It was possible to enter India with a new passport and the valid visa in the old passport last year. However I can't get any official confirmation on the current status.

Notably, Timatic used to explicitly say that "Valid visas in expired passports are still acceptable, provided accompanied by a valid passport of the same nationality of the expired passport", but currently it doesn't seem to say it anymore. I've checked United one.

Indian consulate in Chicago says:

Transfer of visa to a new passport is not needed in emergency and the applicant can travel to India with old passport having Indian visa, along with new current passport.

Emphasis is mine. I do not have an emergency, and in any case I wouldn't trust embassy web sites as they update very slowly.

So anyone flew to India recently with a visa in an old passport? Was there any hassle/issues during checkin or immigration in India?

I'd transfer the visa, but the process is incredibly annoying, and paperwork-wise is the same as getting a new visa.

Update: things get more interesting. Apparently there seem to be two different versions of TIMATIC.

For example, one from KLM has this exact wording:

... This does not apply to passengers with a PIO card.

Valid visas in expired passports are still acceptable, provided accompanied by a valid passport of the same nationality of the expired passport.

However the one available at http://www.iatatravelcentre.com and the one from United do not have this wording, and both explicitly omit this phrase:

screenshot United

  • 2
    FYI, India has now introduced e-Visa which you can get online in minutes. It might or might not be applicable to you, but it could be an easy solution. – Aganju Jan 29 '17 at 3:15
  • I know this, but I already have a valid 10 year visa in an old passport, why spend money if it can be used? – George Y. Jan 29 '17 at 3:25
  • I'd be traveling as US citizen. – George Y. Feb 1 '17 at 20:37

The "original" IATA interface of Timatic, on which the information seen by check-in clerks is based, says:

Valid visas in expired passports are still acceptable, provided accompanied by a valid passport of the same nationality of the expired passport.

It's located in Visa -> Additional information, which is the section the link leads to.

IATA Travel Centre (which is what United uses) is not Timatic, only an engine based on Timatic. It sometimes doesn't even keep up with updates in Timatic, another proof of them not being the same thing.

What check-in staff uses, however, is the actual Timatic, and it is also where the latest info from the world's governments is found.

So yes, you can enter India on your new and old passports combined

  • Please read the whole question :) as I mentioned, there seem to be two different versions of Timatic. How do you know which one is original, and which one is not? Why the United one - which omits this exact phrase - is not original? – George Y. Feb 22 '17 at 21:46
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    @GeorgeY. The IATA travel centre (United's interface) is only based on Timatic, it's not Timatic itself. The IATA travel centre is not what check-in clerks go by, nor is it necessarily an exact reflection of the information the governments provide to IATA, which the actual Timatic is – Crazydre Feb 22 '17 at 21:53
  • @GeorgeY. Btw, I also know for a fact that the IATA travel centre (again, United's interface) contains outdated Timatic info for several countries. So it's definitely not an interface to be relied on - always consult Timatic itself. This website provides access to its original interface flightworx.aero/timatic/tables.php – Crazydre Feb 22 '17 at 22:02
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    Ok, I'll check in-person in a week and let you guys know. – George Y. Feb 23 '17 at 22:25
  • @GeorgeY. If they deny you boarding, they didn't look carefully enough. They will have access to the part saying you can use a visa in an expired passport – Crazydre Feb 24 '17 at 21:12

To add to the answer above, I was allowed to board the flight using this combination, but it took Qatar gate agents in Barcelona 20 minutes to confirm this, including calling phones and bringing in no less than four different people. So if you do this, make sure you account for this extra time, i.e. don't be the last in the boarding line at the gate.

Update2: every single hotel I checked in in India also wanted to see a visa, and some were confused seeing it in another passport. Also took some extra time, although was never refused check-in.

Update3: when you leave India, you also need to present the old passport with visa, so don't pack it into your check-in luggage.

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