Trip Preparation & Living in India

Travel Documents for India

Passport: Every participant will need to have a passport that is valid for the entire length of his or her time in India. For US Passport Click here. Please allow at least two months for the passport application process. Before leaving for India please make several copies of your passport. Leave at least one copy with a friend or family member in case your passport is lost or stolen. While in India keep a copy with you, along with extra passport size photographs in a separate location from your passport. These precautions will allow the U.S Embassy in India to replace your passport as quickly as possible in case the same is stolen or lost.

Tourist Visa:The visa application process depends upon the participant’s country of origin. For E-Visa please Click here.

If you are applying for student visa, please send us the copy of application so that we can provide you recommended letter (if required). In case of student visa you need to register yourself with FRRO office on arrival in India.

Arrival in India

All participants need to book their flight tickets in order to arrive in India. You should send your arrival and departure information to so that suitable arrangements for accommodation can be made. You are required to arrive a day before the start of your program and leave on the last day of your program. Arrival port, departure port and dates will be notified on your admission letter along with the address of ISJS center. Those who wish to arrive earlier or leave later than the scheduled dates will have to make their own arrangements of lodging and boarding.

The arrival process, immigration and Airport can be a bit chaotic. We want to familiarize you with the steps. As your flight comes near Delhi, the flight attendants will hand out several forms to be filled out. One of them marks the arrival and departure of your stay in India that tears into two sections. You will give one half to the Immigration Officer and the other half will be stapled into your passport for when you leave. You will need to have the ISSJS hostel address available to fill out these forms. You might also be asked to fill out a Disembarkation Form, which asks if you have anything to declare. If any of this is unclear, the flight attendants or ground crew can assist you with these forms.

Once the plane has landed, you will go through two points: immigration and customs. At immigration, you will show your passport and visa to a customs officer. Normally there are separate queues and desks for foreigners. After immigration, you will go on through to baggage claim and pick up your luggage.

Once you have your luggage, approach the Customs Area and proceed through the Green Channel (nothing to declare Customs Officials mark unless you are bringing expensive equipment to be taken back with you while returning).

Reception at Airport

After getting your luggage you will proceed towards the exit gate. Outside the main exit gate someone from ISJS will be there with plycard of ISJS, if you are arriving on the date and time as mentioned in your acceptance letter. ISJS representative will take you to the ISJS center. If you get any difficulty please contact Mr. Sushil Jana at +91-11-9911222593. You will be able to find telephone booths at the airport.

Note:You may need to wait at airport for sometime for other participants so that you can leave in a group from airport for ISJS center. You will get prior notification regarding this.

Currency Exchange

Before exiting the restricted area, you can change foreign currency (US$ or Euro etc.) to Indian Rupees (INR) at the bank counter located inside the airport. Generally, US$50 in rupees is sufficient and will last you some while. It is smart to have some rupees on hand in case you need to call for assistance, hire a taxi, or make any other unforeseen arrangements.

Note: Banker will be available (during the summer programs) at ISJS center on the first day of the program so that participants can exchange currency. For the Winter program it is advisable to exchange the currency at Airport.

Packing and Weather

Packing is highly individual, and no single list will work for everyone. However, please make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, umbrella, rain-gear, flashlight, bath towels (easy to dry travel towel), bed sheets (in case if you wish, generally we do provide bed sheets and pillow case). The following additional considerations can help you pack wisely (for packing checklist Click here.):

Weather (summer) in India : June and July are summer months in India. Monsoon rains start at the end of June or the beginning of July. Daytime temperatures in most of the places will be 100+ F (as much as up to 108 F). Night-time temperatures will be slightly less. During Monsoon days, it can be hot and muggy.

Weather (Winter) in India : December and January are winter months in India. Temperatures in Ahmedabad will be Between 29°C and 13°C (between 84.2°F and 55.4°F). Night-time temperatures will be less than day temperature.

Laundry: Lighter colors help you stay cool, but darker colors show dirt less; you might wish to strike a happy medium. Stress lightweight fabrics that can be easily hand-washed, can hold up to repeated washing, and do not need ironing. A key question for choosing clothes: How long does it take to air dry?

If you choose, a laundry service will be provided by the facilities owners (where you stay) at a reasonable cost. A washer man, or dhobhi, will come to the ISSJS accommodation every alternate day. He or she will take your dirty clothes for washing and will deliver them back to you after two days at a reasonable cost. Charges vary from location to location and for the type of service i.e. same day or three days. Please note that ISJS does not take any responsibility in the charges levied and the services rendered by the washer man.

Dress:You will find that dressing in Indian style clothing is the most comfortable option, in terms of weather and cultural appropriateness. Women scholars are strongly advised to avoid wearing low neck- sleeveless or transparent tops to avoid problems.

Some clothing that is common in North America would be considered provocative or inappropriate in India. If you wish to pack exercise clothes, pack athletic pants or shorts that extend to the knee. However, shorts are not cultural appropriate, so please avoid wearing shorts in public settings.

Clothing choice is particularly important for women. In some areas, exposing the shoulders or ankles is not suitable. Women tend to wear long skirts in rural areas, and although you may wear slacks without offending, in some rural settings you may feel out of place.


Pack what you can carry! Be selective. Decide what, and how much, is really essential to you. Try to get by with one large suitcase and a carry-on. Remember, you can purchase clothing and almost everything you need in India. It’s a good idea to bring an extra empty duffle bag in your suitcase in case you have items to bring back with you. You may also wish to bring a daypack/backpack for day trips and class/research materials.