What is the difference between an Indian Tourist Visa and a transit visa?

Both the India Tourist Visa and the Transit Visa enable admission into India, although they serve different objectives and have different qualifying requirements. Here are the key differences between an Indian Tourist Visa and a Transit Visa:

India tourist visa

  • Purpose: You can enter and stay in India for sightseeing, visits to friends and family, and attend short courses (valid up to 5 years depending on visa types).
  • Activities: You can participate in tourist attractions, and cultural events, visit historical sites, and participate in leisure activities within the visa-permitted period.
  • Validity period: Typically valid for six months, there is a single or multiple entry option.
  • Application: More detailed documents are required and may include interviews.

India transit visa

  • Purpose: You can pass through India on your way to another country.
  • Activity: You can stay for up to 24 hours only in a designated transfer area at the airport or port of entry. You are not allowed to leave the transfer area or enter the city.
  • Expiration date: Typically valid for 24 hours, with exceptions if you stay for a long time.
  • Application: Acquisition is usually simpler and faster than a tourist visa.

An Indian Tourist Visa is the ideal option if you want to visit India for tourism, sightseeing, or other activities. A transit visa will suffice if you are merely transiting through India on your route to another country and will remain in the approved transit region.