With no dedicated India digital nomad visa, finding the correct visa for remote work in the country can be tricky and confusing. India is quickly becoming a favorite for long-staying remote workers from around the world. From hustle and bustle of Mumbai to the relaxing sandy beaches of Goa and the mountainous city of Rishikesh—India offers the perfect destination for almost every digital nomad.
India is late to the party with their remote working visa and, at the time of writing, the country has yet to consider offering a digital nomad visa. However, location-independent workers may find the perfect solution thanks to the multiple-entry tourism visas offered to visitors. Find out everything you need to know about India and find the right digital nomad visa for you in our guide to remote working in the country.
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Does India Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
At the time of writing, India does not offer a dedicated digital nomad visa that can be used by global remote workers to live and work remotely in the country. There is, however, a range of tourism visas that can be used by digital nomads to legally enter and work remotely from India.
Single Entry Tourist Visa
A single-entry tourist visa is the most popular choice for holiday-makers, backpackers, and travelers visiting India briefly with a 30-day maximum stay. These visas, unlike similar visas offered by other countries, cannot be extended or transferred.
Nationals from the majority of countries are permitted to receive an e-visa, although the list of eligible countries is subject to change. A full list of eligible countries can be found on the official India visa guide online, under “Countries/Nationalities who are eligible to avail eVisa”.
Additional information surrounding visa information for any of the above countries can be found on the official website of the Indian Bureau of Immigration.
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Multiple Entry Tourism Visa
The main difference between the tourism visas offered when visiting India lies both in the initial length of time and the number of re-entries permitted inside a set time period.
The multiple-entry tourism visas are arguably the most suitable for digital nomads and, as the name suggests, allow remote workers to move freely, in and out of India without penalty. These multiple-entry tourism visas can be offered as either a one-year visa or a five-year visa. Visitors are, however, only permitted to spend a maximum of 90-days within the Indian borders in any single trip.
Remote workers from either the United States of America (USA) or Japan are given additional visa privileges when traveling to the country on a multiple-entry visa. Instead of the typical 90-day rule, American and Japanese travelers can stay within the Indian borders for up to 180-days in a single period. Additionally, the visa length offered to nationals of the USA and Japan is increased to ten years over the typical five-year period for the majority of other countries/regions.
India Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
The list of requirements allowing remote workers to qualify for an Indian tourism visa may be short, but it is vital for a successful application. The following requirements should be met when applying:
- Valid Passport: The applicant's passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of application.
- Valid Country of Residence: All applicant’s applying for the India tourism visas must be from a valid country of residence (exceptions listed above). Nationals of the UK, Canada, China, etc. should visit the Indian Bureau of Immigration for additional information and the next steps.
- Entry via Approved Airport/Seaport: All visa holders must enter the country via one of the 28 approved airports or five seaports.
- Proof of Onwards Travel: Applicants may be required to show proof of onward travel, ensuring that applicants will not overstay their visa when traveling in India.
- Payment of Visa Fee: All applicants must pay the visa application fee (fees vary with different visas) when applying for the documentation.
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How to Apply
Applying for both the single-entry and multiple-entry India tourism e-Visa is a simple process that can be completed entirely online. The following step-by-step guide is designed to walk digital nomads through the visa application process:
Step 1: Collect Necessary Documents
Regardless of the type of visa that is being applied for, all necessary documents should first be gathered for a seamless application process. Applicants are required to provide the following when applying for tourism visas:
- Copy of Valid Passport (Six Months Validity)
- Digital Passport Photo
- Proof of Onward Travel (Required on Entry to India)
Step 2: Complete the Visa Application
Once all documents have been collected, applicants may begin their online application by visiting and following the onscreen instructions on the official website. Applicants are required to enter their personal and travel information alongside their digital passport photo and copy of their passport with a minimum of six months of validity. Once complete, the application can be submitted to the immigration authorities via the online form. All applicants will be required to pay a small visa fee with the amount depending on the type of visa that is being applied for.
Step 3: Await Visa Approval
Once submitted, visa holders are simply required to await the verdict of their tourist visa application. The processing time is quick with the majority of responses emailed to applicants within just 72 hours of submission.
Step 4: Submit Biometric Details
When arriving at the airport in India, biometric details must be submitted before entering the country. A digital photograph, fingerprints, and a digital signature are required from all arrivals. Alternatively, these details may be taken by an Indian diplomatic mission from the applicant's home country—this can speed up the process when arriving in the country, but is otherwise unnecessary.
Why Choose India for Your Next Remote Working Trip?
India has long been a fantastic destination for digital nomads, in no small part due to the low cost of living achievable in the country. India is currently ranked 101st out of a possible 167 countries in the 2021 Legatum Prosperity Index, above Cuba and below Uzbekistan. The independent study utilizes more than 100 different indexes to rank each country accordingly with healthcare, education, and safety as just some of the focus areas.
Remote Work Culture in India
Remote work in India is on the rise with a growing infrastructure in place, allowing global remote workers to live and work in the country. Alongside the capital, New Delhi, digital nomads hubs are popping up in Goa, Kerala, Rishikesh, and even the mountainous region of Himachal Pradesh. Coworking and co-living opportunities offer a unique and stress-free way to explore the country and find a digital nomad community of like-minded travelers.
The internet connection in India is around the global average and although high-speed streaming and fast download speeds may not always be available, the quality is more than enough for most remote workers.
Cost of Living and Quality of Life in India
The cost of living in India is one of the biggest draws of digital nomads globally with the country being one of the most affordable to live comfortably. On average, the cost of living is estimated at 68.1% lower than in the United States with rental prices estimated at a huge 88.3% lower than in the States. A single digital nomad living and working in India should expect to budget a little over $300 per month in living expenses with a family of four able to live comfortably for approximately $1,100 per month.
This low cost of living is complemented by a moderate quality of life that can be achieved in the country. India is noted to have a quality of life index of approximately 117.4 out of a possible 240 points. A high level of pollution and a high traffic commute time lower this overall score with the low cost of living, healthcare index, and climate index all rated as good.
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Healthcare in India
Healthcare in India is not considered to be of high quality and the general health in the country is ranked 111th out of 167 different countries in the 2021 Legatum Prosperity Index. This ranks India below Syria, but above Bolivia and Iraq, taking into account everything from mortality rates to health systems and risk factors. The healthcare system in India is a multi-payer universal healthcare model funded by a combination of both public and private funds. When visiting India we would always recommend that all digital nomads and travelers take out travel insurance.
India is a wonderful, diverse destination for digital nomads to live and work remotely from. There’s more to the country than the hustle and bustle of the New Delhi capital and Goa, Kerala, and Rishikesh all prove to be fantastic choices for nomads. Coworking and co-living retreats offer a unique and stress-free way of experiencing the country and are a fantastic way to become a part of a digital nomad community.
At the time of writing, India does not currently offer a dedicated digital nomad visa, leaving remote workers at the mercy of tourism visas when visiting the country. A single-entry tourism visa is excellent for fleeting remote workers with a 30-day maximum period to explore the country. However, for most long-term travelers, the multiple-entry visa proves to be the most sensible solution and offers visitors multiple entries to the country in 90-day stints. These visas are available in either one or five-year stints with unlimited travel in and out of the Indian borders. Japanese and American nationals are given additional visa privileges with the option of a ten-year multiple-entry visa. This boasts the additional benefit of 180-day single-trip lengths and unlimited travel in and out of the country.
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Adam Mace is Nurall's Lead Contributing Writer and a full-time digital nomad in search of the best hikes, unique stays, and local delicacies. When he’s not exploring far-flung places he can..
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