Travel in India
BY: SUN STAFF
Oct 3, INDIA (SUN) Information on safe travel to India for the Kartikka season.
As we approach the start of Kartikka, devotees from around the world will be traveling to the Holy Dhamas of Vrindavan, Mayapur and Jagannatha Puri, and elsewhere on the Indian subcontinent. Following is the most current travel information and advisories available from the India Consular's office, which should assist the devotees in enjoying safe and expeditious travel across India.
India, the world's largest
democratic republic, has a very diverse population, geography and climate. India is the world's second most populous country, and the world's seventh largest country in area. Tourist facilities have varying degrees of comfort and amenities are widely available in the major population centers and main tourist areas. See Department of State Background Notes on India for additional information.
REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens require a valid passport and valid
Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose. Visitors, including
those on official U.S. government business, must obtain visas at an Indian
Embassy or Consulate abroad prior to entering the country, as there are no
provisions for visas upon arrival. Those arriving without a valid passport
and valid visa are subject to immediate deportation. The U.S. Embassy and
Consulates in India are unable to assist when U.S. citizens arrive without
proper documentation. Each visitor should carry photocopies of the
bio-data page of the traveler's U.S. passport and the page containing the Indian
visa in order to facilitate obtaining an exit visa from the Indian government in
the event of theft or loss of the passport.
Americans wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct
type of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate, as there generally are no
provisions for changing one's immigration category (e.g., from tourist to work
visa) once admitted. Foreign citizens whose primary purpose of travel is
to participate in religious activities should obtain a missionary visa rather
than a tourist visa. Indian immigration authorities have deported American
citizens who entered India with a tourist visa and conducted religious
Foreign citizens who visit India to study, do research, work or act as
missionaries, as well as all travelers planning to stay more than 180 days are
required to register, generally within 14 days of arrival, with the Foreigners
Regional Registration Office (FRRO) closest to where they will be staying.
The FRRO maintains offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai (known as the "Chennai
Immigration Office"), Kolkata and Amritsar. In smaller cities and towns,
the local police headquarters will normally perform this function (referred to
as the Foreigner's Registration Office or FRO). General information
regarding Indian visa and immigration rules, including the addresses and
telephone numbers for the FRRO offices, can be found at the Indian Ministry of
Home Affairs website for its Bureau of Immigration at http://www.immigrationindia.nic.in.
If a foreign citizen (e.g., an American) overstays his or her Indian visa, or
otherwise violates Indian visa regulations, the traveler may require a clearance
from the Ministry of Home Affairs in order to leave the country. Such
travelers generally must pay a fine, and in some cases, may be jailed until
their deportation can be arranged. Visa violators seeking an exit
clearance can visit the following office any weekday from 10 am - 12 noon:
Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, Jaisalmer House, 26 Man Singh
Road, New Delhi 110 011 (tel. +91-11-2338-5748).
For the most current information on entry and exit requirements, please
contact the Embassy of India at 2536 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
20008, telephone (202) 939-9806 (http://www.indianembassy.org) or the
Indian Consulates in Chicago (http://chicago.indianconsulate.com),
New York (http://www.indiacgny.org), San Francisco
(http://www.cgisf.org) or Houston (http://www.cgihouston.org). Outside
the United States, inquiries should be made at the nearest Indian embassy or
consulate. See the U.S. Department of State's Foreign
Entry Requirements brochure for more information on India and other
See Entry and Exit
Requirements for more information pertaining to dual nationality and the
prevention of international child abduction. (Additional information on
dual nationality in India appears below under "Special
Circumstances.") Please refer to our Customs
Information to learn more about customs regulations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: A number of anti-Western
terrorist groups (some of which are on the U.S. government's list of foreign
terrorist organizations are believed to be active in India., including, but not
limited to, Islamic extremist groups such as Harakat ul-Mujahidin,
Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba. While historically Jammu and Kashmir
have been a focal point of terrorist activity, bomb blasts resulting in deaths
and injuries have occurred in public places such as markets, as well as on
public transportation such as trains and buses throughout India. Examples
of major attacks in recent years include the detonation of explosive devices on
a train northwest of Delhi (February 2007), simultaneous attacks on Mumbai
commuter trains (July 2006), simultaneous attacks on a train station and places
of worship in Varanasi (March 2006), and simultaneous attacks on several markets
in New Delhi (October 2005). A number of other terrorist incidents causing
fewer casualties have also occurred, including a few in which American citizens
were injured. The motive for many of these attacks has not been clearly
established, although it is believed that U.S. citizens were not specifically
targeted or injured in any of these attacks. Specific areas of
concern are addressed below under "Areas of Instability."
