Who Needs a Business Visa for India?

Who Needs a Business Visa for India?

It’s no secret that India has been a popular tourist destination for quite a long time. It has a rich heritage of different cultures and religions that have left their mark over the centuries and is the world's second-largest nation in terms of population and seventh-largest by area. Tourists flock to India to visit the Taj Mahal and sacred sites like Harmandir Sahib (formerly the Golden Temple) and the Mecca Masjid mosque, as well as sun-washed beaches, lush national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and much more.

However, each year, a virtual smorgasbord of men and women travel to India for business. Recently, India has caught a lot of attention as an up and coming business powerhouse and whether it’s for important meetings, closing deals, checking on operations, or a multitude of other reasons, more and more people are visiting India for business.

If you’ve never been to India but are planning to do so for business, or there’s even a chance that you could be traveling there in the near future, you need to know a few things. Especially regarding the business visa requirements… which is why we put this handy guide together.

In fact, even if you’ve been there numerous times but it has been awhile due to the pandemic, you should check out the rest of this article to be sure there isn’t anything that has changed with your business visa for India.

A Few Things to Know First

First off, you cannot obtain your India business visa upon arrival. You must apply online in advance as the application process requires a letter of intent from your US business, a letter of invitation from a host company in India, and other requirements and it may take a while for your business eVisa to be approved and returned.

If you need to travel to India for business on the spur of the moment, a last-minute trip comes up, there are some Swift options you can check in to but it’s best to submit your business eVisa application for India well before your planned travel dates.

You can obtain a valid business visa for India for one, five, or ten years but that doesn’t mean that’s how long you get to stay. No single business trip can last for more than six months but with any of those options, you’ll be able to enter and leave the country as many times as you need.

Conversely, tourist visas are only valid for 90 days from the date they first enter India. However, citizens from the US, Japan, Canada, and the UK are allowed to visit as tourists for up to 180 days.

The India eVisa allows for arrival through specific airports, so you’ll want to double check to ensure that your chosen destination is an approved airport.

When it’s time to leave India, you can leave from any of the authorized ICPs (Immigration Check Posts) in the country.

Who Needs a Business Visa for India?

To make it clear, employment visas and business visas are two different things. If you’re planning to actually be employed in India, even a short-term job, you need an employment visa. Conversely, business visas or business eVisas are required for those who are recruiting employees, setting up new offices, forming agreements with Indian companies, the reasons mentioned earlier, and other business actions.

Citizens of 161 countries, including Austria, can apply for the India eVisa but if you, your spouse, parents, or grandparents were born in Pakistan or ever held Pakistani nationality, a traditional visa is required.

As a side note, Cox & Kings, a third-party contractor, has handled business and other visas to India since 2014 and while there have been few issues, it’s always a good idea to submit your application as early as possible just in case there are any delays.

What is the eVisa for India?

The eVisa for India is used for business, tourism, or medical visits and is an electronic authorization for your travel. Aside from applying online and the traditional method taking longer, another huge difference between the Indian eVisa and traditional visas for the country is that you don’t have to submit your personal documents such as identification and passport to the consulate as everything is done online.

What is the eVisa Process for India?

The internet has made so much of our lives exponentially easier and that’s true for the eVisa for India application process. The process itself is simple:

Please note — once your application has been submitted, if your travel plans change and you cancel your India eVisa application, the associated application fees are not refundable.

Once your application is approved, you’ll receive your ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) via the email address you provided on your application. As a pro tip, print off at least two copies of your ETA. Carry one on you with your passport, airline tickets, itinerary, and other travel documents, and another secured in your carry-on. If you want to be extra safe, keep a third copy packed away in your checked luggage.

You’re required to present this document at Immigration Check Post when you arrive in India, so you’ll want to ensure that you keep a copy with your passport. At the airport, your travel papers will be reviewed and your biometric information such as fingerprints will be documented.

Once your business eVisa is reviewed and entry is approved, the officer will place the eVisa sticker inside your passport.

Traveling to India with a business eVisa is a lot easier these days. However, as recommended above, you should start the process as early as possible to ensure that you have everything you need when it’s time to go.