Fire and rescue services
We haven't changed our advice level:
Exercise a high degree of caution in India overall.
Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.
Reconsider your need to travel to the north-eastern states of Assam (except Guwahati), Nagaland and Manipur; Chhattisgarh and the border areas of neighbouring states.
Reconsider your need to travel to:
due to the high risk of violence. See Safety
More than 357,000 Australians visit India each year. Most visits are trouble-free. We set out below some information to help you prepare for your trip and stay safe. *source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, OAD rankings year ended Dec 2018.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Terrorist attacks are possible in India anywhere and at any time.
The Australian Government continues to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks in India.
The Indian Government regularly issues public alert warnings about possible terrorist attacks.
Terrorist attacks could target foreigners. Violence directed at others may affect you.
Terrorists have targeted popular tourist areas, including:
local courts and Indian security and political establishments
Targets could also include major tourist attractions and shopping centres.
Attacks could happen during significant times such as:
Many terrorist attacks in India have involved multiple explosions, one after the other. These attacks have caused a high number of deaths.
Militants have crossed the border into India to conduct attacks in the past. It's likely this will continue.
Attacks on military and police in Jammu and Kashmir often lead to violent clashes.
Security on public transport is limited, including on buses and railways.
Security at airports has been improved due to the threat of terrorist attacks against Indian aviation interests.
To protect yourself from terrorist attack:
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
On 5 August, the Government of India announced constitutional changes that will affect the internal political status of Jammu and Kashmir.
A heightened Indian security presence is now in place, with additional restrictive measures applying to public gatherings, and internet and telecommunications services. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir there is a high risk of:
There is a higher risk in rural areas and areas close to the border with Pakistan.
Terrorists have kidnapped foreigners in Jammu and Kashmir. Terrorists have also targeted tourist buses.
On 14 February 2019, terrorists killed and injured people in an attack on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
People have been killed and seriously injured in widespread violent protests. More police have been sent to the region.
Avoid potential trouble spots in the Union Territory of Ladakh. Check the security situation before you travel.
Maoist insurgents, known as Naxalites, often attack rural and forested areas of the state of Chhattisgarh.
There is a risk of Naxalite violence in border regions of:
Parts of the India-Pakistan border have a high risk of:
Always be alert to possible threats near the Atari-Wagah border crossing.
The north-eastern states of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam, except Guwahati city, have a high risk of:
This includes rural areas.
Insurgent groups in these states have:
In January and February 2017, violent protests against local elections occurred in Kohima and Dimapur in the state of Nagaland. Protesters set municipal buildings and vehicles on fire.
In January 2017, 7 explosions took place in Charaideo, Bibrugarh, Sivasagar and Tinsukia districts in the state of Assam. There were 2 more explosions in Imphal in the state of Manipur.
In August 2016, terrorists attacked a market at Balajan Tinali in Kokrajhar district in the state of Assam. These attacks killed 14 people.
Demonstrations against the new Citizenship Amendment Act are taking place in parts of the country. Some have turned violent. Local authorities have imposed curfews in some areas. Transport and communications may be disrupted without notice.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Violent protests and demonstrations occur from time to time. They can happen with little or no warning.
Many people have died as a result of civil unrest and communal violence in India.
Triggers for demonstrations include:
Demonstrations may affect public transport.
Large crowds at religious ceremonies and gatherings can be dangerous. They have led to life-threatening situations such as stampedes.
Indian authorities may:
To protect yourself from civil unrest and violence:
Be prepared to change your travel plans if there's an incident.
If you're affected by transport disruptions, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for help.
Women in India may experience:
It is rare for people who commit these crimes to be successfully prosecuted by the law.
There are consistent, ongoing allegations and reports of sexual misconduct. These reports involve religious groups and their leaders. If you're visiting India for religious reasons, find out about your hosts before you travel.
Avoid travelling alone if you're female, even in major cities and tourist sites.
Drink and food spiking
Many travellers have been robbed and assaulted after consuming spiked drinks or food.
Home-made or unlabelled alcohol can be poisonous.
Drink spiking incidents have occurred:
Drink and food spiking is rare at:
The risk of drink and food spiking is higher in smaller establishments.
It's also higher in:
To protect yourself from food and drink spiking:
Petty theft is common in crowded areas such as:
Thieves on motorcycles snatch bags and jewellery.
To protect yourself from petty crime:
If you're walking, stay on footpaths, if possible, and:
Avoid travelling alone, especially at night:
Avoid less populous and unlit areas. This includes city streets, village lanes and beaches.
Scams in India can involve:
Tour guides attempt to sell fraudulent tour packages. Some guides may try to 'prove' that your existing tour package is invalid so they can sell you their own package.
Strangers posing as 'guides' attempt to take travellers to tourist areas. The fake guide transports the victim to an isolated area, where they attempt to rob and molest them.
Check that any person holding a placard with your name on it knows where you are going.
Card skimming devices copy details from the magnetic strip on your ATM and credit cards. These details are transferred onto a blank card for the criminal to use. There is a high risk of card skimming at ATMs.
