Indian tourist visa process (UK)

I might be visiting India this year after all, we thought we could coincide Babu’s trip to Mumbai to get his US  seaman’s visa renewed with a trip to Mumbai for me too! It’s not confirmed – it depends on a plethora of things – when his interview date is, if I can get time off work, if I can get a flight and how long before the interview he is told the appointment date – since I may not be able to afford said flight if it is only a few days previous!  So I’m not getting myself excited just yet, I did however go and get myself a tourist visa, and I just wanted to share how impressed I am!

In the UK you apply for a visa through these people here at VFS Global, from what I can gather they work as agents on behalf of the Indian consulate in the UK.

You apply online, and then submit the form electronically and also print it and send via post with your photos, signed checklists and declarations. You can also pay online which saves going to to get a bankers draft or postal order which can be a little costly too.

The website has pretty much all the information you need.  I did however manage to mess up my first application – don’t rush it! I managed (of all things to do) input my name wrong! I submitted my form and payment online before realising this! I emailed customer services who got back to me two days later telling me how to cancel the application and payment which was quite easy once I knew how! Don’t call them, it costs 95p a minute!!!

So, once I re-did my application with the right name on it, (funnily enough my middle name and surname aren’t the same, d’oh!) I submitted the form again, printed, and sent off my payment and stuffed everything in an envelope and sent it via special delivery to ensure it got there safely.

The website states it takes a minimum of 10 days to process, I beg to differ, I posted mine on the Friday and had my passport back, complete with visa the following Thursday! 6 Days! They certainly don’t work on Indian time! VERY impressed, just hope I get to use it.

So although I found the process fairly simple, here’s a few tips…

– Once you print the form, it’s done, you cant change anything, you will have to start over so triple check all info is right beforehand!

– Pay online, that way the correct payment is calculated for you – the fee tables can be a little confusing. Also give them a copy of the payment receipt – don’t know if  it is required but I couldn’t see any other way to indicate that I’d already paid.

– The photos required aren’t standard passport size so you may need to hunt around for a photo booth that does them, and make sure you have plenty of change, they’re more expensive than passport ones aswell – mine were £7 in a photo-me booth. Also, really read the photo guidelines as they are very strict.

– Don’t apply for your visa too early! The maximum length is 6 months which starts from the point the visa is created, plan carefully!

– Check, check, check you have remembered to send everything: Visa form, photos, signed declaration, 2 checklists (maybe more depending on nationality), online payment receipt, and most importantly, your PASSPORT!

– Don’t pay extra for SMS updates, they don’t tell you much, and they tell you less then the e-mails they send you! I got a message telling me a decision has been made, no, that’s it, didn’t tell me what!

I think that’s pretty much it, if I have missed anything or you have any questions please comment below…


5 responses to “Indian tourist visa process (UK)

  • Mani Dhillon

    Wow good to know that you are already prepared. I was quite sad to read your last post “10 Days”, hope everything is sorted out.
    I am surprised that Indian Embassy also appointed VFS as their processing agent, its a good news. Already in my country they process visa for almost all major countries including UK. I’ve dealt with them a few times, good and supportive staff.

    You are lucky Ria, you guys get to meet two times in these 3 months, I am jealous 😉 . If you come to India I hope you will settle everything with him and his parents, right? It’s better to be prepared and make plans on how are you gonna convince his parents that you guys will marry and that you will not leave him (like everyone in India thinks that European and American girls do). Ask your FIL and MIL about all their concerns thoroughly and honestly tell them what you think and what you will do about this. Spend some more time with them if you can and try to show them that you can be their ideal bahu.
    Try to be little conservative, they will like it. I wish you will have a great trip.
    Hope everything else is fine and good luck to you both.

    • ria

      Hi Mani!

      I wouldn’t say everything is sorted out as such, it’s more that things arent so much at the front of our minds right now!

      Unfortunately if the visit goes ahead it will only be for a week, and most likely I will only visit Mumbai, I really wanted to visit him in his home first but him and his dad were concerned about me being alone catching the internal flight to Bhubaneswar, personally I’ve not written the idea off completely as I think I’d be ok, I’m just waiting to see if I actaully go to India first, and then how the dates fit in and if it is a possibility.

      I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you and your girlfriend, I know when I feel bad about the situation I tend to just switch it off, again I have just become used to him not being here.

      Long term, I’m not too worried about the whole marriage thing, nothing has really been said and I think Babu knows that I will get my own way! He keeps threatening to put his dad on the phone (not threatening in a bad way) but I chicken out evertime, I’m not great talking to people I don’t know socially, in business I’m fine but that’s different! I should talk to him soon, I just need to grow some balls first! I guess I’m also scared I won’t understand his accent, I hate those awkward conversations where you keep having to ask someone to repeat themselves, I guess this is probably my biggest barrier!

      I do keep thinking how lucky I am that he is open with his family about me though, as you hear so many stories of people in the opposite situation, this weekend he has been showing photos around of me to any extended family member who will look!

      • Mani Dhillon

        Sometimes I think people define Love too casually. What I’ve experienced till now is that its a great responsibility and there comes lots and lots of problems and complications with it, specially for the ones who are in love and mostly these complications arise from the meddling of those around us. I guess people just think about themselves and they don’t think how we might react or feel for any specific situation they might put us in.
        I do try to relate to your situation sometimes but I guess for everyone out there, there are different problems. I guess my strategy is good that tackle one problem at a time and wait for other to come but do make some plans.
        So my humble advice is that you take one step at a time and don’t stall something you should do, like talking to your FIL, you better address his concerns now by talking to him. One day you have to talk with him, so why not sooner than later?

  • CNC

    I would say…don’t get used to them saying 10 days and it being 6. Here they say something and it’s usually longer. Yep, that’s how India works for you…but congrats and hope you enjoy Mumbai 🙂

  • Meet the in-laws | me and India

    […] included, precisely one week after I put it in the mail – the same super quick service I had last year so I am once again hugely impressed with VFS global/Indian high commission […]

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