It just got a lot easier—and more exciting—to visit India in 2019. The government just updated its e-Visa policies, reports The Points Guy, doubling the coverage time from 30 to 60 days. Furthermore, tourists and business travelers will be allowed double entry on a single visa, while people with medical e-Visas can re-enter the country up to three times. In other words? Start planning the best two-month vacation of your life.
First implemented in late 2014, India’s e-Visa system replaced an otherwise bureaucratic nightmare, allowing travelers to apply online for a visa instead of going through the consulate. Needless to say, the system has seen tremendous growth over the past four years. Today, the e-Visa facility issues online visas (within 72 hours) to citizens from 166 countries around the world. It is even estimated that 40 percent of all visas are obtained online—and that number is expected to cross the 50 percent mark soon, according to a recent statement from India’s Press Information Bureau.
To join the e-Visa club, simply visit the Ministry of Home Affairs’s official website and follow the four-step process: Apply online; pay the fee online (ranging from $25 to $100, with a 2.5 percent banking fee); wait for the visa to be emailed to your inbox; then hop on a flight. The complete process takes about 72 hours from application to delivery, meaning you could be landing in Mumbai by this weekend. (Just make sure to check the site for passport and vaccination requirements first.)
India was already a great place to visit in 2019, with a bevy of hot new hotels and the return of Delta’s nonstop flights between New York and Mumbai. But the ability to explore India for a whopping two months throws the doors of possibility wide open—it’s a massive country, after all. By all means, explore the famous “Golden Triangle” of Northern India: The tourist-friendly route connects Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, allowing you to see sites like the Taj Mahal and stay somewhere like the 230-year-old warrior fort turned boutique hotel, Alila Fort Bishangarh.
After that, use your cushion of time to go farther afield. Southern India, in particular, quietly draws travelers with its dynamic towns and dreamy coasts. Visit the colonial-era city of Chennai for stunning 17th-century temples, or Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry) for sleepy streets and delicious breakfasts. Hampi, “the erstwhile seat of the Vijayanagara Empire in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka” is full of stone temples and monolithic landscapes and is blissfully low on tourists—for now, Sarah Khan recently wrote in Traveler. If that doesn’t sound like your type of scene, then pick another direction: Head north to The Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort & Spa in the Himalayan foothills, west to the famed beaches of Goa, or east to the unexpected foodie city of Calcutta. You have 60 days now, so everything is on the table.