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CSI Country Catalog


Country Name: India
Official Country Name: Republic of India
Country Code 2-Letters: IN
Country Code 3-Letters: IND
Street: Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
Fact sheet: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3454.htm
  • International Travel
  • Child Abductions
  • Intercountry Adoptions
  • Consular Notification
  • U.S. Visas
  • Contact
  • Quick Facts
  • Embassies and Consulates
  • Destination Description
  • Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws & Special Circumstances
  • Health
  • Travel & Transportation
Embassy Name: U.S. Embassy New Delhi
Street Address: Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
Phone: +(91) (11) 2419-8000
Emergency Phone: +(91) (11) 2419-8000
Fax: +(91) (11) 2419-0017
Email: acsnd@state.gov
Web: https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/new-delhi/

Embassy Messages


Country Map

Quick Facts
Passport Validity:

Must be valid for six months beyond date of visa application to obtain a visa

Blank Passport Pages:

Two pages required

Tourist Visa Required:



Required for yellow fever if the traveler is arriving from an infected area; others are suggested

Currency Restrictions for Entry:

The possession of satellite phones is prohibited in India

Currency Restrictions for Exit:

Check local law for reporting requirements for exiting with large quantities of foreign currency and Indian rupees

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy New Delhi

Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
Telephone: +(91) (11) 2419-8000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(91) (11) 2419-8000
Fax: +(91) (11) 2419-0017

The U.S. Embassy, New Delhi serves American citizens in the Indian
states of Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir,
Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and the country of


U.S. Consulate General Mumbai (Bombay)
C-49, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex
Bandra East, Mumbai 400051
Telephone: +(91) (22) 2672-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(91) (22) 2672-4000 If you
are calling from within India, but outside Mumbai, first dial 022.
Fax: 91-(0)22-2672-4786

The Consulate General in Mumbai provides consular services for the
states of Goa, Gujarat, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Diu and Daman, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

U.S. Consulate General Kolkata (Calcutta)
5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani
Kolkata - 700 071,
West Bengal, India
Telephone: +(91) (33) 3984-2400
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(91) 99030 42956 or
+(91) (33) 3984-2400 then dial "0"
Fax: +(91) (33) 2282-2335

The United States Consulate General in Kolkata provides consular
services for the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Nagaland,
Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tripura
and Assam.

U.S. Consulate General Chennai (Madras)
220 Anna Salai at Gemini Circle
Chennai, India 600006
Telephone: +(91) (44) 2857-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: (0) 44-2857-4000. Ask for
American Citizen Services.(Within India, but outside Chennai, first
dial 044. From the United States, first dial 011-(91) (44) )
Fax: +(91) (044) 2811-2020

The Consulate General in Chennai provides consular services for the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and the Union Territories of
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Pondicherry and Lakshwadeep

U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad
Paigah Palace
1-8-323, Chiran Fort Lane
Begumpet, Secunderabad 500 003
Hyderabad, India
Telephone: +(91) (40) 4033-8300
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 4033-8300, and ask for
American Citizen Services.(If calling from within India, but outside Hyderabad, first dial 040. From the United States, first dial 011-(91) (40) .)
Fax: 4033-8306

The Consulate General in Hyderabad provides services to the U.S.
citizens in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on India for information on U.S.-India relations. 

Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements

All U.S. citizens need a valid passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose (also see Special Circumstances section below). Please ensure you have the correct type of visa for your planned activity in India.  If you have the incorrect visa you may be refused entry.  Many visitors, including those on official U.S. government business, must apply for visas at an Indian embassy or consulate abroad before entering the country.  

U.S. citizens seeking to enter India solely for tourist purposes, and who plan to stay no longer than 60 days, may apply for an electronic travel authorization at least four days prior to their arrival in lieu of applying for a tourist visa at an Indian embassy or consulate.  Please visit the Indian government's website for electronic travel authorization for additional information regarding the eligibilities and requirements for this type of visa.  Without the electronic travel authorization visas are not available upon arrival for U.S. citizens. If you do not have a valid passport and visa you may be denied admission. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in India cannot assist you if you arrive without proper documentation. Please carry photocopies of the bio-data page of your U.S. passport and the pages containing the Indian visa and Indian immigration stamps. If your passport is lost or stolen, copies will help you apply for a replacement passport and an exit visa from the Indian government. Replacing a lost visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.

U.S. citizens wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate. There are generally no provisions for changing your immigration category (e.g., from tourist to work visa) once you have entered the country. Indian visa regulations change frequently, often with little advance notice, and changes may be poorly advertised and inconsistently enforced. Travelers are urged to check the website of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. before any travel to India to review the most current information. Indian visas may be obtained in the United States through Cox & Kings Global Services, the Government of India’s visa contractor. Diplomatic and Official visa applications, however, are accepted directly at the Indian Embassy and Consulates. Please review the information on the Cox & Kings Global Services website to determine your purpose for travel and the most appropriate visa category. All U.S. government employees, including military personnel, must obtain country clearance for travel to India. Once you have received your visa, check it carefully to ensure that the type of visa and number of entries is appropriate for your travel plans.

U.S. citizens of Pakistani origin or descent are subject to administrative processing and should expect additional delays when applying for Indian visas.

Foreign citizens who visit India to study, do research, work, or act as missionaries, as well as all travelers and residents planning to stay more than 180 days, are required to register their visit or residency within 14 days of arrival with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) closest to where they will be staying in addition to having the appropriate visa when they enter India. The FRRO maintains offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru (Bangalore), Lucknow, Calicut, Goa, Cochin, Trivandrum, and Amritsar. District Superintendents of Police serve as Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) in all other places. We recommend all U.S. citizens review the entry requirements described on the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section on the Indian Bureau of Immigration website.

If you overstay your Indian visa, or otherwise violate Indian visa regulations, you may require clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs in order to leave the country. Generally you will be fined and, in some cases, may be jailed for months. Visa violators seeking an exit clearance are requested to schedule an online appointment at the Ministry of Home Affairs website before visiting the Visa Facilitation Center at The Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, NDCC-II Building, Sai Singh Road, New Delhi 110001 (tel. 91-11-2343-8037). Processing of an exit visa under these circumstances can take up to 90 days and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.  

For the most current information on entry and exit requirements, please contact the Embassy of India at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-9806 or the Indian Consulates in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, or Houston. Outside the United States, inquiries should be made at the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.

General information regarding Indian visa and immigration rules, including the addresses and telephone numbers for the FRRO offices, can be found at the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs Bureau of Immigration website.

HIV/AIDS RESTRICTIONS: There are no disclosure requirements or restrictions for HIV/AIDS patients who enter India on a tourist visa. Disclosure regarding HIV/AIDS is required of anyone seeking a resident permit in India. Foreign residents found to be suffering from HIV/AIDS will be deported. Please verify this information with the Embassy of India before you travel.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

U.S. citizens should always practice good personal security and situational awareness. Be aware of your surroundings (including local customs and etiquette) and keep a low profile. Monitor local news reports, vary your routes and times in carrying out daily activities, and consider the level of security present when you visit public places, including religious sites, and when choosing hotels, restaurants, and entertainment and recreation venues.

India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the U.S. government's list of foreign terrorist organizations, are active in India, including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba. The U.S. government occasionally receives information regarding possible terrorist attacks that could take place in India, monitors such information to determine credibility, and advises U.S. citizens accordingly.  Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive messages from the Embassy automatically.   

Past attacks have targeted public places, including some frequented by Westerners, such as luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas. Attacks have taken place during the busy evening hours in markets and other crowded places, but could occur at any time.  Alerts are usually more frequent around major holidays.  The Maoists (also known as “Naxalites”) are the most active insurgent group in India. The Naxalites typically attack Indian government officials, but have also derailed trains, targeted other government buildings such as police stations, and kidnapped foreigners.In eastern India’s Bihar state, 10 security personnel were killed and five injured in a Naxalite-triggered Improvised Explosive Device blast on July 18, 2016.  In the eastern state of Jharkhand, seven policemen were killed and eight others injured in a landmine blast by Naxalites on January 27, 2016.   

Beyond the threat from terrorism and insurgencies, demonstrations and general strikes, or “bandh,” often cause major inconvenience and unrest. These strikes can result in the stoppage of all transportation and tourist-related services, at times for 24 hours or more. U.S. citizens caught in such a strike may find they are unable to make flight and rail connections, as local transportation can be severely limited. Local media generally give an idea of the length and geographical location of the strike. Large religious gatherings that attract hundreds of thousands of people can result in dangerous and often life-threatening stampedes. Local demonstrations can begin spontaneously and escalate with little warning, disrupting transportation systems and city services and posing risks to travelers. In response to such events, Indian authorities occasionally impose curfews and/or restrict travel. You are urged to obey such curfews and travel restrictions and to avoid demonstrations and rallies as they have the potential for violence, especially immediately preceding and following political rallies, elections, and religious festivals (particularly when Hindu and Muslim festivals coincide). Tensions between castes and religious groups can also result in disruptions and violence. In some cases, demonstrators specifically block roads near popular tourist sites and disrupt train operations in order to gain the attention of Indian authorities; occasionally vehicles transporting tourists are attacked in these incidents. India generally goes on “High Alert” status prior to major holidays or events. You should monitor local television, print media, Mission India’s American Citizens Services Facebook page, and enroll with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program for further information about the current situation in areas where you will travel.

