Women should use caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women and young girls are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. British women have been the victims of sexual assault in Goa, Delhi, Bangalore and Rajasthan and women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men. Serious sexual attacks involving Polish, German and Danish women travellers were reported in 2014. In January 2015, a Japanese woman was kidnapped and sexually assaulted close to Bodh Gaya and a Russian woman was seriously assaulted by an auto-rickshaw driver in the Vasant Kunj area of New Delhi. In July 2016 an Israeli national was sexually assaulted by a number of men while travelling in Manali. Women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India even if travelling in a group.
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. See these travel tips for women travellers.
Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night. If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and exercise caution when using pre-paid taxis at airports as there have been instances of British tourists becoming the victims of a scam by taxi drivers and others who offer cheap transportation and/or hotels, unwanted tours and extended taxi rides. Travellers who accept these offers have reported being threatened with violence when they have declined to pay.
Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. If you’re being collected at the airport by a hotel driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off. If you book a taxi online, there’s a facility whereby you can let your friends/families know the details of your journey in case of an emergency. You can send your details to pre-selected contacts who can then pinpoint your exact location. If you’re the victim of abuse call 100 for police assistance or 1091 or 1096 if you’re the victim of sexual harassment.
If you are the victim of a sex crime see Rape and Sexual Assault Abroad.
Take care of your passport and bank cards, particularly when travelling by bus and train. Do not leave your luggage unattended on trains at all. There has been an increase in handbag snatching in Delhi.
Keep a photocopy of your passport, Indian visa and flight ticket separately from the originals when travelling. If your passport is lost or stolen notify the police immediately and obtain a police report.
Be wary of confidence tricksters, particularly in Goa, Agra and Jaipur, who promise large amounts of cash for delivery of jewellery abroad in return for an initial deposit. The jewellery is worthless and the deposit, often amounting to thousands of pounds, is lost.
The FCO advise against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir with the exception of (i) travel within the city Jammu, (ii) travel by air to the city of Jammu, (iii) travel within the region of Ladakh. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the city of Srinagar and travel between the cities of Jammu and Srinagar on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The tourist destinations of Phalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg fall within the areas to which the FCO advise against all travel.
On 3 October 2016, the Jammu and Kashmir government confirmed foreign nationals travelling to the Nubra valley in Leh no longer require a protected area permit to visit the area.
In the early hours of 18 September 2016, an Indian army base in Uri, close to the Line of Control in Indian-administered Kashmir was attacked by terrorists. You should remain vigilant and monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities and your travel company.
Since the death of Hizbul Mujahadeen commander Burhan Wani on 8 July, there have been widespread violent protests in the Kashmir Valley which have resulted in a number of deaths and serious casualties. As a result, curfews are imposed and lifted on an almost daily basis.
Foreigners remain vulnerable in rural districts and outside the main population centres and tourist areas. There is a risk of unpredictable violence, including bombings, grenade attacks, shootings and kidnapping. The long-standing policy of the British Government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The level of consular assistance that the British High Commission can provide in Jammu & Kashmir is extremely limited.
In July 2012, there was a grenade attack on a minibus carrying tourists at Bijbehara. Three people were killed, including 2 British nationals, and four were injured.
The FCO advise against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan other than travel across the international border at Wagah. Rocket attacks launched from Pakistani territory landed near Attari, on the Indian side, in 2009. On 2 November 2014, an attack caused multiple fatalities on the Pakistan side of the Wagah border crossing after the flag lowering ceremony.
The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has warned of the possibility of violence or terrorist attacks in Punjab in the run up to state elections on 4 February 2017. Exercise extra caution, monitor local media and/or seek local advice before travelling.
The border between India and Pakistan in Rajasthan is unmarked in some areas. Approaching the border away from an official crossing point could be dangerous, and where unmarked could lead to a visitor straying into Pakistan.
