For all you dumballers of 2016 – the time is coming to apply for your Indian visas. Please read this carefully if so – as it’s a process that could easily trip you up!
We get a lot of queries about visas…. And unless you have a passport from Nepal, Bhutan or the Maldives – you WILL need a visa of some sort. There’s a lot of info here, but it’s really not complicated and if you’re a UK citizen it should be straightforward, so start thinking about it now and it will all be fine.
There are 3 ways of doing this:
- Apply online.
- Apply in person/by post.
- Get someone else to do it for you.
There are companies that claim to take all the hassle out of getting a visa by sorting it for you. We say don’t bother with #3 – it costs unnecessary extra money and doesn’t really achieve anything. Man-up and do it yourself.
If you’re of Pakistani origin (parents or grandparents, something to do with a small tiff India and Pakistan have been having lately….), you’re desperate to get the visa sorted ASAP, or you have any other special requirements you need to go with #2.
But if you can – hold off until 6th December – from this day you will be eligible to apply for e-Tourist Visa, and then you can do the whole thing online, all you need is a printer and passport photo of yourself to scan. There are still some conditions, so check here now, to make sure you’re valid. For example, e-Tourist Visa is only valid for single entry , non-extendable , non-convertible and not valid for visiting Protected/Restricted and Cantonment Areas so if you’re planning extending your dumball trip by a lot or anything else fancy, go for #2.
Here’s the official Indian Government website – everyone should read this:
Here’s the agency you need to deal with in the UK (the ONLY valid one) if you go for #2:
1. Apply online
Simple. Wait until 6th December 2015, then go here, click the orange ‘e-Tourist Visa Application’ and fill in the blanks. These are the details you’ll need:
- Your personal info and passport details. Standard.
- Your parents Nationality, country and place of birth.
- Port of arrival: Chennai Airport
- Places likely to be visited: Chennai,Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa
- Purpose of visit: Tourism
- Last Indian Visa No/Currently valid Indian Visa No.: if you happened to go to India years ago to find yourself… but have lost your visa number from 2 passports ago… enter ‘00000000’ as the number and ‘PREVIOUS VISA NUMBER UNKNOWN’ in the ‘Cities previously visited in India’ field.
- Expected Port of Exit from India: Goa Airport
- Countries visited in last ten years: Well…. if you’ve done nothing but dumball, the list will be: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine! But the countries with stamps or visas in your passport are the ones that matter.
- Reference Name in India: Wilson Mathew
- [Reference] Address: Intersight Tours and Travels Ltd,Anna Building, NH Bypass Road, Thykkoodam, Kochi, Kerala
- [Reference] Phone: +91-48-4304-5555
You’ll also need to upload a scan of a passport photo (in JPG format, <300KB), and your passport data page (in PDF format <1MB). Details here (click ‘Document Requirement‘). Once you’re finished you get a PDF by email which you will need to print yourself and not forget on the big day!
The fee is USD$60, about £40.
There’s a good guide to the whole eVisa process here.
2. Apply in person/by post
The procedure for this is to apply online (go here, then click on the orange ‘Regular Visa Application’), and then submit your documents to the ‘mission’. If you can’t bear to be away from your passport for long, or you don’t like the idea of putting your passport in the post, you can submit your documents in person, by appointment only (which you can arrange when you apply).
You’ll need to deal with VFS Global – the only agency who deals directly with Indian visas in the UK – and they have offices in various cites around the UK. You’ll need to select London, Birmingham or Edinburgh as your ‘mission’ depending on where you live – although they have office in various other places too – see here for the full rules. Note however, you must select London if you’re going to post your documents, and that posting documents adds at least 2 weeks to the process, and any problems will just result in having your documents sent back and having to start again.
You’ll need at least 2 blank pages and at least 6 months left on your passport (this applies to all methods) and 2 standard passport photos. All the other info you should need is the same as above.
There’s a good guide to the whole process here.
The fee is £89.44.
3. Get someone else to do it for you.
Well, you’re on your own here really. These guys will gladly charge you 96 quid on top of the standard £89.44 fee… and you still have to fill in the exact same form as everyone else. Your basically paying someone to queue up on your behalf – but you can do it all by post or online now anyway.
That’s it! Go forth and do diplomatic things! But remember getting a visa is crucial and it is your responsibility. So look into now, and set yourself a reminder for December if you go an eTV. We’ll be on your case nearer the time though too, don’t worry…