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INDIA - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for India. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to a continuing threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country at all times.
Regional Advisory for Manipur and the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against non-essential travel to Manipur and the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh (border with Burma) due to the threat of insurgency.
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to the following regions:
a) Jammu and Kashmir, with the exception of Ladakh via Manali or by air to Leh, due to sporadic terrorist violence and street demonstrations (consult the Security tab for more information);
b) border areas in Manipur (border with Burma) and Nagaland (border with Burma), which are significantly affected by insurgency;
c) areas within the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan: Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab due to the possibility of landmines and unexploded ammunition, as well as unmarked border areas (consult the Security tab for more information);
d) border area between Assam and Bangladesh due to insurgency, and districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri due to inter-communal violence.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Jammu and Kashmir (see Advisory)
There are risks of civil disorder and acts of terrorism in many districts of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Indian army has been given special powers in this region. The prevailing security threat remains at a high level. Street demonstrations by the general public can be easily triggered and occasionally become violent; in the past, some have resulted in fatalities. Curfews and other mobility restrictions can be imposed by local authorities on short notice. There are sporadic violent clashes between militants and Indian security forces in the Kashmir valley and Jammu region of the state. Occasionally, there are attacks against security forces, which could also kill or injure civilians.
A strong military presence remains on both sides of the Line of Control (the military control line between India and Pakistan). India and Pakistan have laid landmines along the length of both sides of the Line of Control. Unexploded munitions along the Line of Control also constitute a risk.
Border with Pakistan (see Advisory)
You should avoid the immediate vicinity along the border with Pakistan in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. Landmines and unexploded ammunition may be present. The Wagah border crossing and the towns farther from the border, such as Amritsar in Punjab and Bikaner and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, are considered safe.
The border is unmarked in certain areas, and travellers may accidentally stray into Pakistan illegally.
There is a continuing threat of terrorist attacks throughout India at all times, including attacks targeting public transportation and places frequented by foreign visitors and expatriates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, remain aware of your surroundings, monitor local news reports, follow the advice of local authorities, avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, and take appropriate steps to increase your personal security. Exercise caution around tourist and religious sites, government installations and during public events such as cultural festivals. Be particularly vigilant during the Indian holiday period between October and January, as well as in the lead-up to and on days of national significance, such as Diwali, Republic Day (January 26) and Independence Day (August 15), as militants have used such occasions to mount attacks. If you see an unattended package, immediately leave the area and report the package to authorities.
Terrorist attacks have occurred throughout India, often taking the form of remotely detonated bomb blasts in crowded markets of major centres at the peak shopping time in the early evening. Six explosions occurred in a park in Patna on October 27, 2013, where a large crowd had gathered for an upcoming political campaign rally. An explosion took place near the office of a political party in Bangalore on April 17, 2013. Two explosions occurred in a crowded neighbourhood in Hyderabad on February 21, 2013. Explosions occurred outside the Delhi High Court in September and May 2011. Three explosions took place in Mumbai in July 2011. In 2010, attacks took place outside a cricket stadium in Bangalore and at a crowded bakery popular among tourists in Pune. Attacks also occurred in Margao, Goa, in 2009, and in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Assam, Bangalore, Jaipur, Manipur and New Delhi in 2008. More than 380 people were killed in these separate attacks.
Maoist extremist groups, known as “Naxalites”, are most active in areas identified by the Government of India as Left Wing Extremist states, which include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Naxalites are responsible for more terrorist attacks in India than any other organization and are usually based in rural and forested areas within the Left Wing Extremist states. In March 2012, two Italian citizens were kidnapped by Naxalites in Odisha State.
There are frequent bombings and attacks by extremist groups in the northeastern state of Manipur. The Manipur-Burma, Assam-Bangladesh, Nagaland-Burma and Arunachal Pradesh-Burma border areas are also affected by insurgency. Trains and railway tracks are sometimes targeted. While tourists have not been specifically targeted, bystanders can be affected.
Violent crime against foreigners is not common. Petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag snatching, is common. Pay attention to the security of your passport and personal belongings, as passports and valuables have been stolen from luggage on trains and buses. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Foreign women are often a target for unwanted attention. Reports of assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreign women have increased. Women should avoid travelling alone, particularly at night, on public transportation, taxis and auto-rickshaws, as well as in less populous and unlit areas, including city streets, village lanes and beaches. Dress conservatively and respect local customs. Should you feel threatened, dial 100 (112 from cellular telephones) to reach police. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Political rallies and demonstrations are frequent throughout the country and can turn violent, particularly around elections. Both domestic and international political events can trigger large-scale demonstrations that may include communal violence. Curfews are occasionally imposed and significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation may occur. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities, and monitor local media.
Traffic drives on the left. Travel by road is dangerous. Most roads, including major highways, are poorly maintained and traffic is congested. Drivers have little regard for traffic regulations and do not follow safe driving practices. Do not travel by motorcycle or scooter after dark. Helmets are compulsory. Use only officially marked taxis, pre-negotiate the fare, and seek information from authorized service counters at airports or railway and bus stations.
Although there are four land links between India and Pakistan, these routes are highly restricted. Canadians require a visitor visa to enter Pakistan. Border crossings (road and rail) are open on a limited basis only, and travellers should inquire in advance.
