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Kashmir Visa/Permit required for Americans?

Can anyone tell me if a Visa or Permit is required to travel to Srinagar (Kashmir) for Americans? I haven’t been able to get a firm answer from anyone. I’m supposed to be going in a few days.

Thanks!

by k. at 2009-07-29 12:50:54 UTC Manali , India | Bookmark | | Report spam→

No, if you are already in India, you don’t need an additional permit. But you are not able to leave the airport without filing out paperwork on your locations, and you are escorted out to the contact person ( if it a family home or houseboat) who should be waiting for you. They have Govt. officials come to the place you are staying to make sure you are there and fill out more forms.
I left Srinagar and then decided to return and the officials checked on each location (in person) that I stayed at.

by [former member] | 29 Jul 2009 14:07 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
You are kidding Nancy – about the checking and escorts. I have never heard of anything like that or indeed encountered anything like that. Have times changed? I was there in 2005. I know its a while ago but the situation hasn’t deteriorated since then. As far as I am aware american citizens are treated like everyone else. And I do keep an ear out for what is going on in Kashmir.

When I came through the airport gates, I was mobbed by houseboat touts. I took a pre-paid taxi to the centre of town where from where I caught a rickshaw to Nagin Lake and found my own houseboat. You do not need to book a houseboat in advance. No policemen bothered me at all, at any point on my visit to Srinagar. The army where everywhere of course but no one bothered me.

But as Nancy says, you do not need a visa or special permit for Kashmir, though some border locations may be a bit out of bounds.

by Andrea | 30 Jul 2009 12:07 | Queensland, Australia | | Report spam→
if ur allready in India u dont need a seperate visa what u have to register your self to Toursim office. if u need any help mail

by mukesh Gupta | 30 Jul 2009 13:07 | Jammu and Kashmir, India | | Report spam→
This was last year Andrea, and it was very strange. Maybe it was because I was on a J Visa— I applied for a tourist visa and they gave me a J visa instead. They tried to say they do this for all foreigners when I questioned why they were showing up at each place I moved to. Anyway, they were polite but firm that I had to fill out the paperwork repeatedly.

by [former member] | 30 Jul 2009 13:07 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Yes, perhaps the J visa would explain it. Not that I know what a J visa is. (for journalists?)

by Andrea | 30 Jul 2009 22:07 | Queensland, Australia | | Report spam→
Yes journalist visa, which appears to be the only kind I can get even though I was not on assignment for anyone.

by [former member] | 31 Jul 2009 06:07 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
I was there 6 months ago, when in by car and there were no restrictions. Maybe you have to jump though more hoops if you fly?..

by jayson carpenter | 31 Jul 2009 06:07 | San Francisco, United States | | Report spam→
Perhaps because you told them you were a journalist Nancy. I am certain that Americans can get other types of visas and don’t have to go through this rigmarole.

by Andrea | 31 Jul 2009 09:07 | Queensland, Australia | | Report spam→
Another reason to always get a tourist visa and avoid getting a journalist’s visa at (almost) all costs.

by [former member] | 31 Jul 2009 11:07 | Manali, India | | Report spam→
If you list your employer as a media company or your occupation as photographer on your visa app, India will make you get a J-visa even if the purpose of your trip is not journalism.

by [former member] | 31 Jul 2009 11:07 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
So it is better to tell the truth and write down you are (self)unemployed.

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 31 Jul 2009 12:07 | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
With a tourist visa you need to fill in the paperwork as well. That was 2 years ago. It’s (they tell) for safety reasons. When something happens they can contact you. The time I was there there was a bomb blast in Srinangar and police phoned to ask if everything was ok with every foreigner on the houseboat. They told me this paperwork was introduced some years ago when a tourist was kidnapped when walking alone in the mountains somewhere in Kashmir.
I think it’s only for safety (not for not wanting you to be there :)), the officer in the airport just took the paper and didn’t looked at it for a moment, so I don’t know if it’s really important. Leaving Kashmir you need to fill in a similar paper, so they know you left Kashmir.
I’m going back in October and the information I have now is that this didn’t changed, so still the paperwork, for tourists and journalists.

by Bernard Onderdonck | 31 Jul 2009 13:07 | Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
I said I was press photographer the first time, the next time I just said photographer intending to do landscape work, and may have been given the J Visa again(not the tourist one that I wanted ( it is good for 6 months, not 3 and you get multiple entry not single)because they knew I went to Kashmir and stayed with a local pj. Anyway it appears that once a journalist always a journalist—even if you are self/unemployed as Tom said.

by [former member] | 31 Jul 2009 23:07 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
The tourist visa is for six months, not three and you don’t need a J visa to get the multiple entry visa.

by Andrea | 01 Aug 2009 00:08 | Queensland, Australia | | Report spam→
Another reason to get a ten-year Indian tourist visa, which is a real bargain. If you are half-way serious as a photographer, you will be back to India before ten years is up.

And for God’s sake (and your own), don’t ever on any visa application list yourself as a photographer, unless you have a specific assignment that is really journalistic and for which you will likely need some government help. If you think you might be able to sell some work out of the trip, great, but until you do, you’re just taking pics for your personal use.

The line between tourism and journalism is not a bright one, and you are entitled to draw it where you see it, as long as your vision is not distorted.

by [former member] | 01 Aug 2009 01:08 | Manali, India | | Report spam→
to keep things in perspective, every foreigner is required to register on arrival at the airport. In the past (2006/7) this involved someone talking you through the form, which might have been constued as an interview. Now (I arrived 2 days ago) they let you fill the form on your own!
This form is no different to the foreigners registration that you fill out when checking into most hotels in India (except the upmarket ones which do it for you), passport details, visa details, purpose of visit etc. The only difference is that they make sure they record an address, phone number and contact name for where you plan to stay.
They no longer escort you to you car/taxi. There is a bus into town as well as pre-paid taxis, you can arrange either at the airport (after registering).
There are more formalities to getting to some of the sensitive corners of Ladakh, which tourists do on a regular basis….

by Guy Walder | 03 Aug 2009 06:08 | Mumbai / Bombay, India | | Report spam→

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Participants

k., k.
[undisclosed location].
Andrea, Photographer Andrea
Photographer
Mumbai + , India
mukesh Gupta, photographer mukesh Gupta
photographer
Jammu And Kashmir , India
jayson carpenter, Photographer jayson carpenter
Photographer
Tokyo , Japan ( NRT )
Tom Van Cakenberghe, Tom Van Cakenberghe
Kathmandu , Nepal
Bernard Onderdonck, Freelance photographer Bernard Onderdonck
Freelance photographer
Diyarbakir , Turkey
Guy Walder, Guy Walder
Bayern , Germany


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