Last updated: ET
Still valid: ET
Latest updates: The Laws and culture tab was updated - Overview of the criminal law system in India.
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.
Manipur and the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh - Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to Manipur and the areas of Arunachal Pradesh that border with Myanmar, due to the threat of insurgency.
Regional Advisory - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to
the following regions:
- Jammu and Kashmir, with the exception of Ladakh via Manali or by air to Leh, due to sporadic terrorist activity and violent demonstrations (see Security for more information);
- areas in Assam bordering Bangladesh, and areas in Manipur and Nagaland bordering Myanmar, as they are significantly affected by insurgency;
- areas within the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab, due to the possibility of landmines and unexploded ordnance, as well as unmarked border areas (see Security for more information). The Wagah border crossing and towns farther from the border, such as Amritsar in Punjab and Bikaner and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, are excluded from this advisory.
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 state. The prevailing security threat remains at a high level. There are sporadic violent clashes between militants and Indian security forces, and occasional terrorist attacks against Indian security forces, in the Kashmir valley and Jammu region of the state. Civilians have been killed or injured during such attacks. You could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Street demonstrations by the general public are easily triggered and can become violent; in the past, some have resulted in fatalities. Curfews and other mobility restrictions can be imposed by local authorities on short notice.
A strong military presence remains on both sides of the Line of Control (the military control line between India and Pakistan). Unmarked border areas, landmines and unexploded munitions constitute a risk.
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, monitor local news reports, follow the advice of local authorities and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. 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, which is between October and January, as well as in the lead-up to and during periods 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, the early evening. On May 1, 2014, two explosions took place on a train arriving at the station in Chennai. Six explosions occurred in a park in Patna on October 27, 2013, where a large crowd had gathered for a 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. Many people have been injured or killed as a result of these 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, who are responsible for more terrorist attacks in India than any other organization, are usually based in rural and forested areas within the left-wing extremist states. They mainly target government and security forces; in March 2012, however, 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-Mayanmar, Assam-Bangladesh, Nagaland-Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh-Myanmar 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.
Petty crime, including pickpocketing and bag snatching, is common. Ensure that your passport and personal belongings are secure at all times, 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.
Reports of serious assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreign women have increased. Staring, vulgar comments and groping are not uncommon. Foreign women are often a target for unwanted attention. 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. See Her own way - a woman’s safe-travel guide for travel safety information for Canadian women.
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. Beware of offers for cheap transportation or accommodation. See Overseas fraud: an increasing threat to the safety of Canadians for more information on scams abroad.
Demonstrations, large gatherings and unrest
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 civil unrest. Curfews are occasionally imposed and significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation may occur.
Inter-communal violence occasionally occurs, and can escalate and spread quickly.
Stampedes have occurred during large gatherings at events, including religious ceremonies, resulting in deaths and injuries.
Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Traffic drives on the left. Be very careful when crossing the street, even at pedestrian crossings. 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. After dark, avoid travelling outside urban centres as well as any travel by motorcycle or scooter. Use only officially marked taxis, pre-negotiate the far, and seek information from authorized service counters at airports or railway and bus stations. There is a possibility of mob anger when accidents cause serious injury. In such cases, remain in your vehicle and drive to the nearest police station to report the accident.
The four land links between India and Pakistan are highly restricted. See the Travel Advice and Advisories for Pakistan if you plan on travelling to that country. 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.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
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.
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.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Indian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the High Commission for the Republic of India or one of 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 one blank page for a visa. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
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.
A tourist e-visa is available to Canadian citizens entering India through one of the 16 designated international airports (Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kochin, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchi and Varanasi). You can apply online for a tourist e-visa, at least 4 days prior to travelling, for visits not exceeding 30 days. Carry a printed copy of the email confirmation of your e-visa and have a formal visa affixed on your passport upon arrival at the airport. More information is available on the e-tourist visa page.
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 Foreigners Regional Registration Office (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.
Canadian-Pakistani citizens are subject to different visa application procedures.
Foreign nationals going to India to execute projects or contracts must enter on an employment visa. 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 providing details of the loss or theft from the High Commission of Canada to India in New Delhi or Consulate General of Canada in either Chandigarh or Mumbai. Entry details must be verified by the FRRO before an exit visa can be issued. This process can take several days.
If you have overstayed your visa, the local police 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
Special permits are required to visit certain parts of India designated as restricted or protected areas.
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 for the Republic 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
The quality of medical services and facilities varies throughout the country. Medical facilities are generally good in major centres, but are usually limited or unavailable in rural areas. Private facilities often provide a higher level of care, which can be expensive. Most hospitals require up-front payment or confirmation of insurance coverage prior to commencing treatment. Government hospitals provide services free or at minimal cost
There are decompression chambers in Goa and in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
See 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
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect fines and a minimum jail sentence of 10 years.
Laws on purchasing and consuming alcohol, including the legal drinking age, differ from state to state. Seek local advice.
There are strict regulations on the temporary import or export of items such as firearms, antiquities, electronic equipment, local currency, ivory, gold objects, pornographic materials 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 India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs.
The Government of India requires the registration of antique items with local police, along with a photograph of each item. Contact the High Commission of Canada to India in New Delhi for specific information regarding customs requirements.
The laws of India prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.
It is illegal to carry or use a satellite phone in India.
Photographing military installations, airports and dams is prohibited.
You must carry your passport at all times.
An International driving permit is required. Helmets must be worn by motorcycle and scooter drivers and passengers.
A proposed Indian government ban on foreign commercial surrogacy could affect Canadians considering travel to India for the purpose of entering into a surrogacy agreement. If you are considering this option, you should seek independent legal advice to ensure you are eligible and well informed regarding both Canadian and Indian laws and requirements. If you have already entered into a surrogacy arrangement, you should also seek advice from a local lawyer on how you could be affected. Consult the High Commission for the Republic of India in Ottawa and the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi for more information.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in India. If local authorities consider you an Indian citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present an Indian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
If detained, Canadian citizens with dual citizenship of another country should notify the local authorities about their Canadian citizenship if they would like to receive consular assistance.
Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities. Physical contact, such as holding hands, between men and women in public is frowned upon.
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, 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 must 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 not fully convertible. Credit cards are accepted in major cities. Automated banking machines are widely available. Check with 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 in western and southwestern India extends from June to September. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, which can cut off affected areas. Monitor updates from the Indian Meteorological Department and follow the advice of local authorities.
India’s coastline is subject to cyclonic storms. Heavy rain can cause flooding throughout the country, resulting in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and hampering the provision of essential services. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities. See Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.
Parts of India are located in active seismic zones. If you find yourself in or around an area affected by an earthquake, monitor local media for the latest developments and follow the advice of local authorities.
Many cities in India frequently experience high levels of air pollution, and dust storms occur across northern India. 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.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 100 / 112 from cellular telephones
- medical assistance: 102
- firefighters: 101
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 consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are 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 to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
- Date modified: