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Indian visas

As holiday destinations go, it is fair to say that India is probably among the more versatile options. Whether you're looking for a couple of weeks of luxury, or you're slumming it on the hostel circuit; whether you're aiming to hit the major landmarks, or desperate to sample a bustling street market, the Indian tourism experience is second to none.

And thanks to decades of UK immigration, India is also the perfect combination of exotic yet familiar - this means getting your hands on a visa is a fairly hassle-free task.

The good news is that, as a citizen of the UK, you're automatically eligible for an e-Tourist Visa (though make sure you read the small print first; UK nationals who live abroad might find the odd hurdle in their way). These can be applied for remotely, without the requirement to go to the Indian Embassy in person.

Happily, Indian visas are cheaper than most; as a British resident, you can get your hands on an eTV for a little over £40 - though this does not include any possible expense of posting documents, or having new passport photos printed (awarding bodies tend to be strict about this kind of thing, so it's usually a good idea to get some updated pictures in advance of your application).

The standard period of visitation offered in the e-Tourist package is 30 days, and permits one entry, which is more than enough for most purposes, but might be a little on the low side if you're planning on back-packing the length and breadth of what is a pretty enormous country. The good news India have, in recent years, done away with their policy of only allowing one entry per person every two months (though you do only get a maximum of two a year - so make them count).

Be advised this service strictly supports tourism trips and "casual business" visits. In other words, if you're looking to work in the country for a prolonged period, you'll have to make sure you get a designated work visa. Plenty of UK migrants have found themselves in hot water by attempting to work in India on a short-term business visa - so make sure you have an idea of how long you need to be in the country ahead of time (casual business visas cannot be extended from India).

An additional stipulation of the eTV is that you are only permitted to enter the country via one of the sixteen designated airports, which fortunately include some of the lesser known cities in the outer regions of the country, as well as major international destinations like Mumbai and Kolkata.

Aside from the above, all the usual stuff will apply: make sure you have filled out your application correctly, make sure your passport is in good condition, and make sure it is valid for at least 180 days from the date of your projected arrival.

Presuming everything is in order, your visa should be with you in a matter of days, with holidaymakers required to submit their documents only four days in advance of their arrival. This, of course, can also depend on the volume of applications, so it's probably best to get yours done with a few weeks to spare.

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