To avoid credit and debit card scams:
Touts or agents near government offices tell foreigners they can provide faster services for a fee. They may be present around places such as the Foreigner Regional Registration Office.
If you're the victim of a scam report it immediately to the nearest police station. You may not be able to get your money or goods back. However, police can give you an official report so you can make a claim with your insurer. See Local contacts
Touts may use aggressive tactics to persuade you to buy tickets for tours. You'll often see them at:
They may not have any connection to tour services. You may be overcharged.
Businesses don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes:
If you plan to do an adventure activity:
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Tigers attack and kill people in India.
Monkeys may attempt to steal items from people at temples and busy tourist attractions.
If you plan to observe or photograph wildlife:
If there's a natural disaster:
The climate in India is varied.
Heatwaves can cause droughts and water shortages in summer.
Monsoon rains occur from June to October.
Monsoon rains can cause extensive flooding and landslides.
High risk areas include:
Floods have affected millions of people and caused many deaths.
If you're travelling during monsoon season, ask your tour operator if services have been affected.
Cyclones are common in Indian waters from April to December. They are particularly common around the Bay of Bengal in eastern India.
Coastal and some inland areas are vulnerable to storm surges, particularly:
Cyclones and storms can disrupt key services, including:
If there's a cyclone or storm:
If you're arriving during the wet season, contact your tour operator to check if services are affected.
Dust storms occur during summer.
In May 2018, a series of dust storms in North India caused some deaths.
Earth tremors are common in India, particularly in the north-eastern states.
Earth tremors can cause landslides in hilly and mountainous areas.
If there is an earthquake, expect severe disruptions to services.
To stay safe during an earthquake:
All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis. However, the Indian and Pacific Oceans experience large, destructive tsunamis more often. Be alert to warnings. A tsunami could quickly follow a tremor or earthquake.
Move to high ground straight away if:
Don't wait for official warnings. Once on high ground, monitor local media and weather services.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in India. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
If needed, get medical documents authenticated by DFAT.
Cases of swine flu or influenza A (H1N1) are widespread in winter.
Talk to your GP or travel doctor about vaccinations before you leave Australia.
Malaria is a risk in most parts of India, including major cities.
Dengue is widespread after monsoon season.
Other insect-borne diseases are common, including:
India is currently experiencing an increase in Zika virus cases in Rajasthan and surrounding states. There's no vaccination available for Zika virus.
If you're pregnant:
To protect yourself from disease:
HIV/AIDS is widespread in India. Take precautions if you engage in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases are very common, including:
Tap water is not safe to drink.
To protect yourself from illness:
If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.
Get medical attention if you suspect food poisoning, or if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Air pollution levels in parts of India can spike to hazardous levels during the winter months, October to February.
Severe pollution can cause:
It can also increase the risk of breathing problems.
People who have pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart and lung conditions, may be especially affected.
If you're concerned about the levels of air pollution:
Medical facilities in major cities have adequate treatment standards.
Facilities in remote and rural areas can be very limited or unavailable.
If you're seriously ill or injured, you may be evacuated to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
Medical tourism has become more common in India, including for:
Standards at discount and uncertified medical establishments can be poor.
Serious and possibly life-threatening complications can and do occur.
If you plan to visit India for medical tourism:
Decompression chambers are available at:
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
If you're arrested for a major offence, you could go to prison for several years before you receive a verdict.
If you're imprisoned, there could be delays in getting help from the Australian Government. This is due to India's consular access approval requirements.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and can include mandatory sentences and the death penalty.
The minimum legal drinking age ranges from 18 to 25 years depending on the state.
The legal drinking age can vary for different types of alcohol.
Some states permit alcohol use for medicinal purposes only. Others require you to hold a permit to buy, transport or drink alcohol.
Some states prohibit alcohol being brought in from outside the state, and police may check vehicles to enforce this law.
Check the alcohol laws of each place you plan to visit.
Commercial surrogacy is illegal in India.
It's illegal to give or receive a dowry.
Courts can issue arrest alert notices for claims for dowry at the request of a wronged party.
If you've been involved in giving or receiving a dowry, you could be arrested when you arrive.
It's illegal to fly unmanned aircraft systems, such as drones, without official permission, particularly:
within a 30km radius of India Gate in New Delhi
near military, transport and power facilities
Contact local police for advice and to get permission.
It's illegal to photograph or trespass on:
It's also illegal to take pictures or videos of some places of worship. Always check with the building's administrative office before taking photos or video.
In India, it's illegal to:
In some states it's illegal to attempt to convert a person to another religion by force or other enticement.
It's also illegal to deliberately maim or kill a cow. The penalty is up to 5 years imprisonment in some states.
Some crimes may result in the death penalty, including:
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Codes of dress and behaviour are strict in India. These are particularly important at religious sites.
Physical contact between men and women in public might be considered inappropriate. Take care not to offend.
If in doubt, seek local advice.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan will be from late April to late May in 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
The Indian constitution doesn't recognise dual nationality.
Indian law allows people of Indian origin in some countries to apply for Overseas Citizenship of India. This includes people in Australia.
Check the Overseas Citizenship of India section of the Indian Government's Ministry of Home Affairs website for details.
