Everything You Need to Know About the Indian Visa Application Process

The Indian Visa Application Process can be both simple and complicated, depending on which type of visa you’re applying for and how many times you’ve applied before. However, with some basic knowledge of what to expect and how to fill out the necessary paperwork, you can go through the process smoothly and effectively every time. In this article, we cover all aspects of the Indian Visa Application Process in detail, including how to find out if you need to apply at all, how to fill out your visa application form correctly, and what documents to take with you when you go to submit your application.

How do I apply for a visa?

While there are different types of visas available for people who want to visit India, most can be obtained at an Indian Embassy or consulate in your home country. Your visa will be valid for 6 months from the date of issue and you’ll have a maximum time of 3 months to enter India. Depending on your nationality, you may be able to obtain an Indian Visa on Arrival (VoA). This is valid for 30 days and can be extended in India if required.

Which type of visa should I apply for?

The Indian Visa Application Process is complicated and involves lots of steps, including finding a sponsor (which can be difficult) and waiting in line at an embassy or consulate. There are lots of different types of visas too. The confusion makes it easy for Indian travelers to find themselves leaving home without having planned out their visas, hoping for a successful on-arrival entry. It’s very risky—and you’ll probably get rejected at one of India’s handful of international airports if you try it that way. The best thing to do is apply in advance with a reputable agency that has experience helping travelers get across India’s borders as quickly as possible.

What documents do I need to submit?

All foreigners traveling to India for tourism or business are required to apply for a visa. There are three types of visas: an e-Visa, an Indian visa on arrival, and a regular/business visa. The e-Visa is issued by Indian Embassies and Consulates only, while Indian visas on arrival can be issued at select airports upon landing in India. If you don’t qualify for an e-Visa or are not flying into India through one of those airports, you must apply for a standard visa before you leave home. A complete list of eligible ports of entry can be found here. Once you know where you’ll be arriving in India, it’s time to apply!

Where should I submit my visa application?

To find out where you should submit your visa application, you’ll need to check your destination country’s immigration and visa requirements. Generally speaking, many countries will want you to apply for a diplomatic mission within their borders. However, there are exceptions; some countries only accept applications from citizens applying in certain other countries. Consult each country’s official website for specific information on whether or not it accepts visa applications outside of its borders. In general, if one of your ancestors was born in an area that is now part of India, chances are high that you will be able to obtain a multiple-entry tourist visa for anywhere between 6 months and 5 years upon arrival at an airport or land border crossing inside India.

How much does it cost?

Unless you’re only making one trip a year, there are several reasons why it may be worth your while to get an Indian visa. First of all, by having a valid visa in your passport, you can avoid getting hassled every time you cross into India. Also, if you end up living or working in India long-term, being able to skip that whole visa application process saves you time and hassle later on. Unfortunately for us Aussies and Kiwis though, getting a tourist visa is pretty expensive! For Australians and New Zealanders who have an Australian passport (or a British or Irish one), it costs $117 AUD per person to apply for a 3-month tourist visa through VFS Global.

What are my chances of being approved?

The chances of being approved depend on a variety of factors, including where you’re applying from, your reason for traveling, and how long you intend to stay. If you are in a rush to get your visa before traveling, it may be worth it to pay extra and expedite processing. Expedited processing can guarantee visa approval within 24 hours if things are in order; alternatively, regular applications can take up to two weeks or more. Even without expediting applications, many regional offices will try their best to process applications as quickly as possible so that visitors don’t miss their trip. As an added bonus, most applications require an online form that lets applicants know if they’ve been rejected and why—which makes things much easier for future travelers!

What happens if I am not approved?

It is relatively common for visa applications to be rejected, especially at first. Keep in mind that visa denial rates vary depending on where you are trying to get your visa. There are also many reasons why a visa might be denied—overstaying past a previous visa, legal trouble with authorities, or having too few ties to your home country are just some of them. Some countries have a 100% rejection rate because they don’t give out many visas regardless of circumstances. If you’re denied entry into a country due to visa issues, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can never go back; sometimes a visit later in life will go more smoothly than one made in an earlier period of time.

Other considerations

Just about every country, including India, has its own process for obtaining a visa. Before you fill out an application and submit it to an embassy or consulate, make sure you know exactly what’s required of you. For example, do you need a round-trip ticket? How many photos must you include with your application? Do you need proof of travel health insurance? A quick online search will help you find answers so that your completed visa application is as strong as possible. Get copies of everything required by a given destination—forms, photos, documents—and gather them together in one place so that it’s easy to refer back and make sure they’re all there when your time comes.