A tourist who visits a country is entitled to obey the rules and regulations existing in the visiting country. There are several inbound-outbound travel regulations in India. They are
a. Passport and Visa requirements
All visitors from countries except Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are required to possess a valid passport before entering Indian territory through land, sea or air. All nationalities are required to possess a visa to enter India. There are different kind of visas namely entry visa, tourist visa, business visa, long-term visa and collective landing permit. Visas are issued by Indian Consular Offices in different countries. A tourist visa has a normal validity of 180 days, which can be further extended upon special request. Outbound travelers can get visas for the visiting country by visiting the Consular Offices of the respective country. Recently, Government of India has taken some steps to speed up the visa delivery process. This avoids unnecessary delays that cause the tourists to go in search of other tourism destinations.
b. Special Permits
Normally foreign nationals are free to move within our country but special entry permits are required to visit border states and two groups of islands. Special entry permits are valid only for 15 days. For group tourists, special permits must be taken at least two weeks in advance. Special permit requirements for different states are given below
Andaman And Nicobar Islands
Foreign nationals entering the islands need to get prior permission from the immigration officer of Port Blair or from Chief Immigration Officers at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.
Foreign nationals and Indian domestic tourists require restricted area permits.
Foreign nationals are permitted to visit only Guwahati, Sibsagar, Halflong and Kaziranga. Permits are issued by Assam State Tourist Information Centres at Delhi and other parts of the country.
Permission from the District collector of Bhuj is required by both foreign and Indian tourists to visit Banni region and areas beyond India Bridge.
There are restrictions for entry to Lahaul and Spiti and the district of Kinnaur.
The island of Bangaram is the only place open to foreign tourists.
Similar restrictions are there for different places in the state of Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
c. Custom Regulations
In addition to the passport, visa and entry permits there are some custom regulations enforced by the Government of India. Tourists are allowed to carry one bottle of liquor (950ml or less) and 200 cigarettes. Tourists are not allowed to carry cash worth value above $1000 in cash or traveler’s cheques. If you want to carry cash more than $1000, it must be declared by completion of a currency declaration form. Travellers can carry small items like perfumes, cosmetics etc but larger items like video cameras are to be entered on a ‘Tourist Baggage Re-export’ form to ensure that the article is taken back while leaving the country. A tourist is allowed to clear goods worth up to Rs.2400 in value duty free.
Recent terror attacks have made the Government of India to tighten rules and regulations regarding visa stamping and customs clearance. This surely had a negative impact on tourism and its economy. There is no doubt that too much regulations will affect the tourism sector in a really bad way.