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India

If you’re travelling to India, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution.

We advise against all travel to rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir other than Ladakh; all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than at Wagah; and all travel in Manipur. We advise against all but essential travel to Srinagar and Imphal.

Latest Travel Alerts

Flooding

Chennai is currently experiencing severe flooding that is causing serious disruption to services in the region. Irish citizens are advised to consider any travel plans to the area at this time, and any Irish citizens currently in Chennai and experiencing difficulties can make contact with the Irish Embassy in New Delhi.

Swine Flu

There has been a number of cases of Swine flu (H1N1) in India. You should consult your doctor before travelling for their advice, particularly on vaccinations that may be available.

E-Tourist Visa

Irish citizens are now eligible to apply online for an e-Tourist visa before they travel to India, subject to certain conditions. For more information, please visithttps://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravel for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Unrest

We advise against all travel to rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir other than Ladakh and all but essential travel to Srinagar. There’s a high level of conflict and terrorist violence in the region and a high risk of unpredictable violence, including bombings, grenade attacks, shootings and kidnapping.

We also advise against all but essential travel to Imphal and against all travel in the rest of Manipur and Tripura. Lawlessness and violence are serious risks in the north-eastern part of the country, including in Assam, where risks are further increased by the ongoing campaign of violence by ULFA militants.

A number of regions of central and southern India are vulnerable to violence from the extreme left-wing Naxalite militants who are active in some rural areas. Visitors should be vigilant at all times against the threat of criminality and terrorism.

Terrorism

The threat from terrorism in India is high. Prominent government buildings, public transport, places of worship and commercial and public areas are all potential targets for terrorist attack. 

We advise you to be extremely careful and be aware of your surroundings. Stay vigilant, particularly in busy public places such as shopping malls, markets and on public transport. Avoid any demonstrations that may occur and monitor the media and other local information sources for information about possible new safety or security risks.

In the aftermath of the Mumbai explosions on 13 July 2011, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore are all on high alert and security has been increased. Tourist areas such as Old Delhi and other crowded areas frequented by foreigners could be seen as targets. 

Security forces in India consider the threat of terrorist incidents is heightened around major national festivals such as Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and other major festival occasions.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in India but you should take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Be cautious when using a travel agent in India, use one that is recommended by your guidebook or a reliable hotel. Irish citizens have been the victims of travel agent scams in India.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in India, report it to the local police immediately. You will need to file an FIR (first incident report) and the police must register the crime. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in New Delhi if you need help.

Personal safety

Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night. While using the metro, women travellers should use the women’s only carriage. This is clearly marked on the platform of each station. If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Avoid hailing taxis or auto-rickshaws on the street. Meru Cabs and Mega Cabs are widely available in cities in India. They can be booked online or over the phone. Uber and UberX are now available in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Women travellers

Women should use caution when travelling in India. Recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are at risk. Tourists have been the victims of sexual assault in Agra, Goa, Delhi, Bangalore, Madyha Pradesh, Kolkata and Rajasthan. Women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men. This may include being photographed.

Women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India. The cultural norms in India are very different to Ireland. In India, it is unusual for women to travel independently. In the evening or at night time women should be particularly cautious. Women should consider travelling in a group in India.

If you are a woman travelling in India you should respect local dress codes and customs and avoid isolated areas, including beaches, when alone at any time of day. Women travellers should be particularly careful when selecting their accommodation and consider sharing a room where possible. Women should be cautious about sharing information such as their room number or address with people who they do not know very well.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in India, you should be extremely careful. Driving on Indian roads can be hazardous, particularly at night in rural areas. Inadequately lit buses and lorries, poor driving and badly maintained vehicles are the main causes of accidents.

If you want to drive, bring your international driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

In India, it is more common to hire a car and driver than to drive yourself.

Trekking

If you are trekking in high altitudes, make sure your insurance policy covers you for altitudes over 2,400 metres. You should also be aware that there are no commercial mountain rescue services capable of operating at altitudes above 3,000 metres.

There are also parts of the border areas where only the Indian Air Force is permitted to carry out air rescues. They are under no obligation to perform air rescues and have limited resources available to do so.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.  The slow judicial process means that lengthy pre-trial detention, usually of several years, is the norm.

Buying property

We advise you to get legal advice before investing in property or businesses in India. There are often strict rules preventing the purchase of property by non-Indian nationals (for example in Goa). If the purchase is judged to violate local laws (for example, if you purchase whilst in India on a tourist visa), you’re likely to lose all the money you have put in to the purchase, and could even face prosecution.

