Visa applications: India

Our Indian visa application was an unexpected one. Not having read the information on gov.uk properly, I initially thought we could enter on an e-visa. It wasn’t until after we started our trip that I saw a couple of posts on Facebook about visas for India that I realised this was wrong. You cannot enter via land on an e-visa, and must apply for a tourism visa instead. Uh oh!

As we were already on the road, we had two options. I was flying home for 2 weeks in July, so I could go to London and apply for both of us. However we weren’t sure if that was possible. Alternatively we would have to get one on the road. We saw on iOverlander that it’s possible to get an Indian visa in Lahore, so we knew that could be our last resort option.

Firstly we tried to go to the Indian embassy in Tashkent. Online it said that it was possible to get a tourist visa from here, and that it would take a couple of weeks. When we got there they first told us it wasn’t possible at all, then they said it might be possible but it would take a few months, so that wasn’t really an option for us.

In the meantime we emailed VFS global (the same company we had used for our Russian visa) to try and find out whether or not we both needed to attend the appointment at the centre in person. We emailed three different times and got three different answers: yes, no, maybe. Printing out the “yes” response, we completed the online application form from Uzbekistan, and Chris wrote a letter giving me permission to both submit and collect his application. 

The visa application centre was pretty organised and efficient. It seemed that almost every single other person in there was submitting multiple applications, so this definitely wasn’t an issue. On arrival, because I was submitting two applications, I had to take two numbers (even though I submitted them to the same person at the same time). We had originally applied for a 6 month multiple entry visa, however whilst there the woman told me that a 12 month visa costs the same amount, so she put us down for that instead.

The most complicated part of the Indian visa application process is the photos. The size of the photo isn’t a standard passport size, but a square photo. Fairly easy to get from a photo shop, or probably print yourself, but a bit annoying to realise after paying for the wrong sized photos! Also, when submitting the application you need 2 photos. I didn’t read this anywhere on the masses of information on the VFS website (although I could easily have missed it). Thankfully, after being caught out before with not having enough copies of paperwork at visa application centres, I had a spare photo of each of us with me so this wasn’t an issue.

Our visas were ready for collection in less than a week, and the collection process was simple – take a number, wait your turn, and collect your passport. Indian visa crises resolved!

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