VISA AND TRAVEL GUIDANCE
To know about visa procedures, please visit the website https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/ We are giving some information hereunder; however, this information may or may not be applicable. You have to contact Indian Embassy or High Commission in your respective country.
Tourist Visa to India
You must provide your actual signed passport, including one copy of the personal information page of your passport. Your passport must:
- Be valid for six months beyond the validity of your requested visa
- Contain at least two blank visa pages for the visa stamp (amendments and endorsement pages cannot be used to fulfill this requirement)
- Not be frayed, torn, separating, or altered in any other way
If your passport does not meet these requirements, please contact VisaCentral at 877-535-0688 for further details.
You must provide two color, passport-type photographs that meets the following criteria:
- Be taken within the last three months and printed on high-quality photo paper
- o Be taken against an all white background
- Be two inches by two inches
- Provide the full frontal view of your head with your face centered in the middle and displaying a neutral (non-smiling) expression
- You may wear neither eyeglasses nor headwear except for religious purposes
- Your photos should not be affixed to your application and it may not display evidence of adhesive tape or staples
3. Driver's License
You must provide a copy of your driver's license. Your copy must display your home address as it appears on your visa application form. Please note: Your passport will be shipped back to the address indicated on your application under "Present Address" and the address must match your license or utility bill.
4. Visa Application Form
The Consulate of India requires a visa application form that is completed online. To access the form follow this link: http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/. Click on the orange button labeled "Regular Visa Application" in the upper-left corner to begin the process. Your application must:
VisaCentral provides a guide to assist you in completing the application. To access the guide follow this link: https://visacentral.com/forms?formname=IndiaGuide.pdf or type the address into your browser.
At this time, VisaCentral strongly advises against using the India visa on arrival option because the online authorization process lacks support as well as the travel risks and uncertainty surrounding the process.
5. Additional Particulars Form
You must sign and complete the Additional Particulars Form found in this kit. All questions must be answered with a "yes" or "no". Do not use N/A on the form. In the case of an application for a minor child, both parents must sign the Additional Particulars Form.
6. Persons of Indian Origin Only
If you are of Indian origin you are required to renounce your Indian citizenship in order to apply for an Indian visa. Please note VisaCentral cannot submit your request for a visa without the renunciation certificate. You must provide proof your of renunciation as one of the following:
- A Certificate of Renunciation issued by a Consulate of India
- An Indian passport containing a stamp of renunciation
7. Persons of Pakistani Origin Only
You must make a personal appearance at the Indian Consulate to process your visa if you are a person of Pakistani origin and/or formerly held a Pakistani passport. The consulate requires additional procedures in order to process your visa and VisaCentral is unable to assist in these procedures.
8. Frequent Travelers to India
A re-entry permit is required of travelers who were born in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and stateless persons if you wish to re-enter India in less than 2 months after your last visit.
9. Born in China or Hong Kong
If you are a US citizen born in China or Hong Kong, the embassy will require 30 days to process your application.
10. Special Protected or Restricted Area Permit
Applicants traveling in the following areas require a restricted area permit: Arunachal Pradesh, parts of Himachal Pradesh, parts of Jammu and Kashmir, parts of Rajasthan, Sikkim and parts of Uttarakhand. The permit application form can be found at: https://visacentral.com/forms?formname=RAP.pdf or type this address into your browser. If applicable, submit the completed form with the rest of your documents.
11. Former Armed Forces
Applicants who previously served in the armed forces may not apply for long validity visas for India. The consulate will only issue a 1-year validity visa to these travelers.
12. Electronic Tourist Visa
If you meet specific eligibility requirements then you may wish to apply for an e-Visa. The e-Visa is an electronic authorization from the government to enter India and is equivalent to a visa, but no stamp or label is placed in your passport.
To be eligible the traveler must:
- Submit for the e-Visa no less than 4 days and no more than 120 days prior to entry into India
- Must be arriving by air or sea at specific airports and seaports
- Traveling for a 180 day or less stay in India
13. Urgent Applications
If you have an urgent visa application that carries a tight deadline, VisaCentral can help you to save valuable time and avoid expensive delays. A VisaCentral expert will review all of your documents to certify your application is accurate, complete and ready for submission. We will contact you personally to quickly handle any mistakes ensuring your application is submitted correctly. Visit https://visacentral.com/visa-pre-check-service to learn more about this service.
