Lots of travelers dream of visiting India for its rich culture, delicious food, unique beliefs, and traditions. Plus, India's quickly becoming a hotspot for business, too.
It's totally normal to wonder, 'Is visiting India safe right now?' Safety is a big deal for anyone traveling, especially to places that might be a bit different from what you're used to.
We've got you covered with a rundown of India's current safety scene. Scroll down to find all you need to know for a smooth trip to India.
Overview of the current safety situation in India
India is a popular tourist destination that welcomes millions of visitors annually. While the country is generally safe for tourists, it’s always important to stay informed about the latest safety and security updates before planning your trip.
Ensuring your safety in major cities such as New Delhi, Agra, and Goa is important. The guidance mirrors that for any tourist destination: be vigilant with your possessions and avoid overly crowded areas. However, there's less need for concern regarding violent crime, as it is uncommon in India, particularly against foreign visitors.
According to the US Department of State, India is currently at a Level 3 Travel Advisory, which means visitors should exercise increased caution. This is because there are some areas of India where visitors should take additional precautions due to the risk of terrorism and civil unrest. The US government recommends avoiding non-essential travel to these regions:
Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir
Northeastern States (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur)
Central and Eastern India (from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal)
Safety concerns for tourists in India
While India is generally a safe destination, there are some safety concerns that tourists should be aware of:
Petty crime: Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and theft can occur in crowded areas and tourist sites. Just be vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings at all times, and you shouldn’t have a problem.
Scams: Tourists can be targeted by scammers who may offer fake tours or products. Be cautious of anyone who approaches you on the street with unsolicited offers. Search for reputable companies before purchasing tourist services.
Women's safety: According to Indian authorities report, rape is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country. Women should be cautious when traveling alone or in small groups to minimize the risks of sexual assault. So, avoid isolated areas and traveling or walking alone at night.
Health risks: India is known for its spicy food, which can cause stomach problems for some travelers. Also, there are problems with contaminated water and food, so only drink bottled water and avoid street food.
Terrorism: India has had a history of terrorism, and visitors should be cautious in areas with a history of violence or political unrest. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations. Ethnic insurgent groups, like Maoist extremists known as Naxalites, have conducted frequent terrorist attacks targeting Indian government facilities, local police, and transportation hubs.
Natural disasters: India can have natural disasters such as floods and severe storms during the monsoon season (June to September). The monsoon can bring heavy rains that destroy homes, damage infrastructure, and wash away crops.
Road conditions: Places like Andhra Pradesh have high rates of road accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Be extremely cautious if you decide to take a road trip around India.
While in India, monitor the local media to stay informed about the latest travel advisories, then you can have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Indian cultural differences and customs
Exploring a new country is always an enriching experience. However, while India is known for its warm hospitality, certain customs and traditions may differ from what others are used to. Read below about cultural differences and customs tourists can encounter when traveling to India.
Dress code in India
In India, dress codes are more conservative, and visitors should respect local customs. Here are some tips to keep in mind regarding dress codes:
Women should dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees in public places.
Men should avoid wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts in public places.
When visiting religious sites, men and women should dress modestly, covering their heads and removing their shoes.
Public behavior in India
In India, public behavior is generally more reserved, and visitors should be aware of local customs. Regarding public behavior in India, follow this advice:
Avoid public displays of affection, which can be considered inappropriate in some parts of the country.
Be mindful of personal space, as crowds can be expected in public places.
Avoid taking photographs of people without their permission, particularly in rural areas.
Interactions with locals
India is known for its hospitality, and visitors can expect to be warmly welcomed by locals. However, there are certain customs and traditions that tourists should be aware of when interacting with locals. Check out these tips:
Use your right hand when eating or passing objects to others, as the left hand is considered unclean.
Address older people and those in positions of authority with respect.
Remove your shoes before entering someone's home or a place of worship.
Travel to India: Tips for staying safe in India
India is a beautiful country with so much to offer its visitors. Whether you're drawn to its rich history, stunning landscapes, or vibrant culture, there's something for everyone in India. However, safety is always a concern when traveling to any new destination. Here are some practical tips for tourists to stay safe while traveling in India:
Register with the embassy or consulate before your trip and stay updated on any travel advisories or warnings. This will allow the embassy to contact you in an emergency and provide assistance if needed.
Avoid traveling alone, especially at night. Stick to well-lit and busy areas, and use reputable transportation services.
Be aware of your surroundings and watch for pickpockets and scammers. Don't carry large amounts of cash or valuable items with you, and keep important documents (like your passport) in a secure location.
Respect local customs and laws. Dress modestly and be mindful of public displays of affection. Be sure to research any cultural practices or traditions before you visit.
Be cautious about visiting certain areas, particularly those known for political unrest or civil unrest. Check with local authorities or your embassy for the latest information on safety and security.
Tourist locations: Best places to visit in India
India has so much to offer that planning an itinerary is challenging. We’re here to help you in this mission! Check out some of the best attractions in India and how to stay safe visiting them:
The Taj Mahal is an iconic mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. It was commissioned by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. You can explore the complex’ stunning white marble structure, gardens, and other buildings.
- Safety tip for visiting the Taj Mahal: Beware of scam artists who may try to sell you fake tickets or souvenirs outside the monument. Only buy from authorized sellers.
Located on India’s southwestern coast, Goa is known for its beautiful beaches, Portuguese-influenced architecture, and vibrant nightlife. You can enjoy various activities, from sunbathing and swimming to exploring historic churches and museums.
- Safety tip for Goa: Be careful when swimming in the sea, as there can be strong currents and rip tides. Follow the lifeguard's instructions and stay within designated swimming areas.
