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Big Harvey
Post subject: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 23:07 on 26th Jun 2012

Joined: 09:14 on 23rd Apr 2008
Posts: 2343
For the benefit of anyone who's never been before, or hasn't been for a long time, there are a few visa-related issues to bear in mind when planning your trip. The good old days of queuing up outside the Indian High Commission and walking away with a visa the same day are long gone. The process has been outsourced to an agency, and now takes days.

1) If you mention on your application that you have Pakistani ancestry (even one grandparent who was born in the region, whether before or after partition), your application will take months. Even if you were to apply now, it's highly likely that your visa wouldn't be ready in time.

2) The photo size they request is not the same size as a UK passport photograph, and they're very fussy.

3) Even if your tourist visa is multiple entry, once you leave India, you're not allowed to re-enter India for two months. Some have mentioned that they fancy returning home for Christmas and back out for the ODI series. Unfortunately this isn't legally possible on a tourist visa. They do make an exception if you're only leaving India to visit neighbouring countries, but you should try and arrange for an endorsement to that effect at the time you apply if that's what you're planning to do. This is easier said than done, as if my experience of applying for this type of visa for the World Cup is anything to go by, many of the staff employed by VFS Global to handle applications are either poorly trained, or of a very low calibre. Personally if I was applying for anything other than a straightforward tourist visa, I would bite the bullet, pay the extra and go through an agent.

If you're really determined to go home and fly back out, then maybe you could sort yourself out with something like a business visa instead, which doesn't have the two month restriction.

4) Don't forget to add the service fee (currently £10.20) and consular charge (currently £2) to your basic visa fee.
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cubanpete
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 16:06 on 27th Jun 2012

Joined: 20:03 on 12th Oct 2011
Posts: 11
Is it possible to get a tourist visa on arrival at the airport in Mumbai?
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Lich villan
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 16:57 on 27th Jun 2012

Joined: 13:27 on 6th Jan 2009
Posts: 42
cubanpete Wrote:
Is it possible to get a tourist visa on arrival at the airport in Mumbai?


No you need this before entering India, you cannot even get on the plane without one.
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Big Harvey
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 17:38 on 27th Jun 2012

Joined: 09:14 on 23rd Apr 2008
Posts: 2343
Lich villan Wrote:
cubanpete Wrote:
Is it possible to get a tourist visa on arrival at the airport in Mumbai?


No you need this before entering India, you cannot even get on the plane without one.



That's right. I should have mentioned that the site you have to go to in order to apply is http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk .
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Rampage
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 19:09 on 27th Jun 2012

Joined: 13:10 on 9th Apr 2012
Posts: 35
The application process is so complicated it's almost as if India doesn't want tourists from the UK :roll:

I'm going to apply by post. With the cost of fuel for me to get back and forth from the Hayes application centre I may as well pay for the postage. I'm going to apply in September, should be plenty of time hopefully.
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Big Harvey
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 21:49 on 27th Jun 2012

Joined: 09:14 on 23rd Apr 2008
Posts: 2343
Rampage Wrote:
The application process is so complicated it's almost as if India doesn't want tourists from the UK :roll:

I'm going to apply by post. With the cost of fuel for me to get back and forth from the Hayes application centre I may as well pay for the postage. I'm going to apply in September, should be plenty of time hopefully.


Sounds about right.

Anyone who's planning to go to Ahmedabad or Rajkot should fill in one of these along with their visa application:

http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/pdf/liquor_permit.pdf

You can sort a liquor permit out when you get there, but only if the prohibition officer isn't off sick or away on holiday! It takes quite a bit of time and more form filling to do it over there as well.
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GMH2
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 13:39 on 28th Jun 2012

Joined: 10:48 on 22nd Aug 2011
Posts: 98
Rampage Wrote:
The application process is so complicated it's almost as if India doesn't want tourists from the UK :roll:

I'm going to apply by post. With the cost of fuel for me to get back and forth from the Hayes application centre I may as well pay for the postage. I'm going to apply in September, should be plenty of time hopefully.


Good call. If its anything like the Birmingham office , you dont want to lose a minute of your life there.
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pepper_brooks
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 14:06 on 28th Jun 2012

Joined: 11:47 on 24th Apr 2008
Posts: 443
I'd seriously consider getting an agent to sort it out. If you live in/near a city with a large Indian population there's loads of businesses that make the run to Birmingham/London/Manchester every day. They normally charge the visa fee plus about a tenner. That's a lot less than you'd pay in travelling twice to drop off and collect your passport and not much difference to recorded delivery both ways if you choose the postal options.

For anyone lucky enough to live in Leicester I would highly recommend the Bharat Welfare Trust on Loughborough Road. They're a charity with links in Gujarat and make a daily visa run. Not only is it a lot easier and virtually stress-free but the fee you pay them (about a tenner) goes towards the charity.
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Eggmanfoo
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 11:56 on 2nd Jul 2012

Joined: 13:35 on 20th May 2008
Posts: 231
A top tip....use your local indian community centre or temple to take your visa for you.
Most cities have them, and they charged me £10 for checking it and taking it down for me. it took about 7 days before I had it back. Well worth the 10 quid, and with the checking service, I knew i would have no problems.
You can research via google....
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Big Harvey
Post subject: Re: Potential Visa Pitfalls
PostPosted: 17:21 on 12th Jul 2012

Joined: 09:14 on 23rd Apr 2008
Posts: 2343
For getting photos of the right size, I've noticed that some of those machines that do UK passport photos now also do Indian and US sized ones. For example there's one in The Galleries in Bristol near where you pay for car parking at the back end (furthest away from Union St). It charges a rip-off £7 (compared with £5 for UK sized pics), but I suppose that's still cheaper than going to a photographer, like many of us had to for the World Cup.
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