The other day I had a client call me up, and boy was he upset. Apparently, he filed for an India tourist visa, and they had requested references prior to approval. So who does he call? His trusty travel agent. We were able to submit the paperwork and get him across the border in time to attend his sister’s wedding.
Here are several important things to consider when you apply for an India tourist visa:
Purchase ahead of time. Try to allot yourself at least one week for any red tape. My client was not anticipating filing references, and this added six days to the waiting period. When you do apply, be prepared to fill out an application, proof of onward travel, and two additional photos. As with any government institution, the rules change quickly, so confirm the details with you embassy beforehand.
Same day service is possible, provided there aren’t any snags to slow the process any. If you have been to India before and everything went smoothly, you can usually get same day service for an additional fee. However, I recommend book ahead of time just in case.
US citizens must pay $73 for an India tourist travel visa; other nationalities can pay as little as $53. It’s important to factor visa expenses into your budget; if you are border hopping a lot on your trip, the costs can get quite high in a short amount of time. Keep in mind that you must pay the consular fee, and a service fee. Think of Ticketmaster, but more bureaucratic. On second thought, don’t…
Speaking of bureaucracy, there is no country in the world more embedded in red tape than India. I cannot stress this point enough: to avoid a never ending onslaught of delays, file all your paperwork for an India tourist travel visa prior to arriving in India. This alone will save you countless headaches.