EVisa for India – Avoid India Tourist Visa Surprises. Make sure to check your visa requirements before you book your trip to beautiful India. – by Sushma Goswami
The story about my eVisa application experience for India (Indian e-Tourist Visa)
A few months ago I decided to try the new India eTourist Visa. My employment visa for India had expired and I needed a new visa to fly back to India with Sonal. I decided give eVisa a try instead of going through the lengthy embassy visa application process (which I also explain in the latter part of this post). For those of you that don’t know yet, India has launched a new eTourist visa scheme, so most travelers can get an Indian visa online.
This system supersedes the existing tourist visa on arrival where certain travelers were able to pay a fee upon arrival at immigrations. Travelers now have to apply before arrival to India for a tourist visa. They get a PDF that the airline desk clerk will check before boarding the flight. Then once in India, there is a special immigration queue for eVisas and voila, you are set! This eVisa is actually a great implementation as it not only boosts the tourism industry for Indian locals but it also eliminates costs and is a great benefit to all us travelers.
As I said, the tourist visa is now issued online and you will simply receive it in PDF format via email. Your Indian visa will be linked electronically to your passport so you will no longer receive a visa sticker. Enough about the benefits of the program. I started the process at 8PM and finished 12 hours later, in a nightmare night in the Philippines. The Government website (https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html) is tortuous.
I had innumerable problems uploading my ID photo, my passport information page and worse of all, paying. The user experience was even more frustrating than getting a traditional visa. Instead of sleeping before my snorkeling trip in Palawan, I ended up wasting my entire night on this website. So when a blogger friend talked about iVisa.com, I instantly thought this was an interesting option for my readers. eVisa is a US based company whose motto is “zero frustration policy when it comes to visa processing”. For an additional fee, they’ve made an impressively easy interface that makes the visa application a pleasant one (or as pleasant as it can be).
After researching them in depth, they provide a few great service options that are very interesting: travelers can save an application and complete it at any time, eVisa system takes any type of image and they make it compliant to the visa application format (versus the Government website which only accepts a few formats and in ridiculously small sizes), they take any form of payment (including Amex and paypal), and best of all, unlike the Government website, they accept visa applications far in advance from the trip.
It’s crucial to understand that there have been applications rejected by the government in the past so waiting until the last minute to process the visas is not a great idea. The government service will only accept applications 33 days before your actual travel date, which made me a bit anxious, since this seemed to be too close to my actual trip.
India eTourist Visa validity
One thing to remember is that the validity of your Indian visa will only begin on the day of your arrival and you can not apply more than 33 days before your arrival to India. It’s a single entry visa and if you wish to spend more than one month in India then you will have to contact the Indian embassy as the India eTourist Visa is valid for 30 days alone and it seems like you can only apply for 2 eVisas in one calendar year.
Indian E Visa restrictions
If you want to apply for an Indian eTourist visa, make sure you are arriving to India via plane and through one of these airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi. You can exit India by any means of transportation and from any point of exit.
What will you need for your online visa to India application?
You will need a valid passport (valid at least 6 months after your arrival date) and a scan of your passport photo page along with a recent digital photograph of yourself.
After you make the payment online, you’ll receive an email with your visa after a few days, which you can print and take to the airport with you. It’s that easy. Show the printed copy to the immigration officer and a visa will be attached to your passport on the spot.
Again, I recommend that you use http://www.indianetouristvisa.co.in to avoid any frustration with the process. Remember you can apply online at any time with them, and the visa will be processed exactly 33 days prior to departure (so they apply on the first available date, ensuring that the traveler doesn’t have to worry about the visa at all).