India has long been a source of fascination and enchantment for Western tourists. The country sees 5 million tourists visit each year, and that number continues to grow. India has everything an adventurous traveler could ask for: delicious local food, thriving cities, ancient monuments and temples, beaches and fantastic opportunities for eco-tourism.
To get to India, you need more than just a valid passport and a plane ticket. You'll also need an Indian visa. India does not issue visas on arrival, so you will need to apply in advance and have your Indian visa in hand before your departure.
India's visa system is jurisdictional, which means that each Indian embassy or consulate serves a different region of the US. In order for your application to be accepted and processed, it must be submitted to the embassy or consulate that serves your home address. India outsources its tourist visa application process to a private company called Travisa, or you can use another private company.
Here are the documents required to apply for an Indian visa if you are traveling as a tourist:
Your US passport
2 recent passport-sized photos, taken within the past 6 months. You may not wear glasses for the photos.
A completed Indian visa application form. To ensure that your visa application is approved, write clearly and proofread the application carefully for mistakes. Make sure that you enter in "tourism" in the section that asks you to state why you are traveling to India.
A photocopy of your plane tickets or your itinerary.
A legible copy of your driver's license or a utility bill showing your name and address.
A copy of your birth certificate
Once you have your visa, it's recommended that you make a copy of both the page of your US passport that has your personal information on it and the Indian visa. This will make it easier to get your visa replaced if you lose your passport while you are in India.