Never trek alone. Trekkers should travel in groups and engage local guides. Leave a message at your accommodation about where you are going and when you expect to return. It is extremely unlikely to get any phone signal in the mountains so please register your whereabouts using the online C form. The following hazards exist throughout the year, especially above 3000m: sudden weather changes, avalanches and snow drifts, landslides and flooding, rock falls and thunderstorms. For the more intrepid climbers you will need special permits.
There are no commercial mountain rescue services operating above 3,000 metres. In some border areas only the Indian Air Force is permitted to carry out air rescues. However, they are under no obligation to perform air rescues; have limited resources to do so and can only get clearance to carry out rescues during working hours. Make sure your insurance policy covers you for altitudes over 2,400 metres and mountain rescue and helicopter costs.
The FCO advise against all travel to Manipur and against all but essential travel to Imphal, the state capital of Manipur. If you plan to travel to Imphal then do so only by air after checking the latest security conditions. There is a risk from insurgent groups, mainly in rural areas. Although foreigners have not been targeted, attacks can be indiscriminate.
On 18 December 2016 widespread violence erupted in and around Manipur’s capital Imphal as protesters burnt public and private vehicles. A curfew was imposed in some parts of Manipur but was later lifted.
On 8 July 2015, following clashes between the police and students a curfew was imposed in greater Imphal (east and west). The curfew was lifted on 4 August 2015. One person was reported dead and 30 injured in the clashes.
On 4 June 2015, there was an attack on an army convoy in the Chandel district of Manipur. Eighteen soldiers were killed in the attack. The NSCN-K terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Although the overall security situation in the north-east of India is improving, some areas within the north-eastern states, especially in Manipur and Assam, still experience sudden and random outbreaks of violence. There have been several incidents of violence in Assam including a shooting in Kokrajhar on 5 August 2016 resulting in 14 deaths, and grenade explosions in Lakhimpur, Karbi Anglong and Guwahati. Review your security arrangements carefully, seek advice from the local authorities and avoid large crowds.
Violent Maoist extremist groups (Naxalites) are active in the rural areas of Chhattisgarh, Jharkand, Odisha, along the border with Andra Pradesh and in remote parts of Bihar and West Bengal. There is a risk of violent crime in the rural areas of Bihar and Jharkhand. There have been skirmishes on the India/Bangladesh border. The Odisha government has imposed severe restrictions on the movement of tourists, especially foreign tourists, inside certain rural areas. Follow the advice of the local authorities if you plan to visit the rural areas of these states as it could potentially cause major disruption to your travel plans.
Indian government permits are required for travel to Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. You should apply well in advance (at least 3 months). In India, you should apply at the liaison office of the state for which you require a permit or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office. Permits for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands can be issued on arrival in Port Blair but this is not the case for the other states. Permit regulations can change at any time. Contact the respective state liaison office or the Bureau of Immigration – India for the latest guidance.
The FCO advise against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, except for travel across the international border at Wagah.
The India/Pakistan border in Gujarat is unmarked in some areas. Approaching it away from an official crossing point could be dangerous and where unmarked could lead to you straying into Pakistan illegally. There continues to be some inter communal tension in Gujarat which can lead to isolated incidents of violence.
If you’re travelling into Mumbai International Airport (known formally as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport) and transiting between International Terminal 2 and the Domestic Terminal 1A and 1B, you should be aware that the shuttle service between them can be inconsistent. You should allow sufficient time for any transit between flights. At any of these terminals please be alert to unofficial taxi drivers who may charge high fares. Official pre-paid taxi services are available and many hotels offer airport transfer facilities.
If you’re staying in a hotel on the smaller roads in the Candolim-Calangute belt, take particular care when walking to or from the main road. There have been reports of bag-snatchings on these roads. The thieves are usually on motorbikes, with headlights on full-beam to blind their victims.
There have been reports of drinks being spiked and travellers, including British nationals, subsequently being robbed, sexually assaulted or dying. There have also been reports of locals posing as police officers or government officials in order to extort money, so be alert if approached. Avoid beaches after dark. Travellers should observe and respect local dress and customs.
You should follow warnings posted at beaches and instructions issued by lifeguards. Every year several people drown due to the strong currents in the sea. Emergency service standards may differ from those in the UK.
