The Complete Guide to Applying for an Indian Visa (for UK citizens)

How to apply for an Indian visa for UK citizens

FAQs and a complete step by step guide on how to apply for an Indian visa from the UK.

Nearly all visitors need to apply for a visa before traveling to India (apart from citizens of Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan) so applying for an Indian visa is an essential part of planning your trip to India.

Sadly the process can be tedious and over the recent months new developments have made it even more confusing, especially for UK passport holders. From statutory biometric testing and finger printing to visas on arrival! What’s going on!?

I’ve just applied for my 4th Indian visa in as many years, each time the process has been slightly different but equally confusing, so I thought it was about time I guided you through the process of how to apply for a tourist visa to visit India. Despite the frustrations with the visa process it will be worth it! India is probably the most incredible place to travel in the world!

Please bear in mind this is from the point of view of a British / UK passport holder (and this is just my experience, I’m happy to answer your queries but I’m not an immigration professional and guidelines may change. Requirements and processes for other nationalities are different so I cannot comment on the process for other nationalities. If you’re from the USA check out Hippie in Heels post about How to apply for Indian tourist visa from the USA.

How to Apply for a Tourist Visa to India

So what’s going on and how do you get a visa to visit India?

UK  passport holders must apply for a visa before visiting India. Some important things to note before you start is that Indian tourist visas are valid from the date of issue not the date of your entry to India so being prepared and applying months in advance will waste the time on your visa.

Short term Indian visas – visa on arrival and e-visas.

How to get an Indian visa on arrival

There has been a lot of talk about India introducing Visa on Arrival! Horay! This would be a great step towards increasing tourism in India but the visa on arrival is deceptive – it is more an E-Visa / electronic travel authority. You must still apply for the visa in advance before you travel but it does make the visa process quicker and easier for short visits.

Citizens from 113 countries are eligible to apply online for an E Tourist Visa to India, including UK and Ireland, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and many European Countries.

The ETA is only valid for a 30 days and costs $60 (about £39) plus a small admin charge. The application process is fully online and takes 5-6 working days for approval.

How to apply for an Indian Visa online

You can apply for an E Visa to India on the government website here, but bear in mind that there is still quite a lot of paperwork to fill out and if you make a mistake on the forms you could be rejected and have to apply again, it’s easier and quicker to use a company like iVisa.  

You then collect your visa on arrival at one of the major airports in India. The E Tourist Visa is only valid for 30 days and is single entry (and with so much to see, so much diversity and the challenges of traveling in India  1 month is nowhere near enough time in my opinion)

The ETA is not extendable or convertible and you can only apply for 2 ETVs in 1 year. You can only apply 33 days before travel (unless you apply with an agent like iVisa in which case you can apply anytime) but  as the process is fully online (you are not required to send off your passport and wait for 2 weeks for the visa to be processed) the E Visa makes a quick holiday to India much easier.

To take the stress and hassle out of applying for your Indian visa let iVisa sort everything out for you. They charge a service fee but offer a zero frustration policy and to simplify the process even more for you they accept applications at any time and will send your eVisa via email within 72 hours or even quicker if you pay more for rush processing.

Be aware that the scheme will now operate at 17 airports but if you are arriving in India at a seaport (for example on a cruise) you are not currently eligible to apply for an E Visa.

British Passport holders are now eligible for an E Visitor Visa for India!

British Passport holders are now eligible for an E Visitor Visa for India!

Applying for a 6 month Indian tourist visa with VFS Global

If you want to visit India for longer than 1 month (which I highly recommend as there is so much to see in this huge, diverse country and not a place you can rush) then you will still need to apply for a visa by sending away your application and passport.

The Indian visa application process in the UK has been outsourced to VFS Global, the website and instructions for applying for the visa are confusing to say the least.

If you want to make the process easier for the longer visa then you can use an agency like Visa HQ or read on and I’ll guide you through the process of applying for an Indian tourist visa with VFS Global.

Which Indian visa should I apply for?

