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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in India because of the high threat of terrorist activity, civil unrest and crime, and the high rate of vehicle accidents. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks in India, including in regions frequented by Westerners. We assess that attacks could occur anywhere at any time with little or no warning, including in locations frequented by Australians, such as religious sites, markets and festivals. See Safety and security.
  • Maintain a high level of vigilance in public places. Take local security arrangements into consideration when deciding where to visit. Monitor the media for developments that may affect your safety and security.
  • From 7-9 November 2017, one of the three runways at Indira Gandhi International Airport will be closed for surface repair work. Authorities have said the closure will not have a major impact on flight operations, however flight cancellations and reschedules are expected. Reconfirm flight departures prior to travelling to the airport and arrive early.  Consult Delhi airport's website for up-to-date information.

  • During the closure period anticipate an increased demand for trains to and from Delhi, particularly for premium services such as Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express. If you plan to undertake train travel to and from the city book tickets in advance and plan itineraries accordingly.
  • There is an ongoing strike in the Darjeeling hills following clashes between police and supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) political party. Many hotels remain closed and public transport in the area has been affected. Occasional violent protests have occurred in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, and on the roads in the area. If you plan to travel in or through the Darjeeling hills, Sikkim and Cooch Behar district, monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
  • Female travellers face particular threats to their safety in India. If you're female, avoid travelling alone. Be cautious even if you are travelling with others. See Safety and security.
  • Violent protests and demonstrations occur sporadically throughout India. Avoid large crowds. See Safety and security.
  • Indian authorities have replaced withdrawn 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes with new 500 and 2,000 rupee notes.  Commercial banks and the Reserve Bank of India no longer exchange the old 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes for new currency. It is illegal to hold more than 10 of the old 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes.
  • From 1 April 2017, the length of stay on an e-Visa increased from 30 days to 60 days. e-Visas are available to eligible Australians for tourism, business and medical-related travel. See Entry and exit.
  • Driving in India is unpredictable and the number of road traffic deaths is high. See Local travel.
  • Major cities experience very high levels of seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution, which can be harmful to certain sensitive groups. If you are concerned about the effects of air pollution, seek medical advice before you travel. See Health.
  • Reconsider your need to travel, or avoid all travel to some regions of India because of safety and security issues. See Safety and security.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

You'll need a visa to enter India. Visas must be arranged prior to arrival.

An Electronic Visa (e-Visa) is available for online application prior to arrival in India. The e-Visa is available to eligible Australians for tourism, business and/or medical-related travel. From 1 April 2017, the length of stay on an e-Visa increased from 30 days to 60 days. Double entry is permitted for those travelling on a tourist or business e-visa. Triple entry is permitted for those travelling on a medical e-visa. An e-Visa may only be used a maximum of two times in a calendar year. You can find more information about the eligibility criteria on the Government of India's e-Visa website. Beware of fake websites offering the e-Visa service. Make sure you are eligible for an e-Visa before you apply.

All other Australian visa applicants need to make an appointment online prior to submitting their visa application.

An e-Visa must be obtained at least four days prior to arrival in India, and can only be used at designated ports of entry. It is not a visa-on-arrival. Carry a printed copy of the email confirmation of your e-Visa (known as an electronic travel authorisation of ETA), and a formal visa will be affixed to your passport on arrival in India. Long queues are often experienced at immigration counters in India, regardless of visa type.

Not all international airports in India allow passengers to enter with an e-Visa. The e-Visa is valid for entry through 24 designated airports. If you want to enter the country through another location, you'll need to arrange for an Indian visa prior to arrival through an Indian High Commission, Consulate, Embassy or agent. If you arrive with an e-Visa at an international airport or border crossing where the e-Visa is not recognised, you will not be able to apply for any other visa. You will be denied entry to India and deported. Travellers holding an e-Visa may exit from any authorised immigration check point in India.

If you don't have a valid passport and visa you could be deported by the Indian authorities. The Australian High Commission or Consulates General in India cannot facilitate your stay if you arrive without proper documentation. See the Government of India's e-Visa and Ministry of Home Affairs websites for further information on the electronic visas, including payment methods.