The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates General in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai will post information about routine demonstrations on the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulates General websites, under the heading “Demonstration Notices.” Please monitor our websites regularly for information about protest activities in the country. Please note that the Embassy and Consulates General will issue emergency/security messages for other purposes, as necessary.

Religious violence occasionally occurs in India, especially when tensions between different religious communities are purposefully exacerbated by groups pushing religiously chauvinistic agendas. There are active "anti-conversion" laws in some Indian states, and acts of conversion sometimes elicit violent reactions from Hindu extremists. Foreigners suspected of proselytizing Hindus have been attacked and killed in conservative, rural areas in India in the past. 

Swimming in India: You should exercise caution if you intend to swim in open waters along the Indian coastline, particularly during the monsoon season. Every year, several people in Goa, Mumbai, Puri (Odisha), off the Eastern Coast in the Bay of Bengal, and other areas drown due to strong undertows. It is important to heed warnings posted at beaches and to avoid swimming in the ocean during the monsoon season. Trained lifeguards are very rare along beaches.

If you visit the Andaman Islands, be aware that there have been reports of crocodile attacks in salt water resulting in fatalities.  Ask local residents about dangerous sea life before swimming and keep a safe distance from animals at all times.

Wildlife safaris: India offers opportunities for observation of wildlife in its natural habitat and many tour operators and lodges advertise structured, safe excursions into parks and other wildlife viewing areas for close observation of flora and fauna. However, safety standards and training vary, and it is a good idea to ascertain whether operators are trained and licensed. Even animals marketed as “tame” should be respected as wild and extremely dangerous. Keep a safe distance from animals at all times, remaining in vehicles or other protected enclosures when venturing into game parks.

Trekking in India: Trekking expeditions should be limited to routes identified for this purpose by local authorities. Use only registered trekking agencies, porters, and guides, suspend trekking after dark, camp at designated camping places, and travel in groups rather than individually or with one or two companions. Altitudes in popular trekking spots can be as high as 25,170 feet (7,672 m); please make sure that you have had a recent medical checkup to ensure that you are fit to trek at these altitudes and carry sufficient medical insurance that includes medical evacuation coverage.

Train Travel: India has the third largest rail network in the world, and train travel in India generally is safe.  Nevertheless, accidents and on-board fires are sometimes caused by aging infrastructure, poorly maintained equipment, overcrowding, and operator errors.  Train accidents and fires have resulted in the death and serious injury of passengers.

Areas of Instability:

Jammu & Kashmir: The Department of State strongly recommends that you avoid travel to the state of Jammu & Kashmir (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) because of the potential for terrorist incidents as well as violent public unrest. A number of terrorist groups operate in the state targeting security forces, particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating Indian and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, and those stationed in primary tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. Since 1989, as many as 70,000 people (terrorists, security forces, and civilians) have been killed in the Kashmir conflict. Foreigners are particularly visible, vulnerable, and at risk. In the past, serious communal violence left the state mostly paralyzed due to massive strikes and business shut downs, and U.S. citizens have had to be evacuated by local police. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC (see the section on Restricted Areas, below).

India-Pakistan Border: The Department of State recommends that you avoid travel to areas within ten kilometers of the border between India and Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border. The only official India-Pakistan border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India or Pakistan is in the state of Punjab between Atari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan. The border crossing is usually open, but you are advised to confirm the current status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel. A Pakistani visa is required to enter Pakistan. Only U.S. citizens residing in India may apply for a Pakistani visa in India. Otherwise you should apply for a Pakistani visa in your country of residence before traveling to India.

Both India and Pakistan claim an area of the Karakoram mountain range that includes the Siachen glacier. Travel or mountain climbing in this area is highly dangerous. The disputed area includes the following peaks: Rimo Peak; Apsarasas I, II, and III; Tegam Kangri I, II and III; Suingri Kangri; Ghiant I and II; Indira Col; and Sia Kangri. Check with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi for information on current conditions.

Northeastern states: Incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur occasionally in the northeast. While U.S. citizens have not been specifically targeted, it is possible that you could be affected as a bystander. If you travel to the northeast, you should avoid travel by train at night, travel outside major cities at night, and crowds. U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without permission from the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata. Restricted Area Permits are required for foreigners to visit certain Northeastern states (see the section on Restricted Areas, below.) Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata for information on current conditions.

East Central and Southern India: Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites,” are active in East Central India primarily in rural areas. The Naxalites have a long history of conflict with state and national authorities, including frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials, and are responsible for more attacks in the country than any other organization through an ongoing campaign of violence and intimidation Naxalites have not specifically targeted U.S. citizens but have attacked symbolic targets that have included Western companies and rail lines. While Naxalite violence does not normally occur in places frequented by foreigners, there is a risk that visitors could become victims of violence.

Naxalites are active in a large swath of India from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all U.S. government travelers to states with Naxalite activity must receive authorization from the U.S. Consulate responsible for the area to be visited. U.S. officials traveling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorization.

Restricted/Protected areas: While the Indian Government has designated that travelers to “portions” of certain areas need special advance permission, actual practice has been to require a permit to enter any portion of certain states. Areas requiring a permit include:

  • The state of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Portions of the state of Sikkim
  • Portions of the state of Himachal Pradesh near the Chinese border
  • Portions of the state of Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) near the Chinese border
  • Portions of the state of Rajasthan near the Pakistani border
  • Portions of the state of Jammu & Kashmir near the Line of Control with Pakistan and certain portions of Ladakh
  • The Andaman & Nicobar Islands
  • The Union Territory of the Laccadives Islands (Lakshadweep)
  • Portions of the state of Manipur
  • Portions  of the state of Mizoram
  • Portions of the state of Nagaland

More information about travel to/in restricted/protected areas can be found from India’s Bureau of Immigration.

 “Restricted Area Permits" are available outside India at Indian embassies and consulates abroad, or in India from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division) at Jaisalmer House, 26 Man Singh Road, New Delhi. The states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim maintain official guesthouses in New Delhi, which can also issue Restricted Area Permits for their respective states for certain travelers. While visiting Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu, be aware the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Center, Kalpakkam, is located just south of the site and is not clearly marked as a restricted and dangerous area.

For the latest security information, travelers should enroll in STEP to receive updated security information and regularly monitor travel information available from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi as well as the U.S. Consulates General in Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Hyderabad, and Kolkata (Calcutta).

CRIME: Petty crime, especially theft of personal property (including U.S. passports), is common, particularly on trains or buses, at airports, and in major tourist areas. Pickpockets can be very adept and women have reported having their bags snatched, purse-straps cut, or the bottom of their purses slit without their knowledge. If you are traveling by train, lock your sleeping compartments and take your valuables with you when leaving your berth. If you travel by air, be careful with your bags in the arrival and departure areas outside airports. Violent crime, especially directed against foreigners, has traditionally been uncommon, although in recent years there has been a modest increase. Be cautious about displaying cash or expensive items to reduce the chance of being a target for robbery or other crime, and be aware of your surroundings when you use ATMs. ATM card scams have been used to clone credit card details to withdraw money.

Sexual Assault: Travelers should be aware that there have been reported cases of sexual assault, including rape, of U.S. citizens traveling throughout India.  U.S. citizens, particularly women, are cautioned not to travel alone in India. Women traveling in India are advised to respect local dress and customs.  Customary everyday dress for Indian women throughout the country is conservative, and even more so in non-urban areas,  with women wearing clothing that covers their legs and shoulders. Exceptions are vacation resorts catering to foreign clientele and some neighborhoods of the major cities of New Delhi and Mumbai.    Western women, especially those of African descent, continue to report incidents of verbal and physical harassment by individuals and groups of men. Known locally as “Eve-teasing,” these incidents of sexual harassment can be quite frightening and can quickly cross the line from verbal to physical. Sexual harassment can occur anytime or anywhere, but most frequently has happened in crowded areas such as in market places, train stations, buses, and public streets. The harassment can range from sexually suggestive or lewd comments to catcalls to outright groping. The Government of India has focused greater attention on addressing issues of gender violence.  One outcome has been greater reporting of incidences of sexual assault country-wide, and Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Among large cities, Delhi experienced the highest number of reported crimes against women. Although most victims have been local residents, recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas across India underline the fact that foreign women are at risk and should exercise vigilance.