Road traffic accidents are common and many fatal accidents occur each year. Wear a good quality helmet if renting a motorcycle or scooter.
The possession or consumption of drugs is illegal and conviction for either offence may lead to a very long prison sentence. A number of British nationals in Goa die each year due to drug or alcohol abuse.
Car and motorbike accidents are one of the biggest causes of injury and death overseas. Several British nationals die each year on Indian roads. If possible, avoid travelling at night. Always travel in a well-maintained vehicle with seatbelts. If you travel by motorbike, wear a helmet and proper footwear.
Tourist boats and other small crafts rarely carry life-saving equipment.
Although piracy has not so far affected India’s territorial waters, it poses a significant threat in parts of the Indian Ocean, especially for shipping/mariners that don’t take appropriate precautions or follow agreed shipping industry best practice guidelines. Mariners should be vigilant.
There are strong currents off many coasts. Most beaches don’t have warning signs, flags or life-saving equipment. Drownings are common.
Don’t accept food or drinks from strangers. There have been reports of travellers being drugged and robbed on trains often on overnight journeys. Take particular care of your passport and valuables when boarding and while on the train. Avoid individuals at railway stations offering tickets and tours.
In December 2014 SpiceJet, India’s fourth biggest airline, cancelled over 400 flights and grounded their planes. Although SpiceJet have resumed operations there may be further disruptions and cancellations. Check the SpiceJet website for updates.
Political rallies and demonstrations occur frequently throughout the country and can turn violent, particularly around elections. Transport and public services may be disrupted at short notice.
Elections are scheduled for Goa (4 February), Punjab (4 February), Uttarakhand (15 February), Manipur (4 & 8 March), and Uttar Pradesh (11, 15, 19, 23, 27 February & 4, 8 March).
Since June 2016, Delhi police have placed a ban on large gatherings in southwest, northwest and southeast Delhi. If you’re travelling in or through these areas you should remain vigilant, avoid protests, demonstrations or large gatherings, monitor the local media and follow the advice of the local authorities and your travel company.
There is a high threat from terrorism. Terrorist attacks are carried out by a number of terrorist and insurgent groups including Lashkar-e Tayyiba, Jaish-e Mohammed and the Indian Mujahideen.
While the main focus of terrorist attacks has been against Indian government interests, terrorists have also targeted places visited by westerners including public places like restaurants, hotels, railway stations, markets, places of worship, festivals and sporting venues. Be vigilant, especially in public places. Always monitor local media before planning your travel for any local travel warnings. If you see unattended baggage, report it promptly. Security has been strengthened, notably at major hotels and transport hubs (airports, railway and metro stations). Take particular care in the lead up to and on days of national significance, like Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August), Diwali (19 October 2017) and Eid (26 June 2017).
In some areas terrorist incidents are frequent, especially Jammu and Kashmir (excluding Ladakh) and less frequently in parts of the north east.
On 7 March 2017 an explosion on a passenger train travelling between Bhopal and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh injured a number of passengers.
On 27 July 2015, terrorists attacked a police station in Dinanagar in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab causing several fatalities.
On 2 November 2014, there was an explosion that caused multiple fatalities on the Pakistan side of the Wagah border crossing after the flag lowering ceremony.
On 2 May 2014, alleged militants shot civilians in two separate incidents in Kokrajhar, Assam. Eleven civilians are reported to have been killed. There are no reports of foreigners being involved.
On 1 May 2014, there were 2 explosions at Chennai central railway station. No foreigners are reported to have been involved.
On 12 April 2014, Maoist rebels carried out 2 separate attacks in the state of Chhattisgarh. Seven election officials and 5 policemen were killed in the attacks. No foreigners are reported to have been involved.
On 11 March 2014, a Police patrol was ambushed by Maoist rebels in the Tongpal area of Sukma in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. 16 policemen were killed and 25 injured in the attack. No foreigners were involved.
In November 2008 terrorists attacked a number of sites in Mumbai, including luxury hotels, a railway station and a restaurant. Over 160 people were killed and more than 300 were injured. British nationals were among the casualties.