Being the financial capital of India, Mumbai has excellent connectivity with most of the major cities around the world, including, New York, London, Frankfurt, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur to name a few. If you are flying from Europe it is generally cheaper to fly from London, and there are many flights daily. Most of the domestic sectors too are linked to Mumbai, making it the second busiest aviation hub in the country.
Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is India's second-busiest airport and one of the main international gateways to the country. Many international airlines such as British Airways, United, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Lufthansa, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines, fly into Mumbai. Low-cost carriers also fly to the city.
The airport consists mainly of two terminals (domestic and international) - both terminals use the same airspace but are 4 km apart. There is a free shuttle bus connecting them but be prepared for long delays through security. Going from Domestic to International you are taken outside the airport and you will re-enter through International Departures.
The Sahar Elevated Access Road, abbreviated to SEAR, is a dedicated, elevated, express access road in Mumbai that connects the Western Express Highway (WEH) near Hanuman Nagar junction in Vile Parle, with the forecourts of Terminal T2 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. It facilitates easier and quicker access to the commuters proceeding to and from the airport.
In Country Travel
Trains arrive in Mumbai from all over India. The Central line serves connectivity to Southern India, Eastern India, and parts of North India. The key stations are Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, CST [CSTM], Dadar Terminus [DR], (for Central Line) and [DDR] (for Western Line), and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus [LTT] (formerly called Kurla Terminus). The Western line connects to the Western states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and some parts of North India. The main termini are Mumbai Central [BCT] and Bandra Terminus [BDTS].
The Konkan Railway (which is a separately administered and newly built line) travels through the picturesque Konkan coast of Maharashtra and is a good way to travel from Goa and Mangalore, coastal resort areas to the South. The Dadar Terminus is the destination for the line.
For trains to other Indian cities, the main reservation offices are at Churchgate, Mumbai Central, and Bandra on the Western line and CST and Dadar on Central line. There are special ticket windows and quotas for foreign tourists. For bookings and tariffs on train tickets to anywhere in India from Mumbai, visit Indian railway's website . To travel unlimited on the Mumbai you can use [TOURIST TICKET] Mumbai Local Tourist Ticket provided by the Indian Railways.
National highway numbers 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 17, and the Mumbai-Pune expressway radiate from the city providing links to all parts of the country. The road conditions are generally better than in the rest of India. The comfortable airconditioned blue cabs are available to Pune and Ahmednagar-Nashik from opposite Asiad Bus Termina in Dadar and Lakhamsi Nappoo Road near Dadar east railway station respectively.
Mumbai is well served by buses from destinations inside India.
- Asiad Bus Service : The bus terminal, popularly known as 'Asiad Bus Terminal' on Ambedkar Road in Dadar east is another hub from where buses travel to Pune at regular frequency of 15 minutes to 1 hour. The fares are in the range of ₹100-₹200 and buses vary in comfort from ordinary to luxury with air-conditioning. Other routes available are Mumbai - Satara, Mumbai - Nasik. The easiest way to reach the terminal is to cross overusing pedestrian foot bridge to Dadar East from the Dadar Terminus and walk straight all the way (less than 5 minutes) to Ambedkar Road.
- Private Buses : There also exist numerous private bus operators who operate a large number of services from/to Mumbai from most major cities like Udaipur , Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Indore, Nashik, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Belgaum, Hubli, Bangalore, Mangalore, Trichur and Goa. For Pune , buses depart every 10 minutes. Crawford Market, Dadar T.T, Sion, Chembur and Borivili are the main starting points. Some of the reliable private operators are - National,Neeta, Sharma, VRL, Konduskar, Dolphin, Paulo and Southern Travels.