Basically most British citizens travel to India on a tourist visa valid for 3 or 6 months, you can get single, double or multiple entry. You may as well go for a 6 month multiple entry tourist visa because the price and process for apply is still the same. However, the High Commission of India do not always give you the exact length and entries of visa that you have asked for.

Update Feb 2016 British citizens can now apply for upto 12 month multiple entry tourist visa to India for the same price as the 6 month one! However, you are still not allowed to spend more than 180 days in India but you can leave for a day and come straight back without having to go through the hassle of applying again!

How much does a tourist visa for India cost for a UK national?

A tourist visa for India costs £82 for UK passport holders.

But then after you add on other processing fees, the cost for postage and to get special passport photos taken the total cost for applying for an Indian tourist visa adds up to £110 in total.

The fee is also non-refundable—even if your application is denied the fee is not refunded.

Palolem Beach in Goa

Palolem Beach in Goa. The E Visas will make a holiday in Goa much easier to organise

So can I apply online for an Indian visa, through the post or do I need to attend an appointment and submit biometrics or fingerprints?

The most confusing thing is that it is hard to find information that tells you how to apply by post as all the information on the website seems to say that you need to make an appointment to physically go to London and apply for the visa in person. In March 2015 it was announced that:

“All Applicants will be required to book an appointment online to submit their applications at VFS Application Centres (14). Applicants will be able to book an appointment on VFS Website  at the time of filing online application forms. Biometric Data collection, including fingerprint data and facial imagery will be a mandatory requirement for all visa applicants soon. As a result, all visa applicants will need to first apply online and, thereafter, be physically present (mandatorily) at India Visa and Consular Services centres, by appointment, for submission of visa application and biometric data enrolment.”  And  it goes on to say that “ No applications will be accepted without appointment after 16th March 2015.” And “ No applications will be accepted by post.”

Seriously! What a way to encourage tourism!

As much as I love India I can see why people would choose to visit somewhere like Thailand or Sri Lanka to save this kind of hassle and expense.

After searching around the website and in forums a bit more I am relieved to find that actually Biometric data collection has not been introduced and applications can still be received through post/courier but need an additional processing time of at least two weeks and I successfully received my visa through the post.

So it seems like the plans to make attending an appointment and submitting fingerprints and biometric data appear to have been shelved for a while thankfully. But, it could have been made a little clearer, on the website.

You will soon forget about visa frustrations when you see the Taj Mahal!

The Taj Mahal

How to apply for an Indian visa by post

When applying for an Indian visa, either by post or by appointment, you need to start by filling out the form on the VFS Global website.

The first mission is working out where to start the application and where to find the online application form, to save you the trouble here is the link.

Click on this and then click on the red tab that says ‘regular visa application’ –

The first hurdle to over come is which ‘mission’ you select. All postal applications are only being accepted in Hounslow so pick UK London but if you did find it more convenient to attend an appointment there are several other offices across the UK.

Then continue to fill out the ridiculously long form – I’ve never been asked so many questions from my religion, education, any visible identification marks, occupation, place of birth of mother and father and whether my grandparents were born in Pakistan, details of previous visits to India and the previous visa number and all the countries that I have visited in the last 10 years.

References for applying for an Indian Visa

The form also asks you for a reference in India – if you don’t have any friends in India you can use a hotel or tour company as a reference. If you haven’t booked a hotel yet (because you are still figuring out how to get a damn visa!?) you could always book provisionally on and cancel or change the booking later. Or just pick a hotel as I doubt that they even check the reference anyway.

Next you need to provide a reference in the UK – I always just use my Mum!

Once you have answered all the questions, confirm the details. It then gives you your application number – it’s a good idea to make a note of the application number incase the website crashes because you have the application number you can log back in, if not you’ll have to start again.

Then you need to print off the application form. Make sure you sign it in the right places (on both pages) and attach the right size photos. You also need to print off and include a signed declaration form. You can find that here –

Photos required for the Indian Tourist Visa Application

The Indian visa application also requires 2 passport photos but they are a different sized passport photo to normal UK passport photos – 50mm x 50mm, the same size as USA passport photos so you can quite easily get these done in most photo booths for £4.99 for 4 or a specialised photography shop in the UK.

