India Part 3 – Protected/Restricted Areas

Part 1 on India visas covered 10-year multiple entry tourist visas for US citizens and visa-free entry for certain other nationalities. Part 2 covered re-entry restrictions.

Protected/Restricted Area Permission (PAP/RAP) is the final major consideration for India tourist visas. Requirementsfor issuance of a PAP are more strict than RAP, but application of the rules varies tremendously. When The Rapid Traveler contacted the official visa processing outsourcer for the US, Travisa, he was referred to the Indian Consulate. Some permissions can be issued at overseas diplomatic missions while others can only be arranged in India.

The following areas are affected, and all are way off the typical tourist track (and hence particularly appealing to the adventurous!). This list comes from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs’ official document on PAP/RAP:

This Wikipedia entry provides some background and links to the full text of the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order 1968.

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Sundarbans, West Bengal

Travelers planning to visit any of these areas should do careful advance research, contact their local India diplomatic mission, and consider working with local travel agents specializing in the relevant area. The Lonely Planet guide provides excellent info and Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum is a great resource for up to date reports from travelers. Security is a serious matter in India and the travel situation subject to constant change. Travelers to many of these areas should prepare contingencies should a PAP/RAP be unobtainable or entry denied.

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