Entry Formalities: Please ascertain the procedure for your country and apply for your Indian visa well in time, at least two months before the commencement of the Congress. It is recommended that you apply for a conference visa (see below). The Congress is committed to the principle of free movement of scientists between countries. Foreign visitors entering India must possess a passport valid for at least 6 months after their proposed date of entry into India, except in the case of nationals of Bhutan and Nepal, who need only carry a suitable means of identification. There should be at least two blank pages in the passport when you apply for a visa.

Types of Visa

An entry visa is essential for all foreigners visiting India. There are several types of visas, including conference, tourist and business visas. Those travelling specifically for a conference should apply for a conference visa. This means all registered participants for the IUCr 2017 Congress. A conference visa allows tourism, but a tourist visa does not allow the holder to attend a conference. Conference visas are not issued ‘on arrival’ and the application must be made well before the Congress. Note that many private visa assistance companies are not familiar with the Indian conference visa application process, and may recommend that you apply for a business visa, which is incorrect.

Accompanying persons are not entitled to attend the conference scientific sessions and should apply for a tourist visa.

Documents supporting a Conference Visa

Documents required by the Indian Embassy or Consulate in your nation may vary slightly from country to country. It is the responsibility of the participant to check the website of their local Embassy to see what documents are required for a conference visa. Documents for a conference visa should include the visa application form, an identification letter from your Institution and photographs, as well as:

  • A letter of invitation to the conference/seminar/workshop in India
  • Copies of permission from four Indian government agencies for the staging of a particular conference (these will be sent to all registered participants in advance).

The above two types of documents are not required by those applying for a tourist visa, i.e. those not entitled to attend the scientific sessions of the conference, such as accompanying persons. Letters of invitation can only be issued to delegates attending the Congress, not to accompanying persons including spouses or others. For a tourist visa, the purpose of the visit should be stated as tourism. Mentioning ‘conference’ on a tourist visa application is incorrect and will lead to the visa application being rejected.

Important: For Citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and persons of Pakistani origin currently holding citizenship of any country:
These participants must fill in their passport details on the online registration form, and apply for a conference visa preferably 90 days before the start of the Congress. This is because the Congress organizers are required to send the passport details of these participants to the Ministry of Home Affairs for scrutiny, which takes at least 60 days.

For participants from Pakistan:

  • The port of entry into India should be Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai only. Hyderabad is not an allowed port of entry for Pakistani citizens.
  • Pakistani citizens holding two passports should apply for a visa on their Pakistan passport.

General visa information

It is advisable to apply for a visa well in advance, but not earlier than 3 months before the last date of the Congress. If approved, a single entry conference visa will be granted. Please note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued. The date of entry into India does not affect the period of validity of a visa. The visa duration is usually 3 months. Many problems are avoided by applying early.

Processing time for a conference visa is usually 15 days. For participants from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, and persons of Pakistani origin holding any passport, the processing time is 60 days.

The list of Indian diplomatic missions overseas can be consulted at:

Some Indian embassies and consulates have outsourced their visa processing services to VFS Global http://www.vfsglobal.com. Visa application forms may be downloaded from this link.

Online Visa Application

Indian Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions now require visa applications to be made online. This can be done from the Indian Government website:https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/
Please note that this website is operated by the Indian Government.


You will need to provide two 50 mm x 50 mm photos. Please ensure they are of your entire face from the top of your head to your chin, and that this distance measures between 25mm and 35mm. If this is not followed your application will be rejected.

Letter from your Institution

This letter from the institution you are associated with, should identify you and their relationship with you, and confirm that they understand that you intend to visit India for a conference (plus any extra time for tourism).

Other documents required by Indian Embassies for conference visa

Please check the website of the Indian Embassy in your country under the heading ‘conference visa’.

Please send your enquiries to visa@iucr2017.org for any clarifications you may have.