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General information/Travel tips

» Official Name : Bharat (Hindi), Republic of India (English)
» Capital : New Delhi
» Population : 1, 027, 015, 247 (2001 Census)
» Area : 3.3 million square kilometers
» Languages : India has two Central administrative languages. They are English (associate official) and Hindi (in the Devanagiri script). The Indian Constitution also officially recognizes 22 regional languages.
» Major Religions : Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism
» National Currency : Rupee (One Rupee=100 paise)

Visa Formalities And Customs

Visa Formalities And Customs
A Visa gives permission to the person who wishes to stay in a country for a specific period of time to fulfill a specific motive. It is usually attached or stamped in the individual passport. All travellers to India (except citizens of India going Nepal and vice versa) must possess visas.

Tourist visas are normally available for a duration of three months to six months for multiple entries (important for side trips to Nepal and other countries). Other options include a one-year student visa, journalist visa or business visa, or five years visa for non-resident Indians. While applying for a visa one should make sure that the passport is valid for 6 months beyond the date of intended return journey.

If one applies for a visa through the Indian embassy in one's resident country then the process becomes much faster. An application form giving one's current passport with at least two passport size photographs is required. No cash or cheques are accepted.

Special Permits
Certain regions of India require a special permit in addition to an Indian visa. Permits are issued by Indian High Commissions and Embassy of India abroad, by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi, or by Foreigner's Registration Offices (FRRO's) in Indian cities.

These areas include Northeast India, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

Visitors are supposed to make an oral baggage declaration of the baggage and foreign currency in their possession. Besides these, they must get the Currency Declaration Form from the Customs department and fill in the Disembarkation Card handed over to them by the airlines during the course of the flight.

Custom Rules
At the airport check-in counters,two channels have been provided for the smooth passage of the tourists. One is green channel, meant for passengers not having any of the dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage. On the contrary, for passengers with dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage or high-value articles (to be entered on the Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form), the red channel is there at service.

Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form (TBRE)
The Dutiable articles, unaccompanied baggage, or high-value articles carried along with the passenger must be entered on a Tourist Baggage Re-Export Form (TBRE). These articles must be re-exported at the time of departure. A failure to re-export anything listed on the TBRE becomes a payable duty levied for each missing item.

Cash, bank notes, and travelers' cheques up to US $1,000 or equivalent need not be declared at the time of entry. If the amount exceeds the given limit then the passenger has to disclose in the Currency Declaration Form, the amount of foreign currency or travelers' cheques brought by him at the time of arrival. If done then there are no restrictions. This will not only enable him to exchange the currency brought in, but also to take the remaining currency way to home on departure. Any money in the form of travelers' cheques, drafts, bills, cheques, etc., in convertible currencies that tourists wish to convert into Indian currency should be exchanged only through authorized moneychangers and banks.

Custom Duties
The following duty-free possessions are permissible: clothes and jewelry, cameras and up to five rolls of film; binoculars, a portable musical instrument, a radio or portable tape recorder, a tent and camping equipment, fishing rod, a pair of skis, two tennis rackets, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 95 liters of liquor, and gifts not exceeding a value of Rs. 600 (about $20).

Things to Remember
Please jot down the correct declaration of your baggage. If your baggage is within free allowance limits, walk through the Green Channel.

Passengers caught red-handed with dutiable/prohibited goods in the Green Channel are liable to prosecution/penalty and confiscation of goods.