Probably the first thing that comes to your mind while reading this, is why would anyone go to all the trouble to get an India tourist visa while a tourist Evisa or e-Tourist visa is an easy peasy? There are 5 year Evisas, 1 year Evisas, 30-day Evisas and now 10-year Evisas for tourism. My own parents got a 30-day e-Tourist visa for India.
The answer is simple: The e-Tourist visa has limitations.
One : For any long term Evisa, you need to leave India every 3 months and come reenter.
Two: You can’t convert it to any other visa. So let’s say you find a job or want to study or something else, you would need to leave India and get one of those proper visas outside. I have heard stories of people who did it with help from Immigration lawyers and such, but I wouldn’t recommend this route. Too risky.
As per me, the second reason mattered a lot more. My Indian boyfriend and I had plans to get married after I would come to India. We planned to stay in India for a long time which needed me to convert my tourist visa to a spouse visa.
So I went to the embassy of India in Bogota, Colombia while I was there and got my India tourist visa there. The process is more or less same irrespective of your country, although they might ask for a few more documents. Most of the Indian consulates in different countries offer walk-in appointments, although some consulates have authorized a third party agency to manage the whole process.
Note – If you are applying an India tourist visa in USA, you can do it through Cox & Kings Global Services only. The US embassy doesn’t accept any applications directly.
If you are in UK, you can walk in but they have outsourced the document collection to VFS Global UK. So you can apply online there. For citizens of Australia, you need to apply through VFS Global Australia.
1.Apply When You are Sure
The reason I say when you are sure is that the India tourist visa is valid from the day it’s issued. So if you get a visa before you know when you can travel, you would start losing days. The visa processing rarely takes more than 15 days. I got mine in a week.
2.Get Your Documents Together
The list of documents that you need to show for a tourist visa are pretty standard.
- A passport valid for a year at least with at least three continuous blank pages.
- Bank statements for the past three months with a minimum balance of $ 6,000,000 COP / 2000 USDs approx.
- Round trip Flight reservation or copy of air ticket.
- Copy of International Yellow Fever vaccination certificate.
- In case, your spouse/parents will be responsible for your expenses, a notarized letter stating responsibility for trip expenses along with the copy of the birth registration or marriage certificate.
- Printed application form after filling it online and a 2X2 color photo with white background.
- Signed Consent Format
- Original bank deposit slip after payment
Let me tell you a few important things about the documents.
- Roundtrip Flight reservation – It doesn’t have to be a confirmed flight. You can make a reservation in an airline and present that ticket. As my plans were confirmed, I had bought a flight ticket on Turkish Airlines. But I would recommend you to simply make a reservation or buy a ticket on Expedia or Orbitz, and then cancel it. For my return ticket to Bogota, I showed a reservation from Turkish airlines 5 months after my date of arrival.
- Bank Statements – I showed the bank statements for the last 3 months with a balance of $ 10,000,000 COP. It’s always a good idea to have more than the minimum required amount.
- Photo – A standard 2X2 color passport pic in white background does the job. In case your pic doesn’t work, you can get your photo taken in a studio right across the consulate.
- Yellow Fever certificate– In Colombia, you can get it easily in a public hospital for free.
3. Fill in the Application Form for India Tourist Visa Online
You need to fill in the application form for India tourist visa on the official website : https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration. The application form is quite long and detailed. So don’t hurry.
Once you fill in the details and click on ‘continue’ button, you would see a Temporary Application ID on the next page. Note this ID. In case, you can’t complete the form or any other issue comes up, you can use this ID to complete it.
Things to note
- Port of entry and exit- Make sure this matches the flight reservations you have provided.
- Duration of visa and no. of entries – You can choose maximum up to 6 months. Make sure to choose multiple entries.
- Photo to upload – It should be min 10 KB and max 1 MB, and in JPEG format. It should be a recent front-facing photograph with a white background.
After you complete the form, you can download it and print it out. Make sure that you carry it with you when you go to the embassy.
4. Submit Documents at Embassy and Pay
The best part is that there is no need to make payments before you submit the documents. They ask you to pay once they revise all your documents.
I went to the embassy in the early morning. The embassy receives visa application from 8.30 am to 12 pm. There were like 10 or so people waiting in the lobby. There was a guy by the main door who I explained the purpose my visit and handed him the documents. He then asked me to wait.
Address and Contact Info of Indian Embassy in Colombia
Embajada de la India
Calle 116 # 7-15 Int.2. Of.301 Torre Cusezar, Santa Bárbara de Bogotá
(+571 6373259, 6373451)
Afterwards, I waited in the lobby. It took 30 minutes or so before I was called to the reception. The receptionist thoroughly examined all my docs and told me that my photo wasn’t as per the specifications. My face ate up like 90% of the photo while it should have been 70-80%. Not really the news I was expecting for.
So, I rushed to a studio right across the street and got a new photo taken. Then I darted to a cyber cafe and filled in a new application form coz’ the application form had my previous photo. I got the print out and came back to show it in the embassy. Once they were satisfied, they gave me a slip along with the payment details. I went to the Banco Itau to make the payment for the visa. Following that, I came back with the original deposit slip and submitted it along with the other documents.
After the payment, I received a receipt with my passport number. Make sure not to lose it.
5. Receive the India Tourist Visa
The embassy called me to inform after 4 days that my visa has been granted and I could collect the passport any time from 2-3 pm. I went to the embassy the same day and received my passport with a shiny new visa.
Note** To return Passport outside Bogotá in Colombian territory Applicants can deposit additional $ 20,000 pesos and make a note with the address (including ZIP code www.codigopostal.gov.co) to which Applicants want to get their passport back.
Visa processing time : 1 week
Visa validity: From the day of issuance
Visa duration : 1 year
Visa cost : 340,000 Pesos or 103$
Note – You need to leave India 180 days after you arrive there and re-enter.
6.Go for an Indian Buffet
Now that your India trip is on the horizon, it’s time to go to your favorite Indian restaurant and have some Indian food. The Taj Mahal restaurant in Bogota is my fave Indian restaurant and they have an amazing buffet Monday to Friday. So, I and my family went there and ate to our heart’s content.
Note for Ecuadorian citizens applying India Tourist Visa in Colombia
Citizens of Ecuador can apply for India tourist visa by sending in all the documents along with the passport to the Indian embassy through DHL and opt to collect their passport through DHL as well. Make sure to pay at Banco Pichincha and send the original deposit slip along with the documents.
Indian Embassy Account at Pichincha Bank
Bank’sName: Banco Pichincha C.A.
Accountholder’sname: Embajada de la India, Bogota
Account type: Current account
Account No. 3460152804
Did you ever get an India tourist visa?
If you have tried obtaining an India tourist visa, let us know in the comments. The visa process is constantly changing and it will help me updating the article if there is any change. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have and share if you think it’s useful.