Beyond the threat from terrorism, demonstrations are also likely to cause
disruption. Protests can begin spontaneously and escalate with little warning,
disrupting transportation systems and city services and posing risks to
travelers' personal safety. In response to such events, Indian authorities
occasionally impose curfews and/or restrict travel. U.S. citizens are
urged to avoid demonstrations and rallies as they have the potential for
violence, especially immediately preceding and following elections. In
addition, religious and inter-caste violence is unpredictable and occurs
occasionally. In some cases, demonstrators specifically block roads near
popular tourist sites in order to gain the attention of Indian authorities,
although tourists are rarely attacked in these incidents. Mobs have,
however, attacked Indian and American missionaries and social workers as such
activity provokes strong reactions in some areas. U.S. citizens should
monitor local television and print media and contact the U.S. Embassy or the
nearest U.S. Consulate for further information about the current situation in
areas where they wish to travel.
Finally, visitors should exercise caution when swimming in open waters along
the Indian coastline, particularly during the monsoon season. Every year,
several people in Goa, Mumbai, Puri (Orissa), and other areas drown due to the
strong undertow. It is important for visitors to heed warnings posted or
advised at beaches and avoid swimming in the ocean during the monsoon season.
AREAS OF INSTABILITY:
Jammu & Kashmir: The Department of State recommends that
U.S. citizens avoid travel to the state of Jammu & Kashmir, with the
exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh. A
number of terrorist groups operate in the state, targeting security forces that
are present throughout the region, particularly along the Line of Control (LOC)
separating Indian and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, and those stationed in the
primary tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley - Srinagar, Gulmarg, and
Since 1989, as many as 60,000 people (terrorists, security forces, and
civilians) have been killed in the Kashmir conflict. Many terrorist
incidents take place in the state's summer capital of Srinagar, but the majority
of attacks occur in rural areas. Foreigners are particularly
visible, vulnerable, and definitely at risk. Furthermore, attacks have
been aimed at civilians with increasing frequency. For example, in 2006,
several grenade attacks were launched against buses carrying local
tourists. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting
certain areas along the LOC (see the section on Restricted Areas, below).
U.S. Government employees are prohibited from traveling to the state of Jammu
& Kashmir (except for Ladakh) without permission from the U.S. Embassy in
India-Pakistan Border: The State Department recommends that
U.S. citizens avoid travel to areas within five to ten kilometers of the border
between India and Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan maintain a strong
military presence on both sides of the border. The only official
India-Pakistan border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India
or Pakistan is in the state of Punjab between Atari, India, and Wagah,
Pakistan. A Pakistani visa is required to enter Pakistan. The border
crossing is usually open, but travelers are advised to confirm the current
status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel.
Both India and Pakistan claim an area of the Karakoram mountain range that
includes the Siachen glacier. U.S. citizens traveling to or climbing peaks
in the disputed areas face significant risks. The disputed area includes
the following peaks: Rimo Peak; Apsarasas I, II, and III; Tegam Kangri I, II and
III; Suingri Kangri; Ghiant I and II; Indira Col; and Sia Kangri.
Travelers may check with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi for information on
current conditions. (Please see the section on Registration/Embassy
and Consulate Locations below.)
Northeast States: Sporadic incidents of violence by ethnic
insurgent groups, including the bombing of buses and trains, have been reported
in parts of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, and Meghalaya. While U.S.
citizens have not been specifically targeted, they may be affected as
bystanders. Visitors to India's Northeast states are cautioned not to
travel outside major cities at night. Security laws are in force, and the
central government has deployed security personnel. Certain Northeastern
states can be visited by foreigners only with a permit (see the section on
Restricted Areas, below.) Travelers may check with the U.S. Consulate in
Kolkata for information on current conditions. (Please see the section on
Registration/Embassy and Consulate Locations, below.)
East Central and Southern India: Self-styled Maoist
extremist groups called "Naxalites" are active in the region, primarily in rural
areas. The Naxalites have a long history of conflict with state and
national authorities, including attacks on police and government
officials. The Naxalites have not specifically targeted U.S. citizens, but
have attacked symbolic targets that have included Western companies. The
primary Naxalite group is represented by the Communist Party of India
(Maoist). The party's regional affiliates are active in the states of
Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkand, and West Bengal.
Most recently, there has been significant Naxalite activity in the southern part
of the state of Chhattisgarh.