Women should observe stringent security precautions, including avoiding use of public transport after dark without the company of known and trustworthy companions, restricting evening entertainment to well-known venues, and avoiding isolated areas when alone at any time of day. Keep your hotel room number confidential and make sure hotel room doors have chains, deadlocks, and peep holes. Travel with groups of friends rather than alone.  In addition, only hire reliable cars and drivers and avoid traveling alone in hired taxis, especially at night. Use taxis from hotels and pre-paid taxis at airports rather than hailing them on the street. If you encounter threatening situations, call “100” for police assistance (“112” from mobile phones).

Scams: Major airports, train stations, popular restaurants, and tourist sites are often used by scam artists looking to prey on visitors, often by creating a distraction. Beware of taxi drivers and others, including train porters, who solicit travelers with "come-on" offers of cheap transportation and/or hotels. Travelers accepting such offers have frequently found themselves the victims of scams, including offers to assist with "necessary" transfers to the domestic airport, disproportionately expensive hotel rooms, unwanted "tours," unwelcome "purchases," extended cab rides, and even threats when the tourists decline to pay.  There have been reports of tourists being lured, held hostage and extorted for money in the face of threats of violence against the traveler and his/her family members.

You should exercise care when hiring transportation and/or guides and use only well-known travel agents to book trips. Some scam artists have lured travelers by displaying their name on a sign when they leave the airport. Another popular scam is to drop money or to squirt something on the clothing of an unsuspecting traveler and use the distraction to rob them of their valuables. Tourists have also been given drugged drinks or tainted food to make them more vulnerable to theft, particularly at train stations. Even food or drink prepared in front of the traveler from a canteen or vendor could be tainted.

Some vendors sell carpets, jewelry, gemstones, or other expensive items that may not be of the quality promised. Deal only with reputable businesses and do not hand over your credit cards or money unless you are certain that goods being shipped are the goods you purchased. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it is best avoided. Most Indian states have official tourism bureaus set up to handle complaints.

There have been a number of other scams perpetrated against foreign travelers, particularly in Goa, Jaipur, and Agra that target younger travelers and involve suggestions that money can be made by privately transporting gems or gold (both of which can result in arrest) or by taking delivery abroad of expensive carpets, supposedly while avoiding customs duties. The scam artists describe profits that can be made upon delivery of the goods, and require the traveler to pay a "deposit" as part of the transaction.

India-based criminals use the internet to extort money from victims abroad.  In a common scam, the victim develops a close romantic relationship with an alleged U.S. citizen they meet online.  When the “friend” travels to India, a series of accidents occur and the victim begins to receive requests for financial assistance, sometimes through an intermediary.  In fact, the U.S. citizen “friend” does not exist; they are only online personas used by criminal networks.  Victims have been defrauded of thousands of dollars in these schemes.  Do not send money to anyone you have not met in person and carefully read the Department of State’s advice on international financial scams

U.S. citizens have had problems with business partners, usually involving property investments. You may wish to seek professional legal advice in reviewing any contracts for business or services offered in India. The U.S. Embassy and/or consulates are unable to provide legal advice or intervene on behalf of United States citizens with Indian courts on civil or criminal matters.  A list of local attorneys is available on the Embassy and Consulates General websites.

In another common scam, family members in the United States, particularly older people, are approached for funds to help callers claiming to be grandchildren or relatives who have been arrested or are without money to return home. Do not send money without contacting the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General to confirm the other party’s situation. You can also call our Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 888-407-4747 (from overseas: 202-501-4444). Review our information on Emergency Assistance to Americans Abroad

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for more information on scams.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the local police, then inform the U.S. Embassy or local Consulate.

Report crimes to the local police by calling “100” or “112” from a mobile phone.                      

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Please note that you should ask for a copy of the police report, known as a “First Information Report” (FIR), from local police when you report an incident. Local authorities generally are unable to take any meaningful action without the filing of a police report. 

If your passport is stolen, you should immediately report the theft or loss to the police in the location where your passport was stolen.  A FIR is required by the Indian government in order for you to obtain an exit visa to leave India if the lost passport contained your Indian visa. Although the Embassy or Consulate General is able to replace a stolen or lost passport, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) are responsible for approving an exit permit. This process usually takes three to four working days, but can take longer.

In cases of sexual assault or rape, the Embassy or Consulates General can provide a list of local doctors and hospitals, if needed, to determine if you have been injured and to discuss treatment and prevention options for diseases and pregnancy. You should be aware that in order for evidence of an assault to be submitted in a court case, Indian authorities require that the medical exam be completed at a government hospital. Therefore, if a victim goes to a private hospital for treatment, the hospital will refer them to a government hospital for this aspect of the medical process. 

There are a number of resources in India for victims of rape and sexual assault. The specific toll-free Women’s Helpline Service number in Delhi is 1091; in Mumbai it is 103; in Kolkata, 1090; in Chennai, 1091 or 2345-2365; and in Hyderabad one can dial 1-800-425-2908 or 1098 for crimes in general.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in India is “100.” An additional emergency number, “112,” can be accessed from mobile phones.

Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States. 

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

Furthermore, some activities are crimes under U.S. law and can be prosecuted in the U.S. regardless of whether they are allowed under local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Alcohol: Each of India’s states has independent regulations concerning alcohol purchase and consumption. Legal drinking ages range from 18 to 25 and can vary by beverage type. Some states permit alcohol use for medicinal purposes only, others require you to hold a permit to buy, transport, or consume alcohol. Penalties for violation can be harsh.

Drugs:  Several U.S. citizens have been arrested at Indian airports for attempting to smuggle illegal drugs from India.  All claimed that they did not realize they were carrying narcotics.  Never transport or mail packages that do not belong to you and maintain direct control of your luggage at all times.

Beef and Cow Hide: Several states in India impose various types of prohibition on beef.  In some rural areas, cow protection vigilantes have attacked people they suspected of selling or consuming beef, or possessing items made with cow hide.


Dual nationality: India does not permit its citizens to hold dual nationality. In 2006, India launched the "Overseas Citizens of India" (OCI) program, which does not grant Indian citizenship but is similar to a U.S. "green card" in that you can travel to and from India indefinitely, work in India, study in India, and own property in India (except for certain agricultural and plantation properties). If you are a U.S. citizen and obtain an OCI card you will not become a citizen of India; you will remain a citizen of the United States. An OCI card holder does not receive an Indian passport, cannot vote in Indian elections, and is not eligible for Indian government employment. The OCI program is similar to the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card except that PIO holders must still register with Indian immigration authorities, and PIO cards are not issued for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens of Indian descent can apply for PIO or OCI cards at the Indian Embassy in Washington, or at the Indian Consulates in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Houston. Inside India, U.S. citizens can apply at the nearest FRRO office (please see “Entry/Exit Requirements” section above for more information on the FRRO). U.S. citizens are required to travel on a U.S. passport when traveling in and out of the United States.

Religious activities and faith-based travelers: See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.  If you plan to engage in religious proselytizing you are required by Indian law to have a "missionary" visa. Immigration authorities have determined that certain activities, including speaking at religious meetings to which the general public is invited, may violate immigration law if the traveler does not hold a missionary visa. Foreigners with tourist visas who engage in missionary activity are subject to deportation and possible criminal prosecution. The states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh have legislation that regulates or places restrictions on conversion from one religious faith to another. If you intend to engage in missionary activity, you may wish to seek legal advice to determine whether the activities you intend to pursue are permitted under Indian law.

Tourists should also be mindful of restrictions and observances when planning to visit any religious establishment, whether Hindu temples, mosques, churches, or other locations considered sacred by the local population. Many individual temples and mosques do not permit non-members to enter all or parts of the facilities, and may require the removal of shoes, the covering of the head, or have other specific requirements for appropriate attire.  

Customs restrictions: Before traveling to or from India, you are urged to inspect all bags and clothing thoroughly to ensure they do not inadvertently contain prohibited items. Several U.S. citizens have been arrested or detained when airport security officials discovered loose ammunition (even spent individual bullets and casings) or weapons in their luggage. If you are found to have loose ammunition or bullets (including empty bullet shells used in souvenirs) on your person or in your bags, you could be charged with violation of the Indian Arms Act, incarcerated, and/or deported from India.

In addition, U.S. citizens have been arrested and prosecuted for possession of satellite phones which is prohibited in India.”

Indian customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from India of such items as, antiquities, electronic equipment, currency, ivory, gold objects, and other prohibited materials. Permission from the Government of India is required to bring in restricted items, even if you are only transiting through India. If you do not comply with these regulations, you risk arrest or fine or both and confiscation of these items. If you are charged with any legal violations by Indian law enforcement, have an attorney review any document before you sign it. The Government of India requires the registration of antique items with the local police along with a photograph of the item. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of India in Washington or one of India's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. More information is available from the Indian Central Board of Excise and Customs.

Indian customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information call (212) 354-4480, or email USCIB for details. Please see our section on Customs Information for more information.