Volunteers: Australians who wish to undertake any form of paid or unpaid volunteer work (including students visiting India under the New Colombo Plan) should discuss relevant visa requirements with their local Indian diplomatic mission well ahead of any travel.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the Indian High Commission for the latest information.

More information:

Visa - exit and overstays

There are heavy penalties, including jail sentences, for overstaying your visa. Check and comply with your visa conditions throughout your stay. Depart India before your visa expires.

If your passport is lost or stolen while you are in India, you'll need to get an exit visa from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs before you'll be allowed to leave India. After reporting your lost passport to police, arrange your replacement travel document from the nearest Australian mission and then apply for an exit visa.

Other formalities

Indian laws controlling the import and export of Indian rupees, foreign currency, and other goods can change with little notice. Contact the nearest High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of India for up-to-date information.

If you arrive in India from an area where yellow fever is endemic, you must present a vaccination certificate for yellow fever on arrival. For more information, see the Indian Government's Bureau of Immigration.

If you plan to stay in India for more than 180 days, you'll need to register within 14 days of arrival with the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, or with the Superintendent of Police in other areas. If you don't register, you could be fined or jailed. You could also be prevented from departing India until permission is granted by the Bureau of Immigration.

More information:

Passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain your passport by deception. If you are forced to handover your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

By law, you must, as soon as possible:

Money

In November 2016, Indian authorities withdrew all 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes from circulation. New 2,000 and 500 rupee notes have been issued and are in circulation.

Commercial banks and the Reserve Bank of India no longer exchange the old 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes for new currency. It is illegal to hold more than 10 of the old 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes.

ATMs that accept international debit and credit cards are widely available in larger cities and towns but are harder to find in rural areas. Cash shortages at ATMs are sometimes a problem in rural areas.

Be aware that some travellers have reported difficulties in exchanging Australian $100 notes for local currency in India. The Australian High Commission has issued a statement clarifying that the Australian Government has no plans to withdraw the A$100 note from circulation.

Travellers cheques are not widely accepted.

Take care when receiving change or dealing in cash as counterfeit currency is in circulation.

More information: Reserve Bank of India

Safety and security

Jammu and Kashmir 

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in the Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Get up-to-date information on the security environment before deciding to visit Ladakh. All travel to the region should be via Manali, or by air to the city of Leh, in order to avoid potential trouble spots elsewhere in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the cities of Jammu and Srinagar (including the Jammu-Srinagar highway) in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, due to the risk of armed clashes, terrorist attacks and violent demonstrations. If you choose to travel to Srinagar, do so by air.  
  • Do not travel to other parts of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, due to the danger of armed clashes, terrorist activities and violent demonstrations, particularly in rural areas and areas close to the border with Pakistan. In the past, attacks have targeted tourist buses. There have also been isolated incidences of kidnapping of foreigners in Kashmir.
  • There have been widespread violent protests in the Kashmir Valley resulting in a number of deaths and serious injuries. Additional police have been deployed to the region. If you are travelling in or through Srinagar, monitor the media and avoid protests or large gatherings. Be vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities and your travel operator.

Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

  • Reconsider your need to travel to rural and forested areas of the State of Chhattisgarh, where Maoist insurgents, known as Naxalites, frequently conduct attacks.
  • Exercise a high degree of caution in border regions of Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Telangana states, which are also at risk of Naxalite violence

Borders with Pakistan

  • Do not travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan (northern and western India), other than at the international border crossing at Atari, India and Wagah, Pakistan. Landmines pose a serious risk along some stretches of the India-Pakistan border and you could get caught up in cross-border attacks or violence directed at others.
  • In July 2015, gunmen in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab, 15 kilometres from the Pakistan border, attacked a bus, health centre and police station, killing up to 10 people.
  • In October 2016, villages along the India-Pakistan border in Punjab were temporarily evacuated as a precaution against escalating cross-border firing.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the Atari-Wagah border crossing during periods of heightened tension between India and Pakistan. In 2014, a terrorist attack on the Pakistani side of the Atari-Wagah border crossing killed at least 55 people and injured 200. Be alert to possible threats at and near the Atari-Wagah border crossing at all times.

