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India Traveler Information - Travel Advice

Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our India Traveler Information guide.

At AARDY we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following India Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to India.

Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.

India Map

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.

VACCINATIONS: Required for yellow fever if the traveler is arriving from an infected area; others are suggested.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: The possession of satellite phones is prohibited in India; Currency in excess of USD $5,000 must be declared. Please check with the Indian Embassy in Washington if you are planning to carry a large amount of currency into India.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: Check local law for reporting requirements for exiting with large quantities of foreign currency and Indian rupees.

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
acsnd@state.gov

The U.S. Embassy, New Delhi serves American citizens in the Indian
states of Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir,
Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and the country of
Bhutan.

Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Mumbai (Bombay)
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, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Diu and Daman, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

U.S. Consulate General Kolkata (Calcutta) 
5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani
Kolkata - 700 071,
West Bengal, India
Telephone: +(91) (33) 3984-2400
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(91) 99030 42956 or
+(91) (33) 3984-2400 then dial "0"
Fax: +(91) (33) 2282-2335

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.
kolkataACS@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Chennai (Madras)
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

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 Lakshwadeep
Islands.
chennaics@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad
Paigah Palace
1-8-323, Chiran Fort Lane
Begumpet, Secunderabad 500 003
Hyderabad, India
Telephone: +(91) (40) 4033-8300
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

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

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 and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose (also see Special Circumstances section below). Please ensure you have the correct type of visa for your planned activity in India.  If you have the incorrect visa you may be refused entry.  Many visitors, including those on official U.S. government business, must apply for visas at an Indian embassy or consulate abroad before entering the country.  

U.S. citizens seeking to enter India solely for tourist purposes, and who plan to stay no longer than 60 days, may apply for an electronic travel authorization at least four days prior to their arrival in lieu of applying for a tourist visa at an Indian embassy or consulate.  Please visit the Indian government's website for electronic travel authorization for additional information regarding the eligibilities and requirements for this type of visa.  Without the electronic travel authorization visas are not available upon arrival for U.S. citizens. If you do not have a valid passport and visa you may be denied admission. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in India cannot assist you if you arrive without proper documentation. Please carry photocopies of the bio-data page of your U.S. passport and the pages containing the Indian visa and Indian immigration stamps. If your passport is lost or stolen, copies will help you apply for a replacement passport and an exit visa from the Indian government. Replacing a lost visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.

U.S. citizens wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate. There are generally no provisions for changing your immigration category (e.g., from tourist to work visa) once you have entered the country. Indian visa regulations change frequently, often with little advance notice, and changes may be poorly advertised and inconsistently enforced. Travelers are urged to check the website of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. before any travel to India to review the most current information. Indian visas may be obtained in the United States through Cox & Kings Global Services, the Government of India’s visa contractor. Diplomatic and Official visa applications, however, are accepted directly at the Indian Embassy and Consulates. Please review the information on the Cox & Kings Global Services website to determine your purpose for travel and the most appropriate visa category. All U.S. government employees, including military personnel, must obtain country clearance for travel to India. Once you have received your visa, check it carefully to ensure that the type of visa and number of entries is appropriate for your travel plans.

U.S. citizens of Pakistani origin or descent are subject to administrative processing and should expect additional delays when applying for Indian visas.

For the most current information on entry and exit requirements, please contact the Embassy of India at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 939-9806 or the Indian Consulates in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, or Houston. Outside the United States, inquiries should be made at the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.

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 nationality, prevention 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 (including local customs and etiquette) and keep a low profile. Monitor local news reports, vary your routes and times in carrying out daily activities, and consider the level of security present when you visit public places, including religious sites, and when choosing hotels, restaurants, and entertainment and recreation venues.

India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the U.S. government's list of foreign terrorist organizations, are active in India, including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, 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.

Swimming in India: You should exercise caution if you intend to swim in open waters along the Indian coastline, particularly during the monsoon season. Every year, several 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. Trained lifeguards are very rare along beaches.

CRIME: 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 adept and women have reported having their bags snatched, purse-straps cut, or the bottom of their purses slit without their knowledge. If you are 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. Violent crime, especially directed against foreigners, has traditionally been uncommon, although in recent years there has been a modest increase. 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. ATM card scams have been used to clone credit card details to withdraw money.