Restricted Areas: Certain parts of India are designated as
"restricted areas" by the Indian Government, and require special advance
permission to visit. These areas include:
- The state of Mizoram,
- The state of Manipur,
- The state of Arunachal Pradesh,
- The state of Nagaland,
- The state of Sikkim,
- Portions of the state of Himachal Pradesh near the Chinese border,
- Portions of the state of Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) near the Chinese
- Portions of the state of Rajasthan near the Pakistani border,
- Portions of the state of Jammu & Kashmir near the Line of Control with
- The Andaman & Nicobar Islands,
- The Union Territory of the Laccadives Islands (Lakshadweep), and
- The Tibetan colony in Mundgod, Karnataka.
"Restricted Area Permits" can be obtained outside of India at Indian
embassies and consulates abroad, or within India, from the Ministry of Home
Affairs (Foreigners Division) at Jaisalmer House, 26 Man Singh Road, New
Delhi. The states of Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and
Sikkim all maintain official guesthouses in New Delhi, each of which also can
issue Restricted Area Permits for their respective states for certain
travelers. Tourists also should exercise caution while visiting
Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu as the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research
Center, Kalpakkam, is located just south of the site and is not clearly marked
as a restricted and dangerous area.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should
regularly monitor travel information included on the websites of the U.S.
Embassy in New Delhi as well as the Consulates General in Mumbai (Bombay),
Chennai (Madras) and Kolkata (Calcutta) (see contact information below).
Travelers should also monitor the Department's Internet web site where the
Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide
Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on
safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in
the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular
toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to
8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for
their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general
information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves
in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip
CRIME: Petty crime, especially theft of personal
property, is common, particularly on trains or buses. 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. Theft of U.S.
passports is quite common, particularly in major tourist areas, on overnight
trains, and at airports. Train travelers are urged to lock their sleeping
compartments and take valuables with them when leaving their berths. Air
travelers are advised to carefully watch their bags in the arrival and departure
areas outside of airports. Violent crime, especially directed against
foreigners, has traditionally been uncommon, although in recent years there has
been a modest increase. U.S. citizens, particularly women, are cautioned
not to travel alone in India. Western women continue to report incidents
of physical harassment by groups of men. Known as ”Eve-teasing,” these
incidents can be quite frightening. Because U.S. citizens' purchasing
power is comparatively large, travelers also should exercise modesty and caution
in their financial dealings in India to reduce the chance of being a target for
robbery or other crime. Gangs and criminal elements operate in major
cities and have sometimes targeted unsuspecting businessmen and their family
members for kidnapping.
SCAMS: Major airports, train stations and tourist
sites are often used by scam artists looking to prey on visitors, often by
creating a distraction. Taxi drivers and others, including train porters,
may solicit travelers with "come-on" offers of cheap transportation and/or
hotels. Travelers accepting such offers have often 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," and even threats to the traveler when the tourists try to
decline to pay. There have been several disturbing reports of tourists
being held hostage on houseboats in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, forced to pay
thousands of dollars in the face of threats of violence against the traveler and
his/her family members.
Travelers should also exercise care when hiring transportation and/or guides
and use only well-known travel agents to book trips. Some scam artists
have lured travelers by displaying their name on a sign when they leave the
airport. Another popular scam is to drop money or to squirt something on
the clothing of an unsuspecting traveler and during the distraction to rob them
of their valuables. Individual tourists have also been given drugged
drinks or tainted food to make them more vulnerable to theft, particularly at
train stations. Even food or drink purchased in front of the traveler from
a canteen or vendor could be tainted. To protect against robbery of
personal belongings, it is best not to accept food or drink from strangers.
Some vendors sell rugs or other expensive items that may not be of the
quality promised. Travelers should deal only with reputable businesses and
should not hand over credit cards or money unless they are certain that goods
being shipped to them are the goods they purchased. If a deal sounds too
good to be true, it is best avoided. Most Indian states have official
tourism bureaus set up to handle travelers' complaints. The Internet
addresses for these offices are available at http://www.tourismofindia.com/foot/links.htm.
Travelers should be aware of a number of other scams that have been
perpetrated against foreign travelers, particularly in Goa, Jaipur, and
Agra. The scams generally target younger travelers and involve suggestions
that money can be made by privately transporting gems or gold (both of which can
result in arrest) or by taking delivery abroad of expensive carpets, supposedly
while avoiding customs duties. The scam artists describe profits that can
be made upon delivery of the goods, and require the traveler to pay a "deposit"
as part of the transaction. The items are always fake, and if they were
real, the traveler could be subject to arrest.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft
abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and
the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime
while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the
nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate
staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact
family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred.
Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the
responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to
understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if
needed. Victims of a crime in India, including loss or theft of a
passport, should obtain a copy of the police report (called an "FIR" or "First
Information Report") from local police at the time of reporting the
incident. A copy of this report is helpful for insurance purposes in
replacing lost valuables, and is required by the Indian Government in order to
obtain an exit visa to leave India in the event of a lost or stolen
passport. Local authorities generally are unable to take any meaningful
action without the filing of a police report.