North-eastern states of Assam (except Guwahati), Nagaland and Manipur

  • Reconsider your need to travel to the north-eastern states of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam (except Guwahati) due to the risk of armed robbery, kidnapping, extortion, and separatist and insurgent violence, including in rural areas. Insurgent groups have attacked civilians and bombed buildings in these states.
  • From 28 January to 2 February 2017, violent protests against local elections occurred in Kohima and Dimapur in the state of Nagaland, during which protesters set municipal buildings and vehicles on fire.
  • On 26 January 2017, seven near-simultaneous explosions took place in Charaideo, Bibrugarh, Sivasagar and Tinsukia districts in the state of Assam, and a further two explosions in Imphal in the state of Manipur.
  • On 5 August 2016, terrorists attacked a market at Balajan Tinali in Kokrajhar district in the state of Assam, killing at least 14 civilians.

Terrorism

Terrorist attacks are possible anytime, anywhere in India, with little or no warning. We continue to receive reports that terrorists are planning attacks in India. Attacks could target foreigners or you could get caught up in violence directed at others.

The Indian Government regularly issues public alert warnings about possible terrorist attacks. Take such alert warnings seriously and avoid any areas identified as a possible target of attack.

In recent years, many terrorist attacks in India have involved multiple, consecutive explosions and resulted in a high number of fatalities. Terrorists have targeted areas popular with tourists including hotels, markets, tourist sites, religious sites, transport hubs and public transport networks. Local courts, sporting events, cinemas and Indian security and political establishments have also been attacked. Major tourist attractions and shopping centres could also be targeted in future attacks.

In December 2016, the US and UK issued warnings of terror threats to areas frequented by foreigners. Areas in southwest India, resorts, beaches and festivals were listed among those areas where travellers should maintain a high level of vigilance.

Major secular and religious holidays and periods of religious significance could provide terrorist groups an opportunity or pretext to stage an attack.

Militants are known to have crossed the border into India with the intention of conducting attacks in the past. It is likely they will continue to try and do so. Terrorist groups regularly issue statements threatening to launch attacks in India. In early 2016, Indian security agencies arrested a number of suspected terrorists they accused of plotting attacks in India.

There are limited security measures in place on public transport, such as buses and railways. Security arrangements at airports have been enhanced, reflecting the threat of terrorist attacks against Indian aviation interests.

Minimise risks:

  • in planning your activities, consider the kinds of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided
  • be alert to possible threats, especially in public places
  • be particularly vigilant in the period around days of national significance, such as Republic Day (26 January) and Independence Day (15 August)
  • if you go to a crowded place or other possible target, have a clear exit plan if there is a security incident
  • report any suspicious activity or items to police
  • monitor the news for any new or emerging threats
  • take official warnings seriously and avoid any areas identified as a possible target of attack
  • if there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so. 

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

Violent protests and demonstrations occur sporadically and often spontaneously throughout India. Civil unrest and communal violence have claimed a significant number of lives.

International events, political developments in the region and local events can trigger demonstrations in India, often causing disruptions to public transport.

Religious ceremonies and gatherings attended by large crowds can result in dangerous and life threatening incidents, such as stampedes. In response to such events, Indian authorities may impose curfews and restrict activity in the affected location.

  • Stay well clear of all demonstrations, political events, rallies, processions and large-scale public gatherings.
  • Monitor the news and other sources for advice of possible unrest and avoid those areas.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Women in India can be subjected to unwanted attention and more serious harassment and assault, including sexual assault. Successful prosecutions are rare.

Many travellers have been robbed and assaulted after consuming 'spiked' drinks or food on public transport and in hotels, restaurants and bars in India. Such incidents are rare at business-class hotels and upscale bars and restaurants. The risk is higher in smaller establishments and in New Delhi, Goa and Himachal Pradesh state.

Petty theft is common in crowded areas such as markets, trade fairs, expos, and airports, as well as on buses, metros and trains, including overnight and long-distance trains. Thieves on motorcycles commonly snatch shoulder bags and jewellery.

There are persistent allegations and media reports of sexual misconduct involving religious groups and their leaders in India.