You can also check the specifications and take a photo yourself and upload a photo to the application for a service cost of £10 or you can get them printed out at Boots for less than £1.

It’s a good idea to get some extra ones because you will need them if you want to get a sim card for your mobile phone. See more on this (also overly complicated process) on how to get a Sim Card in India

Cruising the backwaters in a house boat in Kerala

Cruising the backwaters in a house boat in Kerala

How to submit the Indian visa application

Click on the button to ‘make appointments and payments’ and select your mode of submission – either you want to make an appointment or send by post.

Then go to the tab at the top – ‘Visa Fee and Pay Details’ and you can make the payment. The payment page looks a bit dodgy but I’ve never had any problems with it.

Money Saving Tip – Watch out for the extras. Untick the extra charges for uploading a photo and delivery. VFS will ask you for £14.95 per application to return your passport instead, when you go to the Post Office to send off your application (I always send mine special delivery)  get another special delivery, prepaid envelope and self address it – this should cost only £7.25. Half the price!

Where to send your Indian visa application

Check you have everything:

  • Printed and signed application form
  • Declaration form
  • Passport
  • 2 sized passport photos
  • Return signed delivery envelope

Don’t send it to the address on the top of your Indian visa application form – send it to:

Indian Visa and Consular Application Centre,

The Vista Centre,

First Floor, Part A, Block 50, Salisbury Road,

Hounslow, TW4 6JQ

Sunset over romantic Udaipur in Rajasthan

Sunset over romantic Udaipur in Rajasthan

How long does the Indian visa take to process?

Officially it states that the processing time for an Indian tourist visa takes a minimum of 2 weeks. I’ve had mine come back in anything from less than a week to a bit over 2 weeks, so allow enough time but remember it’s valid from the date of issue not the date of entry.

You should get an email or text saying something along the lines of ‘a decision has made on your application … your processed application is ready for collection or courier’ Once you get this your passport should be back with you in the next few days after that. You will not know until you open the post whether your visa has been granted or refused or if it has been granted for the full amount of time and number of entries you have asked for.

Do I need another permit?

Until late 2012 you were not allowed to leave and renter India within 2 months (you had to wait 2 months even if your visa was still valid!?) To enter without the gap of 2 months you had to apply for a permit to re-enter and to get this had to compile an itinerary for the whole trip. Thankfully a re entry permit is no longer required and that restriction has been lifted.

However, certain restricted areas including most of the states in the far North East, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some border areas still require permits. Usually the easiest way to obtain these through going with a travel agency or on a tour.

Can you apply for an Indian visa outside of the UK or your country of residence?

Although it’s always better to apply for a visa in your home country or country of residence, it is possible to obtain and Indian visa in neighbouring countries, although since the introduction of the E-Visa is has become harder and travellers have reported difficulties recently in obtaining Indian visas in Sri Lanka and Bangkok, Thailand and often only get single entry 3 month visas are given out when the travelers asked for multiple entry, 6 month visas.

I’ve heard that places like Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are now good places to get an Indian visa, but this is just what I’ve heard from friends and other travelers. By getting the visa in your country of residence means you have the best chance of being accepted and getting the longer term visas, but it’s still possible to get one in Southeast Asia but its a good idea to check online forums and ask around before deciding which place to do it.

If you want to get your Indian visa in Nepal heres a good post on the subject

Incredible India will be worth it

How to Apply for a Tourist Visa to India

As with everything in India really, the visa process requires a bit of patience and persistence but you will be richly rewarded and with proper planning your first trip to India will be memorable for all the right reasons!

Make sure you check out my Complete Step by Step Guide to Planning for your First Trip to India and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime!

India is a country like no where else on earth, it will challenge, enchant, surprise, captive and transform you! It will be worth it!

Need Help with Applying for your Indian Visa?

I’m happy to try and answer your questions but bear in mind I am not an immigration professional.