A number of insurgent groups are active in Assam and there are random incidents of violence and killings. Violent extremist groups are also active in the rural areas of Jharkand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and in parts of Bihar and West Bengal.
On 27 October 2013 multiple bomb explosions in Patna killed 6 people and injured at least 80. No British nationals are reported to have been involved.
On 28 December 2014 there was a blast in central Bangalore Church Street which killed one person and injured another. No British nationals are reported to have been involved.
Two Italian tourists were abducted by a group of Maoists from the Daringbadi area of Kandhamal district in Orissa on 14 March 2012. They were subsequently released after prolonged negotiations. Foreign visitors had not previously been targeted by Maoists. The Odisha government has recently imposed severe restrictions on the movement of tourists, especially foreign tourists, inside areas inhabited by tribes-people.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.
Drugs are illegal in India. There is a minimum sentence of 6 months for possession of small amounts deemed for personal consumption only. A 10-year sentence for possession of other amounts applies. The judicial process is slow and pre-trial detention lasting several years is normal.
It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a licence. India has a strong legal framework to regulate and restrict wildlife trade and is also a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). If you’re caught purchasing or trafficking such goods illegally, you will be prosecuted and receive prison sentences or fines.
The laws governing alcohol vary from state to state. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Manipur, Nagaland and the union territory of Lakshadweep. Consumption or possession of alcohol in prohibited states can lead to arrest without bail and charges which carry a sentence of 5 to 10 years. In some states foreign nationals and non-resident Indians are able to buy 30-day alcohol permits. Seek advice from your local travel agent/hotel or the authorities to ensure you’re aware of any alcohol prohibition in the state.
During major religious festivals, national holidays and elections a ban on the sale of alcohol is often imposed.
Indian customs has strict rules about goods and currency that can be brought into and taken out of the country. Failure to declare contents you’re carrying which may be prohibited or subject to a tax or duty payment can lead to heavy penalties including imprisonment.
You can find more information about the list of items and rules and regulations on the Indian Customs website.
On 11 December 2013, the Indian Supreme Court set aside a 2009 ruling of the Delhi High Court that decriminalised homosexuality. Although prosecutions of gay people are rare, conviction for engaging in a homosexual act could lead to a prison sentence. See our advice page for LGBT travellers.
British nationals have been arrested for bringing satellite phones into India without prior permission from the Indian authorities. More information on the use of satellite phones can be found on the Department of Telecommunications’ website.
You may need prior permission from the Indian authorities to bring equipment like listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars into India. Seek advice from the Indian High Commission in London.
There may be very serious penalties for breaking a law which might seem trivial to you, or for doing something which may not be illegal in the UK. Hobbies involving cameras and binoculars, like bird-watching or plane spotting, may be misunderstood particularly near military sites, government buildings, airports and railway stations.
The penalties for paedophile offences are severe.
Indian family law is very different from UK law and particular caution is needed when, for example, child custody becomes an issue.
On 30 November 2016, India’s supreme court ruled that the national anthem must be played in every cinema before a film is screened. Audiences are expected to stand when the anthem is played.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
You’ll need to get a visa before travelling to India. You can find further information about how to apply on the Indian High Commission website.
Holders of passports endorsed ‘British citizen’ who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for a single entry e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) to enter India at certain designated airports. You can find more information about the eligibility criteria on the government of India’s e-Tourist Visa website. Beware of fake websites offering the e-TV service.
You should check carefully whether or not you’re eligible for an e-TV before you apply. British subject, British protected person, British overseas citizen, British national (overseas) and British overseas territories citizen passport holders aren’t eligible to apply for an e-TV.
India’s Bureau of Immigration has announced that with immediate effect, foreign nationals who arrive at an Indian port holding non-machine readable passports will be denied entry. Carriers who transport non-Indian passengers holding non-machine readable passports may be subject to a fine.
Make sure you get the right visa for your travel. In 2009, a large number of foreign nationals living in India were found to be employed on business visas instead of employment visas. Business visas can’t be extended while in India.