See our information on Victims
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Adequate to
excellent medical care is available in the major population centers, but is
usually very limited or unavailable in rural areas. Indian health
regulations require all travelers arriving from Sub-Saharan Africa or other
yellow-fever areas to have evidence of vaccination against yellow fever.
Travelers who do not have such proof are subject to immediate deportation or a
six-day detention in the yellow-fever quarantine center. U.S. citizens who
transit through any part of sub-Saharan Africa, even for one day, are advised to
carry proof of yellow fever immunization.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food
and water precautions and insect-bite protection, may be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's internet site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx.
For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World
Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. These websites
provide useful information, such as suggested vaccinations for visitors to
India, safe food and water precautions, appropriate measures to avoid
contraction of mosquito-borne diseases (such as malaria), suggestions to avoid
altitude sickness, etc. Further, these sites provide information on
disease outbreaks that may arise from time to time - outbreaks of mosquito-borne
viral diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya occur in various parts of
India each year, so travelers should check the sites shortly before arriving in
India. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en/.
In the Spring of 2006, there were outbreaks of Avian Influenza in poultry in
rural areas of the states of Maharasthra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. All
of the outbreaks were contained. There were no reported cases of the H5N1
virus in humans, however. In July 2007 there was a localized outbreak of
Avian Influenza , H5N1 strain, in the eastern Indian state of Manipal. The
outbreak is in the town of Chingmarong, north of Imphal. American citizens
traveling to this remote part of India should take all necessary precautions.
The outbreak has affected poultry but there are no reported human cases.
Updates on the avian influenza situation in India are published on the Embassy's
web site at http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/acsinfluenza.html.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India maintain lists of local doctors and
hospitals, all of which are published on their respective websites under "U.S.
Citizen Services." Please see “Registration/Embassy
and Consulate Location” section below.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling
abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will
cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our
information on medical
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly
from those in the United States. The information below concerning India is
provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a
particular location or circumstance.
Travel by road in India is dangerous. A number of U.S. citizens have
suffered fatal traffic accidents in recent years. Travel at night is
particularly hazardous. Buses, patronized by hundreds of millions of
Indians, are convenient in that they serve almost every city of any size.
However, they are usually driven fast, recklessly, and without consideration for
the rules of the road. Accidents are quite common. Trains are safer
than buses, but train accidents still occur more frequently than in developed
In order to drive in India, one must have either a valid Indian driver’s
license or a valid international driver’s license. Because of difficult
road and traffic conditions, many Americans who visit India wisely choose to
hire a local driver.
On Indian roads, the safest driving policy is to always assume that other
drivers will not respond to a traffic situation in the same way you would in the
United States. On Indian roads, might makes right, and buses and trucks
epitomize this fact. For instance, buses and trucks often run red lights
and merge directly into traffic at yield points and traffic circles. Cars,
auto-rickshaws, bicycles and pedestrians behave only slightly more
cautiously. Frequent use of one's horn or flashing of headlights to
announce one's presence is both customary and wise.
Outside major cities, main roads and other roads are poorly maintained and
congested. Even main roads often have only two lanes, with poor visibility
and inadequate warning markers. On the few divided highways one can expect
to meet local transportation traveling in the wrong direction, often without
lights. Heavy traffic is the norm and includes (but is not limited to)
overloaded trucks and buses, scooters, pedestrians, bullock and camel carts,
horse or elephant riders en route to weddings, bicycles, and free-roaming
livestock. 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 (i.e., from the left). Travelers should
remember to use seatbelts in both rear and front seats where available, and to
ask their drivers to maintain a safe speed.
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 at least of incineration of the
vehicle. It can thus be unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident of
this nature, and drivers may instead wish to seek out the nearest police
Protestors often use road blockage as a means of publicizing their
grievances, causing severe inconvenience to travelers. Visitors should
monitor local news reports for any reports of road disturbances.
Please refer to our Road Safety
page for more information.
Emergency Numbers: The following emergency numbers work in
New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, 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. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site
Civil aircraft have been detained a number of times for deviating from
approved flight plans. U.S. citizens piloting civil aircraft in India must
file any changes to previous flight plans with the appropriate Indian
authorities and may not over-fly restricted airspace.