If you need professional assistance contact iVisa for the E Visa or Visa HQ for 6 month visa. You can also contact VFS Global with any queries by emailing or call +44 203 793 8629 or +44 203 788 4666 (Monday – Friday 8:30 – 15:30 (except for Consular Holiday) You can also call  09057570045 from Monday – Friday 8:30 – 17:30 (except for Consular Holidays) but this number charges 95p per minute from a BT landline and more from a mobile.

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Sunset over romantic Udaipur in Rajasthan

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  • Dan Truen says:

    Hi Anna,
    thanks for the post, it has been so much more helpful than everything else I’ve found online.

    I need just one piece of help though! I’ve followed your instructions (sort of, I unfortunately found this useful blog after completing most of it)

    I’ve filled in the form, paid, printed the application and got a payment receipt. I don’t recall the option of making appointment/send by post. I want to post my application.

    The tab is still open and when i click on the ‘appointment’ menu it takes me to a calendar of available appointments and has no option for posting the application.

    Have I gone too far now and committed to making an appointment rather than posting?

    If you can help me here I would be most grateful

    Thanks again for your great post.


    • Anna says:

      Hi Dan!

      Yes, it can be really confusing trying to apply by post rather than appointment. So when you started the application did you select London and your ‘mission’? London is the only place that accepts postal applications.

      If you’ve done that then under the ‘make appointments and payments’ tab you should be able to select your mode of submission as sending by post.

      Pay, print off, sign and send all the documents to Indian Visa and Consular Application Centre, The Vista Centre, First Floor, Part A, Block 50, Salisbury Road, Hounslow, TW4 6JQ.

      If there is no option for that then maybe you selected the wrong ‘mission’ at the start and I’m pretty sure if you’ve made the payment you can’t get a refund or change your application.

      Hope this helps! Good luck!

  • Louise says:

    Why didn’t I find this before!
    I’m currently crying in my room because I leave on the 6th January yet I can’t do my own signature from my passport. Nightmare.

  • Leanne Thomas says:

    Thank you so much for this! I have been scouting the internet for so long for this information. We are currently in Philippines and were hoping to get our indian visa from here or would we have to apply when we were back in the UK?

    • Anna says:

      Thank you, yes the official info can be a bit confusing so I’m so glad you found it helpful. You should be able to pick up an Indian visa in neighboring countries. I’ve personally not done it but know people who have. Sri Lanka and Thailand are good options. Perhaps it is also possible in the Philippines too?

  • David Harness says:

    This scares me I am an elderly British national,currently visiting my daughter in Australia
    I shall be calling into Chennai on April 10 & Cochin on April 13 on a cruise liner & thought it would be a piece of cake getting an evisa online.No such luck.The drop down ports of entry only offered me airports.Secondly I could not apply more than 34 days before my proposed date of entry
    Ill try emailing the Indian visa people online for advice !!
    I wonder what will happen if I fail to get a visa.Perhaps they will throw me off the ship

    • Anna says:

      Hi David. I haven’t any experience in entering India on a cruise – surely there must be something set up to assist cruise passengers with this – Perhaps call your cruise loine for advice or try the VSF Global (they are the ones who process visas to India for UK citizens) helpline +44 203 793 8629* +44 203 695 9849* or there is also an email address: Good Luck! I’m sure they will be able to sort something out for you.

  • Clare says:

    Hi Anna!
    Do you know anything about how to apply for the 6 month visa when you’re abroad? Im in new Zealand at the moment but I’m from the UK.. cant find much info!!

    Cheers, Clare

    • Anna says:

      Hi Clare, yes it can be a bit confusing applying out of your home country. I’m not really sure about applying from NZ but I do know that you can Indian visa in neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal etc in person by going to the embassy there or you could apply online but you will only get a 30 day visa and its not extendable. Good Luck 🙂

  • Tracey Holder says:

    Hi Anna,

    I have been trying to find out how to get my father a visa to visit Indian. He is a British subject (born in Indian) and now lives in the USA (on a green card). He is planning to come back to get a indian visa in London in July to travel there in September. He is elderly and unable to get to anywhere in the USA to sort this out, we suggested he came back and did it here with us helping him. Do you know if London will provide him with a Visa?

