Tuesday, December 3, 2013

10 visa-free destinations for Indian citizens

Indian travelers may rue the declining rupee but there are other perks to being an Indian citizen. Holders of Indian passports have visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to about 52 countries and territories around the world. At least 28 of these nations allow Indian passport holders to visit without a pre-issued visa.

In many cases, an Indian citizen's country of residence determines the degree of access to other countries. Indian citizens holding permanent resident (Green Card) status in the United States do not require visas to visit Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean islands. Indians with a residency in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries do not need a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates. Indian citizens do not, similarly, need a visa to enter Nepal or Bhutan.

Do note, however, that getting to some of these destinations might involve a significant air travel cost. Also bear in mind that visa-free access, though it may be permitted, is not necessarily a right. Permission to enter a country is granted subject to the decision of border and immigration officers. Visiting for reasons other than tourism may require a pre-issued visa.


Bhutan, the happiest little nation in the world, is among the most sought-after Himalayan destinations for tourists but the Himalayan mountain kingdom is very conservative when it comes to tourism. Travel writer Pico Iyer mentioned it in his book, Falling off the Map, as one of the world's remotest places. Until recently, Bhutan restricted tourist numbers. Though that has changed, the country still requires foreign tourists to pay for their entire holiday in advance and travel on a pre-issued tourist visa. Flying into Bhutan's solitary airport at Paro is possible only through the national carrier Druk Air, which operates flights from Delhi, Kolkata, Bangkok and Yangon. 

Indian citizens, however, have it easier. On production of a valid passport or voter's identity card, a permit is issued that is valid for two weeks.

Tourism information: http://www.tourism.gov.bt/


Most Indians need to look up the British Virgin Islands on a map. They lie in the Caribbean Sea, and include over 60 islands and keys, of which about 43 are uninhabited. Indian citizens are granted a 31-day visa-free stay in the British Virgin Islands for tourism purposes. One of the best ways to visit the islands is by cruise ship, as many cruises operate from the United States to the nearby US Virgin Islands. There are no direct flights between India and the British Virgin Islands.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1,60,000 (via Paris and Saint Maarten)

Tourism information: http://www.bvitourism.com/  


The Cook Islands lie in Polynesia, off the coast of New Zealand. They are named after Captain James Cook, who discovered them for the western world in 1770. Since 1965, the islands have been self-governed with free association to the government of New Zealand, which controls the islands' defence, foreign affairs (including passport control) and currency. Immigration is strictly controlled. Indian citizens are allowed to stay for up to 200 days without a visa, but must show proof of reserved accommodation and are not exempt from paying the departure tax of NZ$55 for adults and NZ$15 for children. Rarotonga International Airport, the main port of entry to the Cook Islands, is connected to Auckland via daily flights and weekly flights from Sydney, Fiji and Los Angeles.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1,60,000 (via Singapore and Auckland)

Tourism information: http://www.cookislands.travel/  


Not to be confused with the Caribbean nation known as the Dominican Republic, the island of Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by the British. It has beautiful hiking trails, rainforests and beaches with great opportunities for snorkelling. Indian citizens are allowed to stay for 22 months without a visa.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: INR 2,00,000 (via Paris and Saint Maarten)

Tourism information: http://www.dominica.dm/ 


El Salvador, the most densely populated country in Central America, lies between Guatemala and the Honduras. Volcanoes, mountains and cloud forests offer plenty of nature discovery and hiking opportunities. Old colonial towns and UNESCO World Heritage Sites beckon heritage tourists. Indian nationals are permitted to stay for a maximum of three months without a visa.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1,44,000 (via Paris and Miami)

Tourism information: http://www.elsalvador.travel/impresionante/ 


The beautiful Caribbean islands of Grenada offer much to tourists in the form of beaches, waterfalls, historic forts and spice gardens. Indian tourists can travel visa-free in Grenada for up to 90, but must show proof of sufficient funds to cover the cost of their travel.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1.60,000 (via London and Miami)

Tourism information: http://www.grenadagrenadines.com/ 


Haiti is off the travel map for most tourists owing to the devastation left by the 2010 earthquake. One of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere, its current political situation and concerns over the safety of tourists has prompted many countries to issue strict travel advisories. That said, Indian tourists are welcome without a visa for a maximum stay of three months.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: INR 1,52,000 (via Dubai and New York)

Tourism information: http://www.haititourisme.org/ 


Jamaica is the most populous of the English-speaking Caribbean countries and its easygoing culture, cuisine and music, besides its many beaches, are attractive to tourists. Indian tourists can stay without a visa on producing a passport valid for six months and sufficient proof of funds and onward travel.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: 1,53,000 (via Dubai and New York/ Toronto)

Tourism information: http://www.visitjamaica.com/ 


Not to be confused with the Spanish region of the same name, Montserrat is an island in the Caribbean southeast of Puerto Rico and once a popular resort. Since 1989, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions forced its closure but the island is slowly limping back. Indian citizens must show proof of citizenship but can travel visa-free on furnishing proof of onward travel and adequate funds.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: 1,30,000 (to Antigua,via London) and a 15-minute air-hop from Antigua to Montserrat (about INR 5,000)

Tourism information: http://www.visitmontserrat.com/


The far-flung Federated States of Micronesia are a group of 607 islands in the Western Pacific Ocean, comprising the states of Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. It is considered one of the most remote and beautiful places in the world, with pristine coral reefs, quaint cultures, exotic food and picturesque islands. Indian citizens can travel visa-free for 30 days upon producing proof of sufficient funds, onward travel and accommodation.

Approximate cost of round trip flight: 2,04,000 (via Hong Kong, Guam and Truk)

Tourism information: http://www.visit-micronesia.fm/

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