A Quick Guide for UK Citizens Applying for an Indian Visa
So you’ve decided that India is for you?
If you hold a UK passport, you MUST apply for a visa before you get to India (even if you are apply for Visa on Arrival or E Visa). Don’t worry though, you are not alone as most foreign visitors need to apply before they visit as well (unless you are from Nepal, Bhutan or the Maldives – lucky buggers!) For some great ideas of what to do in India or where to stay click this link
Being prepared won’t help you in India!
Unfortunately, Indian Tourist Visas are only valid from the date it is issued NOT the date you enter India. That is why there is no point in applying months in advance as your standard Tourist Visa is usually only for 3-6 months
Types of visas you can apply for
E Visa: You apply through the Indian Government Website and collect your Visa on arrival. Sounds simple right?! WRONG… the application process still requires lots of paperwork and ANY mistakes can result in your form being rejected and you having to re submit the whole application again.
- You cannot apply for an E Visa if your parents or grandparents were born in Pakistan
- You cannot extend or convert your E Visa (say if you wanted to stay longer or change it to a multiple entry Visa)
Indian Tourist Visa: This is what most UK citizens apply for when visiting India. It is usually valid for 3-6 months and can vary from single to multiple entry over a certain number of months. You can apply for a 6-12 month visa and the process and costs are the same.
- You cannot extend or convert this Visa for a longer duration or more entry allowences
- On a 12 month Visa, you can only stay for 6 months at a time so you will have to arrange to leave India briefly and come back (can be done via a day trip across the border)
- Tourist Visas are only granted to foreigners with NO residence or occupation in India and whose sole purpose is sightseeing, recreation, and casual visiting to meet friends or family
Other Visas: Volunteering | Journalism | Studying in India | Working in India | Business | Research |
How much does it cost?
Like most Visas there is a cost.
- 6 Month Multiple Entry Visa= $129 (Consular Fee) + $3 (ICWF Fee) + $4.70 (Service Fee) Total = $136.70
- 12 Months Multiple Entry Visa= $444 (Consular Fee) + $3 (ICWF Fee) + $4.70 (Service Fee) Total = $451.70
- 5 Year Multiple Entry Visa= $815 *Consular Fee) + $3 (ICWF Fee) + $4.70 (Service Fee) Total = $822.70
Information you need to supply with your application
- A reference for someone in India – If you don’t have friends or family in India you can use a hotel or tour company. We provisionally booked a hotel on Booking.com, printed off the ‘Confirmation’ and then just cancelled our booking.
- Passport photos – DIFFERENT SIZE HOWEVER! The photos the application needs are not the usual ‘weird photo booth that takes all of your pound coins’ British Passport sized, oh no! They are 50m x 50mm. We suggest you get a few as a backup!
Post your application off
Make sure you have included:
- Printed and signed application form
- Declaration form
- 2 sized passport photos
- Return signed delivery envelope
Send it to:
Indian Visa and Consular Application Centre, The Vista Centre, First Floor, Part A, Block 50, Salisbury Road, Hounslow, TW4 6JQ NOT the address at the top of the application form!!
How long does it take?
Officially is says that it takes a minimum of 2 weeks. However, amends and resubmissions can make it from 4-6 weeks.
Applying from OUTSIDE THE UK?
If you are away travelling for a long period of time before you are going to India, obviously you can’t apply for your Indian Visa from the UK. Your first port of call should be an E-Visa, though they are becoming harder and harder to get.
- Head to the local Indian embassy
- BE AWARE the process will be fiddly and involves lots of paperwork, alterations, resubmissions and a lot of ‘Smile through Gritted Teeth Attitude’!!
To make you aware of how difficult the process of getting an Indian Visa from another country, we have included our own story of when we did just that in Bangkok, Thailand.
Our Story: Applying for an Indian Visa in Thailand DURING Songkran (Thai New Year)
Like I mentioned earlier, you can’t apply for an Indian Visa months on advance as it applies from the date is it issued. Alys and I were travelling around the world for a year and obviously could’t apply from the UK. E Visas were impossible to get at the time so our only choice was to visit the Indian Embassy in Bangkok… Unfortunately however, we didn’t really understand the process or know how long it would take… AND it was Songkran/Thai New Year!
Songkran is the Thai New Year’s Festival and is essentially a 3 to 5 day water festival. As much fun as this festival is it isn’t a good time to try and sort out an Indian visa as it’s a national holiday and a lot of the embassy’s shut down. To get an Indian Visa in Thailand you MUST provide a lot of details, and need to make sure it is all filled in 100% accurately. Even down to name people you are going with OR you will have to go away and retype your application and re-print, difficult when you are travelling and have little access to printing.
Consider making reservations and contacts in India as these are required for the visa as well as transport into and out of the country. After spending a lot of money on printing and several visits to the Indian Embassy we finally submitted our applications, here they told us due to the national holiday the visa would take 9 days rather than usual 3 and due to them keeping our passports it restricts our travel plans. We made the most of the time and went to visit the coast below Bangkok (the embassy provided us with a signed copy of our passports as proof of our identity if questioned) however it is worth considering these sort of things when planning your visa applications.
For extra help and information on getting your Indian Visa
If you need professional help contact IVisa for the E Visa or Visa HQ for the 6 month Visa. You can also contact VFS Global with any queries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 203 793 8629 or +44 203 788 4666 (Monday – Friday 8:30 – 15:30 (except for Consular Holiday)
We hope you find this brief guide useful to planning your trip to India. For more information about our Travel Safety and Self Defence Company visit our website: www.staysafedefence.co.uk or for more Travel Advice, Information and Tips visit our Blog Page
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