How to visit India, Nepal and Sri Lanka on a single trip

On my upcoming trip to India, I also would like to visit the neighboring countries of Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Assuming I am flying into India (and out again) this means I need to get a multiple entry visa for it. This seems to be harder to get than a single entry visa and even if I get one, I need to stay outside of India for two months before I can re-enter. (that time counts towards the India visa). This raises some issues:

  • The visas given on arrival in Sri Lanka is only valid for 30 days not
    the two months needed to re-enter India.
  • If I have a six months Indian visa and I need to stay 2 months each in
    Nepal and Sri Lanka. That leaves me with just two months in India
    itself, not enough! 12 months visas are harder to get.

One option would be to fly into Sri Lanka, stay there a few weeks, then do India for several months on a single entry visa and finally move on to Nepal and also leaving from there. Is this a practical option? Is it the only option?


UPDATE: As of November 30, 2012 the “2 month” rule has been removed for nationals of all countries EXCEPT Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, foreigners of Pakistan and Stateless persons.

Until a few years ago an Indian Multiple Entry Tourist Visa allowed you to exit and re-enter the country with no time restrictions, which made what you’re trying to do easy (I did India -> Nepal -> Tibet -> China -> Pakistan -> India several years ago with no issues at all)

Thankfully when they introduced the “2-month” rule they did consider situations like yours, and it’s fairly easy to get around this restriction. At the time that you APPLY for your visa, you need to specifically request an exception to the 2 month rule, and provide documentation as to why you require an exception – specifically in your case that would be a travel itinerary showing your plans to travel India -> Nepal -> India. When the visa is issued they will annotate it to allow you to re-enter once within the 2 month period.

If you don’t have an itinerary mapped out then now is the time to come up with one. In general you won’t need to follow the itinerary you give them exactly – as long as it’s close then you’ll have no problems.

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