Apply for a Tourist E-Visa (60 day validity with double entry into India)
There are a few ways to apply for an India visa and the easiest is through the new e-visa process. Australian and New Zealand passport holders can apply for an e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) to enter India at certain designated airports. You can apply online a minimum of four days before your arrival, up to 120 days. For example, if you’re applying on the 1st of September, you can arrive between the 5th of September and the 2nd of January.
The visa costs US$30 per passenger (excluding credit/debit charges which must be paid at least four days before you travel) and will be valid for 60 days from the date of arrival in India. You’ll need to have a recent front facing photograph with white background and a scanned copy of your passport photo page that can be uploaded in order to proceed with your application. One last thing, your passport will need to be valid for at least six months after your arrival date into India, and have at least two blank pages for stamping.
Longer length/ Multiple Entry Visas for India
If you are travelling through India for more than 60 days, or need to depart and re-enter India more than twice during your trip, you will need to apply for your tourist visa in person by scheduling an appointment to visit an Application Centre in Australia, or you can apply by post. For more information on applying, you can visit the India Visa Information website. The fees for the visa vary, therefore the India Visa Information also has a fee calculator to help work out how much you need to pay.
Both of the above methods are quite long-winded, so you may wish to use a third party to help with the process. We recommend Visas Direct. It might cost more, but it can take a lot of the hassle out of the process, especially since the visa rules for India are so changeable.
Please note: Due to the very changeable nature of visa rules in India, we recommend seeking further information about how to apply for India tourist visas on the Indian High Commission website.
The local currency in India is the Rupee (INR or Rs) and as it can’t be imported or exported, you won’t be able to pre-purchase before you go. Instead you’ll need to organise them when you arrive. You can withdraw Rupee from cash machines, and currency can only be changed at banks or authorised money changers in India, including hotels. Don’t accept any torn bank notes if you are given them as change, as most Indians won’t accept them as payment. This applies to Rupees, Euros or AUD notes, and you can exchange any damaged Rs notes in banks.
Credit and Debit Cards
ATMs are plentiful in India’s cities and they accept most international bank cards, however you’re unlikely to come across many cash points in more rural areas so it’s worth planning ahead and taking some extra cash with you if you’re heading away from the main centres.
Tipping has become customary for the majority of tourist services in India, not only as a sign of gratitude towards guides, drivers, and after a good meal at a restaurant, but also for many smaller services such as porters at hotels and attendants at public bathrooms. As tipping is not customary in Australia, we do hear from many previous travellers that it can be quite confusing working out when and how much to tip for services… unfortunately, knowing how much to tip can be a bit of a guessing game in India.
How much you tip is totally up to you, and should also reflect the quality of service you received. You should tip in Rupees and we’d recommend the equivalent AUD$5-$10 per couple for a day tour with a guide, and AUD$5-$10 per couple for a local driver. If you have the same guide or driver for a number of days, you can simply tip them in bulk at the end of the service. A 10% tip is the norm in restaurants and hotels when no service charge is added to the bill. Obviously this is very much a rough guide and you are completely free to give whatever you feel is appropriate, keeping in mind that a little extra will go a long way for locals in India, and will be hugely appreciated.