  • Be alert to possible threats to your safety at all times.
  • If you're female, avoid travelling alone – even in major cities and at tourist sites.
  • Avoid less populous and unlit areas, including city streets, village lanes and beaches.
  • Avoid travelling alone on public transport, autos, taxis and rickshaws, particularly at night.
  • Never accept food or drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended. If you aren't sure if a drink is safe, leave it.
  • Carry only what you need, including your passport. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly in crowded areas.
  • Don't tempt thieves – avoid wearing expensive watches, jewellery and cameras.
  • Avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch.
  • Walk on footpaths (where available), away from the curb, with your bag held on the opposite side to the traffic.
  • If you're planning to visit India for religious purposes, thoroughly investigate your proposed hosts before you travel.

More information:

Scams

Scams involving ATM and credit cards, train tickets, taxis, temple donations and tourist guides operate throughout India.

Common scams include:

  • Tour package scam: a guide either fraudulently sells a tour package or 'proves' to the traveller that their existing tour package is invalid and then proceeds to sell their own package.
  • Card skimming: Skimming devices are used to copy card details from the magnetic strip and copied onto a blank card that the criminal uses. There is a high risk of skimming at ATMs.
  • Guide services: A stranger poses as a 'guide' and takes the unsuspecting victim on a tour of tourist areas. At an opportune moment and in an isolated area, the guide tries to rob and/or molest the victim.
  • Touts/agents: Touts/agents who are present around government offices providing services to foreigners, such as the Foreigner Regional Registration Office, offer faster services for a fee.

If you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to the nearest police station. Even though they may not be able to get your money or goods back, they can issue you with an official loss report for insurance purposes.

Local travel

Travel delays are common throughout India, including due to additional security measures, especially in the lead-up to and on days of national significance such as Republic Day (26 January) and Independence Day (15 August).

Fog often affects northern India, particularly during December and January, and may delay air and rail travel, and may make road travel more dangerous.

From 7-9 November 2017, one of the three runways at Indira Gandhi International Airport will be closed for surface repair work. Authorities have said the closure will not have a major impact on flight operations, however flight cancellations and reschedules are expected. Reconfirm flight departures prior to travelling to the airport and arrive early to allow time to clear check-in.  Consult Delhi airport's website for any changes to flight departure/arrival times during this period.

During the closure period, anticipate an increased demand for trains to and from Delhi, particularly for premium services such as the Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express.  If you plan to travel by train to and from the city, book tickets in advance and plan itineraries accordingly.

 

Tours and adventure activities

Touts are often found at airports, railway stations and bus stations and may use aggressive tactics to persuade travellers to buy tickets on tours. They may not have any connection to the relevant commercial service providers. You may be overcharged.

The safety standards of transport and tour operators, including for adventure activities, are not always met. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. 

If you plan to join a tour or participate in adventure activities:

  • talk to your travel insurer to check if each planned activity is covered by your insurance policy
  • check operators' credentials and safety equipment
  • don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements – if appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider
  • always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't.

Travel restrictions - tribal areas

Some State and Union Territory governments impose restrictions on the movement of foreign tourists around designated tribal areas. You may need to obtain permission from the Indian authorities to visit those parts of the country, particularly in the northeast. There are heavy penalties for entering a protected or restricted area without prior permission.

Permits are required for:

  • Mizoram
  • Manipur
  • Nagaland
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Sikkim
  • parts of Kulu District and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh
  • tribal areas of Odisha
  • border areas of Jammu and Kashmir
  • some areas of Uttrakhand (formerly Uttaranchal)
  • parts of Rajasthan adjacent to the international border
  • the Tibetan settlements between Hunsar and Madikeri in Karnataka
  • Lakshadweep
  • the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Indian authorities generally require at least four weeks to process permit applications. If you plan to visit a protected or restricted area, first seek advice from a High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of India or the Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, NDCC-II Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi.

 

Road travel

Travelling by road in India can be dangerous. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you are three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in India than in Australia. 

Accidents are common. Local drivers can be aggressive and vehicles are poorly maintained. Roads are often of poor quality and congested, and shared with pedestrians, carts, cattle and other livestock. Vehicles may travel in the wrong direction, often without warning.

Travelling by road at night is particularly dangerous due to insufficient or non-existent street lighting and the presence of other vehicles driving with headlights off or on high beam.

If your vehicle hits a pedestrian or cow, you (and the other occupants) are at risk of being attacked or becoming victims of extortion. If it is unsafe to remain at the scene of an accident, go to the nearest police station.

