areas. For psychiatric illness, specialised treatment may not be available outside major cities. In major cities private medical care is available, but expensive. The British High Commission publishes a list of the most commonly used hospitals. You’re strongly advised to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers the duration of stay in India.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 102 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.
If you’re travelling to India for organ transplant surgery, check in advance with the hospital to find out what proof they need about your circumstances in the UK. You may need to submit evidence of your marriage and birth of your children before the operation can take place. You can get copies of marriage and birth certificates from the General Register Office in the UK. You may wish to consider having them legalised by the FCDO Legalisation office before travelling. The British High Commission cannot provide guarantees and certificates on your behalf.
There are some high altitude tourist destinations in and around India where visitors can be susceptible to altitude sickness and extreme weather conditions. If you’re planning to travel to a higher altitude area, our advice would be to check details and any precautions/medications you need to take before making the journey.
Mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever occur all year round. There’s been an increase in the number of cases of dengue fever, including in New Delhi.
UK health authorities have classified India as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Cases of Chikungunya Virus have been confirmed in India, including in New Delhi. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
There was a confirmed case of Nipah Virus in Kerala in June 2019. For information, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Travel in India during the monsoon season (June to October) can be hazardous. Monsoon rains cause flooding and landslides that can cut off some towns and villages for days and lead to disruption of train and roadway services. You should be aware that cities, including metros, can also be affected. Check access routes, monitor the local and international weather updates from the Indian Meteorological Department, follow the advice of local authorities and your travel company before travelling, and take extra care.
Cyclones and tropical storms
Cyclones and tropical storms are common, particularly off the east coast of India in the months from September-December. In Bay of Bengal, the tropical cyclone season has two peaks, April to June and September to December. In South India cyclones or storms may occur during June to November.
The effects of a tropical cyclone are as follows:
- high winds: buildings can be damaged or destroyed; trees, power and telephone lines toppled; debris turns into projectiles
- storm surge: a hurricane can provoke a temporary rise in sea level of several metres which can flood coastal areas and damage buildings on the shoreline
- very heavy rainfall: this can cause localised or widespread flooding and mudslides
Tropical cyclones can seriously damage and disrupt infrastructure, including buildings, roads and communications.
You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Indian Meteorological Department and follow the advice of local authorities and tour operators.
See our Tropical cyclones page for advice on what to do if you’re caught up in a storm.”
Several parts of India lie on highly active fault zones. The most active are those states along the length of the Himalayas. Earth tremors are common in these regions and can cause landslides in hilly and mountainous areas. Limited emergency response vehicles, equipment, and medical facilities could increase the impact that an earthquake could have in these areas. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
The currency of India is the Indian rupee (INR).
There are restrictions on bringing Indian rupees into India. Visitors, including tourists, are not permitted to bring any amount of Indian currency into the country. If you’re resident in India, you can bring up to INR 25,000 into the country.
If you’re visiting India, you can bring cash or travellers’ cheques (in pounds sterling or another foreign currency) and/or a bank card with you and exchange or withdraw rupees once in India. You will have to declare any amount exceeding US$5,000 in notes, or US$10,000 in notes and travellers’ cheques combined.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can not offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can not find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.