Natural disaster threats: Parts of northern India are highly susceptible to earthquakes. Regions of highest risk, ranked 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, include areas around Srinagar, Himachal Pradesh, Rishikesh and Dehra Dun, the northern parts of Punjab, northwest Gujarat, northern Bihar, and the entire northeast. Ranked 4 (high damage risk) is an area that sweeps along the north through Jammu and Kashmir, Eastern Punjab, Haryana, Northern Uttar Pradesh, central Bihar and the northern parts of West Bengal. New Delhi is located in zone 4. Severe flooding is common in hilly and mountainous areas throughout India. Flooding in 2013 in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and other areas left thousands of people presumed dead and temporarily stranded dozens of U.S. citizens.

Typhoons/cyclones and subsequent flooding are common along the Indian coasts, in particular the Eastern coastal states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, and have at times resulted in massive loss of life.  Tourists and residents in areas prone to these events should remain vigilant during severe weather, monitor local media for latest developments, and heed all municipal warnings.  Residents in these areas should have contingency plans for loss of power and inavailability of goods and services, including supplies for multiple days after a severe weather event.

Accessibility: While in India, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different than what you find in the United States. Despite legislation that all public buildings and transport be accessible for disabled people, accessibility remains limited. One notable exception is the Delhi metro system, designed to be accessible to those with physical disabilities.

Women Travelers: Please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Students: See our  Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

LGBTI Rights: An 1861 colonial-era law, known as Section 377 of India’s penal code, makes same-sex sexual acts illegal in India, and a December 2013 Indian Supreme Court ruling confirmed the law.  Although prosecution under Section 377 is rare, LGBTI visitors may wish to avoid drawing attention. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.


Zika is present in India. See the Centers for Disease Control’s website for more information.

The quality of medical care in India varies considerably. Medical care in the major population centers approaches and occasionally meets Western standards, but adequate medical care is usually very limited or unavailable in rural areas.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of India to ensure the medication is legal in India.  Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you are arriving in India from Sub-Saharan Africa or other yellow-fever areas, Indian health regulations require that you present evidence of vaccination against yellow fever. If you do not have such proof, you could be subjected to immediate deportation or a six-day detention in the yellow-fever quarantine center. If you transit through any part of sub-Saharan Africa, even for one day, you are advised to carry proof of yellow fever immunization.

Dogs and bats create a high risk of rabies transmission in most of India. Vaccination is recommended for all prolonged stays, especially for young children and travelers in rural areas. It is also recommended for shorter stays that involve occupational exposure, locations more than 24 hours from a reliable source of human rabies immune globulin and rabies vaccine for post-exposure treatment, adventure travelers, hikers, cave explorers, and backpackers. Monkeys also can transmit rabies and herpes B, among other diseases, to human victims. Avoid feeding monkeys. If bitten, you should immediately soak and scrub the bite for at least 15 minutes and seek urgent medical attention.

Influenza is transmitted from November to April in areas north of the Tropic of Cancer (north India), and from June through November (the rainy season) in areas south of the Tropic of Cancer (south India), with a smaller peak from February through April; off-season transmission can also occur. All travelers are at risk. Influenza vaccine is recommended for all travelers during the flu season.

Outbreaks of avian influenza (H5N1 virus) occur intermittently in eastern India, including West Bengal, Manipur, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Assam. For further information on pandemic influenza, please refer to the Department of State's 2009-H1N1, Pandemic Influenza, and H5N1 Fact Sheet.

Malaria prophylaxis depends on time of year and area the traveler is visiting. Please consult the CDC website for more information. Dengue fever presents significant risk in urban and rural areas. The highest number of cases is reported from July to December, with cases peaking from September to October. Daytime insect precautions such as wearing long-sleeved shirts and mosquito repellent are recommended by the CDC.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in India. For further information, please consult the CDC’s Travel Notice on TB.

Further health information:

Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in India, and you should consult your doctor prior to travel and consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you.  The air quality in India varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons.  It is typically at its worst in the winter. Anyone who travels where pollution levels are high is at risk. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:

  • Infants, children, and teens
  • People over 65 years of age
  • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema;
  • People with heart disease or diabetes
  • People who work or are active outdoors

Current air quality data can be found on the Embassy’s Air Quality page. The data on this site are updated hourly.

Rh-negative blood may be difficult to obtain as it is not common in Asia.

For emergency services, dial 112 from a cell phone; from a land line, dial 100 for police, 102 for ambulance (108 in parts of South India), and 101 for fire. Ambulances are not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment, and traffic does not yield to emergency vehicles. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance. Most hospitals require advance payment or confirmation of insurance prior to treatment. Payment practices vary and credit cards are not routinely accepted for medical care.

Medical Tourism: Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. Companies offering vacation packages bundled with medical consultations and financing options provide direct-to-consumer advertising over the internet. Such medical packages often claim to provide high quality care, but the quality of health care in India is highly variable. People seeking health care in India should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and refer to the information from the CDC. Persons traveling to India for medical purposes require the proper “medical” visa. Please check with the nearest Indian embassy or consulate for more information.

Despite reports of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals, in general travelers should not delay or avoid treatment for urgent or emergent medical situations. However, health tourists and other travelers who may be contemplating elective procedures in this country should carefully research individual hospital infection control practices.

Surrogacy: Commercial surrogacy is illegal for foreigners in India, subject to complex local regulation.  For additional information, visit the Government of India’s official information on foreigner surrogacy

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in India maintain lists of local doctors and hospitals, all of which are published on their respective websites under "U.S. Citizen Services." We cannot endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Travel & Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Travel by road in India is dangerous. India leads the world in traffic-related deaths and a number of U.S. citizens have suffered fatal traffic accidents in recent years. You should exercise extreme caution when crossing streets, even in marked pedestrian areas, and try to use only cars that have seatbelts. Seatbelts are not common in three-wheel taxis (autos) and in taxis’ back seats. Helmets should always be worn on motorcycles and bicycles.Travel at night is particularly hazardous.

On Indian roads, the safest driving policy is always to assume that other drivers will not respond to a traffic situation in the same way you would in the United States. Buses and trucks often run red lights and merge directly into traffic at yield points and traffic circles. Cars, autos, bicycles, and pedestrians behave only slightly more cautiously. Use your horn or flash your headlights frequently to announce your presence. It is both customary and wise.

Inside and outside major cities, roads are often poorly maintained and congested. Even main roads frequently have only two lanes, with poor visibility and inadequate warning markers. On the few divided highways one can expect to meet local transportation traveling in the wrong direction, often without lights. Heavy traffic is the norm and includes (but is not limited to) overloaded trucks and buses, scooters, pedestrians, bullock and camel carts, horse or elephant riders en route to weddings, bicycles, and free-roaming livestock.

Public Transportation: Buses, patronized by hundreds of millions of Indians, are convenient in that they serve almost every city of any size. However, they are often driven fast, recklessly, and without consideration for the rules of the road. Accidents are quite common.

Traffic Laws: Traffic in India moves on the left. It is important to be alert while crossing streets and intersections, especially after dark as traffic is coming in the "wrong" direction. Travelers should remember to use seatbelts in both rear and front seats where available, and to ask their drivers to maintain a safe speed.

In order to drive in India, you must have either a valid Indian driver’s license or a valid international driver’s license. Because of difficult road and traffic conditions, you may wish to consider hiring a local driver.

If a driver hits a pedestrian or a cow, the vehicle and its occupants are at risk of being attacked by passersby. Such attacks pose significant risk of injury or death to the vehicle's occupants or risk of incineration of the vehicle. It could be unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident of this nature, and drivers may instead wish to seek out the nearest police station.

Protestors often use road blockage as a means of publicizing their grievances, causing severe inconvenience to travelers. Visitors should monitor local news reports for any reports of road disturbances.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

Emergency Numbers: The following emergency numbers work in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata:

  • Police 100
  • Fire Brigade 101
  • Ambulance 102

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of India’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of India’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page. Travelers are urged to use caution while booking private helicopters for travel, especially in the northeast. 

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information
Use Style in the Text Component to tag city names and to tag phone numbers, fax numbers, and emails with the respective Style icon.


Washington, DC

Telephone (202) 939-7000; Fax (202) 387-6946

Atlanta, GA

Telephone (404) 963-5902; Fax (678) 935-7054, (678) 905-9591

Chicago, IL

Telephone (312) 595-0405, (312) 595-0409

Houston, TX

Telephone (713) 626-2148, (713) 626-2149; Fax (713) 626-2450

New York, NY

Telephone (212) 774-0600; Fax (212) 861-3788

San Francisco, CA

Telephone (415) 668-0662, (415) 668-0683; Fax (415) 668-2073, (415) 668-9764

  • General Information
  • Hague Abduction Convention
  • Return
  • Visitation/Access
  • Retaining an Attorney
  • Mediation
Hague Questions | Learn More Links
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention? No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention? No
Learn why the Hague Abduction Convention Matters: /content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/laws/important-feat-hague-abdtn-conv.html

General Information

For information concerning travel to India, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see Country Specific Information for India.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.


