India visa, passport & money advice

Finding the right information about all the logistical parts of travelling to India can prove to be quite tricky. Luckily, we’ve put together all the useful facts you’ll need when booking your trip to make your holiday as stress-free as possible. When you book your India holiday with us our India travel specialists will offer you advice about the application procedure. India’s tourist visa process can be a little tricky and is prone to changes.


Apply for a Tourist Visa

You’ll need to arrange your visa to India before you travel, and it must be done in person at a visa centre:

You have to apply in person for an old-fashioned paper visa at VFS centres in London, Birmingham or Edinburgh (https://services.vfsglobal.com/gbr/en/ind/apply-visa ). You have to make an appointment online through the link, and it should take 10-15 days for the Indian High Commission to process visas, but further delays could happen. The visas are single-entry ones, valid for 30 days, and have to be used within 120 days from the date of issue (https://www.hcilondon.gov.in/page/latest-advisory-on-tourist-visa/).

Longer length or multiple entry visas for India

If you’re entering the country at any other airport or land checkpoint that hasn’t been mentioned on the e-TV website, you’ll need to apply for your tourist visa in person by scheduling an appointment to visit an Application Centre in the UK. Or you can apply by post. For more information on applying, you can visit the India Visa Information website.

Please note: Due to the very changeable nature of visa rules in India, we recommend seeking further information about how to apply for India tourist visas on the Indian High Commission website.

Local currency

The Indian currency is the rupee and as it can’t be imported or exported, you won’t be able to pre-purchase it in the UK. Instead you’ll need to get them when you arrive. Currency can only be changed at banks or authorised money changers in India, including hotels. Both US dollar and GB sterling travellers’ cheques can be exchanged, and we suggest obtaining low denominations for small purchases and tips. Don’t accept any torn banknotes if you’re given them as change, as most places won’t accept them as payment. This applies to rupees (INR or Rs), euros or GBP notes. You should be able to exchange any damaged Rs notes in banks.

Credit and debit cards

ATMs are plentiful in India towns and cities and they accept most international bank cards. But you’re unlikely to come across many cash machines in more rural areas so it’s worth taking some extra cash with you if you’re heading to the countryside.

Tips and haggling

We’d recommend tipping for good service when travelling in India. This is generally expected, but how much you tip is totally up to you. You should tip in rupees and we’d recommend 200-800 Rs per couple per day for a day tour with a guide, or 200-500 Rs for a local driver. A 10% tip is the norm in restaurants and hotels when no service charge is added to the bill.

Obviously this is very much a rough guide and you are completely free to give whatever you feel is appropriate.


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