Known as the "Pink City" for its distinctive rose-colored buildings, Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan and a popular tourist destination in India. Visitors can explore the historic City Palace complex, which includes stunning palaces, gardens, and courtyards. The Hawa Mahal, or "Palace of Winds," is another iconic attraction in Jaipur, with its unique honeycomb-shaped façade. The city is also known for its vibrant bazaars, where visitors can shop for textiles, jewelry, and other traditional crafts.
- Safety tip for Jaipur: Be wary of anyone offering unsolicited assistance or asking for money, and keep your valuables secure while exploring the city.
The Kerala Backwaters are a network of interconnected canals, lagoons, and lakes that stretch along the coast of Kerala. Take a boat ride through the backwaters and enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife. The area is also known for its traditional houseboat stays, where you can sleep and dine on a boat.
- Safety tip for visiting Kerala Backwaters: When taking a boat ride, ensure the boat is in good condition and equipped with life jackets. Avoid boats that appear overcrowded or unstable.
The Himalayas are breathtaking mountains that run across northern India. Explore the area on foot, trekking through the mountains, and enjoying the stunning views. The region is also home to several historic temples and monasteries and offers many adventure sports like skiing and rafting opportunities.
- Safety tip for visiting the Himalayas: If you plan to go trekking or hiking, ensure you're in good physical condition and acclimated to the altitude. Bring appropriate gear and check weather conditions before heading out.
Often called the "Venice of the East," Udaipur is a beautiful city in Rajasthan known for its stunning palaces, lakes, and gardens. Visitors can explore the historic City Palace, take a boat ride on Lake Pichola, or relax in one of the many parks and gardens in the city.
- Safety tip for Udaipur: Be cautious when walking around at night, especially in deserted areas. Stick to well-lit, busy streets and travel with a companion if possible.
Home to the Golden Temple, the holiest site in Sikhism, Amritsar is a fascinating city in Punjab. Visitors can explore the temple complex, which includes a stunning golden shrine, a community kitchen that serves free meals to visitors, and a museum on Sikh history and culture. The city is also known for its delicious Punjabi food and lively markets.
- Safety tip for Amritsar: Follow local customs, remove your shoes, and cover your head before entering the temple. Respect the religious traditions and avoid taking photos inside the temple without permission.
Need a visa for this trip? Read our complete India Visa guide to find out which one best suits your travel needs.
India travel information for US Citizens
Travel resources and information
Some official information sources can help you be well-prepared to visit India. Before packing, check the US government employees’ travel advice and be up-to-date with all the recommendations.
U.S. Department of State's travel advisories
The India travel advisory on the US Department of State website gathers the latest information regarding safety in India. You can check the specific areas you should avoid visiting.
Local US embassy website
The website of the US embassy in India can also be beneficial for accessing the latest information about safety in the country. In case of an emergency or special events, you can check the US government instructions for American citizens abroad online.
Also, be aware of where the US embassy and consulates are located in India:
U.S. Embassy in India: H5WP+MQQ, Panchsheel Marg, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, Delhi 110021, India
U.S. Consulate General Chennai: 3722+XCP, Gemini Flyover, Ellaiamman Colony, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600006, India
U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad: Survey No. 115, 1, Financial District, Nanakaramguda, Telangana 500032, India
U.S. Consulate General Kolkata: Suite-26, Cta Contemporary Training Academy, 5/1, Ho Chi Minh Sarani Rd, Kankaria Estates, Park Street area, Kolkata, West Bengal 700071, India
U.S. Consulate General Mumbai:G Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051, India
Recommended vaccines to visit India
There’s no mandatory vaccine to travel to India. However, the Indian government recommends being up-to-date with some vaccinations to visit certain regions, particularly the rural parts of the country. Visit the CDC website to check international health recommendations for visiting India.
Do Americans need a visa to enter India?
The Indian visa is part of the entry and exit requirements for international passengers, including American citizens. Government officials will check your travel documents upon arrival, so you should carry a passport and valid visa. There are different Indian visa types, and you must choose according to your travel purpose. Use our handy Visa Checker tool to find out with one you need.
Indian authorities developed Indian electronic visas for traveling for tourism, business, or medical reasons. Keep reading for further information on how to apply for an Indian visa online.
Indian eVisa types
Here are the most popular India visa types. Ensure you choose the one that suits your trip purpose better.
India Tourist Visa: This is the visa for American tourists that want to explore fantastic Indian sights and attractions. There are three eVisa validity options: a 30-day (double-entry), 1-year (multiple-entry), or a 5-year (multiple-entry) visa. Do you want to stay longer? Then, you should check out the Indian embassy visa.
India Business eVisa: India is a faster-growing economy and offers many business opportunities. This is the visa if you travel to attend business meetings, recruit personnel, or deliver, install, or maintain products. It’s a multiple-entry visa valid for one year after being issued.
India Medical eVisa: India is also known for its alternative medicine and treatments. The Medical eVisa allows you to travel for short-term medical treatment and tourism. This medical treatment should be recognized at an authorized hospital or treatment center in the country. The visa is valid for 60 days after arrival and allows for triple entry into India.
Check out our blog for comprehensive information on India Tourist e-Visa validity and length of stay.
How to apply for an Indian eVisa
The visa application process is effortless for any of the India eVisa types. Just follow these three steps:
Step 1: Complete the online application form and choose your preferred processing time.
Step 2: Verify the information to avoid mistakes, and pay for the fees with a debit or credit card, PayPal, Venmo, or Amazon Pay.
Step 3: Upload the documents required and click ‘Submit.’ Easy and quick!
You’ll receive your visa by email once it’s approved. We advise you to print it and save it on your digital device.
Where can I learn more about Indian travel documents?
If you have any questions about tourist, business, or medical visas, contact our outstanding customer support team via chat or WhatsApp us.