  • Drive defensively.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Where possible, avoid driving at night and in fog.
  • If you hit a pedestrian or cow, do not remain at the scene of the accident. Go to the nearest police station.

More information: road travel

 

Driver's licence

In the first three months of your stay in India, you can drive a vehicle without an Indian driver's licence, provided you have an International Driving Permit and your current Australian driver's licence. An Australian licence alone is not sufficient. Your licence must be valid for the type of vehicle you are driving.

If you have been in India for three months or longer, you'll need an Indian driver's licence to drive.

If you have an accident without being properly licensed, your insurance may be void and liability for the accident could be fully attributed to you, as an unlicensed driver.

 

Motorcycles

By law, motorcycle riders must wear helmets. If you intend to ride a motorcycle, check that your travel insurance policy covers motorcycle riding. Exercise extreme caution on the roads and follow the advice for 'road travel'.

 

Taxis

On arrival at airports, use the pre-paid taxi service. Use taxi services booked from hotels or taxi stands, rather than hailing them on the street, as it is difficult to verify whether it is a legitimate on-duty taxi. Don't use private unmarked cars as taxis. If you have a local SIM card, ride-sharing apps, such as Uber and Ola, are widely used in major cities.

 

Public transport

Bus and train services are often overcrowded, and drivers may lack adequate training. Buses and trains are often also poorly maintained and fires can occur. If you choose to travel by train, familiarise yourself with the emergency exits.

 

Sea travel

Tourist boats, ferries and other small commercial craft may not carry safety equipment such as life jackets.  Check operators' credentials and safety equipment before booking.

 

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in India.

More information: Air travel

 

Wildlife

Fatal tiger attacks occur in India. Monkeys may attempt to steal items from visitors at temples and busy tourist attractions.

  • Always respect wildlife laws and park regulations.
  • Only use reputable and professional guides.
  • Maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife.

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

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.

Legal processes in India generally take several years to conclude. If you are arrested for a major offence, you could be imprisoned for several years before a verdict is reached in your case.

If you are imprisoned, there could be delays in getting help from the Australian Government because of India's consular access approval requirements.

 

Drug and alcohol laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and can include mandatory sentences and the death penalty.

Legal drinking ages range from 18 to 25 depending on the state, and can vary by alcohol type. Some states permit alcohol use for medicinal purposes only. Others require you to hold a permit to buy, transport or consume alcohol. Some states prohibit the carriage of alcohol brought in from outside the state, and police may perform checks on vehicles to enforce this law.

  • Check the alcohol laws of each state and territory, before you visit.

Surrogacy laws

Foreign nationals are no longer permitted to commission surrogacy in India.

More information:

Other laws

The following activities are illegal in India:

  • failing to carry your passport (with a valid visa) at all times
  • the giving or receiving of a dowry – claims for dowry can result in an arrest alert notice being issued by a court at the request of an aggrieved party: if you have been involved in providing or receiving a dowry, you could be arrested on arrival in India
  • homosexuality - though prosecutions are rare, a conviction for homosexual behaviour could carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment
  • trespassing on or photographing airports, military establishments and dams
  • carrying or using a satellite phone without official permission
  • deliberate maiming or killing of a cow - penalty of up to five years imprisonment in some states
  • possession or export of antiquities without official permission – contact the Indian Central Board of Excise and Customs or a High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of India for advice
  • inducing conversion to another religion by force or other enticement (some states)
  • religious missionary work without an appropriate visa
  • taking pictures or videos of certain places of worship and temples – always check first with the temple's administrative office.

Penalties in India for some crimes, such as murder, kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery with murder, and treason, may attract the death penalty.

More information:

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering.

More information: Staying within the law

 

Local customs

There are strict codes of dress and behaviour in India, particularly at religious sites. Physical contact between men and women in public is not considered appropriate.

  • Take care not to offend.
  • If in doubt, seek local advice.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to occur between mid-May and mid-June 2018.

More information: Ramadan

 

Dual nationals

The Indian constitution does not recognise dual nationality. However, Indian law allows persons of Indian origin in a number of countries, including Australia, to apply for Overseas Citizenship of India. For further information on Overseas Citizenship, see the Overseas Citizenship of India section of the Indian Government's Ministry of Home Affairs website.

More information: Dual nationals

 

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

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.

