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By No owner — last modified Feb 06, 2015 01:49 PM

 India - Formalities


In recent years entry formalities for visiting yachts have been simplified in India and officials are reported to be more cooperative; in the major ports of entry the authorities are now more familiar with visiting yachts and therefore less troublesome. Several Customs and port organisations have their own sailing clubs and are therefore welcoming to visiting sailors.

However, wherever you check in, the system will take some time to complete. Ensure you have plenty of photocopies of all documents and multiple copies of passport photos.

When approaching any major port, at approximately 12 miles offshore, you should first call the Coast Guard on Channel 16 and then Port Control on Channels 16 or 12. Various details will be asked including an ETA. Once at the port entrance, permission to enter must be requested. Port Control will advise where to moor.

See our Noonsite page for details of the requirements for Mumbai.

If cruising along the coast of India you will need to complete formalities in each of the major ports you visit. However, be cautious with immigration stamps as "single entry" or "multi-entry" are counted according to the stamps in and out. The amount of paperwork involved is likely to make coastal cruising an unattractive option.

In addition, you are likely to be visited by the coastguard from time to time, who may wish to board your vessel and check you out. They are generally very professional and worth keeping in touch with. On other occasions you may be approached by local officials, who may ask for gifts. The best advice is to refer such requests to the Coast Guard.

If heading to the Andamans, read in full the specific clearance procedures for the Andaman Islands.

Do not exceed visa dates. Overstaying can yield significant fines or detention.

Last updated April 2017.


Passports should be valid for at least 6 months after entry.

Passports must be machine readable.

Visitors from all countries must obtain a tourist visa in advance, which must be valid for a period of 180 days at the time of arrival. If planning to visit a neighbouring country, request a multi-entry visa.

The visa requires two consecutive blank pages in the passport.

E-Visas: New July 2017: It is now possible to obtain a visa online via the e-visa application system. See the details at The E-visa is only accepted at 3 ports of entry - they are Cochin (Kochi), Goa and Mangalore (therefore an e-visa for the Andamans is not possible). It normally takes 60 days for it to be issued and costs from nothing up to US$75 (with most costing US$50) depending on the applicant's nationality. See this page for the  complete list.

The Indian Government site advises against using an intermediary or agent who promises to 'fast track' your application and then charges extra money for it. Also to only use the official site ( for any kind of service or clarification.

E-visas allow a maximum of two entries and two within one 12 month period. It is valid for 60 days from the date of arrival.

Tourists must arrive within six months of the date of issue of the visa. Visa extensions are very difficult to obtain. Applications for such extensions should be addressed to Foreigners' Regional Registration Offices in New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras or the local Superintendent of Police. Apply in advance with form and three passport size photographs.

Obtaining a visa elsewhere in SE Asia

It is very difficult to get Indian visas for non-residents in other SE Asia countries. That said, a recent report shows it is possible in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, with destination Andamans as well! See this report for details.

Indian visas used to be possible to obtain in Colombo in Sri lanka, Bangkok in Thailand and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. However the only 2 places in Malaysia where we have heard from cruisers that have successfully obtained Indian visas are Johor BahruPenang. Two passport photos are necessary and it takes a minimum of 12 working days.

Note: It can be very expensive if it is necessary to make an emergency stop here and you arrive without a visa. You may be immediately escorted to the airport and deported.

On arrival, yachtsmen are free to travel to most areas of India. A special permit, obtainable from either Indian embassies abroad or the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi, is necessary to visit certain areas, such as Sikkim, or the North East frontier states. The area near Tibet is out of bounds for foreign nationals.

When clearing out of a port with the intention of visiting another Indian port DO NOT get an exit stamp in your passport. You only need to visit Immigration when you finally clear out of India. If you get an exit stamp, you will need to clear in again. If you have no mutli-entry visa, you may be forced to reapply for a new visa.

The ban on re-entering India for two months after leaving no longer applies, except for nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh and foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origins.

Foreign nationals arriving in India on long term multiple entry visas must register with the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Officer within 14 days of arrival.

Last updated December 2017.

Indian Immigration
Tel: +91-11-24300666 (24/7)
Only use this official site to apply for an E-visa.


Certain firearms and weapons are prohibited, and those permitted require a Possession Licence. All arms and ammunition will be sealed by Customs and treated as bonded goods onboard the vessel.

Live plants cannot be imported. Skins of all animals, such as snakes, tigers, etc. and articles made of them, cannot be exported. There are also restrictions on the export of antiquities.

Alcohol is prohibited in some states and a Liquor Permit must be obtained from government offices.

Yachts normally can remain six months, although this can be extended.

Spare parts may be air freighted from abroad without the recipient paying customs duty. Such items must arrive by air cargo and be cleared on a form called "Bill of Entry" at nil rate of duty bringing spares for a foreign vessel. Customs duty exemption is not available through air courier services. It is probably simpler to bring in such parts as personal luggage if that is possible.

Last updated April 2017.


Zika virus infection

26 May 2017: This country has reported cases of Zika virus infection. Zika virus is most commonly spread by mosquito bites, but there is also a risk of sexual transmission. There is a link between Zika virus infection and babies being born with birth defects.

