Andaman Nicobar is part of India and there is no need of passport or permit for Indian citizens to visit Andaman & Nicobar Islands. A specific permission with details about the visit is however required to visit notified Tribal areas (e.g. research, educational etc etc.). The permission is granted by Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District. The visit to tribal reserve is even not allowed for the permanent local residents of Andaman and Nicobar Islands unless they belong to their tribal group.
Nicobar group of Islands is not open for tourists and to visit the Nicobar group a permission is required from Deputy Commissioner, Nicobar District.
FOREIGN Nationals :
1. Valid Visa and Passport (to enter India)
Nepal and Bhutan nationals do not require visa to enter India. However, citizens of Nepal require a visa when entering India from China. Nationals of Maldives do not require a visa for entry into India for tourism purpose and stay up to 90 days.
2. Restricted Area Permit (RAP) : Apart from valid visa and passport requirement, all foreign nationals require a RAP to visit and stay in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. RAP is issued free of cost (in past it was INR 1395/-) on arrival at Port Blair Airport (Veer Savarkar Airport) from Immigration authorities. Those coming by cruise/yacht, the RAP will be issued at Port Blair harbour. The Restricted area permit is valid for 30 days. Permit can be extended for 15 days and for extension one has to contact the Superintendent of Police at Port Blair. RAP (RAP only; no extension) can can also be obtained from : Indian Mission Overseas, Foreigners Registration Offices at New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
For Burmese nationals RAP will not allow them to enter Mayabunder and North Andaman. An additional prior permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi is required.
The places covered under the permit
For day and night halt :
South Andaman Island (except tribal reserve)
Middle Andaman (except tribal reserve)
North Andaman (except tribal reserve)
Little Andaman (except tribal reserve)
Neil Island, Long Island, Havelock Island
Baratang Island (except tribal reserve)
North Passage Island
Mahatma Gandhi Marine national Park (excluding Hobday, Twin, Tarmugli, Malay and Pluto Islands - Night halt in the Marine national Park is allowed with permission only- which is almost impossible for tourists!).
For day halt only (no night halt allowed):
Brother Island, Sister Island
Barren Island : Landing on this island is not allowed. Can be seen from on board vessels and aeroplanes only.
This permit is required only for foreign nationals, Notified tribal areas are not covered under the permit.
Why such permissions and restrictions ?? :
Though Andaman & Nicobar is gradually being promoted as one of the best tourist destinations available today, Few key factors are making the task difficult. The probable factors are :
Presence of aboriginal tribes in these Islands who are nearing extinction (see Tribal reserve area - below). Due care is taken to keep them isolated from human civilization so that they can flourish in their natural habitat.
From ancient times Andaman & Nicobar is notified as a strategic military point. For the same reason it was once occupied by British and Japanese. An inscription dated 1059 AD of the Chola King of Tanjore indicates that these islands were used as base shelter station for waging war and keeping control over South East Asia.
Improper maintenance, rapid growth of population and foreign poachers are posing a major threat to the precious flora and fauna of the Islands.
Tourists therefore require to comply with the strict immigration rules.
TRIBAL RESERVE AREA :
The Islands have been declared Tribal Reserve Area under Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribal) Regulation, 1956 with the exception of eastern coast of Great Nicobar, comprising 7 villages, which is non-reserve area, where 330 Ex-Servicemen families were settled under Accelerated development Programme of Ministry of Labour and Rehabilitation in 1969-72.