- Government Buses : (MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation)), +91 22 2307 4272 (Mumbai Central) , +91 22 2307 6622 (Mumbai Central), +91 22 2422 9905 (Parel) , +91 22 2413 6835 (Dadar) . Operates services to Mumbai from various cities in Maharashtra. Mumbai Central is the most important Terminus in the city. All major cities in Maharashtra and nearby states are connected through Mumbai Central Terminus. The other important ST depots are at Parel, Nehru Nagar-Kurla, and Borivali. You can get buses for all over Maharashtra from these depots. But from Mumbai Central you would get buses any time as well as other State Transport buses. Quality varies. edit
Another option is to book bus tickets online from Redbus or myticketbuddy , both of which have a choice of a number of large private bus operators all over India.
Most of Mumbai's inhabitants rely on public transport to and from their workplace due to the lack of parking spaces, traffic bottlenecks, and generally poor road conditions, especially in the monsoon. However, do ride in a taxi and auto at least once in the city. If you are not used to Indian roads, an auto-rickshaw ride can be a heart-stopping, death-defying, laws-of-physics-bending. Feel real adventure in a vehicle that feels like it might fall apart at a speed over 30 km/h with a driver who thinks he's Schumacher. For travelling using public transport, you can download the m-Indicator app for Android and iPhone . It contains useful information about bus and train routes, which can help you plan your commute.
- TMT (Thane Municipal Transport) operates services in the Thane city and areas around it.
- The MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation), commonly known as ST, operates services from selected points in the city to the extended suburbs. From Dadar, services to Navi Mumbai and Panvel and from Borivali to Thane being the most prominent. Numerous other important routes are also covered in the MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region) by the MSRTC.
- NMMT (Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport) operates services in Navi Mumbai Area, and a few points around. They also have services from Mulund in Greater Mumbai.
- KDMT (Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Transport) operates in the Kalyan-Dombivali Area with a few connections to Navi Mumbai.
Black & Yellow Top Taxi
Taxis are cheap and plentiful ($15–18 should be enough to take you from one end of the city to the other). Most taxis in Mumbai are small-medium sized Fiat cars (non air-conditioned), painted black-and-yellow (black on lower body and yellow on roof). The legal maximum limit on the number of passengers in a taxi is 4, excluding the driver. You can hail a cab off the streets. However, many are quite rickety, dirty, and carry mechanical fare meters that could be tampered at times. However, by Feb 2013 all Taxis are instructed to shift to electronic meters which are somewhat tamper-proof. If you encounter a mechanical meter post that date, you can put up a complaint to the closest traffic police cop. Also, according to law, a black-and-yellow taxi driver cannot refuse a fare. If a driver does refuse, a threat to complain to the nearest cop usually does the trick.
If you have extra pieces of luggage, the boot (i.e. trunk) of the taxi will not provide sufficient space - one large suitcase is all that will fit there. Hiring a taxi with a top carrier will be better. Top carriers can accommodate up to three large suitcases. Before starting the journey, ensure that the luggage is securely fastened to the carrier. Generally, the only way to call for the standard taxi is to hail one on the street. This will not be a problem if you are inside city limits (i.e. North Central Bombay and below). If you are in the suburbs, it will be difficult to find a taxi as they have been out-competed by the cheaper auto-rickshaws.
The maximum number of passengers allowed for a trip officially is four — three in the back seat and one in the front. Seat belts are not mandatory for taxi passengers and most standard black and yellow taxis will not even have them installed, though expect them in the branded ones.
Blue & White Top Taxi
The Blue and White (B/W) Taxis are premium public Taxis which are the air-conditioned version of the Black and Yellow (B/Y) Taxis. All the rules of the B/Y taxis apply to the B/W taxis too, except that the B/W taxis are air-conditioned. Moreover, the fare of the B/W taxis is 20% higher than the B/Y taxis. This is the premium expected for the air-conditioned, which is really helpful for tourists and travelers who are not accustomed to the heat and pollution of Mumbai. Moreover, all the B/W taxis ply with electronic meters, unlike the B/Y taxis.
Since the fare of the B/W is at a premium, the common folks usually do not prefer to travel by the B/W taxis, and is primarily used by tourists or business travelers. For the lack of demand, the lack of supply is also expected. The taxis ply frequently, but are not easily available on all locations. You can always expect them to be available at tourist hot spots like Railway Stations, Airports, Premium Hotels, Top Tourist Spots, etc. If you are not travelling through either of the above locations, and you need the air-conditioned comfort, but do not want to go look for a taxi, it is suggested that you move to the next section.