Vaccinations for India

Vaccinations advised for India: Diphtheria; Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Typhoid.

Other vaccinations to consider: Cholera; Hepatitis B; Japanese Encephalitis; Rabies.

Yellow fever vaccination certificate requirements for India are specific and quite lengthy. Read the full details via the WHO website.

Cholera is a slight risk in some areas of India.


Malaria risk is present throughout the year. See the India Malaria Map for level of risk in the area you are visiting. There is a risk of Dengue Fever, so take all precautions against mosquito bites. Check with your doctor about suitable anti-malarial tablets.

Other Health Advice

Take every precaution against infestation by rats and cockroaches.

Water must be treated everywhere.

Last updated April 2017.


Overtime fees are charged for clearance on Saturdays and Sundays.

Be aware that extra fees are often requested for many things, especially if chartering. See Noonsite report


There are many restricted areas in India which require special permits to visit, such as the island groups of Amindivi and Laccadive (Lakshadweep) in the Arabian Sea and Nicobar and Andaman in the Bay of Bengal.

When applying for the Indian visa one may also apply at the same time for the permit to visit the Andamans. Such permits are more easily obtained than in the past.

Important Note: It is illegal to use any type of satellite phone while in the Andaman Sea and in Indian territorial waters. Such communications are monitored and can result in severe penalties, even imprisonment.

Foreign yachts and tourists are not permitted to visit the Nicobars.

The Lakshadweep Islands are world renowned for the incredible diving. A permit is required which can be applied for after clearing in with Customs and Immigration. Kochi is probably the best port to do this from as applications have been made before from there.

The Lakshadweep tourist board state that a permit will take no more than 10 days to acquire once a boat has cleared into India. Locals who have made the application tell Noonsite that permits are almost impossible to obtain.

A simpler route may be to first apply for an entry permit to Kavaratti Island - where the administrative office is located - then on arrival apply for other islands if so desired.

Permit applications for the Lakshadweep Islands must be made to:

Managing Director
SPORTS (Lakshadweep Tourism)
Opp. BSNL Exchange
Kavaratti Island P.O
Lakshadweep, INDIA

E-mail: (it has been reported that they do not reply to emails).

Entry fees for the Lakshadweep Islands (January 2015) 
Yacht Entry Fee: Rs 10,000
Landing charge per crew per day: Rs 1,500
Heritage fee per crew: Rs 200 
Diving with own equipment is charged at 50% of the applicable rate. Diving with an island instructor is recommended.


India's coastal waters are teeming with small craft and great care must be taken especially when sailing at night, as most of them do not carry lights; collisions are frequent.

Last updated March 2017.

Clearance Agents

Andaman Holiday Agency
E-237 Pongy Kyuang, Port Blair ,
(Behind Anand Offset Press)
Tel: +91 3192 239595 / 234924. Mobile: +91 99320 89595 Fax:+91 3192 239595
Owner R. Rathnam. Provide clearance and other yacht services for the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, including clearance, assistance with visas, berthing, fuel, spares, tours, taxis & travel.
Island Travels - Andamans
Ashraf speaks excellent English - quick and efficient service.
Paradise Tours and Travel
M.B.204, Junglighat , Port Blair , Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Tel:+91 3192235214/ mob. +91 9679555585
Handle all formalities, plus fuel, provisions, laundry, transport, tours etc. Contact Mr Vijayan.


India will permit up to two dogs and cats per person to enter the country with their owners without a license if their owners are travelling with a transfer of residency to India for a minimum of one year OR they have lived out of India for two continuous years. Any short visits in the past 2 years should not have exceeded 180 days. Other pet owners looking to visit India on a tourist visa are not currently permitted to bring their pet to India.

See for more details.

Last updated April 2017.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 06, 2015 01:48 PM

Lakshadweep Islands: Update received from Indian boat owner who was granted a permit to visit these islands for a period of 9 days in Feburary 2015. He reports that the process is difficult and one must push to get an answer from the Island Administrator. See RESTRICTIONS above in the Formalities section for details of how to apply for a permit.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 14, 2015 03:35 PM

Posted on behalf of Brian Thurlow from Cochin, India:
It is difficult, or nearly impossible for foreign boats to visit the Lakshadweep Islands. We have one Indian owned catamaran in the marina who did the trip last year with at least one European crew. I will contact him for details. He said it was difficult, but not impossible. Waiting for up date.

Christophe BOLLIGER
Christophe BOLLIGER says:
Jan 10, 2015 11:23 AM

Anyone have any info on visiting the Lakshadweep islands?

alexdem says:
Apr 30, 2014 09:12 PM

Was in Kochi (Cochin) in the end of February 2014 on s/y Anima. Stay in International Marina. You must to anchor off near Port Control for clearance. Port security comes onboard to check boat, after that you will go ashore with security officer for customs and immigration. Be ready to spend whole day (or more, if you come at Sunday). After clearance you'll go to Harbourmaster office to take a permission to go to Marina. Channel to marina is good markered, but not so good dregged - there was 1.8 mimimal depth at MHWS, take care! Marina is empty, but still works. May be you will meet Bebe - tuk-tuk driver. You can solve almost any problem with his assistance.

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