Trip Preparation

On this page, you will find all sorts of information to help you prepare for the upcoming trip to India.  First, you will find links to all the paperwork you need to complete. Then there is information about applying for a visa and getting medical advice about vaccinations.  At the bottom of the page, you will find extensive guides prepared by our travel partner Where There Be Dragons that address everything from packing to being far from home.


The following paperwork is required for students to travel.  Please complete and submit ALL of the following to Kari by November 1, 2017.

Where There Be Dragons paperwork

  1. Liability Waiver
  2. Medical Form
    1.  For those who have submitted a doctor’s okay for sports or physical activities classes at Urban, that form will suffice in lieu of Part III of the medical form.
      Otherwise, please make an appointment to see a doctor and have the doctor use the provided form.
  3. Red Rules

Urban paperwork

  1. Liability Waiver
  2. Medical Release
  3. Permission for a Minor to Travel

In addition to these forms, all students must have a valid visa to travel to India.


Great news!  You may apply for your visa online.  The system is referred to as Travel Visa on Arrival (TVoA) enabled by Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). That sounds a bit baroque, but really, it is quite simple.

  • Apply Online Upload photo and passport information page
  • Pay Visa fee online – A non-refundable fee of $220.26 paid by credit or debit card (visa fees have increased significantly, sadly we have no control over these costs)
  • Receive ETA online – ETA will be sent to the email address you provide
  • Forward ETA email – when you receive your ETA email, forward it to Kari
  • Fly to India – Dan & Bethany will bring the group’s printed ETAs to the airport, where they will be verified at check-in

NOTE:  The earliest you may apply is 120 days prior to departure. Please apply no later than December 1. We prefer to have this completed well in advance.

Before you get started, please read over this “how to” guide that we’ve prepared.  Some of the application questions can be perplexing and you’ll want to know what’s what before you begin.

When you apply you will need:

  • A scan of the photo page of your passport
  • A color digital photo showing your full face, front view, eyes open
    -Background should be plain light colored or white background.
    -No shadows on the face or on the background.
    -The photograph must be saved as JPEG in a RGB FORMAT and should be
    350 x 350 pixels.

You may access the online visa application here.


Where There Be  Dragons strongly advises travelers to the developing world to consult a physician about recommended immunizations prior to travel. You may also wish to look over the CDC website for further information.

You may choose to make an appointment with your regular doctor, or, to consult with medical professionals specializing in travel medicine; it may be preferable to make an appointment at a travel clinic.

One option is the Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic in Civic Center.  The cost of a clinic visit is $50 (the cost of any vaccines or medicine is additional). During your appointment, you will meet with a travel medicine nurse who will review the traveler’s medical history, assess trip health risks, provide advice for healthy travel, and recommend vaccines and/or drugs.  An appointment is required.  Please visit the website for further details.

UC Medical Center and Kaiser also have travel clinics. If your usual health care is provided by another hospital, you may wish to see if they have a travel clinic of their own.

On November 9, a nurse from the AITC will come to talk to our group about immunizations, and health and safety in India.  Because immunizations are time-sensitive, you want to be sure you can get an appointment 4-6 weeks before departure.  We recommend that you schedule an appointment now for November, rather than waiting until after her presentation to make your appointment.


In the Course Preparation Guide (below), WTBD has provided excellent information about packing for your trip (think: easily manageable luggage [a backpack is great] and modest attire–neither very tight, nor very revealing). Please look the list over carefully and remember–pack light!  You’ll be glad you did.

Additionally, students should bring a personal journal and a small gift for the host family with whom they will be staying in Varanasi.

Students should NOT bring electronics. (No smart phones, computers, iPods, etc.) Students will update the trip blog on the group computer, will have local phones for emergency use during the trip, and may borrow a school camera.

General Information

Where There Be Dragons has compiled extensive guides for both parents and students. We urge you to take advantage of these resources as you prepare for the trip.