While planning the trip to one of the most exotic countries in the world is exciting, the visa application and process can leave some visitors confused. Here is a quick guide for UK travellers to get their visa to India.
Allow plenty of time to obtain your visa and don’t pay for any hotel bookings or book flights before getting the visa in hand. While for the majority of travellers there is no problem in obtaining your visa there can be delays which may cause you to alter your dates or complications with your application.
Normal processing times for straightforward applications are a minimum of 2 – 3 working days if you are making your application in person. Postal applications take a minimum of 10 working days, plus transit time so make sure you allow 14 working days. You won’t have your passport during this time.
2. The Application
Indian High Commission uses VF Services to process all Indian visa applications. The offices are located in Edinburgh, Birmingham and London or you can use the online service which is more convenient. You must have a valid passport with at least 6 months left for expiry and at least two pages free.
There are numerous guides on their website to help you select the most appropriate visa and to guide you through the application process.
3. Visa Period
Tourist visas may be valid for 6 months to 1 year with single or multiple entries. Irrespective of the duration of the visa, on each visit the maximum duration of stay in India is limited to 6 months.
It is important to note that the visa is effectively valid from the date of issue, so don’t apply too early and risk the visa running out during your stay.
4. Visa Cost
The cost of the Indian visa is £30 for 6 months and £50 for 12 months. However these rates may vary and additional Consular charges may apply. Please check the latest rates before applying.
5. Receiving the Visa
The visa can be received by post if you send the filled application form, to the supplied address along with fees, supporting documents, photos and your passport. Your visa will be laminated into your passport.
6. Common issues
It is very important that your photos meet with the specified guidelines. In particular, photos must be 50mm x 50mm. This is not the normal size you get from passport photo booths (which is 45mm x 35mm) and is one of the most common reasons for delays. Read the full guidelines. There are vending machines available at the visa application centres (£4 for two photos) or you can get the photos taken at home, cropped and printed to size as along as they follow the guidelines.
7. One your have your visa
Once you have received the visa you are ready to get onto the next steps of booking your stay and flights, getting immunization shots and travel insurance. Once the entire checklist is complete, you are ready to take your trip!
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.