LGBT

Homosexuality is illegal in India. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Natural disasters and climate

Climate

India is a vast and diverse country. Travel in certain parts can be problematic because of specific local conditions, so trips should be thoroughly planned and researched.

Parts of India are prone to extreme adverse weather, geological conditions and natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, cyclones and earthquakes. Parts of southern India were severely affected by the South Asian tsunami of December 2004. June 2013, the State of Uttarakhand was hit by severe flooding due to monsoon rains. 

Flooding

Chennai is currently experiencing severe flooding that is causing serious disruption to transport and other services in the region. Irish citizens are advised to consider any travel plans to the area at this time, and any Irish citizens currently in Chennai and experiencing difficulties can make contact with the Irish Embassy in New Delhi.

Additional information

Visas

Irish citizens require a visa to travel to India. If you arrive in India without a visa, you will be refused entry. If you over-stay your visa, you will be fined and may be prosecuted or detained and later deported. If you lose your passport, you will have to obtain an exit visa before you can leave India.

Irish citizens travelling to India as tourists are now eligible to apply online for an e-Tourist visa before they go, subject to certain conditions. For more information, please visit https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

The Indian government has relaxed the rules on re-entering the country while on a tourist visa. The previous rule of no re-entry on the same visa for 2 months after leaving India no longer applies to foreign nationals coming to India except for small number of countries. Travellers should ensure that they have a multiple entry visa if they wish to visit other countries during their time in India. The standard tourist visa is for one entry only.

If you are transiting through India, you may need a transit visa if you must collect your baggage to transfer it to another airline. Baggage collection areas in Indian airports are normally after clearing immigration. Check this in advance with the Indian Embassy where you are located.

People travelling to India to commission a surrogacy must travel on a medical visa and satisfy the Indian Government’s requirements.

If you are unsure of what the entry requirements for India are, including visa details and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the Visa Section of the Embassy of India in Dublin.

Passport

Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months.

Registration

If you’re arriving in India on a long-term multiple entry visa, you must register with the nearest Foreign Regional Registration Officer within 14 days of your arrival. If you do not register, you may not be allowed to exit India.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for India. If you are travelling from a country with a risk of yellow fever or polio, you must have proof of vaccination or you will not be allowed to enter India. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Mosquito-borne diseases

There is malaria and dengue fever in India so avoid mosquito bites by covering up and using mosquito repellents. There are prescribed medications which you can take to prevent malaria. Speak to your doctor about this. There are no medications which you can take to prevent Dengue fever. The only prevention is to avoid mosquito bites. 

Medical facilities

The availability of healthcare facilities in India is inconsistent, particularly in rural areas. Check with your travel insurance before you travel to see what hospitals they recommend.

Swine Flu

There has been a number of cases of Swine flu (H1N1) in India. You should consult your doctor before travelling for their advice, particularly on vaccinations that may be available.

Surrogacy

The Department of Justice and Equality have issued guidelines on obtaining Irish citizenship for children born of surrogacy arrangements. The guidelines can be accessed here.

This is the only guidance that can be given to people considering surrogacy.

Any Irish citizen who is considering entering into a surrogacy arrangement in India should be aware that the Government of India has announced, by way of circular issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 4 November, brought to the attention of the Irish Embassy in New Delhi on 18 November, that it will no longer support commercial surrogacy.

Amongst other things, the Indian Government, by way of a Ministry of Home Affairs circular dated 3 November, has instructed its Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates abroad not issue visas to allow foreign nationals to visit India for commissioning surrogacy and announced that it will not issue exit visas to children born from any new surrogacy arrangements. However, for children born or to be born through surrogacy already commissioned on or before issue of this circular, exit permissions will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Visas issued to foreign nationals from the date of the issue of the circular may be cancelled and the applicants may be informed of the position immediately.

Where action may have been initiated by clinics or other clinical establishments prior to the issue of the 4 November circular, such cases may be allowed to complete processes already started to avoid medical complications, subject to the permission of the health authorities to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Any Irish citizen who has had a visa issued recently or has been dealing with a clinic and has queries about their situation should immediately contact the Indian Embassy, their clinic and/or seek local legal advice.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will seek further information from the Indian authorities and this notice will be updated accordingly as further information becomes available.