Hague Abduction Convention

India is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between India and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.


Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  The government of India maintains information about custody, visitation, and family law on the India Code Legislation website. Parents are encouraged to consult with a local attorney who specializes in family law in India and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children’s Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax: 1-202-485-6221
Email: IndiaIPCA@state.gov

Parental child abduction is not a crime in India. Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 


Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in India and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children’s Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate in India for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children’s Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in India are authorized to provide legal advice. 

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.  

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.


Mediation may be available in different states in India as an alternative to litigation for couples interested in attempting to reach a voluntary agreement.

  • Hague
  • Hague Convention Information
  • U.S. Immigration Requirements
  • Who Can Adopt
  • Who Can Be Adopted
  • How To Adopt
  • Traveling Abroad
  • After Adoption
  • Contact Information
Hague Questions
Hague Adoption Convention Country? Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible? Both adoptions to the United States from India and from the United States to India are possible.
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
Hague Convention Information

Adoptions to the United States from India and from the United States to India are possible.

Please see our section on Adoptions from the United States for more information on the process for adopting a child from the United States. We urge prospective adoptive parents to consult with India’s central authority, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), to determine for its determination as to whether it considers your adoption to be subject to the Convention.

India is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention or Convention). Intercountry adoption processing in Convention countries must be done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention; the U.S. implementing legislation, the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA); and the IAA’s implementing regulations; as well as the implementing legislation and regulations of India.

On August 1, 2015, India implemented Guidelines Governing the Adoption of Children, 2015 (Guidelines). Please refer to CARA’s website for information about the new guidelines.

Note: If any of the following occurred prior to April 1, 2008, (the date on which the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States), the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption: 1) you filed a Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, identifying India as the country where you intended to adopt and the approval is still valid; 2) you filed a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, on behalf of a child from India or; 3) the adoption was completed. Under these circumstances, your adopted child’s adoption could continue to be processed as a non-Convention intercountry adoption, provided the child’s country of origin agrees. For more information, read about Transition Cases. Please contact adoption@state.gov with the details of the case if this situation applies to you.

U.S. Immigration Requirements For Intercountry Adoptions

To bring an adopted child to the United States from India, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

Who Can Adopt

In addition to being found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS, prospective adoptive parents seeking to adopt a child from India must meet the following requirements imposed by India:

  • Residency: There are no residency requirements. However, some Specialized Adoption Agencies (SAAs) may ask prospective adoptive parents to reside with the child for seven days before departing India in order to bond with your child.
  • Age of Adopting Parents:
    • Prospective adoptive parents should be at least 25 years of age and no more than 45 years of age if adopting a child age four or younger. Married couples may not have a combined age of more than 90 years. These provisions may be relaxed in exceptional cases, such as the adoption of older children, siblings, and children with special needs. See ‘Documents Required’ section for a list of required documents if a couple’s combined age is more than 90 years.
    • If adopting a child between four and eight years of age, the prospective adoptive parents should be at least 29 and no more than 50 years of age. Married couples may not have a combined age of more than 100 years.
    • If adopting a child eight years and older, the prospective adoptive parents should be at least 33 and no more than 55 years of age. Married couples may not have a combined age of more than 110 years.
    • For more specific information about the age restrictions for prospective adoptive parents, please refer to CARA’s guidelines.
  • Marriage: A married couple must be in a stable relationship for at least two years. Same-sex couples are not eligible to adopt in India.
  • Income: Prospective adoptive parents should demonstrate that they are financially capable of adopting and raising a child. Please refer to CARA’s guidelines.
  • Other: Only families with fewer than four children (whether biological or adopted) are permitted to adopt an Indian child. A second adoption from India will be considered only after the legal adoption of the first child is completed, except in the case of siblings adopted at the same time. Prospective adoptive parents must be free from any contagious or terminal disease or any mental or physical condition that may prevent them from taking care of the child. A single male is not permitted to adopt a female child.
  • Overseas Citizen of India or Foreign National Living in India: Overseas Citizens of India (OCI card holders) and foreign nationals of countries that are party to the Convention who have been living in India for one year or more may register to adopt an Indian child on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) together with the required documents. Upon receipt of the application and required documents, CARA will refer the case to a SAA to prepare the prospective adoptive parents home study report. After the home study report is completed, it will be uploaded onto CARINGS by the SAA.  For more information, please refer to CARA’s Guidelines.

Who Can Be Adopted

Because India is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from India must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for intercountry adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of India have determined that placement of the child within India has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests.

In addition to qualifying as a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a child must meet the following requirements of India:

  • Relinquishment or Abandonment: Regional Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) determine whether any orphan, abandoned or surrendered child is legally free for adoption.
  • Age of Adoptive Child: Children up to 18 years of age, that have been cleared by the Regional CWC, are eligible for intercountry adoption. Please note that in order for a child to meet the definition of Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, must be filed on the child’s behalf while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if the child is the birth sibling of another adopted child who has immigrated or will immigrate based on adoption by the same adoptive parent(s)). Please see the USCIS website for special rules on filing dates for children aged 15-16 or siblings aged 17-18. 
  • Sibling Adoptions: Sibling adoptions are encouraged. Twins or siblings, as well as children over five years of age, shall be available for adoption by resident and non-resident Indians from the date the children are declared legally free for adoption by the Regional CWC, and by overseas citizens of India and foreign prospective adoptive parents living in India thirty days from the date the children are declared legally free for adoption.
  • Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Intercountry adoptions of children with special needs or medical conditions follow the same procedures as other Convention adoptions. 
  • Waiting Period or Foster Care: Prospective adoptive parents can foster a child, with permission from the SAA, after presenting a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) from CARA and submitting a Pre-Adoption Foster Care Undertaking to the SAA (please refer to Schedule 7 of CARA’s guidelines). (Note: CARA will not issue the NOC until they have received an Article 5/17 letter from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.) 
  • Intra-Family (relative) Adoption: While CARA permits intra-family adoptions, they are only approved in exceptional situations, such as the parents’ death or in other limited circumstances that serve the best interests of the child. Please refer to CARA’s website for more information concerning intra-family adoptions. Intra-family adoptions follow the same procedures as other Convention adoptions.
  • Adoption of Tibetan Children: CARA does not process cases involving the adoption of Tibetan children. If prospective adoptive parents wish to adopt or gain guardianship of a Tibetan child, they should consult with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children’s homes are eligible for adoption. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children’s home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to the adoption of their child(ren).

How To Adopt

Warning: Do not adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in India before: 1) USCIS has approved your Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, 2) the Central Authority of India has determined the child is available for intercountry adoption, 3) USCIS has provisionally approved your Form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative, and 4) a U.S. consular officer has issued an “Article 5/17 Letter” in the case. Read on for more information.

India’s Central Adoption Authority

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), Ministry of Women and Child Development

Note: Special transition provisions may apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. Read about Transition Cases.

The Process

Because India is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from India must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is provided below. You must complete these steps in the following order to meet all necessary legal requirements. Adoptions completed out of order may result in the child not being eligible for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider That Has Been Authorized by CARA to Operate in India to Act as Your Primary Provider
  2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt (Form I-800A)
  3. Apply to India’s Authorities to Adopt and Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee (Form I-800) and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption (Art. 5/17 letter)
  5. Adopt the Child in India or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption
  6. Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider That Has Been Authorized by CARA to Operate in India to Act as Your Primary Provider

The first step in adopting a child from India is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited or approved to provide intercountry adoption services to U.S. citizens and that has been authorized by the Government of India. A primary provider must be identified in each Convention case and only accredited or approved adoption service providers may act as the primary provider in your case. Your primary provider is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all six adoption services defined at 22 CFR 96.2 are provided consistent with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Supervising and being responsible for supervised providers where used (see 22 CFR 96.14); and
  • Developing and implementing a service plan in accordance with 22 CFR 96.44.

Learn more about Agency Accreditation.

Under Indian law, foreign prospective adoptive parents considering adoption of a child from India are required to use an adoption service provider that is “enlisted” (registered) with CARA. Further details on enlisted agencies may be found on the CARA website.

2.  Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt

After you choose an accredited or approved adoption service provider, you must be found suitable and eligible to adopt by USCIS by submitting Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. You will need to submit a home study, fingerprints, and a background check as part of this application. Read more about Suitability and Eligibility Requirements.

3.  Apply to CARA to Adopt and be Matched with a Child

Submit Your Dossier to the Central Authority 
After USCIS determines that you are suitable and eligible to adopt and approves the Form I-800A application, your adoption service provider will provide your approval notice, home study, and any other required information to CARA as part of your adoption application. CARA will review your application to determine whether you are also suitable and eligible to adopt under Indian law.