More information:

 

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry on your person a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

Before you leave Australia:

  • check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to
  • get medical documents authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before you depart (if required).

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Influenza

Cases of influenza A(H1N1) are prevalent in India during winter. Discuss influenza vaccination requirements with your GP or a travel health professional before departing Australia.

Mosquito-borne illnesses

Malaria is a risk in most parts of India, including major cities. Cases of dengue fever are prevalent in the period after the monsoon. Other mosquito-borne diseases (including Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya fever and filariasis) are also prevalent.

Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • ensure your accommodation is mosquito proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing
  • take prophylaxis against malaria where necessary
  • discuss your travel plans and vaccination needs with your doctor before you travel

More information: World Health Organisation's dengue fact sheet

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is prevalent in India. Exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including meningitis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria and rabies) are highly prevalent in India. Tap water is not safe to drink. Home-made or unlabelled alcohol can be poisonous.

  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water with intact seals.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid uncooked and undercooked food.
  • Don't consume home-made or unlabelled alcohol.
  • Seek medical attention if you suspect poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

Air quality

Major cities in India experience frequent high levels of air pollution, particularly during the colder months. Those with pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart and lung conditions, may be especially affected.

If you live in or intend to visit India and are concerned about the levels of air pollution:

  • seek medical advice
  • follow advice from local authorities about methods to reduce exposure
  • monitor an air quality index for your city and take measures to reduce your exposure to pollution, as appropriate.

More information:

 

Medical facilities

Medical facilities providing an adequate standard of treatment are in India's major cities. However, in remote and rural areas facilities can be very limited or unavailable. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation may be necessary.

'Medical tourism', including for cosmetic and experimental stem cell treatments, has become more common in India. Standards at discount and uncertified medical establishments can be poor. Serious and possibly life-threatening complications can result.

  • Research and choose your medical service providers carefully
  • Don't be lured to discount or uncertified medical service providers.

Decompression chambers are located at the Indian naval base in Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and at the Goa Medical College, Goa.

More information: Medical Tourism

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergencies

  • The all-in-one emergency number in India is 112
  • Firefighting and rescue services: 101
  • Medical emergencies: 102
  • Criminal issues, contact police: 100. Always obtain a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, see contact details below.

Australian High Commission, New Delhi

No. 1/50 G Shantipath (Gate 1)
Chanakyapuri
New Delhi India 110021
Telephone: (91 11) 4139 9900
Facsimile: (91 11) 2687 2228
Website: india.highcommission.gov.au
Email: ahc.newdelhi@dfat.gov.au

Australian Consulate General, Mumbai

Level 10, A Wing
Crescenzo Building
Opp MCA Cricket Club
G Block, Plot C 38-39
Bandra Kurla Complex
Mumbai 400 051
Telephone: (91 22) 6757 4900
Facsimile: (91 22) 6757 4955
Website: mumbai.consulate.gov.au
Email: cg.mumbai@dfat.gov.au

Australian Consulate General, Chennai

9th Floor, Express Chambers
Express Avenue Estate
Whites Road
Royapettah
Chennai 600 014
Tamil Nadu
Telephone: (91 44) 4592 1300
Facsimile: (91 44) 4592 1320
Email: chennaiaustralianconsulate@dfat.gov.au

Check the Australian High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

In a consular emergency, if you're unable to contact the High Commission, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

If there is a natural disaster:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag)
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • closely monitor the media, the India Meteorological Department website and other local sources of information
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

Floods and landslides

  • Annual monsoon rains from June to October can cause extensive flooding and landslides, particularly in the states of Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the north and east, and in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the south. In the past, floods have affected millions of people, resulting in many deaths.
  • If you are travelling during the monsoon season, contact your tour operator to check whether services at your planned destination have been affected.

More information: India Meteorological Department.

Cyclones

Cyclones are common in Indian waters in the period April-December, particularly around the Bay of Bengal in eastern India. Coastal and some inland areas of India are vulnerable to storm surges, particularly Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

More information: Severe weather

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Earth tremors are common in India, particularly in the North-eastern states, and can cause landslides in hilly and mountainous areas. If there is an earthquake, expect severe disruptions to services. See our earthquakes page for advice on travelling to and living in an earthquake-prone region.

All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis.

More information:

 

Additional Resources