Dual Nationality: In 2006, India launched the
"Overseas Citizens of India" (OCI) program, which has often been
mischaracterized as a dual nationality program, as it does not grant Indian
citizenship. Thus, an American who obtains an OCI card is not a citizen of
India and remains a citizen of the United States. An OCI card in reality
is similar to a U.S. "green card" in that a holder 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). An OCI holder,
however, 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 introduced by the Indian
government several years ago, except that PIO holders must still register with
Indian immigration authorities, and PIO cards are not issued for an indefinite
period. American 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 and Houston. Inside India, American citizens can apply
at the nearest FRRO office (please see Entry/Exit
Requirements section above for more information on the FRRO). For more
information on the OCI program, please see www.mha.nic.in/oci/oci-main.htm.
Religious Activities: Foreign visitors planning to
engage in religious proselytizing are required by Indian law to have a
"missionary" visa. Immigration authorities have determined that certain
activities, including speaking at religious meetings to which the general public
is invited, may violate immigration law if the traveler does not hold a
missionary visa. Foreigners with tourist visas who engage in missionary
activity are subject to deportation and possible criminal prosecution. The
states of Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh have
additional legislation regulating conversion from one religious faith to
another. U.S. citizens intending to engage in missionary activity may wish
to seek legal advice to determine whether the activities they intend to pursue
are permitted under Indian law.
Customs Restrictions: Indian customs authorities
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from
India of items such as firearms, antiquities, electronic equipment, currency,
ivory, gold objects, and other prohibited materials. Even transit
passengers require permission from the Government of India to bring in such
items. Those not complying risk arrest and/or fine and confiscation of
these items. If charged with any alleged legal violations by Indian law
enforcement, it is recommended that an attorney review any document prior to
signing. The Government of India requires the registration of antique
items with the local police along with a photograph of the item. It is
advisable to contact the Embassy of India in Washington or one of India's
consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs
requirements. More information is available from the Indian Central Board
of Excise and Customs at http://www.cbec.gov.in. Another useful
site is http://www.igiacustoms.gov.in.
In many countries around the world, including India, counterfeit and pirated
goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products may be
illegal under Indian law. In addition, bringing them back to the
United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. More information on
this serious problem is available in a report prepared by the Office of the
United States Trade Representative called the "Special 301 Report." This
report is updated each year, and can be viewed at http://www.ustr.gov/Document_Library/Reports_Publications/Section_Index.html
Indian customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission
Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of
professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and
fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for
International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues
and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional
information call (212) 354-4480, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.
Please see our Customs
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes
differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the
protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Persons violating
Indian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
For example, certain comments or gestures towards women or about religion that
are legal in the United States may be considered a criminal violation in India,
subjecting the accused to possible fines or imprisonment. Furthermore,
since the police may arrest anyone who is accused of committing a crime (even if
the allegation is frivolous in nature), the Indian criminal justice system is
often used to escalate personal disagreements into criminal charges. This
practice has been increasingly exploited by dissatisfied business partners,
contractors, estranged spouses, or other persons with whom the U.S. citizen has
a disagreement, occasionally resulting in the jailing of U.S. citizens pending
resolution of their disputes. At the very least, such circumstances can
delay the U.S. citizen's timely departure from India, and may result in an
unintended long-term stay in the country. Penalties for possession, use,
or trafficking in illegal drugs in India are severe, and convicted offenders can
expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct
with children or using or disseminating child pornography in India is a crime,
and is prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: India is not a signatory to the
Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (although
the Government of India has expressed its intention to sign the convention at
some point in the future), nor is international child abduction considered to be
a crime under Indian law. For information see our Office of Children's
Issues web pages on intercountry
adoption and international
parental child abduction.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE
LOCATIONS: Americans living or traveling in India are encouraged
to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel
registration web site and to obtain updated information on travel and
security in India. Americans without Internet access may register in
person with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering,
American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in
case of emergency.
- The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is located at Shanti Path,
Chanakya Puri 110021; telephone +91-11-2419-8000; fax
+91-11-2419-8407. The Embassy's Internet home page address is http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov.
(Note that the "+" sign indicates your international access code, which in the
United States is 011-, but which is 00- in most other countries.)
- The U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai (Bombay) is located
at Lincoln House, 78 Bhulabhai Desai Road, 400026, telephone +91-22-2363-3611;
fax +91-22-2363-0350. The Internet home page address is http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov.
- The U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata (Calcutta) is at
5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, 700071; telephone +91-33-3984-2400; fax
+91-33-2282-2335. The Internet home page address is http://kolkata.usconsulate.gov.
- The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai (Madras) is at 220
Anna Salai, Gemini Circle, 600006; telephone +91-44-2857-4000; fax
+91-44-2857-4443. The Internet home page address is http://chennai.usconsulate.gov.