Security Alert
May 17, 2024

Worldwide Caution

International Travel

English

Learn About Your Destination

India

India
Republic of India
Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism.

Reissued with updates to health information.

Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism.

Do not travel to:

  • The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest.
  • Within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict.

Country Summary: Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.

Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these areas.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to India.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined India has a moderate level of COVID-19.  Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

If you decide to travel to India:

Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this state (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh). Sporadic violence occurs particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating India and Pakistan, and in tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

India-Pakistan Border – Level 4: Do Not Travel

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 Attari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan. The border crossing is usually open but 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 apply for a Pakistani visa in your country of residence before traveling to India.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Northeastern States – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur occasionally in the northeast.

U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are prohibited from traveling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorization from the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Central and East India – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Maoist extremist groups, or “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. The Naxalites have conducted frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials.

Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all U.S. government travelers to states with Naxalite activity must receive special 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.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

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:


Yes. Travelers must enter with a visa in their passport. The visa is valid for 10 years for U.S. citizens. Or they can use an e-tourist visa, which varies in validity. Note that the Indian authorities issue visas with dates in the DD/MM/YY format.

VACCINATIONS:


Travelers arriving from an infected area must have a yellow fever vaccination. Others are suggested.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


You must declare currency over USD $5,000 at entry. Please check with the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. if you are planning to carry a large amount of currency or gold into India.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


Check local law for rules on reporting large amounts of foreign currency and Indian rupees when leaving.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy New Delhi

Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
India
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 U.S. citizens in the Indian states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, the union territories of Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, and the country of Bhutan.

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Mumbai
C-49, G-Block, Bandra Kurla Complex
Bandra East, Mumbai 400051
India
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  
mumbaiacs@state.gov

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

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

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
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
chennaics@state.gov

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 the Lakshwadeep Islands. 

U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad
Survey No. 115/1, Financial District, Nanakramguda
Hyderabad, Telangana, 500032
Telephone:+(91) (40) 6932 8000
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 
hydacs@state.gov

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

Destination Description

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

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

All U.S. citizens need a valid passport as well as a valid Indian visa or an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card to enter and exit India for any purpose. India may deny entry to travelers without valid documents or the correct type of visa. Indian visa rules and instructions change often. They often do so with little warning. Travelers should check the website of the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C. before any travel to India to review the most current information. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in India cannot assist you if you arrive without proper documentation.

U.S. citizens seeking to enter India solely for tourist purposes for stays of less than 60 days may apply for an eVisa at least four days before their arrival. Please visit the Indian government's website for electronic travel authorization for more information and to submit an application visit the Bureau of Immigration’s website.

U.S. citizens seeking to enter India as a tourist for longer than 60 days or for any other purpose must apply for a visa from an Indian embassy or consulate. The Government of India has appointed VFS Global to assist with visa services for individuals in the United States. Applicants may apply for Indian visas through the application link. Please exercise caution and check the correct website and as there are many fake webpages that will gather your personal information.

You can submit Diplomatic and Official visa applications directly to the Indian Embassy and Consulates. All U.S. government employees traveling on official orders, including military personnel, must get country clearance for travel to India. Once you have received your visa, check it carefully to ensure that the type of visa, validity dates, and number of entries is appropriate for your travel plans.

Keep copies of your U.S. passport data page, as well as the pages containing the Indian visa and Indian immigration stamps, with you at all times. Consider saving these documents to your mobile phone in case of emergency. If your passport is lost or stolen, copies will help you apply for a replacement passport and an exit permit from the Indian government. Replacing a lost visa, which is required to exit the country, may take several business days.  

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. Similarly, if you are traveling to India to give birth, you must register your newborn’s birth within 14 days with the FRRO office. Failure to do so will result in fines, fees, and penalties. The FRRO has 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 break Indian visa rules, you may need clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs to leave. In general, authorities will fine you and, in some cases, may even jail you for months. Visa violators seeking an exit permit must visit the Foreigners Regional Registration Office portal to submit the application and pay any levied fines. Processing an exit permit can take up to 90 days in these cases. Decisions will be made case by case.  

Possession of a satellite phone is strictly prohibited in India and may lead to detention or arrest.

For the most current information on entry and exit requirements, please contact the Embassy of India’s Consular wing at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-9806 or the Indian Consulates in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York, or San Francisco. Outside the United States, you should inquire 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. This includes local customs and etiquette. Keep a low profile. Monitor local news reports, vary routes and times in carrying out daily activities, and consider the level of security present when visiting public places, including religious sites, and when choosing hotels, restaurants, and entertainment and recreation venues.