To transit through India you will need a transit visa.
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 in case of nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins and stateless persons. This doesn’t apply to e-Tourist Visas, which can only be used for a single entry into India.
Foreign nationals arriving in India on long term multiple entry visas must register with the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Officer within 14 days of arrival.
If you overstay your visa you must report in person to the FRRO or Superintendant of Police you registered with to get permission to exit the country. You will be fined and may be prosecuted or detained and later deported. If you have overstayed your visa but did not need to register you must report to the nearest FRRO or Senior Superintendant of Police. See the Indian Immigration Bureau website for more information.
All applicants of Pakistani origin who hold dual British-Pakistan nationality must apply for an Indian visa on their Pakistan passport. Those who have either renounced Pakistani nationality or cancelled their Pakistani passport would need to submit documentary proof of this.
Processing time for visa applications received from persons of Pakistani origin will be 7-8 weeks or more.
Processing time for applications from those holding dual British-Pakistan nationality will be substantially longer.
For further details see the Indian High Commission website.
Your passport must be machine readable, with 2 blank pages for your visa and valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of your visa application.
The guidelines regarding passport validity on arrival in India are unclear. To avoid possible problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.
User Development Fees (UDF) apply at many airports. The fees are around Rs. 1,000 per international passenger and Rs.150 to 260 per domestic passenger. This should already be included in the cost of airline tickets. If for any reason the fee is not included in your ticket it will be collected at the airport check-in counter in Indian rupees.
If you travel to India from Pakistan, Israel, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Afghanistan or Somalia you may be required to hold a valid polio vaccination certificate. Contact your nearest Indian Embassy or High Commission for further information.
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
You can take medicines into India as long as you carry the prescription with you. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances are prohibited. For further information, contact the High Commission of India in London.
UK ETDs are valid for entry to or exit from India with the relevant Indian visa. They are also valid for airside transit. However, a holder of an ETD will not be able to both enter and exit India using the same ETD.
In March 2016, the Government of India announced that OCI card holders will no longer need a visa to enter India. The ‘U’ visa sticker that was placed in the foreign passport of OCI card holders has been discontinued with immediate effect and you’ll no longer need to show this sticker to the immigration authorities when you enter and leave India. You’ll only need to present a valid passport and your OCI card. For more information, visit the website of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs.
Travel in rural areas during the monsoon season can be hazardous. Monsoon rains cause flooding and landslides that can cut off some towns and villages for days. Check access routes before setting off and take extra care.
Cyclones and tropical storms are common, particularly off the east coast of India. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Indian Meteorological Department and follow the advice of local authorities and tour operators. See our Tropical cyclones page for advice on what to do if you are caught up in a storm.
Several parts of India lie on highly active fault zones. Three areas are considered high-risk: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Earth tremors are common in these regions and can cause landslides in hilly and mountainous areas. Limited emergency response vehicles, equipment, and medical facilities could increase the impact that an earthquake could have in these areas. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
If you’re travelling to India for organ transplant surgery, check in advance with the hospital to find out what proof they require of your circumstances in the UK. You may need to submit evidence of your marriage and birth of your children before the operation can take place. You can get copies of marriage and birth certificates from the General Register Office in the UK. You may wish to consider having them legalised by the FCO Legalisation office before travelling. The British High Commission can’t provide guarantees and certificates on your behalf.
Local medical facilities are not comparable to those in the UK, especially in more remote areas. In major cities private medical care is available, but expensive. A list of the most commonly used hospitals can be found on the British High Commission website.
Severe air pollution is a major hazard to public health in Delhi, and a serious concern in many Indian cities. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. You can follow further advice at the WHO website
Mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue Fever occur all year round. There’s been an increase in the number of cases of dengue fever, including in New Delhi.
Cases of Chikungunya Virus have been confirmed in India, including in New Delhi. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
There has been a reported increase in the number of cases of seasonal flu in 2015 - including H1N1 (swine flu). For information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and consult your GP before travel.
For psychiatric illness, specialised treatment may not be available outside major cities.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 102 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.