    • Anna says:

      Hi Tracey, if he is a British passport holder then the best place to get the visa would be in the UK. Hope this helps and enjoy your trip to India 🙂

  • Kathy says:


    I found this post really helpful for the very confusing indian visa application – thank you! Just one question – do you know if the price quoted at the end of the application is in dollars or pounds? My application came to 110 but it does not quote a currency.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Anna says:

      I would imagine its in pounds if you are applying as a uk citizen from the uk website. Mine normally comes to that amount after they add the other fees on.

  • mayankbajaj says:

    Great!I’ve been searching google for several hours looking for relevant info on this. I am very happy to comment here and thank you so much for sharing this. I am going to suggest this to my UK friend.

  • Rory says:

    What a fantastically (is that even a word!?) informative blog post – definitely adding to my bookmarks. Thank you ☺️

  • Daniel says:

    This has been really helpful. My girlfriend and I are thinking about Goa in mid August and have both quit our teaching jobs. We were thinking about doing some teaching work whilst in India, whether it is paid or volunteer work where some expenses are covered.

    What would you recommend? We plan to be away for a year and doing several months in India.

  • Paul says:

    Hi Anna, so to be clear, if I want to visit for less than 30 days, it should be quite a simple process with the e visa option? as opposed to anything longer where the process becomes more time consuming?

    • Anna says:

      Hi Paul, Yes if your visiting for less than 30 days the e visa is a much cheaper and easier way to get an Indian visa – you don’t even need to send your passport away but you do still need to fill in the paperwork online and then print off and take it to the airport with you. Getting a longer visa usually takes 2 weeks as you have to send your passport away for processing. Hope this helps and hope you have a great trip 🙂

  • Anand Nathan Pillai says:

    The above 6 months visa is true for All British passport holders going to India with the exception of Srilankan born British passport holder.
    Be aware, If you are born in Colombo but holding a British passport by naturalisation, Indian visa authority treats you differently, you only get 3 months maximum visa with single entry only.
    Don’t know why ? All Sri Lankan are not terrorists, past is past , India should rethink and change the rules and treat all British passport holders equally.
    Any comments.. Please write. Thank you.
    Anand, Colombo born UK citizen

  • Jessica says:

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you for this blog, it is really useful. I had a quick read of it, and couldn’t see the answer to my question.

    I was wondering if you have ever applied for the Indian Tourist visa from Nepal? And if so, do you know if it is possible to apply for the 6 month visa? I am seeing mixed messages, with some people saying you can only get 3 months from visa if you apply for it in Nepal. Its a mind-field of confusion, which is why blogs like yours are so great!

    Happy travels 🙂 Jess

    Happy travels 🙂

  • Nicola says:

    Hello Anna,

    I am so grateful for your blog! I will be travelling around India on my own starting in November, for 3 months and you’ve covered almost every question I had, so thank you!
    I have a particular question about the visa though.. I am applying for a postal visa application from the UK and have a UK passport (I’m Scottish) however for the past 2 years I have been living in Berlin and have been registered as living and working there. I am still currently registered there as I have a bit of work to finish but have an appointment to de register at the start of October. Do you think I should wait to send the application off after I de register from Berlin or is it enough that I have my mums address in Scotland (where the visa application will be posted from) and am on the voting register in Scotland also? In your experience would any of this affect me getting approved for the tourist visa? Also do you think this leaves me enough time to get the visa in time for travelling on the 8th of November?!

    Sorry for the long winded question and thanks for your help!

