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On my upcoming trip to India, I also would like to visit the neighboring countries of Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Assuming I am flying into India (and out again) this means I need to get a multiple entry visa for it. This seems to be harder to get than a single entry visa and even if I get one, I need to stay outside of India for two months before I can re-enter. (that time counts towards the India visa). This raises some issues:

  • The visas given on arrival in Sri Lanka is only valid for 30 days not the two months needed to re-enter India.
  • If I have a six months Indian visa and I need to stay 2 months each in Nepal and Sri Lanka. That leaves me with just two months in India itself, not enough! 12 months visas are harder to get.

One option would be to fly into Sri Lanka, stay there a few weeks, then do India for several months on a single entry visa and finally move on to Nepal and also leaving from there. Is this a practical option? Is it the only option?

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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

UPDATE: As of November 30, 2012 the "2 month" rule has been removed for nationals of all countries EXCEPT Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, foreigners of Pakistan and Stateless persons.

Until a few years ago an Indian Multiple Entry Tourist Visa allowed you to exit and re-enter the country with no time restrictions, which made what you're trying to do easy (I did India -> Nepal -> Tibet -> China -> Pakistan -> India several years ago with no issues at all)

Thankfully when they introduced the "2-month" rule they did consider situations like yours, and it's fairly easy to get around this restriction. At the time that you APPLY for your visa, you need to specifically request an exception to the 2 month rule, and provide documentation as to why you require an exception - specifically in your case that would be a travel itinerary showing your plans to travel India -> Nepal -> India. When the visa is issued they will annotate it to allow you to re-enter once within the 2 month period.

If you don't have an itinerary mapped out then now is the time to come up with one. In general you won't need to follow the itinerary you give them exactly - as long as it's close then you'll have no problems.

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I did ask for an exception from the 2 month rule when I applied for the visa and added a itinerary as well, but the visa they sent back has no mention of it. –  Peter Hahndorf Feb 17 '12 at 21:19
    
It should be mentioned on the VISA. Mine say: May be permitted to enter India within 60 days. I bought all relevant tickets before I left and gave the embassy a copy. –  grm Mar 15 '13 at 18:42
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When I travelled India -> Nepal -> India I had a single entry visa for India. When I got to Nepal, I had to apply for new visa. The Indian embassy in Kathmandu cancelled the one I had (which was still valid for a short time) and issued me a new one. In fact, the only reason I went to Nepal was to stay longer in India.

Getting an Indian visa in Nepal was (is?) a painful process, so I'm not sure that I recommend this but it is an option.

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protected by Ankur Banerjee Aug 8 '13 at 8:44

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