A visa is required to enter India. In recent years obtaining Indian visa has streamlined a great deal and online applications being accepted for shorter visits.
For a maximum visit up to a month citizens from UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most other countries can apply online for an e-Tourist Visa (Etv). It can be applied at the Indian government’s official online portal indianvisaonline.gov.in. This is a single-entry visas valid for thirty days from the date of entry and must be secured at least four days ahead (no more than three days) before travel. The process includes filling the application, uploading your photo and paying the fee online. You can carry a printed copy of eTV while coming to India and visa will be issued upon arrival. Fees vary between zero and US$60, depending on your nationality, plus a small bank charge.
For staying in India longer than 30 days or from the country not covered by eTV scheme, you need to organize the visa in advance. Standard tourist visas are valid for a year (for US citizens up to ten years) from the date of issue with a maximum stay of 180 days in one visit. Fees are £102 for UK citizens but vary greatly for other nationalities. Indian embassies in UK, US, Canada and Australia no longer issue the Indian visa. But it is handled by various third-party companies or subcontractors for a small additional fee. The firms’ websites give all the details you need to make your application. Processing time is usually two to three working days but it’s wiser to leave at least a week. Postal applications take a minimum of ten working days plus time in transit, and often longer. Visas are still issued by the relevant local embassy or consulate elsewhere in the world.
To extend a tourist visa in India is no longer possible. But exceptions in special cases like serious illness can be considered. Many travelers wishing to spend more time in India go to neighboring country such as Nepal to apply for a new one when their old visa expires though it is still not guaranteed that a new one will be issued immediately as you are not allowed to spend more than six months within one year.