The coasts of South and Southeast Asia are breathtakingly beautiful. A cruise therefore lends itself perfectly to discovering numerous countries bordering the Indian Ocean. One of these countries that can be visited during a cruise holiday is India. Continue reading for more information about a cruise to India and the required visa.
Visa for going on a cruise to India
All tourists who travel to India require a visa. The only exception to this rule are travellers with the nationality of the Maldives or of India itself. UK and Irish travellers who want to travel to India with a tourist or business travel purpose are in most cases eligible for the electronic India visa.
A cruise holiday also qualifies as tourism. The designated e-Tourist visa is a practical alternative to the paper visa because it can be entirely applied for online. It is therefore not necessary to make an appointment at an embassy or consulate to provide documents, because applying for this visa can be done simply with your phone, tablet or computer.
Visa for 30 days or one year
The e-Tourist visa for India is available with a validity period of 30 days or one year. For both visas, it is not possible to choose an exact date on which the validity of the visa enters into effect. The validity period of 30 days or one year starts once your application is approved.
Visit the unspoiled Andaman Islands during your cruise in India.
What does this mean for your stay in India?
The tourist visa with a validity of 30 days also has a maximum stay of 30 days. Once your visa is approved, you have 30 days within the validity of the visa to arrive in India. The India visa only has to be valid upon arrival in the country. Upon arrival in India, the arrival date is noted in your passport, and you are then allowed to stay in India for 30 days.
Even though the validity of the visa starts immediately from the moment the application is approved, you do not have to worry that your India visa will not be valid when you travel. In the application form, you have to fill in an expected arrival date. If you apply for this visa more than 21 days before the expected arrival date, the application is put on hold. This prevents the validity of the visa from expiring prematurely. With an average delivery time of 1 week, most India visas are approved about two weeks before the indicated expected arrival date.
What if you want to receive the visa earlier for your cruise?
Many cruises start about two or more weeks before the first arrival in India. Because it is difficult to predict when the visa will be exactly approved, cruise travellers can often benefit from choosing the India visa that has a validity of 365 days. These applications are put on hold up to 120 days before the indicated departure date, allowing this visa to be granted months before departure.
This visa is more expensive but offers the possibility to make multiple trips to India within the 1-year validity period. Unlike the 30-day visa, in this case, both the arrival date and the final departure date must fall entirely within the validity period of the visa. Is your cruise leaving two weeks or more before the expected arrival date in India and do you want to be able to receive the visa before departure? In that case, choose “e-Tourist – 1 year” under “Visa Type” in the online application form.
Unknown paradises of India
With a length of 7517 kilometres, the Indian coastline is one of the longest in the world. With such an impressive coastline, it is not surprising that a cruise holiday is one of the best ways to discover India. Tropical beaches to sunbathe and swim at are plentiful, but you can also find many large and small cities to discover. Additionally, there are some beautiful archipelagos in the eastern Indian Ocean. A cruise is the perfect way to admire these hidden gems of India.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Because these archipelagos are almost 2,000 kilometres from mainland India, they are often not visited during a normal holiday in India. This is another reason to decide on a cruise to India. This way, you can visit these relatively unknown islands. Most of the more than 570 islands are off-limits to travellers and can only be accessed by the indigenous population. This way, the beautiful nature reserves are not affected by mass tourism.
One of the islands that is open to tourists is Havelock Island. Although the Andaman Islands, the archipelago to which this island belongs, are not well-developed in terms of tourism, there are several tourist facilities and activities on Havelock Island. The beaches of Havelock Island, together with those of Neil Island, many dozen kilometres to the south, are some of the most unspoiled beaches in the world. To prevent mass tourism, there are few to no big cruise ships that have the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on their itineraries.
With the 30-day tourist visa, you can also choose to go on a smaller cruise to the Andaman and/or Nicobar Islands in addition to a major cruise along the mainland. Even if the major cruise takes you outside of India, you can still travel back to India once with the same visa, as long as both arrivals and final departures from India fall within the maximum duration of stay of 30 days (counted from the first arrival in India).
Apply for the India tourist visa
If you are deciding to go on a cruise, you can apply for the India visa as soon as you know your arrival date. Depending on the required validity and period in which you need the visa, you pick a visa with a validity of 30 days or one year.
The passport used to apply for the visa and for travel to India must be valid for six more months upon arrival in India. If this is not the case, you have to apply for a new passport first before applying for a visa. Next, you can use the new passport for your visa application. Keep in mind that the India e-visa is digitally linked to the passport used when applying. If you want to travel with a different passport than the one you used for your visa application, you must bring both passports and the visa.
Open the application form for the India visa