INDIA - Exercise a high degree of cautionThere 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 PradeshForeign Affairs and International Trade 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 and International Trade 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 (consult the Security tab for more information).
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. There are sporadic violent clashes between militants and Indian security forces in the Kashmir valley and Jammu region of the state. Occasionally, there are grenade 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.
Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri in Assam (see Advisory)
Unrest in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts has led to the imposition of an indefinite curfew by local authorities. Transportation services have been disrupted and mass displacements of local residents have been reported. Canadians currently in Assam and neighbouring states are advised to avoid large crowds, monitor the situation closely, and follow the advice of local authorities.
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. 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.
Consult our Transportation Safety page 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.
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. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
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.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for India.
Consult our page entitled Receiving Medical Care in Other Countries if you are contemplating undergoing a medical procedure in India.
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.
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ 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, currency, ivory, gold objects and other prohibited materials. 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.
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.
Disasters & Climate
India is located in an active seismic zone.
The rainy (or monsoon) season in western and southwestern India extends from June to September. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, which can cut off affected areas.
Severe flooding caused by heavy rains is currently affecting the northern state of Uttarakhand. Landslides have been reported between Uttarkashi and Gangotri.
India’s coastline is subject to typhoons. These storms can result in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and can hamper the provision of essential services. Be especially vigilant during high-tide days in Mumbai.
Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities. Consult our Typhoons and Monsoons page for more information.
Many cities in India frequently experience high levels of air pollution, and you should follow the advice of local authorities to reduce your exposure. Dust storms, which can occur across northern India, may cause various irritations and exacerbate existing health problems. Take these health risks into account and consult your physician prior to travelling if you suffer from cardiac or respiratory 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.
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