Receive a Referral for a Child from the Central Authority 
If both the United States and India determine that you are suitable and eligible to adopt, and India’s central authority for Convention adoptions has determined that a child is available for adoption and that intercountry adoption is in that child’s best interests, CARA will provide your ASP with basic information on one or more children that meet the criteria outlined in your approved home study. The referral is a proposed match between you and a specific child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of the child. You must let your ASP know within 96 hours if you are interested in learning more about a child so your ASP can indicate your interest in that child and begin the process of making a match. Once that is done, the SAA where the prospective adoptive child resides will provide a background study and other information, if available, about the child to help you decide whether to accept the referral or not. We encourage families to consult with a medical professional and their adoption service provider to understand the needs of the specific child, but each family must decide whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of, and provide a permanent home for, a specific child. The placement must conform to the recommendations in the home study submitted to USCIS for the number of children and capacity to deal with any special needs of an adoptive child. Learn more about Health Considerations. If you accept the referral, the adoption service provider communicates that to the central authority in India. Learn more about this critical decision

Note that India first tries to place abandoned or relinquished children with an Indian family residing in India or a non-resident Indian (NRI) family.  Once the CARA issues the NOC, the prospective adoptive parents may apply to the SAA where the child resides to foster the child while waiting for the court to finalize the guardianship or adoption order. (Note: CARA will not issue the NOC until they have received an Article 5/17 letter from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.)

4.  Apply to USCIS for the Child to be Found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption

Submit a Petition for a Determination on the Child’s Immigration Eligibility 
After you accept being matched with a particular child, you will apply to USCIS for provisional approval for the child to immigrate to the United States through the Form I-800 Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. USCIS will make a provisional determination as to whether the child appears to meet the definition of a Convention adoptee and will likely be eligible to enter and remain in the United States.

Submit an Immigrant Visa Application 
After provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, you or your adoption service provider will submit a visa application to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi responsible for issuing immigrant visas to children from India.

You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. Use this information to log into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) to file the Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name.  Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form. A consular officer will review the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and the visa application and, if applicable, advise you of options for the waiver of any ineligibilities related to the visa application.

The consular officer will send a letter (referred to as an “Article 5/17 Letter”) to India’s central authority in any intercountry adoption involving U.S. citizen parents and a child from India if all Convention requirements are met and the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States. This letter will inform the India’s central authority that the parents are suitable and eligible to adopt, that the child appears eligible to enter and reside permanently in the United States, and that the U.S. central authority agrees that the adoption may proceed.

Warning: Do not attempt to adopt or obtain custody of a child in India before you receive provisional approval of your Form I-800 petition AND a U.S. consular officer issues the “Article 5/17 Letter” for your adoption case.

Remember: The consular officer will make a final decision about a child’s eligibility for an immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

5.  Adopt the Child in India or Obtain Legal Custody of Child for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption of the Child

Remember: Before you adopt or obtain legal custody of a child in India, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps can you proceed to finalize the adoption or a grant of legal custody by India for the purposes of emigration and adoption.

The process for finalizing the adoption or obtaining legal custody in India generally includes the following:

Role of Adoption Authority:

  • Regulates and monitors intercountry adoptions, and performs Central Authority functions consistent with the Hague Adoption Convention;
  • Provides information regarding abandoned/relinquished/orphaned children available for intercountry adoption;
  • Coordinates matching with appropriate SAA;
  • Issues the ‘No Objection Certificates” (NOCs);
  • Oversees recognition of SAAs and adoption service providers; and
  • Issues confirmatory certificates (Article 23) for cases for adoptions completed in India.

Role of the Court: The competent Indian court issues an adoption or guardianship order for the placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents have reported that it usually takes about two months to issue an appropriate order. 

Role of Specialized Adoption Agencies: The SAA where the prospective adoptive child resides provides a background study and other information, if available, about a child to help prospective adoptive parents decide whether to accept the referral or not The SAA submits all required documents to an Indian court with jurisdiction within seven working days of receiving the NOC from CARA.  SAAs are not permitted to file a petition in the competent court for a grant of custody or a full and final adoption without an NOC from CARA.

  • Role of Adoption Agencies: The U.S. accredited adoption service provider facilitates adoptions by U.S. prospective adoptive parents in India. The U.S. adoption service provider either conducts or oversees the prospective adoptive parents’ home study to ensure it complies with U.S. and state law where the prospective adoptive parents reside. After the provisional approval of Form I-800 petition, the adoption service provider coordinates with the U.S Embassy in New Delhi for issuance of an Article 5/17 letter and the NOC from CARA. The adoption service provider also coordinates with the respective SAA for the issuance of adoption or guardianship order by the Indian court and the child’s passport.
  • Time Frame: Intercountry adoptions in India take approximately six months or longer to complete the adoption and secure the necessary documentation once the prospective adoptive parents have a provisionally approved Form I-800. Please note that obtaining an Indian passport for an adopted child often takes an additional four weeks, and some prospective adoptive parents have reported waiting as long as two months.
  • Adoption Application: Prospective adoptive parents, in coordination with their adoption service provider, must submit an online application on CARINGS.
  • Adoption Fees: CARA’s Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children 2011 limits the fee that may be paid by an authorized ASP to a SAA to 5,000 USD for each outgoing adoption. This fee covers all of the fees associated with the documentation completed by the SAA, and may include, among other things, obtaining copies of civil documents, filing court documents, applying for your child’s Indian passport, etc.    

    Prospective adoptive parents are advised to obtain detailed receipts for all fees and donations paid, either directly or through your U.S. adoption service provider, and to raise any concerns regarding any payment that you believe may be contrary to the Convention, U.S. law, or the law of India with your adoption service provider, or, when appropriate, the Complaint Registry. For more information in this regard, please also refer to information concerning the Complaint Registry. Improper payments may have the appearance of buying a child, violate applicable law, and could put all future adoptions in India at risk.  The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for instance, makes it unlawful to bribe foreign government officials to obtain or retain business. Further, the IAA makes certain actions relating to intercountry adoptions unlawful, and subject to civil and criminal penalties. These include to offering, giving, soliciting, or accepting inducement intended to influence or affect the relinquishment of parental rights, parental consent relating to adoption of a child, or a decision by an entity performing a central authority function or to engage another person as an agent to take any such action.

    In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

Documents Required: You are required to submit the following documents to CARA through your adoption service provider:

  • Home study report (see information below for home study reports for U.S. citizens residing in India);
  • Recent photographs of the prospective adoptive family;
  • Marriage certificate (if married);
  • Certificate of medical fitness of the prospective adoptive parents, duly certified by a medical doctor;
  • Declaration regarding the prospective adoptive parents’ financial status, along with supporting documents;
  • Three reference letters from relatives/friends regarding the suitability of the prospective adoptive parents to adopt;
  • Adoption decrees of previously adopted child/children, if any;
  • Police clearance report(s);
  • Birth certificate/passport of prospective adoptive parents, as proof of age;
  • Approval of the U.S. central authority (the Article 5/17 letter, discussed under “Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption” above);
  • Documentary proof of citizenship/nationality of prospective adoptive parents, such as a copy of U.S. passport;
  • In cases where the prospective adoptive parents are granted guardianship of a child (rather than a full and final adoption), a statement from the adoption service provider that the child will be legally adopted by the prospective adoptive parents pursuant to the laws of the receiving country within two years of the child’s arrival in the receiving country.  The adoption service provider will send certified copies of the adoption order to all concerned agencies/entities;
  • Statement from the adoption service provider that follow-up reports on the welfare of the child will be sent semi-annually for a period of two years or until such time as the legal adoption is completed and citizenship is acquired in the receiving country;
  • Power of Attorney from the prospective adoptive parents in favor of the SAA to process the case if the prospective adoptive parents are not in India;
  • Statement from the adoption service provider committing to care for the child and, with CARA’s approval, to find a suitable alternative placement if the adoption is disrupted before a full and final adoption is completed. The adoption service provider will report the alternative placement to the appropriate parties, including the Indian court handling guardianship/adoption proceedings; and
    • Statement from the adoption service provider that it will pay any required adoption fees to the concerned Indian placement agency.

Additional documents if applicable:

  • Statement from the prospective adoptive parents’ biological and/or adopted children, and the prospective adoptive child (if old enough) giving their views concerning the adoption plan;
  • Divorce decree; and
  • In cases where a couples’ combined age is over 90 years, a document from a younger family member expressing their willingness to look after the child in the event the adoptive parents become incapacitated.

Home Study Reports for U.S. Citizens Residing Abroad:

  • CARA has advised the U.S. central authority that prospective adoptive parents residing in India for a year or more may ask a SAA to prepare their home study report, under the supervision of their U.S. adoption service provider. The SAA must have a written agreement with the adoption service provider to provide home study services. In addition, the home study must be reviewed and approved by the U.S. adoption service provider before it is submitted to USCIS with the prospective adoptive parent’s Form I-800A application.