You need a visa to enter India. You must arrange your visa before you arrive.
You may be eligible for an Electronic Visa (e-Visa). It gives you up to 60 days of travel for:
Get your e-Visa at least 4 days before you arrive.
Check that you're eligible before you apply. Visit the Government of India's e-Visa website for details.
Beware of fake websites offering e-Visa services.
Carry a printed copy of your e-Visa, known as an electronic travel authorisation (ETA).
You'll get a formal visa in your passport when you arrive in India.
Long queues are common at immigration counters in India, regardless of visa type.
If you present an e-Visa at an entry point where the e-Visa is not recognised, you:
If you have an e-Visa, you can leave India from any authorised immigration check point.
Not all international airports in India allow passengers to enter with an e-Visa. If you enter through another location, you need a visa. Arrange your visa through an Indian consulate, embassy or agent before you arrive.
All other visa applicants need to make an appointment online before submitting their visa application.
If you don't have a valid passport or visa, you could be deported by Indian authorities.
The Australian High Commission and consulates in India can't help you to stay if you don't have the right documents.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the Indian High Commission in Canberra for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
Make sure you are contributing in an ethical and meaningful way.
You could incur heavy penalties for overstaying your visa, including being jailed.
Check your visa conditions and make sure you comply.
Leave India before your visa expires.
If your passport is lost or stolen while you're in India, you'll need to get an exit visa from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs before you leave.
If your passport is lost or stolen:
Laws controlling the import and export of Indian rupees, foreign currency and other goods can change with little notice.
Contact your nearest Indian embassy or consulate for up-to-date information.
You'll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter India if you travel from an area where yellow fever occurs.
See the Indian Government's Bureau of Immigration for advice.
If you plan to stay in India for more than 180 days, register within 14 days of arrival with the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in major cities.
In other areas, you can register with the Superintendent of Police.
All visitors on long-term visas must register. This includes the following visas:
You must register even if you're a foreigner of Indian origin.
If you don't register, you could face fines or imprisonment.
You may not be able to leave India until the Bureau of Immigration grants permission.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. It can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
ATMs that accept international debit and credit cards are widely available in larger cities and towns. However, they're harder to find in rural areas.
Cash shortages at ATMs can be a problem in rural areas.
Traveller's cheques are not widely accepted.
Counterfeit currency is in circulation. Take care when dealing with cash.
Travel delays are common.
Expect delays around days of national significance, including:
Fog often affects northern India, particularly during December and January. Fog may cause:
You may need permission from Indian authorities to visit designated tribal areas, particularly in the north-east.
Some state and union territory governments restrict foreigners from travelling around these areas.
There are heavy penalties for entering a protected or restricted area without permission.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has temporarily excluded the following areas from the Protected Area regime:
If you plan to visit a protected or restricted area:
You can drive without an Indian driver's licence for 3 months, if you have both:
Your licence must be valid for the type of vehicle you are driving.
You need an Indian driver's licence if you will be driving in India for more than 3 months.
You insurance may be void if you have an accident without the correct licence. You could be liable for the accident as an unlicensed driver.
Travelling by road in India can be dangerous.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you are 3 times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in India than in Australia.
Accidents are common.
Travelling by road at night is particularly dangerous due to:
insufficient or non-existent lighting
other vehicles driving with headlights off or on high beam
If you hit a pedestrian or cow, you're at risk of being attacked or becoming a victim of extortion, even if you weren't driving the vehicle.
If it's unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident, go to the nearest police station.
To stay safe when driving:
If you plan on riding a motorbike:
Always wear a helmet.
Use a pre-paid taxi service when you arrive at the airport.
It's difficult to verify if street taxis are legitimate.
Use taxi services booked from hotels or taxi stands. Don't hail taxis on the street.
Don't use private unmarked cars as taxis.
Rideshare apps are widely used in major cities. You can use these apps with a local SIM card.
Bus and train services can be dangerous due to:
If you travel by train, find out where the emergency exits are located.
There may not be safety equipment, such as life jackets, on:
Before you book, check the operators' credentials and safety equipment.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check India's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
On 17 April 2019, Jet Airways announced the suspension of all domestic and international flights.
For information about refunds and alternative travel options, contact:
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Call 1800 11 1363 for 24/7 tourist helpline in 12 languages, run by the Ministry of Tourism.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact:
No. 1/50 G Shantipath (Gate 1)
New Delhi 110 021
Phone: (+91 11) 4139 9900
Fax: (+91 11) 2687 2228
Level 10, A Wing
Opp MCA Cricket Club
G Block, Plot C 38-39
Bandra Kurla Complex
Mumbai 400 051
Phone: (+91 22) 6757 4900
Fax: (+91 22) 6757 4955
9th Floor, Express Chambers
Express Avenue Estate
Chennai 600 014
Phone: (+91 44) 4592 1300
Fax: (+91 44) 4592 1320
The Australian Government is establishing a Consulate General in Kolkata with consular services offered from early 2020. Until then, all consular issues should be directed to the Australian High Commission in New Delhi.
Check the High Commission website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.