Rail accidents are common in India, mostly due to poor maintenance. Air and rail traffic in northern India is sometimes affected by cancellations and rescheduling in December and January due to fog.
Maritime accidents are also common and are often caused by poor safety practices. Do not board vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Scams involving the export of jewels and/or carpets have occurred. Taxi drivers may approach you offering money to export such items. Do not accept any offer, no matter how convincing. See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.
If you intend to trek:
a) never trek alone;
b) always hire an experienced guide and ensure that the trekking company is reputable;
c) buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
d) ensure that you are in top physical condition;
e) advise a family member or friend of your itinerary;
f) know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
g) register with the nearest Canadian government office in India; and
h) obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out.
Dial 100 to reach police, 102 for ambulance and 101 for firefighters.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Indian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the High Commission for the Republic of India or its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit India, which must be valid for at least 180 days from the date of entry into India and contain two blank pages for a visa.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit India. You must obtain a visa prior to arrival or you will be refused entry into the country.
Holders of tourist visas can only stay in India for up to 180 consecutive days, even when the validity of the visa exceeds 180 days.
If travelling with a visa that is valid for more than 180 days, you must register, within 14 days of arrival, with the local office of the FRRO in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi or Chennai, and with the Superintendent of Police in all other districts.
If you hold an Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) visa, you must present it upon entry into India, either in a valid passport or in an expired passport (accompanying your valid passport). Your OCI registration booklet is not an acceptable substitute.
Foreign nationals coming to India to execute projects or contracts must enter on an employment visa. As of August 2009, business visas are not accepted for such types of employment.
In the case of a lost or stolen passport, an exit visa is required to leave India. Exit visas can be obtained by presenting the FRRO with a police report, two current passport-size photographs and a letter from the High Commission or Consulate General of Canada providing details of the loss or theft. Entry details must be verified by the FRRO before an exit visa can be issued. This process can take several days.
Indian authorities must provide clearance for an exit visa, which can take two to three days to obtain.
Tourist visa: Required
Employment visa: Required and must be obtained from an Indian government office in the applicant’s country of citizenship
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
You must produce proof of polio vaccination if you are arriving from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, or Somalia. Contact the High Commission of India in Ottawa or the closest Indian consular office for more information.
All passengers boarding flights in India must present their tickets or printouts of their e-tickets along with photographic identification to be allowed into the departure terminals.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Travellers to countries in South Asia should speak to a health care provider about getting vaccinated.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Southern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are generally good in major centres, but are usually limited or unavailable in rural areas. Most hospitals require up-front payment or confirmation of insurance coverage prior to commencing treatment.
Consult our page entitled Receiving Medical Care in Other Countries if you are contemplating undergoing a medical procedure in India.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect fines and a minimum jail sentence of 10 years.
There are strict regulations on the temporary import or export of items such as firearms, antiquities, electronic equipment, local currency, ivory, gold objects and other prohibited materials. Non-residents are prohibited from importing or exporting the Indian rupee, while limits are imposed on residents. For more information, consult the Customs Guide for Travellers of the Central Board of Excise and Customs.
The Government of India requires the registration of antique items with local police, along with a photograph of the item. Contact the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi for specific information regarding customs requirements.
If you are travelling to India for the purpose of entering into a surrogacy agreement, ensure that you are well informed regarding both Canadian and Indian laws and requirements before leaving. Consult the High Commission of India in Ottawa and the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi for more information.
Homosexual activity is illegal.
It is illegal to carry or use a satellite phone in India without permission.
Carry adequate identification at all times.
An International Driving Permit is required.
Foreigners have been forced into marriage without their prior knowledge or consent. For more information, consult our Forced Marriage page and our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide.
A number of Canadians have been involved in marital fraud and dowry abuse in India. Some cases involve misuse of India’s Dowry Prohibition Act. This law, which was enacted to protect women by making dowry demands a crime, is sometimes used to blackmail men through false allegations of dowry extortion. Individuals facing charges may be forced to remain in India until their cases have been settled or to compensate their spouses in exchange for the dismissal of charges. To avoid such problems, register your marriage in India along with a joint declaration of gifts exchanged, and consider a prenuptial agreement as well.
The currency is the rupee (INR), which is non-convertible. Traveller's cheques are widely accepted and can be exchanged at banks. U.S. dollar traveller's cheques are recommended. Credit cards are accepted. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available in larger cities. Consult your bank to find out whether your debit and credit cards will work in India.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from June to September. India’s coastline is subject to cyclonic storms, particularly between April and December. Severe storms can lead to flooding and landslides, which in turn can cause significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and can hamper the provision of essential services. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities. Consult the India Meteorological Department and our Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.
India is located in an active seismic zone.
Many cities in India frequently experience high levels of air pollution. Dust storms, which can occur across northern India, may cause various irritations and exacerbate existing health problems. You can monitor air pollution levels for many Indian cities on the websites of the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
In the summer, northeastern India periodically experiences heat waves. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
New Delhi - High Commission of Canada
Chandigarh - Consulate General of Canada
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) - Consulate of Canada
Mumbai (Formerly Bombay) - Consulate General of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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