Important Do's Don'ts
- All foreign nationals are required to pay their hotel bills in foreign currency either in cash, travelers' checks or credit cards. Indian rupees are accepted only if supported by proof of certificate of encashment in India).
- Concessional - Payments for tickets like Indrail Pass, Youth fares, Discover India Fares and Air Fares are also to be made in foreign exchange only.
- Purchasing any tickets (air/ rail/ bus) through unauthorized travel agents/ tour operators are also not advisable.
- Do not hire any mode of transportation from unlicensed or unapproved operators. Self- drive cars can be made available if you advise in advance.
- While shopping, sightseeing or traveling, avoid touts and brokers. Be aware of unscrupulous shopkeepers. If you feel you are being abused, do not hesitate to consult proper authorities.
- Fares of Taxi and auto-rickshaws keep changing, and do not always conform to readings on meters. In order to avoid confusion, insist on seeing the latest fare chart with the drivers and pay accordingly. Taxis and auto-rickshaws in every city do not have meters, but where they do, insist on it being flagged in your presence. If driver refuses to cooperate, seek assistance of a policeman. Where there are no meters, ask assistance at your hotel fix the fare in advance.
For amateur photography of national monuments, there are no restrictions on taking photographs with a still camera (with flash inside the camera synchronized with exposure) or an 8mm.movie camera. It is prohibited to photograph places of military importance, i.e. airports, bridges, sensitive border regions. Certain temples may prohibit interior or exterior photography. Charges may be levied to photograph some monuments, forts or temples. Inside museums, or when photographing art works, flash cameras are prohibited. Photography inside the Taj Mahal is prohibited but prior permission can be requested from the Archaeological Survey of India, Janpath, New Delhi, 110 001. We at Top Travel & Tours will assist you with same. If tripods or other outside aids such as props or floodlights are used, or for professional and commercial photograph, special permission must be obtained from the Archaeological Survey of India. Similar permission must be obtained for movie cameras other than 8mm and for video cameras.
Some hotels include service charges on their bills. In such cases tipping is not necessary. Where this is not done, at tip of 10% is customary. If you are in a big group and the food bill is high, the tip on the total can come down to 5%. The porter who takes your baggage to your room is usually tipped Rs.5 per bag or Rs.10 to Rs.20 per trolley. (These estimates are for 5 and 4-star hotels and are proportionately less in 1, 2 or 3 star hotels.) Tipping of taxi drivers is not customary.
The units of Indian currency are the Rupee and Paisa (100 Paisa = 1 Rupee). Paper money is in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5 and 10. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers cheque a tourist may import, provided a Declaration form is completed on arrival. This will facilitate the exchange of imported currency as well as the export of unspent currency on departure. Cash, bank notes and traveler's checks up to US $ 10,000 or equivalent need not be declared at the time of entry. Any money in the form of traveler's checks, drafts, bills, checks, etc., which tourists wish to convert into Indian currency should be exchanged only through authorized money- changers. Tourists are warned that changing money through unauthorized persons is not only illegal but also involves the risk of receiving counterfeit currency. To exchange foreign money other than through banks or authorized money- changers is an offence. Please note that no Indian currency whatsoever can be imported or exported, except for Rupee travelers' checks. Banks abroad to keep Rupee balances with their agents in India and are able to draw upon these balances to issue Rupee travelers' checks to intending tourists. There are 24- hour exchange facilities available at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai international airports.
CUSTOMS / IMMIGRATION / VISAS
Visitors have to make an oral baggage declaration of baggage and foreign currency in their possession. Those in possession of more than US$ 10,000 or equivalent in the form of travelers' checks, bank notes or currency notes and other similar modes are required to acquire a Currency Declaration Form before leaving customs. Visitors should fill in the Disembarkation Card given to them by the airline during the course of the flight. There are two channels for Custom clearance:
- Green Channel: It is for those passengers who do not have any dutiable articles or unaccompanied baggage.
- Red Channel: For passengers with dutiable articles or high value articles or unaccompanied baggage that needs to be entered on the Tourist Baggage Re-export form.
All foreigners require a valid national passport or valid travel documents and visa granted by Indian Missions abroad before entering India.
1. Arrival Formalities: If the visa is for more than 180 days, a Registration certificate and Residential Permit needs to be obtained within 15 days of arrival from the nearest Foreigner's Registration Office. All passengers including Indians are required to fill in a Disembarkation Card on arrival. Four photographs are required for registration. The Foreigners need to report any change in address to the Foreigner's Registration Office.
2.Exit Formalities: Every foreigner departing from India should surrender his Certificate of Registration. This can be surrendered either to the Registration Officer of the place where the passenger is registered or from where he/ she intends to depart or to the Immigration Officer at the Port / Check post of exit from India. All persons leaving India have to fill in an Embarkation Card at the time of departure. Visas.
Requirement of Visa: Foreigners intending to visit India need to obtain a visa from the Indian Mission of their country. They should possess a valid National Passport. Various categories of Vise include TRANSIT VISA, DOUBLE ENTRY / MULTIPLE VISA, BUSINESS VISA, STUDENT VISA, LANDING PERMIT FACILITY, TOURIST GROUPS, CONFERENCE VISA, EMPLOYMENT VISA etc. For further detail on these get in touch with the nearest Indian consulate.
No vaccinations are required to travel to India. However, foreign tourists if originating or traveling through Yellow Fever endemic countries may be required to produce a Yellow Fever Vaccination certificate conforming to International health Regulations.
Note: It is always advisable to consult your physician when traveling to foreign destinations.