If you want a comfortable, air-conditioned ride at a small surcharge of 25 percent over normal taxis it's best to travel by branded cab services xthat operate at government-approved tariffs. These services operate modern fleets with well trained drivers. You can get them at 30–60 minutes notice, they are clean, air-conditioned, equipped with digital, tamper-proof meters, punctual, honest, and GPS-equipped-monitored, which makes them far secure at any time. If you're using a mobile phone, you receive an SMS with the driver's name, mobile number and car number 30 minutes before scheduled departure. Charges are ₹22 for the first kilometre and ₹15 for subsequent kilometres, with a 25% night surcharge (midnight-5AM). Some can be booked online. Follow the queue system to board a taxi. Quite frequently, tourists and new visitors are mobbed by unscrupulous taxi drivers. Most drivers are honest, but the dishonest ones tend to cluster around railway stations and airports where they can more easily find suckers. Unless you are taking a prepaid taxi, always ask taxis to go by the meter. At the start of the journey, ensure that the meter is visible and shows the flag-down fare/meter reading.
Transportation Network Taxis
Mumbai is also serviced by various Transportation Network Organsations. A lot of tourists and locals alike use services like Uber and Ola Cabs to commute in and around Mumbai. Make sure to read the tariffs in these before you pay. While most of these services do accept cash, a lot of them can also be linked to online wallet services like Paytm etc.; as such, overcharging is rarely a risk.
Travelling in Mumbai is generally safe at any time of the day or night. The risks primarily run if you are not aware of the fares and fare calculations (only applicable to non-electronic and non-prepaid meters). If you travel alone, especially in night, then always see the meter by yourself and then pay the fare. If you are alone, it is recommended that you sit in front so that you can see the meter. The night charges are only applicable if you board the vehicle during the night hours (midnight to 5AM). If you had boarded the vehicle before midnight, and your journey is finishing after midnight, you are not liable to pay night charges. Similarly, if you board the vehicle before 5AM and you finish after 5AM, you are liable to pay night charges. Unlike other parts of the country, especially Delhi where rape is prevalent, crime is rare, except for possibly common crime like pickpocketing.
One of the common scams is to charge the night fare rate during daytime. You should be careful and read the heading before paying. In some cards, the night fare is red in color and the daytime fare is black in color. When you pay with a ₹500 note, make sure it does not get swapped with a ₹100 note. The notes look similar. Sometimes, auto-rickshaw drivers charge the taxi fare and even show you a tariff card which is used for taxi fare computation. You can download m-indicator app which is available in Play Store and iTunes App Store. This app carries latest taxi fares, auto fares, bus services details and local train timetable.
Auto-rickshaws are only allowed to operate beyond Bandra in the western suburbs and beyond Sion in the central suburbs. They are not issued licenses in the downtown areas.
Before departing, ensure that the meter is visible and shows the flag-down reading as 1.00 (on a mechanical meter). If the number is higher, insist that the driver flags it down once again. The minimum fare is ₹18. The meter remains at 1.00 for the first 1.6 km and every 0.10 movement indicates approx 200 m (i.e. 1.50 for every 0.2 km). The fare is ₹7 for every km, except for the first 1.6 km for which it is ₹15. Every auto driver is supposed to carry a valid RTO approved meter tariff card. You can check this tariff card before paying. The meter also keeps ticking if you are waiting and/or are stuck in traffic. It's quite handy to have a copy of the meter card issued by The Mumbai Traffic Police. All of this applies to mechanical meters, not digital meters. Newer digital meters have started becoming common from 2012 onwards, and they show the exact fare, so there is no need to convert via the tariff card.
Auto-rickshaws are slower than cars and have terrible suspensions. Pregnant ladies are most strongly advised not to travel by auto-rickshaws since the combination of rash driving, poor suspensions, and horrible road conditions have quite often led to serious complications. The auto-rickshaw is a slow and uncomfortable vehicle and not recommended for very long distances.
By local train
Most people travel in Mumbai using the Suburban Rail Network commonly referred to as "Locals". Mumbai has an extensive network, with three lines — the Western Line, the Central Main Line, and the Harbour Line.