India intermittently experiences terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Some U.S.-designated terrorist groups are active in India, including 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 conducted other criminal activity. 

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. You are urged to obey any imposed curfews and travel restrictions and 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. 

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 years past. 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. You should monitor local television, print and social media, and Mission India’s American Citizens Services Facebook page

Swimming: You should exercise caution if you intend to swim in open waters along the Indian coastline, particularly during the monsoon season. Every year, 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. Several years ago, there were reports of fatal crocodile attacks in the Andaman Islands. Trained lifeguards are very rare along beaches.

Wildlife Safaris: 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 advisable 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 or safaris.

Trekking: 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. Altitudes in popular trekking spots can exceed 25,000 feet (7,620 m); please ensure 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 is generally 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 death and serious injury of passengers.

Areas of Instability: Jammu & Kashmir: The Department of State recommends that you do not travel to the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir because of the potential for terrorist incidents as well as violent public unrest. A number of terrorist groups operate in the territory 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. Foreigners are particularly visible, vulnerable, and at risk. In the past, serious communal violence left the territory mostly paralyzed due to massive strikes and business shutdowns, 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) and may require a travel permit to enter this area.

India-Pakistan Border: The Department of State recommends that you do not 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 sporadically 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 at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are prohibited from traveling to certain areas in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, 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, unless they are only visiting capital cities.

Restricted/Protected areas: Certain states or portions of states require Restricted Area Permits. These 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 union territory of Jammu & Kashmir near the Line of Control with Pakistan and certain portions of the union territory of Ladakh
  • The union territory of 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, you should be aware that the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Center in 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 , Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.

Crime: Violent crime, especially directed against foreigners, has traditionally been uncommon. 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 skilled and travelers have reported having their bags snatched, purse-straps cut, or the bottom of their purses slit without their knowledge. If 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. 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. Scammers have used ATM card scams to clone credit card details and withdraw money.

Individuals have reported cases of sexual assault, including rape, against U.S. citizens traveling throughout India.

The U.S. government cautions citizens, especially women, not to travel alone in India. Please observe stringent security precautions. When traveling without known and trustworthy companions, use public transport specifically designated for “women-only” travelers, which is a free service offered by the Indian government in many metropolitan cities including Delhi and Hyderabad. Please restrict evening entertainment to well-known venues and avoid isolated areas when traveling alone at any time of the 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). If you use app-based services like “Uber” or “Ola” share your ride information with a friend.

Travelers in India are advised to respect local dress and customs. Indian women typically wear conservative everyday dress. This is the norm throughout the country, and even more so in rural areas. They wear clothing that covers their legs and shoulders. Exceptions are vacation resorts catering to foreign clientele and some neighborhoods of major cities like 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 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 marketplaces, 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 more on addressing gender-based violence. One outcome has been more reports of sexual assault nationwide. Indian authorities report rape is one of India's fastest growing crimes.

If you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, you should call the police immediately and follow up with a call to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. We can sometimes connect you with an Indian non-governmental organization that may be able to provide assistance.  

Please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.

If you are victimized overseas, you may be entitled to receive compensation for counseling and/or other services such as relocation back to the United States. For further information, visit the U.S. Department of Justice page for violence against women.

Scams are common at major airports, train stations, popular restaurants, and tourist sites. Scam artists prey on visitors by creating distractions. Be careful of taxi drivers and others. This includes train porters. They solicit travelers with "come-on" offers of cheap transportation and/or hotels. Travelers who accept such offers are often the victims of scams. These include offers to help with "necessary" transfers to the domestic airport, overpriced hotel rooms, unwanted "tours," unwelcome "purchases," long cab rides, and even threats when the tourists decline to pay. Tourists have reported being lured and extorted for money in the face of threats of violence against the traveler and his/her family members. Be careful when hiring transportation and guides. Use only well-known travel agents to book trips.

Some vendors sell carpets, jewelry, and gemstones. These items may be expensive and not of the promised quality. 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. Do not agree to transport any goods on behalf of strangers in exchange for money.

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 oninternational financial scams. 

In another common scam, family members in the United States, especially older people, are asked for money. The scammers claim 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.

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 consulates cannot give legal advice. They also cannot help U.S. citizens with Indian courts on civil or criminal matters. A list of local attorneys is available on the Embassy and Consulates General websites.

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 information on victims’ 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

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 can't act without a police report. 

If your passport is stolen, report the theft or loss right away. Report it to the police in the place where your passport was stolen. You need an FIR to get an exit visa to leave India. The Indian government requires it if the lost passport had 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 discuss treatment and prevention options for diseases and pregnancy. You should be aware that 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. 

India has many resources 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 1098.

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 or Consulates for assistance.