Note: Additional documents may be requested.

  • Authentication of Documents:  You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. If so, the Department of State, Authentications Office has information on the subject.

6.  Apply for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for Your Child and Bring Your Child Home

Now that your adoption is complete or you have obtained legal custody of the child for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, there are a few more steps to take before your child can head home.  Specifically, you need to apply for three documents before your child can travel to the United States:

Birth Certificate

If you have finalized the adoption in India, you will first need to apply for a birth certificate for your child so that you can later apply for a passport. Generally, the SAA will facilitate the issuance of the birth certificate.

If you have been granted custody for the purposes of emigration and adoption of the child in the United States, the birth certificate you obtain will, in most cases, not yet include your name.

Once prospective adoptive parents receive a court order, they may apply for a birth certificate in the municipal office of the region where the child was born, in coordination with the RIPA and their adoption service provider. They will need the court order, the NOC from CARA, and any document related to the birth of child as supporting documentation. If the adoption is completed in India, the birth certificate will indicate the name of the prospective adoptive parents. The municipal office will issue the birth certificate with the child’s name as it appears on the court order even if it has been changed after adoption. This process takes at least two weeks.

Indian Passport

Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or passport from India. Generally, the SAA will facilitate the issuance of an Indian passport.

The prospective adoptive parents or SAA may apply at the nearest Regional Passport Office for an Indian passport after they receive a court order for the child. The application should include the court order, the NOC from CARA, and the child’s birth record. It generally takes approximately four weeks to obtain an Indian passport. Some parents have reported, however, that the issuance of an Indian passport may take more than two months. Please see the information below pertaining to the Government of India’s requirement to surrender one’s Indian passport when one acquires foreign citizenship.

U.S. Immigrant Visa

After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to finalize your application for a U.S. visa for your child from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India. After the adoption or custody for purposes of emigration and adoption is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for a final review of the case, and if applicable, the issuance of a U.S. Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, the final approval of the Form I-800 petition, and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you and be admitted to the United States as your child.  Please contact the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi by email at NDAdopt@state.gov to schedule your child’s immigrant visa appointment. As part of this process, you must provide the consular officer with the Panel Physician’s medical report on the child if you did not provide it during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

Before coming for your child’s immigrant visa interview, please be sure to complete an Electronic Immigrant Visa Application (DS-260) online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). You should receive a letter from the National Visa Center (NVC) confirming receipt of the provisionally approved Form I-800 petition and assigning a case number and an invoice ID number. You will need this information to log into CEAC to file the DS-260 for your child. An adoptive parent should fill out these forms in your child's name. Answer every item on the form. If information is not applicable, please write “N/A” in the block. The DS-260 must be updated before the visa interview to include the child's passport details and other changes, if any.  Print and bring the DS-260 form confirmation page to the visa interview.  Please review the DS-260 FAQs, our Online Immigrant Visa Forms page, or contact the NVC at NVCAdoptions@state.gov or +1-603-334-0700 if you have questions about completing the online DS-260 form.

Note: After the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi issues the Article 5 letter in your case, you will be able to access and make changes to your online form. Once you obtain your child’s Indian passport, you should log back into CEAC and resubmit your DS-260 with your child’s passport details. This must be done at least 48 hours before you appear at the Embassy for your child’s immigrant visa interview in order for the DS-260 to be accessible to the consular section.

The following is the list of the documents required by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in order to process immigrant visas for Indian children who have been adopted by U.S. citizens:

  • Updated fingerprint notice of the prospective adoptive parents;
  • Child's Indian passport;
  • Two (2) Color frontal portrait photographs of the child with a white background; the total frame should be 5 cm x 5 cm and the child's head size 3 cm x 3 cm;
  • The original court order and a copy of the court order;
  • The NOC from CARA;
  • Visa Fee of 325 USD which can be paid in cash (Indian Rupees or U.S. Dollars) or money order. Payments cannot be made using a credit card. Please see visa processing fees page;
  • Medical examination report of the child. The medical examination needs to be done by an approved panel physician. A list of approved panel physicians can be found on New Delhi U.S. Embassy website. Read more about the Medical Examination.
  • Article 23 issued by CARA

Visa issuance after the final interview generally takes at least one business day provided all the required documents are submitted at the time of the interview. It is usually not possible to provide a visa on the same day as the immigrant visa interview. Adoptive parents will be notified at the time of the visa interview about the pick-up time of their child’s visa. Adoptive parents should verify current processing times with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and also refer to the Embassy’s holiday list before making final travel arrangements.

Child Citizenship Act

For adoptions finalized abroad prior to the child’s admission into the United States: An adopted child residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent pursuant to a lawful admission for permanent residence generally will acquire U.S. citizenship automatically if the child otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, including that the child is under the age of eighteen.

(Note: U.S. citizens are permitted (and encouraged) to complete a full and final adoption of an Indian child under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2000 (JJA).) 

For adoptions finalized after the child’s entry into the United States: You will need to complete an adoption following your child’s entry into the United States and before the child turns eighteen for the child (if he or she otherwise meets the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000) to automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

Indian Law Regarding Possession of an Indian Passport upon Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship: Acquisition of U.S. citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act might affect the child’s Indian citizenship. Under Indian law, the child might be required to surrender his or her Indian passport upon acquisition of U.S. citizenship and could be subject to penalties for failure to do so. Under Indian law, prior to obtaining any Indian consular services, such as an Indian visa, the child might also be required to renounce his or her Indian citizenship. Please contact the nearest Indian Embassy or consulate for details (see Contact Information below).

Overseas Citizen of India Status

CARA’s Guidelines Governing the Adoption of Children, 2015 state that an adopted Indian child shall be entitled to receive an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, if found eligible. For more information about the procedure for applying for OCI status for your child, please contact the nearest Indian Embassy or consulate.  

Traveling Abroad

Applying for Your U.S. Passport

U.S. citizens are required by law to enter and depart the United States on a valid U.S. passport. Once your child has acquired U.S. citizenship, s/he will need a U.S. passport for any international travel. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Department of State’s Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

Obtaining a Visa to Travel to India

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa to travel abroad. Where required, visas are affixed to a traveler’s passport and allow him or her to enter a foreign nation. To find information about obtaining a visa for India, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

Staying Safe on Your Trip

Before you travel, it is always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country in the world about various issues, including health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

Staying in Touch on Your Trip

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to enroll with the Department of State. Enrollment makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there is a family emergency in the United States or a crisis in India, enrollment assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Enrollment is free and can be done online via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

After Adoption

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Reporting Requirements

CARA requires adoptive parents to submit online post-placement reports on the child through their adoption service provider to CARA and the SAA. The post-placement reports should be uploaded into CARINGS quarterly by the prospective adoptive parents’ ASP during the first year, and twice a year during the second year after the child’s arrival in the United States. The reporting continues for two years after the child acquires U.S. citizenship.

In addition to the above reports, some Indian courts require regular follow-up visits and post-adoption counseling by a licensed social worker until the child has adjusted to his/her new environment. The follow-up visits are generally for a period of one year or as directed by the court. Copies of the court ordered follow-up reports should be sent to the court where the adoption or guardianship order was obtained, as well as to other government offices as required.

We urge you to comply with India’s post-adoption/post-placement requirements in a timely manner. Your adoption service provider may be able to help you with this process. Your cooperation will contribute to India’s history of positive experiences with U.S. citizen adoptive parents.

Post-Adoption/Post-Placement Resources

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. There are many public and private nonprofit post-adoption services available for children and their families. There are also numerous adoptive family support groups and adoptee organizations active in the United States that provide a network of options for adoptees who seek out other adoptees from the same country of origin. You may wish to take advantage of all the resources available to your family, whether it is another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services. Your primary provider can provide or point you to post- placement/post-adoption services to help your adopted child and your family transition smoothly and deal effectively with the many adjustments required in an intercountry adoption. 

Here are some places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. government links does not imply endorsement of content.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in India
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi – 110021
Tel: 091-011-24198000
Fax: 091-011-24198407
Email: NDAdopt@State.gov
Internet: https://in.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/new-delhi/

India Adoption Authority
Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
Ministry of Women and Child Development
West Block-8, Wing-2
2nd Floor, R.K. Puram
New Delhi - 110 066
Tel: 91-011 2610-5346, 2610-3378, 2610-6783
Fax: 91-011 2618-0198
Email: carahdesk.wcd@nic.in (for CARINGS inquiries only) or CARA@bol.net.in
Internet: www.cara.nic.in/

Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20008
Tel: (202) 939-7000
Fax: (202) 939-7027
Internet: indianembassy.org/

India also has consulates in New York, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Please see list of Indian consulates in United States.

