Himachal Travel Information

• Passports & Visas
All foreign nationals require visa to enter India. However, there are some relaxation for Bhutanese and Nepalese nationals. Details and types of visa and the fee may be obtained from the Indian Embassy.

Tourist visas are issued for one month, six months or five years. Please consult your nearest Indian government mission to find out the latest details, fees etc. Tourist visas can be extended by three months at the foreigner’s registration office in New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai, or with the Superintendent of Police at any District Headquarters. Four passport size photographs are needed for obtaining a visa.

If stay in the country exceeds 180 days, then tourists are required to get a tax clearance certificate, available at the foreigner’s section of the income tax department in every major city. It is also advisable to keep bank receipts to show that the money has been changed legally.

Special permits may be required additionally with the visa to visit certain areas of the country. Areas such as parts of Sikkim and the Northeast frontier states, northeast of Himachal Pradesh near the Tibetan border, are out of bounds for foreign nationals. For special permissions, please write to the Ministry of Home Affairs at least four weeks in advance of your intended visit.

• Restricted & Protected Areas
Certain parts of the country need special permits before they can be visited. The States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland have been designated as protected areas and foreigners cannot enter these areas without special permits. These permits are issued by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi at least 4 weeks before the date of the expected visit.

Certain areas of Sikkim have been declared as restricted areas. Individual tourists are permitted to visit Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodang, Zongri and Pemayangtse. The duration of stay has been raised from 7 to 15 days. Permits can be issued by all Indian Missions abroad, all FRRO’s, Immigration Officers at Airports at Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and New Delhi. Manipur has also been opened to foreign tourists and permits can be issued by all Missions abroad, all FRRO’s, Home Commissioner, Imphal. The duration of stay has been raised from 3 to 5 days.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Individual foreign tourists can visit Port Blair Municipal Area, Havelock Island, Long Island, Neil Island, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Rangat, where a night halt is allowed and Jolly Buoy, South Cinque, Red Skin, Mount Harriet, Madhuban where only day visits are allowed. Prior permit is necessary.

Lakshadweep Islands: Only Bangaram and Subeli Islands are open to foreign tourists. Permits are required, obtainable from the Lakshadweep Administration, Wellington Island, Harbour Road, Cochin.

• Health Regulation, Diseases & Accidents
The most important cause of illness of travelers in India is food and waterborne diseases. Viruses, bacteria, or parasites can cause diarrhea. Infections may cause simple diarrhea and vomiting, fever, or in extreme cases, liver damage (hepatitis).

Malaria is a preventable infection that can create trouble if left untreated. One can prevent infection by taking prescribed anti-malarial drugs and protecting against mosquito bites. Malaria risk in this region exists in some urban and rural areas, depending on the elevation.

If someone is visiting the mountainous region of the Himalayas, he/she should ascend gradually to allow time for the body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude sickness. In addition, one should use sun-block rated at least 15 SPF, because the risk of sunburn is greater at high altitudes.