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What is the Reference Name on an Indian Online Visa (e-visa), and Why is it Required?

Are you planning to apply online for an Indian visa? Do you want to visit India and are looking for the quickest way to obtain an official travel authorization?

Then the electronic or e-visa is your perfect option. The Indian online visa has made obtaining a travel permit straightforward. However, the applicant must be aware of all the essential requisites before formally applying for the e-visa. One such requirement is the Reference Name. On this page, you will get all the necessary information about the Reference Name requirement on an Indian e-visa application form.

India E-Visa Reference Name:

Regardless of the visa type or category, you will opt for, such as tourism or business, every Indian e-visa application form will require you to provide a reference name. This field generally appears in the second portion of a question. Answering this question is compulsory, as is the case with all the fields on an e-visa application form. So, every applicant must mandatorily provide a reference name. The Immigration Office of the Indian Government requires this information to track the traveler while they are visiting India. You can consider it a way to check whom the traveler connects with within the country.

Providing a reference name is essential according to Indian internal policies. Please remember that every country has different internal policies, and these regulations aren’t usually subject to change. Since the Indian e-visa form is highly elaborate than many other countries, it asks for detailed information from the applicant. Hence, it requires them to provide a reference name.

What is meant by a Reference Name?

Reference name means any person you know in India or who you can vouch for when you are staying in India. Any acquaintance such as a colleague or ex-colleague, friend, family, family friend, employer, relative, or member of your immediate family qualifies for this category. Remember that this field is mandatory for every applicant and is part of the Indian online visa form.

Which Travel Purposes Require Provision of a Reference Name?

People can visit India for a variety of different purposes apart from tourism. Hence, it is essential to understand who needs to provide a reference name from India when completing the visa application form. Check out the travel purposes/reasons you must provide a reference name.

  • Arriving in India for sightseeing.
  • Arriving in India for recreational purposes.
  • Arriving in India to meet relatives or family members.
  • Arriving in India to visit/meet friends and acquaintances.
  • Arriving in India to participate in a Yoga course or attend a Yoga program or institute.
  • Candidate enrolled in a short course in India that doesn’t exceed six months would require you to provide a reference name.
  • Candidate enrolled in a course that doesn’t provide a diploma certificate, or degree would also require a reference name.
  • Those interested in unpaid voluntary work and do not intend to stay for more than one month should provide a reference name. (Please note that if you plan to stay longer than one month, you cannot use an e-visa. Instead, you will need an Indian Work Visa).

Do You Need to Provide a Reference Name from your Home Country?

Yes, you will have to provide a reference name from your home country, too, besides the name of someone residing in India. This is mandatory for every applicant, as per the Indian Immigration rules.

What are the Requirements for an Eligible Reference Name?

Here are some points to consider when entering a reference name in your e-visa India application form:

  • A person who knows you and lives in India.
  • You must have previously communicated/exchanged correspondence with that person in India.
  • You have the address and contact number of your reference.

Please note that you can nominate anyone as your reference name, such as your course teacher, faculty member, anyone from your family or friends in India, admin staff, or even the hotel or wherever you have booked/reserved accommodation.

Do You Need to Provide Reference Name on Indian Business E-Visa?

You may need to provide a reference name if you are visiting India for business-related purposes, such as the following:

  • Providing services to-and-from India
  • Selling goods/merchandise
  • Purchasing or procurement of goods/services from India
  • Participate in a business meeting
  • Join a workshop
  • Set up a business or plant
  • Install machinery
  • Set up an industry or building
  • Conduct tours within Indian territories
  • For delivering a lecture
  • Recruitment
  • Attend exhibitions and trade fairs from your relevant industry
  • Visit a commercial venue
  • Provide services as an expert/specialist in your field
  • Participating in a legally permitted commercial venture

Points to Remember:

If you must provide a reference name while applying for a business e-visa, make sure to exchange correspondence with your nominee or make bookings/reservations in advance.

You can provide the name of anyone you have contacted in India as your reference. This person can be a representative of an Indian organization, event manager of an exhibition, colleague, business or trade fair organizer, commercial or business partner in India, someone you intend to provide goods/services, seminar administrator, advisor, or lawyer in India, etc.

What is the Reference Name Condition for Indian Medical E-visa?

If visiting India for medical purposes, which means seeking medical treatment and arriving as a patient, you will need to apply for a medical e-visa. Another visa in the same category, the medical attendant e-visa, is issued to someone accompanying the patient. Whichever of these two e-visas you are applying for, it is necessary to provide a reference name in India. There is nothing to worry about if you don’t know anyone in India, as you can nominate your surgeon, doctor, or hospital admin staff as your reference name. Remember that when applying for a medical e-visa, the patient must provide a letter from the hospital where they intend to get treatment. This letter will contain all the necessary details about the reference name in India.


Do I still need a reference name if I am arriving in India on a cruise to Mumbai/Goa and won’t stay in India?

Per the Indian online visa regulations, electronic visas are valid for entering India through airports and seaports. If you are arriving on a cruise ship, you must provide the reference name. You can enter the travel agent’s Indian office address through whom you booked the trip. Or else, you can enter the Indian office address of the tour operator or cruise ship company and ask them to fulfil this requirement on your behalf.

What should I do if I don’t know anyone in India?

If you don’t know anyone in India and want to travel to the country on an e-visa, you can provide the name of the hotel manager where you have booked accommodation. You can give the name of the resort manager or anyone with whom you have made a reservation for lodging purposes.

What details are required apart from the reference’s name?

You must provide the full name, phone number, and Indian address of the person you nominate as your reference name in your Indian e-visa application form.

Do Indian authorities contact the reference name I provided in my e-visa application form?

It is the prerogative of the Indian immigration authorities to contact or not to contact the reference name you have mentioned in your application form. We cannot guarantee that the reference name will be necessarily contacted. However, previous statistics suggest that a small percentage of references are approached by the authorities, that too, under particular circumstances and scenarios.

Is it possible to provide the name of my Yoga institute in India?

Those arriving in India to attend a Yoga course in an institution can provide the name of a staff member, trainer, teacher, administration personnel, or anyone you have contacted to enroll in the course as your reference name.

What to do if I make all my bookings online and don’t know anyone in India?

Those travelers who have booked online can nominate the hotel or resort’s manager as their reference. This hotel should be where you have booked the room and will be staying while you are in India.

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