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How Criminal Records Checks Work for U.S. Citizens Traveling to India

Criminal records checks are used to verify the identity of individuals traveling to India. The process involves declaring your criminal history and may include checking your criminal records before you can enter the country. This ensures that everyone who enters India doesn’t pose a threat to the safety or security of the nation, most especially the children.

A Criminal Records Check is an additional process for U.S. citizens traveling to India. It should be completed if you’re applying for a visa to enter India for employment or immigration; regardless of whether you are applying for a visa at an Indian embassy or consulate abroad or if they are applying from within India.

However, if you’re planning to travel to India as a tourist, a criminal records check is not mandatory. All you have to do is declare your criminal history with honesty.

Can You Travel to India With a Criminal Record?

The short answer is, it depends.

A new law was recently passed that changed the Indian visa application process. Now, the government has to take into consideration your criminal history when assessing your request for a visa.[2] This is because India, in the past, had lenient rules when it comes to visa applications. A leniency that was taken advantage of by human traffickers and sexual predators.[3]

If you have been convicted of crimes involving child trafficking or abuse, the authorities will most definitely deny your visa application. However, if you have a history of misdemeanors, such as petty theft or shoplifting, the Indian government may still let you in.

Keep in mind that each decision for granting visas is dependent on two factors, the type of visa you’re applying for and the type or nature of the crime in your records.

What Does the Indian Government Ask About Criminal Records Checks?

When you’re looking into the Indian Visa application process,[1] you may wonder does probation show up on background check and what will the Indian government ask about your criminal records. Well, the government has a new application form that you must fill out when applying for a visa. The portion inquiring about your criminal history is simple yes-no questions that ask about your criminal and travel history.

The following are some examples of what the application form inquires about:

  • Criminal history disposition
    These are questions that would ask about the status of any criminal charges filed against you.
  • Criminal activity involvement
    You’ll have to answer questions that will ask about your engagement in criminal activities against persons, properties, finances, and national security.
  • Expression of views condoning terrorism
    You’ll be asked if you have ever expressed support, in any form, for terrorism.
  • Travel and immigration record
    These are questions inquiring whether or not you’ve ever been barred from entering any country or deported.
  • Asylum grant
    Lastly, you’ll be asked if you have applied for an asylum grant in any country.

The nature of the questions may seem daunting but as mentioned earlier, all you’ll need is to answer these questions honestly and accurately based on your actual records.

Does an Expunged Record Show Up?

If you have an expunged record, it will not show up on any criminal background check. However, if the court has ordered your records to be sealed, then they may still be visible to local and international law enforcement officials.

To know if your records are expunged or sealed, you can inquire with the court that ordered its expunging or sealing. Also, you can conduct a criminal background check on yourself to learn about your criminal record history. [4] 

With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision regarding the need for a criminal records check when you’re traveling to India. With careful planning and preparation, your trip will be safe and enjoyable.`


[1] Government of India. (2019, May 31). Sample Form for Indian eVisa. Government of India. Retrieved November 19, 2022, from

[2] Tandon, A. (2018, October 23). Foreigners Seeking Indian Visas Must Reveal All Criminal Records Now. The Tribune India. Retrieved November 19, 2022, from

[3] (2022, November 09). Traveling to India with a Criminal Record. India e-Visa. Retrieved November 19, 2022, from

[4] Search Marriage & Divorce Records, Warrants, State Records Free. (n.d.). Records Page. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from

Jitaditya Narzary

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