Probably the first thing that comes to your mind while reading this, is why would anyone go to all the trouble to get an Indian tourist visa while a tourist Evisa or e-Tourist visa is an easy peasy?
There are 5-year Evisas, 1-year Evisas, 90-day Evisas, and now 10-year Evisas for tourism. My own parents got Indian Online Evisa when they accompanied me.
The answer is simple: The Evisa or e-Tourist visa for India has limitations.
But before we jump into the technicalities, let me tell you a bit about what to see and do in India.
What to Do in India
Here is the thing: India is huge. Home to some of the tallest mountains, beautiful beaches, ancient temples, deserts, national parks- it’s truly a traveler’s paradise. The Taj Mahal, the Golden temple of Amritsar, Jaipur, Delhi and Rishikesh are some of the most visited tourist destinations in north India.
North India is popular for its hill stations and treks as well. If you are interested in treks, here are some of the best treks in India. If you are interested in forts, here are the best forts of Rajasthan.
If you want to venture south, Kerala is a must stop, owing to its natural beauty and beaches. Auroville, a universal city with an international community, and Pondicherry, a former French colony are two other popular destinations in South India.
If Pondicherry is on your bucket list, then here is a list of all the things to do in Pondicherry.
India Tourist Visa vs India Online eVisa
- For any long term Evisa, you need to leave India every 3 months and reenter.
- You can’t convert an Indian eVisa 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.
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 an Indian X visa for spouse.
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.
India Visa Application for US citizen
Note – If you are applying for a visitor visa to India from USA, you can do it through Cox & Kings Global Services only. The Indian embassies in USA doesn’t accept any applications directly.
Tourist Visa for India from UK
If you are in UK, you can walk in but they have outsourced the document collection to VFS Global UK. So you can apply Indian visa online in UK.
Application for Indian Visa for Australian Citizens
Citizens of Australia can apply for Indian visa through VFS Global Australia.
Here is how to apply for India tourist visa through an embassy.
Apply Visa for India 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.
Document Checklist for Indian Tourist Visa
The list of documents for an Indian tourist visa are pretty standard actually.
You passport valid for a year at least with at least three continuous blank pages. The six months passport validity rule doesn’t hold because the visa is issued for one year.
Bank Statements for Visa Application for India
Your bank statements should have a minimum balance of $ 6,000,000 COP / 2000 USDs approx.
I showed the bank statements for the last 3 months with a balance of $ 10,000,000 COP. I simply took the PDF statements from the bank and showed them. There was no need to notarize it or get any official bank statements. It’s always a good idea to have more than the minimum required amount.
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.
Round trip Flight reservation for Visa or Confirmed Tickets
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. That way you can have a flight reservation for free. For my return ticket to Bogota, I showed a reservation from Turkish airlines 5 months after my date of arrival.
International Yellow Fever vaccination certificate
In Colombia, you can get it easily in a public hospital for free.
India visa application form
You need to fill the visa application form for India online and then take a printout of the same, and carry it for your visa appointment.
Indian Visa Photo Requirements
The photo size for the Indian visa is 2 cm X 2 cm. It must be a color passport pic in white background. In case your pic doesn’t work, you can get your photo taken in a studio right across the consulate.
A signed consent form is something specific to regular Indian visa applications that you need to print out from the website of the Indian embassy in Bogota and sign, and submit with your application.
Fill in the Indian Tourist Visa Application Form Online
You need to fill in the application form for India tourist visa on the official website : https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration.
The visa 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 for India- 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 visa application form, you can download it and print it out. Make sure that you carry it with you when you go to the embassy.
Submit Documents at Indian Embassy and Pay
The best part is that there is no need to make payments before you submit the documents for the Indian visa application for tourism. They ask you to pay once they revise all your documents.
I went to the embassy in the early morning. The embassy receives visa applications 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 of 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.
Receive the Indian 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 the Indian tourist visa sticker.
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.
Indian tourist visa processing time : 1 week
Visa validity: From the day of issuance
Visa duration : One year but you need to leave after six months and re-enter India
Visa cost : 340,000 Pesos or 103$
Note – You need to leave India 180 days after you arrive there and re-enter.
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 Indian 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
The Visa Project’s Comprehensive Visa Series: Guides & Experiences
Visa requirements are always changing. Here on The Visa Project, they are kept up-to-date and should answer most visa questions.
And not just guides and tips, we also rely on real people’s experiences on visas, coz’ we know how much visas change based on your nationality, financial status, age, ethnicity, etc.
In the South Asia Visa Series: Experiences
- India X Visa: How to Get India Spouse Visa in FRRO
- Indian Visa Extension: How to Extend Indian Visa in FRRO
- India e Visa
- Nepal Visa on Arrival
- Srilanka eVisa Online
Did you ever get an India tourist visa?
If you ever had to apply for 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.