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.
- Safety and security
- Local laws and customs
- Natural disasters and climate
- Additional information
If you’re planning a trip to India, we advise you to exercise caution.
Latest Travel Alerts
There will be heightened security arrangements in the lead up to Republic Day on Monday, 26 January 2015. Check with your travel agent and monitor local media to check road closures, diversions or tourism sites which may be closed.
Irish citizens must apply for a visa at their local Indian Embassy before they travel. Irish citizens are not eligible for the Tourist Visa on arrival scheme.
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. Read more in the Safety and security section of this page.
Register with us
If you’re visiting or planning to stay in India, you should register your details with us so we can find you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you’re abroad. And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family.
We suggest you learn as much as you can about India before your trip.
We also recommend reading our Know Before You Go travel guide for practical tips on travelling abroad.
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.
Contact the Embassy
If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in New Delhi on +91(11)49403200.
If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:
- Your name
- The nature of your problem
- Where you are now
- Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)
We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you. If you have a very urgent problem, please call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin on +353(1)4780822.
How we can help you
We have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance we can offer you.
Safety and security
Safety and security
- Read our Know Before You Go travel guide for useful security tips when travelling abroad
- Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns
- Take common-sense precautions about safety and security
- Know who to contact in case of an emergency
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.
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 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.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
- 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.
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.
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 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 included 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.
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
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Be aware of India’s traffic laws, such as speed limits
- Wear your seatbelts at all times
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
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.
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
Local laws and customs
- Read our travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive
- 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 even illegal
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.
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.
Homosexuality is illegal in India. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters and climate
- If you’re travelling to India, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared
- Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions
- Co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents
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.
Travellers should be alert to the risks of flash flooding and landslides particularly in mountainous areas. The risk increases during the monsoon season. More than 100 people were killed and many more injured in flash floods and landslides in the mountainous Leh region in August 2010. Foreign tourists on trekking holidays were among the fatalities.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
Irish citizens must apply for a visa at their local Indian Embassy. They are not eligible for the Tourist Visa on arrival scheme.
Irish citizens need a visa before travelling 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.
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.
Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Irish citizens should be aware that there is no legislation covering surrogacy in India. In 2005, the Indian Council of Medical Research issued guidelines on surrogacy arrangements but these are not legally binding.
Irish citizens who are considering surrogacy should obtain independent legal advice in Ireland and in India. Applicants should be aware that as surrogacy is unregulated in India, there have been cases where the child born of the arrangement does not have a genetic link to the commissioning parents. Irish citizens should be aware that children born of surrogacy are not normally covered under health insurance policies. Commissioning parents may face unplanned medical expenses if the child is premature or born with medical problems. Treatment options for children in India are very good but can be expensive.
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.
If the genetic father is an Irish citizen who was not born on the island Ireland, any child born of surrogacy will first have to make an application for Foreign Births Registration. More information is available here. This can significantly increase the amount of time an application will take to process.
From 1 November 2014, DNA testing can only be facilitated by the Embassy in New Delhi. Honorary Consulates in India cannot facilitate DNA testing or process applications for emergency travel documents for children born of surrogacy. It is possible to travel by air in India with newborn babies using their birth certificates and the parent’s passports however this should be checked with the airline at the time of booking. If child is very premature, they may not be allowed to travel by air. This will add to the time it takes to process an application.
Irish citizens should be aware the Government of India have specific visa rules for persons who wish to travel to India for the purposes of carrying out surrogacy. Further information on this can be obtained from the Embassy of India in Dublin. If you require a letter in support of your visa application, please contact us.
Irish citizens should be aware the processing these applications are complex. It may take up to 4 weeks to process a straightforward case. It is not possible to expedite these cases, even if the child requires medical treatment. Irish citizens should ensure that they have adequate resources and support to remain in India while the application is processed.
Consular service fees may be applicable. Full information on consular service fees can be found here. This is in addition to the travel document fees.