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. You may face arrest, imprisonment, and/or deportation if you violate local laws, even unknowingly.  

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.

If police or prison officials arrest or detain you, immediately ask them to notify the U.S. Embassy. See our webpage for further information.

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

Several U.S. citizens at Indian airports have been arrested for attempting to smuggle illegal drugs from India. Many claim 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.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

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.

U.S. citizens of Indian descent can apply for 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 must use a U.S. passport when traveling in and out of the United States.

Faith-based travelers and those participating in religious activities should refer to the Department of State's Report on International Religious Freedom. Indian law mandates that individuals engaging in religious proselytizing obtain a "missionary" visa. Immigration authorities have determined that engaging in certain activities, such as speaking at religious meetings open to the general public, could violate immigration law if the traveler does not possess 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 religion to another. If you plan to engage in missionary activity, you may want to seek legal advice to find out if Indian law permits the activities you plan to pursue.

Tourists should also mind restrictions and observances when planning to visit any religious establishment. These include Hindu temples, mosques, churches, and other sacred places to 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 rules are strict. Before traveling to or from India, inspect all bags and clothes well. Make sure they do not contain banned items. Airport security officials have arrested or detained several U.S. citizens after discovering loose ammunition (including spent individual bullets and casings) or weapons in their luggage. If authorities find loose ammunition or bullets (including empty bullet shells used in souvenirs) on your person or in your bags, they will charge you with violating the Indian Arms Act, and may incarcerate or deport you from India.

Additionally, Indian authorities have arrested and prosecuted U.S. citizens for possessing satellite phones, which is strictly prohibited in India.

Indian customs authorities enforce strict regulations. They cover temporary importation into or export from India of items like antiquities, electronics, currency, ivory, gold objects, and other banned materials. You need permission from the Government of India 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 Indian law enforcement charges you with any legal violations, make sure to have an attorney review any document before signing 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 Dehradun, 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 unavailability of goods and services, including supplies for multiple days after a severe weather event.

Accessibility: Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation in India 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.

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

LGBTQI+ Travelers: The Supreme Court of India decriminalized same-sex relationships in 2018. Since then, state and union governments have been directed to develop reforms that protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons, including efforts to provide gender neutral bathrooms at schools and colleges and separate housing for gender-nonconforming and transgender persons in prison.

Although Indian law prohibits discrimination by state and nonstate actors based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, the government is inconsistent in implementing and enforcing these laws, and reports of widespread discrimination, harassment, threats, and violence against LGBTQI+ persons, particularly in rural areas or by local police, persist. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Health

For emergency services in India, 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.

Zika, dengue, malaria, measles, and other diseases are present in India. See the Center 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. 

Make sure your health insurance covers care overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.We strongly recommend supplemental insurance 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. 

Pharmaceuticals: Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with limited controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. When buying medication, consult with a medical professional and purchase from reputable establishments. Please visit the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention website on counterfeit drugs for more information.

Water Quality: Water is a common vehicle for the transmission of disease. Impure drinking water can transmit serious diseases such as typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, and dysentery. You can make water safe for drinking by filtering/boiling, distilling, or using chemicals. Bottled water is generally safe for consumption. It is best to stick to the major brands. The water bottle seal or cap should be intact.

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 areas with yellow-fever risk, Indian health regulations require that you present evidence of vaccination against yellow fever. If you lack such proof, authorities may immediately deport you or detain you in the yellow-fever quarantine center for six days. If you travel through any part of sub-Saharan Africa, even for one day, health authorities advise you to carry proof of yellow fever immunization.

Dogs and bats create a high risk of rabies transmission in most of India. Health authorities recommend vaccination 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 transmission occurs 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. During the flu season, health authorities recommend that all travelers get the influenza vaccine.

Outbreaks of avian influenza (H5N1 virus) occur intermittently in eastern India, including West Bengal, Manipur, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Assam.

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

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in India. Please visit the CDC website or more information.

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 Department of State’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. 

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 and 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 back seats of taxis and rideshare vehicles. 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, including the use of driving lanes. 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, in some areas, they are often driven fast, recklessly, and without consideration for the rules of the road. Accidents are 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. Your U.S. driver’s license will not work. 

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: 

  • National Emergency 112 
  • 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 Management page. Travelers are urged to use caution while booking private helicopters for travel, especially in the northeast.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

India was cited in the State Department’s 2023 Annual Report to Congress on International Child Abduction for demonstrating a pattern of non-compliance with respect to international parental child abduction. Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in India. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: May 20, 2024

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U.S. Embassy New Delhi
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
India
Telephone
+(91) (11) 2419-8000
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+(91) (11) 2419-0017

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