- Mumbai is a linear city and the Western Line travels from Churchgate to Dahanu Road via Mumbai's Western Suburbs. The Western line provides North-South connectivity.
- The Central Main Line travels from Mumbai CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), aka VT Victoria Terminus to Kalyan via Mumbai's Central Suburbs and Thane, with some services running beyond to Karjat, Khopoli, and Kasara. The interchange point between the Western Line and the Central Line is Dadar.
- The Harbour Line has a common stretch between Mumbai CST (aka VT Victoria Terminus) and Vadala. The harbour line splits into two spurs, the main one running to Mumbai's Eastern Suburbs and Navi Mumbai, up to Panvel. The Interchange point of this line with the Central Main Line is at Kurla. The other spur of the Harbour Line runs up to Mahim on the Western Line and runs parallel up to Andheri. The interchange stations with the Western line are Bandra and Andheri.
Trains on all lines start operations after 4AM and close operations between midnight and 1AM. Second class travel is very cheap. However, it is advisable to buy first class tickets as the economy class is extremely crowded. First Class can be quite expensive and if four people are travelling together, a taxi might be better. There would always be queues and it would be advisable to buy coupon booklets. Coupon booklets punching machines are available at all stations and the best thing is you will not have to stand in a huge line to buy a booklet. Another option is to buy a Smart card for Railways. It helps you maintain balance like any a gift card with an option to refill it once it goes below the limit. Smart card outlets to buy tickets are available on all stations. They are touch screen based and you can simply follow the instructions to buy a ticket for the right path.
If you are a tourist, you can buy a 'Tourist Ticket'. It costs ₹275 and you can travel in first class compartments of all the three lines during the entire day. Ensure the location of the first class compartment before the train arrives. You may ask fellow passengers or the vendors at the various food stalls. An easier way to spot the location of the First class compartment is to check the station walls painted with red and yellow slant stripes.
Avoid using local trains during rush hour (first class or otherwise). Rush hour is 8:30–10:30AM towards CST and Churchgate and 5:30PM–8:30PM in the opposite direction. If you are traveling during rush hour, don't stand near railway track as you will get swamped by frantic. Take no offense if you are pushed and shoved about, as passengers jostle for a spot. As you near your exit station, ensure that you are as close as possible to the train door, as experienced commuters, will be begin the mad run to be first on, or off, the car before the car comes to a full stop. If you stand any chance of getting on/off before the train depart, you must be equally aggressive in your focus to exit/enter, remember no one will take offense if you make contact with others, as you wriggle by. Last, but not least, exiting/entering a train before it comes to a full stop is not something to be taken lightly, one misstep can send a person onto the rails with an amazing ease! Leave the stunts to the experienced locals.
There are special coaches for women on both classes. These are designated by green and yellow slant stripes, spot these stripes on the station walls and you'll know where the ladies compartment is. These are generally less crowded and safer. But very late at night, it might actually be safer to travel by the general coach than the first-class women's coach, as the latter may be absolutely empty except for you. From 11:15PM-6:30PM the ladies compartment towards the northern end is open to general public. Sometimes they have a cop guarding the coaches, but sometimes they won't. Use your judgment.
There are a few intra-city ferry services:
- Gateway of India to Elephanta Caves: Fast boats and Catamarans operated by private operators. These are moderately priced. This is only way to get to Elephanta Caves.
- Gorai (Borivali) to Gorai Beach: Low cost ferry connecting Gorai Beach/Esselworld.
- Marve Jetty (Malad) to Manori Jetty: Cheap ferry (by BEST) connecting Manori and Gorai. Also services for Esselworld (Amusement Park).
- Versova (Andheri) to Madh Jetty: Cheap ferry connecting Madh/Erangal/Aksa/Marve.
Travel agents and hotels can arrange private chauffeur driven cars to provide services. Expensive by comparison with taxis, they are the most trusted, secure, and comfortable way to travel around the city. Driving in Mumbai can be difficult, because of poor driver discipline, but chauffeur driven services are very reasonable. These can be arranged by travel companies or online from the countries of origin. Car rental agencies also have services in Mumbai.