Sexual Assault: Travelers should be aware that there have been reported cases of sexual assault, including rape, of U.S. citizens traveling throughout India. U.S. citizens, particularly women, are cautioned not to travel alone in India. Women traveling in India are advised to respect local dress and customs. Customary everyday dress for Indian women throughout the country is conservative, and even more so in non-urban areas,  with women wearing clothing that covers their legs and shoulders. Exceptions are vacation resorts catering to foreign clientele and some neighborhoods of the major cities of 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 can 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 market places, 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 greater attention on addressing issues of gender violence. One outcome has been greater reporting of incidences of sexual assault country-wide, and Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Among large cities, Delhi experienced the highest number of reported crimes against women. Although most victims have been local residents, recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas across India underline the fact that foreign women are at risk and should exercise vigilance.

Women should observe stringent security precautions, including avoiding use of public transport after dark without the company of known and trustworthy companions, restricting evening entertainment to well-known venues, and avoiding isolated areas when alone at any time of 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).

Scams: Major airports, train stations, popular restaurants, and tourist sites are often used by scam artists looking to prey on visitors, often by creating a distraction. Beware of taxi drivers and others, including train porters, who solicit travelers with "come-on" offers of cheap transportation and/or hotels. Travelers accepting such offers have frequently found themselves the victims of scams, including offers to assist with "necessary" transfers to the domestic airport, disproportionately expensive hotel rooms, unwanted "tours," unwelcome "purchases," extended cab rides, and even threats when the tourists decline to pay. There have been reports of tourists being lured, held hostage and extorted for money in the face of threats of violence against the traveler and his/her family members.

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.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for more information on scams.

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 our information on victim’s 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

Please note that 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 are unable to take any meaningful action without the filing of a police report.

In cases of sexual assault or rape, the Embassy or Consulates General can provide a list of local doctors and hospitals, if needed, to determine if you have been injured and to discuss treatment and prevention options for diseases and pregnancy. You should be aware that in order 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. 

There are a number of resources in India 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 one can dial 1-800-425-2908 or 1098 for crimes in general.

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 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. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

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.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

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

Drugs: Several U.S. citizens have been arrested at Indian airports for attempting to smuggle illegal drugs from India. All claimed 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.

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. The OCI program is similar to the Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card except that PIO holders must still register with Indian immigration authorities, and PIO cards are not issued for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens of Indian descent can apply for PIO or 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 are required to travel on a U.S. passport when traveling in and out of the United States.

Customs restrictions: Before traveling to or from India, you are urged to inspect all bags and clothing thoroughly to ensure they do not inadvertently contain prohibited items. Several U.S. citizens have been arrested or detained when airport security officials discovered loose ammunition (even spent individual bullets and casings) or weapons in their luggage. If you are found to have loose ammunition or bullets (including empty bullet shells used in souvenirs) on your person or in your bags, you could be charged with violation of the Indian Arms Act, incarcerated, and/or deported from India.

In addition, U.S. citizens have been arrested and prosecuted for possession of satellite phones which is prohibited in India.

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 Dehra Dun, 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 inavailability of goods and services, including supplies for multiple days after a severe weather event.

Accessibility: While in India, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation 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.

Women Travelers: Please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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

LGBTI Rights: An 1861 colonial-era law, known as Section 377 of India’s penal code, makes same-sex sexual acts illegal in India, and a December 2013 Indian Supreme Court ruling confirmed the law. Although prosecution under Section 377 is rare, LGBTI visitors may wish to avoid drawing attention. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Health

Zika is present in India. See the Centers 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. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) 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. 

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 yellow-fever areas, Indian health regulations require that you present evidence of vaccination against yellow fever. If you do not have such proof, you could be subjected to immediate deportation or a six-day detention in the yellow-fever quarantine center. If you transit through any part of sub-Saharan Africa, even for one day, you are advised to carry proof of yellow fever immunization.

Dogs and bats create a high risk of rabies transmission in most of India. Vaccination is recommended 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 is transmitted 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. Influenza vaccine is recommended for all travelers during the flu season.

Outbreaks of avian influenza (H5N1 virus) occur intermittently in eastern India, including West Bengal, Manipur, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Assam. For further information on pandemic influenza, please refer to the Department of State's 2009-H1N1, Pandemic Influenza, and H5N1 Fact Sheet.

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

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in India. For further information, please consult the CDC’s Travel Notice on TB.

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 Embassy’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.

For emergency services, 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.

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 taxis’ back seats. 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. 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.

Public Transportation: Buses, patronized by hundreds of millions of Indians, are convenient in that they serve almost every city of any size. However, they are often driven fast, recklessly, and without consideration for the rules of the road. Accidents are quite 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.

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.

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:

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

Fact Sheet

Please see Fact Sheet for this country/area. 

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

India was cited in the State Department’s 2020 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.

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