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Sharell Cook

Where to Best Renew Your Indian Visa? Nepal, Thailand or Sri Lanka?

By December 3, 2009

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Indian visa.
Indian Visa.
Sharell Cook

NOTE: Since the introduction of the new Indian visa rules, visa runs are no longer possible.

Tourist visas for India are generally issued for periods of three or six months, depending on nationality. Those wishing to remain in India for longer than this have, in the past, taken a quick trip to a neighboring country to renew their visa.

Nepal used to be a favorite for this purpose. I even went there myself a few years ago. It was a simple process to get a new six month tourist visa then. However, not anymore.

The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu recently became reluctant to issue Indian tourist visas of longer than three months. Last month, a friend of mine went there hoping to get a new Indian visa. She was unsuccessful and told me that the Embassy wasn't renewing tourist visas at all. She then tried her luck in Bangkok. Fortunately, she was readily granted the visa there.

From all accounts, Thailand is currently the most reliable place to go for an Indian visa run. The other option is Sri Lanka. However, getting back-to-back visas of longer durations can be tough there. Reports of only one or three month single entry visas being issued in Sri Lanka are common.

December 4, 2009 at 6:49 am
(1) Lala says:

I am in Thailand right now, after being denied a visa for INDIA. I was shocked. I had never heard of anyone having problems here.
I had a 6 month tourist visa from Uganda and another from Kathmandu. This would have been my 3rd 6 month tourist visa.
There is a new regulation (15 days old) which says you must stay in Thailand for 60 days if you are to receive a new Indian visa from here. I had to interview with the consular. He would not give me a 3 month visa even. He offered me 15 days to go and collect my things there.
I am a US passport holder.
I do not understand why India has become so stringent.

December 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm
(2) goindia says:

Thanks for the update. That is shocking. I’m so sorry to hear. My friend had no problems at all getting another visa (she’s Swedish), she just returned to India this week and certainly wasn’t in Thailand for 60 days. It sounds like it’s become really subjective. :-(

December 7, 2009 at 9:54 am
(3) Susan says:

I just went to the US Consulate in Chennai today to get extra passport pages, and when I informed them I was leaving next day to go to Sri Lanka to get India visa renewal they told me India Gov is automatically stamping old visa’s upon exit as do not renew for 2 months.

They said this is new (this week) and they do not know how long this will be in effect…this is very upsetting to those of us who need to stay in India…..

December 7, 2009 at 6:24 pm
(4) goindia says:

Hi Susan, my gosh, that’s extreme! Thanks for the heads up. I wonder why they’re doing this. Meanwhile there have been news reports of visas on arrival being granted in Goa for charter tourists, which is just absurd. Another case of Indian inconsistencies.

December 7, 2009 at 4:13 pm
(5) V. says:

What if you return to you country of origin to have it renewed, does that make a difference?

December 7, 2009 at 6:26 pm
(6) goindia says:

V, yes it makes a big difference. You’ll most likely get another visa if you return home. The problem is with people going for multiple visa runs to neighboring countries. I’m wondering about this new two month rule though. I’ll have to try and find out more information about it.

December 9, 2009 at 12:05 pm
(7) Nev says:

The 2 month rule is very, very recent and very, very unclear. You can read more about it on this raging thread:


Lodging numerous genuine complaints may make the govt reconsider this new rule.

December 9, 2009 at 5:29 pm
(8) goindia says:

Oh my, what a mess! Lots of interesting information on that thread, thanks Nev. It’s a highly recommended read. :-) Ah, India. The rule and the whole situation sound very subjective and confused, and not at all well thought out. Especially when the Indian authorities can’t even give a clear and consistent answer about how the rule is to be implemented.

The situation seems even more severe than what Susan mentioned, if they are in fact barring people with valid multiple entry tourist visas from re-entering India for two months. So even if you have a valid multiple entry tourist visa and you leave India for a side trip, you can’t come back again for two months! The rule states that it applies to people with long term 5 and 10 year tourist visas, but officials are claiming it also applies to tourists on six month visas as well. Crazy! Let’s hope it gets sorted out asap.

December 12, 2009 at 7:38 am
(9) trina says:

was just denied a renewal/replacement visa to india because was told by the embassy i have to wait at least 1 month out of india, no matter where, before i can reapply to reenter india…..i was surprised as had already bought a plane ticket….not bright on my part

March 15, 2010 at 12:54 am
(10) annie koshy says:

i am a person of indian origin, living in india on a long term 5 year multiple entry visa to join my husband who is an indian citizen. i wondered if i had to leave the country after 180 days according to all the confusing report on the latest visa rules, so i made local enquiry but my local registration office have not received any directions yet, though i am registered with them. please could somebody tell me if you been told to leave the country after 180 days?.

March 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm
(11) goindia says:

Hi Annie, I am guessing you must have a 5 year multiple entry X Visa. (Check your visa and see if it has “XV” written on it). If this is the case, you won’t have to leave the country after 180 days but you MUST register yourself with the FRRO (Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office) and get a Resident’s Permit. The new tourist visa rules DO NOT apply to X Visas. :-)

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