To visit any country abroad, one needs to obtain a specific type of visa based on his own purpose and India affords you a highly modified Visa policy with various types of visas. Every country has some restricted and protected parts that are not allowed for any foreigners or ordinary people to visit. Basically, everyone needs to obtain some special permission in order to enter into those places.
● In the case of India, according to the Foreigners Act 1958, foreigners are basically not allowed to visit the specific protected areas in India. They require a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to pay a visit to the protected areas. Indian citizens who are not resident in these areas are also required to get an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit these places.
● As per Foreigners Act 1968, they are not permitted to enter into any specific restricted areas of India. All of them need to obtain a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to visit these areas in India.
● The certain Protected Areas of India: India has some specific protected areas that require PAP to visit. Here's the list:
a. Parts of Manipur
b. Parts of Mizoram
c. Parts of Arunachal Pradesh
d. Parts of Uttaranchal
e. Parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
f. Parts of Rajasthan.
g. Parts of Himachal Pradesh.
h. The whole of State of Nagaland
i. The whole of State of Sikkim
● The certain Restricted Areas of India: India has a certain number of restricted areas where a foreigner can only enter by using RAP. Those areas are as follows:
1. Part of the state of Sikkim
2. The whole of Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
● Why should one get PAP/RAP: After coming to India, foreigners can apply for permits to visit the protected or restricted areas of India from the Ministry of Home Affairs. But now the question is: why should one get a protected/ restricted area permit? Here are those basic reasons:
1. Basic reasons behind this permit are protection and security purposes of mother nature and your own safety and security.
2. Also provided to gain more interests from the foreigners in Indian tourism
3. It's also another way to stop foreigners from staying permanently in these protected or restricted areas while having difficulty staying abroad.
4. Indian Government never allows any foreigners with the non-Indian origin and even people having Indian origin but living abroad to have access to permanent permits.
● From where protected area permits can be issued: A few sectors of Indian Government have an allowance to provide The Protected Area Permit to the foreigners. Those sectors are :
- Lok Nayak Bhawan, under the Ministry of Home Affairs and Government of India, New Delhi.
- All Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) at main cities of India like; Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Amritsar, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.
- Indian Embassies in Foreign.
- Deputy Secretary Sector under Home Department under West Bengal Government, Kolkata.
- Also, there are some specific sectors in India, who have the allowance to issue the Protected Area Permit, only in case of Sikkim. Those are:
○ Chief Secretary or Home Secretary or Secretary of Tourism under the State Govt. of Sikkim.
○ IG Police Department.
○ Assistant Director or Deputy Director of Tourism under Govt. of Sikkim, New Delhi.
○ Resident Commissioner, Govt. of Sikkim, New Delhi
○ The Assistant Resident Commissioner under the Government of Sikkim
○ The Tourism Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Darjeeling.
● From where restricted area permits can be issued: There are also a few sectors under the Government of India who can only provide the Restricted Area Permits to the foreigners. Those are:
1. Lok Nayak Bhawan, under The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of India, New Delhi
2. All Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) situated at the top cities of India; Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. Indian Embassies Foreign.
3. The Chief Immigration Officer of Indian Government.
4. The Immigration Officer of India.
Read Also: Indian Visa Extension And Renewal
● How to apply for protected/restricted area permits: There's a specific process to apply for those permits. Here's the process described step by step:
○ Firstly to apply for PAP, you need to download the protected area permit application form from here - http://www.in.ckgs.us/resources/pdf/rap-permit-form.pdf
○ And to apply for RAP, you to fill the restricted area permit application form from here - http://www.indischebotschaft.de/downloads/RAP-form.pdf
○ Then you need to submit the filled application to your nearest Indian Embassy yourself or via an agent in your own country. Another highly important point is you need to submit it a while before your arrival in India,.
○ Finally after coming to India you need to register yourself under your nearest FRRO office, within 24 hours. From that office you will receive your PAP or RAP with a limited days validity period.
● Documents required to apply for PAP/RAP: There is a list of few documents you need to submit with the submission of your application. Those documents are:
■ At least 3 photocopies of the application form that you are submitting.
■ Photocopies of your passport (with a validity of 6 months) at least 2 in number
■ Your own passport size photographs, at least 2-3 in number.
○ To know more about about the fees for the application of those permits please contact here: email@example.com
● General Requirements: In order to learn and visit the protected and restricted areas of India, one must need to know some basic information and rules.
○ Tourists must need to travel in groups with a minimum number of 4 in each. Married couples don't need to travel in groups but they have to be with a registered travel guide while visiting these places.
○ Indian citizens don't need to obtain any permit in order to visit those.
○ In some areas, foreigners are strictly prohibited, so if you are a non-Indian you can't enter there.
○ Citizens of Bangladesh, Pakistan, China and Myanmar can obtain only PAP, only if approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs, but RAP is not allowed for these citizens.
○ In some areas, you just need to maintain the entry and exit points while travelling.
○ PAP normally comes with a validity period of 10 days and with the permission of FRRO, can be extended for next 7 days as well.
○ One must have to apply at least 8 days before their visit.
● What is Inner Line Permit or ILP?
Indian citizens living outside of that state need to obtain inward travel permission from the Government of India, that thing is called Inner Line Permit or ILP.
○ In case of NRIs (living in foreign for more than 6 months), PIO Card holders or OCI Card holders, this permission is prohibited. So if you are under any of these categories, you can't apply for ILP, but you can obtain PAP or RAP.
Hope this article clears all your doubts regarding your visit to the protected or restricted areas in India. For any queries related to PAP, RAP or ILP or anything else, feel free to contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and you can comment below as well for any other doubts. We are always here to help you. Have a nice visit to India.