Office of Children’s Issues
U.S. Department of State
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, D.C.  20522-1709
Email: Adoption@state.gov
Internet: adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel:  1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1- 913-214-5808
Email: NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel:  1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Internet:  uscis.gov

  • Visa Classifications
  • General Documents | Birth, Death, Burial Certificates | Marriage, Divorce Certificates
  • Adoption Certificates | Identity Card | Police, Court, Prison Records | Military Records
  • Passports & Other Travel Documents | Other Records | Visa Issuing Posts | Visa Services
Visa Classifications

Fee Number
of Entries
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months A
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months A C
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months C
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months B
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months B
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months B
C-1 None Multiple 60 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 60 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Two 3 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 60 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months B
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months B
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A3
H-2B None N/A N/A3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8

Country Specific Footnotes

  1. Maximum validity for A-1 and A-2 TDY visas is three months.
  2. Diplomatic or official passport holders are exempt from B-2 or F-1&2 visa issuance fees.
  3. Please check with the Visa Chief at Embassy New Delhi for Indian citizens applying for A3 visas, or A2 visas where the position is designated as "service staff member" in the diplomatic note.

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.


Visa Category Footnotes

  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.



General Documents | Birth, Death, Burial Certificates | Marriage, Divorce Certificates
General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available for births after April 1, 1970.   Birth certificates are issued by the Municipal Authority or any office authorized to issue birth and death certificates by the Registrar of Births & Deaths.  Under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act of 1969, births are required to be registered in almost all of the States and Union Territories of India.   Prior to April 1, 1970, the reporting of births was voluntary.

If an individual born after April 1, 1970 is unable to obtain a birth certificate, a certificate of non-availability is generally available from local authorities... 

In cases in which a birth certificate from authorities is unavailable or contains insufficient information regarding the birth or the parents, the following documents could be accepted as secondary evidence in lieu of the birth certificate:

  • School-leaving certificate, Matriculation certificate or Certificate of Recognized Boards from the school last attended by the applicant; or, a baptismal certificate from a church.


  • If none of the above can be obtained; applicants may provide a notarized affidavit executed by either a parent, if living, or another close relative older than the applicant.  This affidavit should clearly state the relationship between the deponent and the applicant, how well the deponent knows the applicant, the date and place of the applicant's birth, the names of both parents, and any other related facts.


Death Certificates

Available. Prior to April 1, 1970, reporting of deaths was voluntary. Where no official record exists, a sworn affidavit by a close relative of the deceased giving a detailed account of the circumstances of the death is acceptable.

Since April 1, 1970, Death Certificates are issued by appropriate state authorities. Certificates of Death issued by hospital authorities are acceptable.

Burial Records

Records of burial are available from the State Registrar General of Births and Deaths or from cemetery officials/municipal corporation officials.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available.  All marriages in India can be registered with the appropriate government authority. While Hindus and Muslims do not always register marriages, marriages by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, or Sikhs may be voluntarily registered under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.  This Act does not apply to Muslims, Parsis, Jews, or Christians, who may register their marriages under the Special Marriage Act of 1954 or the Christian Marriage Act.  Marriage certificates for marriages registered under these Acts may be obtained from the offices of Government Registrar of Marriages, which are located in the headquarters of each district.  The certificate will be issued by the Registrar only if the bride and groom personally appear before the official and pay the required fee.

A certificate of marriage between Muslims is usually issued by the officiant (“Kazi”) who performed the ceremony.  The document is in the Urdu language, and a certified English translation is acceptable. Certificates of marriages between Christians are usually obtainable from church records, which are also acceptable.

Note: A document termed as "Marriage Agreement" or "Deed of Marriage" to live as man and wife (under the Registration Act of 1908) is not confirmation of a marriage solemnized legally under the Indian Marriage Acts now in force.  Such a document does not confer upon the contracting parties’ legal marital status under the law.

Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in India.

Divorce Certificates

Available.  Certified copies of divorce decrees of Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and Sikh divorces can be obtained from the courts of jurisdiction.  A certificate from the Kazi or the head of the Jamaat must document divorce between Muslims.

Note that some Hindu communities practice divorce by mutual consent outside of the judicial system, resulting in a “divorce deed.”  However, only a final “divorce decree,” obtained through a court, is proof of final dissolution of a Hindu marriage.

Adoption Certificates | Identity Card | Police, Court, Prison Records | Military Records
Adoption Certificates

Available. An adoption must conform to the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA) of 1956 or the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 (JJA) in order to be valid.  The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956 permit adoptions only to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. It should be noted that families with a natural child or children may not legally adopt another child or children of the same gender under HAMA. An “Adoption Deed” on stamped paper, signed by the natural parents and adoptive parents, and registered at the Registrar’s office may be accepted under HAMA. A court order issued by the Indian court is required for all adoptions finalized under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 (JJA).

For detailed information regarding country specific adoption, please refer to http://adoption.state.gov

Identity Card

Stateless Persons

The Government of India issues an Identity Certificate or “IC” to many members of the Tibetan community living in India. The ICs are issued by the Regional Passport Office in New Delhi, which is the sole authorizing entity in all of India for this travel document. The IC is a valid travel document in which to place a U.S. visa and is valid for 10 years.  ICs may also be issued to other stateless individuals in India.  Older ICs were paper booklets with a pasted photograph; the latest version (produced since 2007) is yellow in color and bears a digital photo. 

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Records

Indian Police Clearance Certificates should be obtained as follows:

  • All Indian nationals aged 16 and above, residing in India, should obtain police clearance certificates from the Regional Passport Office.
  • Indian passport holders residing outside India should obtain a statement from their local Indian Embassy, Consulate, High Commission, or Deputy High Commission confirming they have no criminal record.
  • Non-Indian applicants residing in India who are registered with the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) should obtain police certificates from the FRRO serving their area of residence.
  • Non-Indian applicants who reside in India and are not FRRO registered, such as foreigners holding Overseas Citizen of Indian status or members of the Tibetan community holding Identity Certificates, should obtain police clearance certificates from the District Police Station serving their area of residence.
  • Indian police certificates are not available for foreign (non-Indian) nationals applying outside India.

Prison Records

Available.  A person who has been incarcerated may obtain a prison record from the State Inspector General of Police, from the Police authorities of Mumbai, Kolkata, or Chennai, or from the Superintendent of the jail in which the sentence was served.

Military Records

Unavailable. Upon discharge, retirement, or resignation from military service, however, a discharge certificate is issued to such personnel.

Passports & Other Travel Documents | Other Records | Visa Issuing Posts | Visa Services
Passports & Other Travel Documents

Please check back for update.

Other Records

Not applicable.

Visa Issuing Posts

New Delhi, India (Embassy) -- All Visa Categories

Shantipath, Chanakyapuri 110021

Tel: (91) (11) 2419-8000
Fax: (91) (11) 2419-0017

Chennai, India (Consulate General) -- Nonimmigrant Visas ONLY

220 Anna Salai
Gemini Circle, 600006

Tel: (91) (44) 2811-2000
Fax: (91) (44) 2811-2027

Hyderabad, India (Consulate General) -- Nonimmigrant Visas ONLY

1-8-323 Chiran Fort Lane
Begumpet, Secunderabad 500 003
Tel: (91) (040) 4033-8300
Fax: (91) (040) 4033-8301

Kolkata, India (Consulate General) -- Nonimmigrant Visas ONLY

5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, 700071

Tel: (91) (33) 2282-3611 through 2282-3615
Fax: (91) (33) 2282-2335

Mumbai, India (Consulate General) -- All Visa Categories

C-49, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex,
Bandra (East), Mumbai 400 051.

Tel: (022) 2672-4000
Fax: (022) 2672-4755

Visa Services

States, Union Territories, and other.

Area Post
Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Union Territory) Chennai
Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad
Arunachal Pradesh (Union Territory) Kolkata
Assam Kolkata
Bihar Kolkata
Bhutan (country) New Delhi
Chandigarh (Union Territory) New Delhi
Chattisgarh Mumbai
Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Union Territory) Mumbai
Daman and Diu (Union Territory) Mumbai
Delhi (Union Territory) New Delhi
Goa Mumbai
Gujarat Mumbai
Haryana New Delhi
Himachal Pradesh New Delhi
Jammu and Kashmir (disputed territory - those under de facto control of India) New Delhi
Jharkhand Kolkata
Karnataka Chennai
Kerala Chennai
Lakeshadweep (Union Territory) Chennai
Madhya Pradesh Mumbai
Maharashtra Mumbai
Manipur Kolkata
Meghalaya Kolkata
Mizoram (Union Territory) Kolkata
Nagaland Kolkata
Orissa Hyderabad
Pondicherry (Union Territory) Chennai
Punjab New Delhi
Rajasthan New Delhi
Sikkim Kolkata
Tamil Nadu Chennai
Tripura Kolkata
Uttar Pradesh New Delhi
Uttarakhand New Delhi
Uttaranchal New Delhi
West Bengal Kolkata