    • Anna says:

      Hi Nicola, excited to hear that your planning a trip to India and so glad to hear that my blog has helped. I’m not an immigration professional but, in my experience, I would say that it’s always better to apply from your home country and where your registered to vote. Applying with your Berlin address may make things more complicated, I love Berling though! 🙂 I would say if you are registered to vote in Scotland then that is your permanent address and the one you should use. Mine usually takes 2 weeks, so maybe apply 1 month before you are due to go to be one the safe side. Hope you get your visa without any worries and hope you have a great trip to India! 🙂

  • Sam says:

    Hi Anna! Your blog is great – so helpful. I am currently trying to fill my visa application in but I am a little stuck on the port of entry and exit question. I haven’t booked travel yet as I was waiting for my visa to be processed so not sure where I would be entering – was going to compare prices for different cities. Does it matter if I enter and exit from different places stated on my visa application? Any help would be appreciated as I can’t seem to find any info online. Thanks!!

    • Anna says:

      Hi Sam, yes I don’t book my flights until I have the visa. I don’t know if it will cause you problems if you select one place and then enter at another but maybe it’s best to check the flights and think more about your itinerary first so that you don’t write the wrong thing. I’m not sure to be honest but I don’t think it matters that much – I mean I don’t think they check the references so maybe it will be OK. Good luck and have a good trip 🙂

  • Nicola says:

    Hi again Anna,

    Thanks for your reply, I will apply from my UK address and send it off at the start of October!

    Another question,
    I have just completed the application form online for the tourist visa station UK London as my mission as I want to post it. When I got to the end I made the mistake of choosing save and print form rather than make appointments and payments.. So now I have my form saved to be printed out but I haven’t paid for it yet! Or stated that I want to post it.. When I tried to check my visa status using the application ID it says the information cannot be found? Is there a way I can get back into my application to finish it off or should I fill it all out again? Stress!
    Thank you!

    • Anna says:

      Hey Nicola, glad to help. Sorry but I think if the application ID can’t be found it hasn’t done it properly and you probably have to start over – I’ve done it myself a few times sometimes the website is a bit dodgy 🙁 Hope you get your visa OK in the end and have a good trip!

  • Alison Inns says:

    Hi Anna thank you for this, I understand the e-visa application process from the uk and that is starts from the day you apply, i assume that the visa has to be valid for the whole time you are there we go on the 8th October, can we complete the application now with a company and would they hold onto it and not process it until nearer the time…..I’m worried that if I do it wrong I will run out of time to re-apply but don’t want to do it too soon either unless they hang onto it and issue it nearer the date. Thanks for your help.

    • Anna says:

      Hi Alison, yes the visa starts from the date of issue and you can only apply 33 days before travel and yes it has to be valid for the whole time you are traveling in India. If you overstay your visa you could face a fine and a ban on visiting India! 🙁 I think if you use iVisa they can organise the timescale for you so you can apply now through them and they will lodge it at the right time so that you don’t have to worry about your visa expiring too early or forgetting to apply later on! Hope this helps and have a great time in India! 🙂

  • nina says:

    hello, thanks so much for this informative post. id never have been able to complete our visa applications without it! i am applying for visas for myself, my partner and our children (including one from a previous relationship)

    do you know what supporting documents i have to send along with the children applications?

    and also, if i can post all applications together in the same envelope?

    thanks again 🙂

    • Anna says:

      Hi Nina, Glad it helped! It can be a bit of a tricky process. I’m not really sure to be honest as I’ve only ever applied for myself but the website says that the documents required are:

      “For Minor Child (Under 16 Years of age):

      A copy of the child’s birth certificate showing both the parent’s names.
      Consent letter addressed to the HCI, London OR its respective consulates signed by both the parents
      Photocopy of Parent’s passports along with the copy of their current Indian Visa, if already holding one. If parents are Indian citizens, copy of the resident status in the UK would be required.
      In case of Divorce, Child Custody Letter from court in respect of the child is required.
      In case of Single Parent, Solicitor’s Letter and Child Benefit letter will be required.
      In case of Minor’s Application/Declaration either of the parents can sign the application form.”

      I’m not sure if you can post them together sorry, perhaps email them to ask if you have any more doubts. Their email address is –

      Hope this helps 🙂

  • nina says:

    i can’t seem to find the declaration form you link to? sorry if I’m being silly! my brain is a bit fried from this whole visa process 🙂

  • Dave Pollard says:

    Anna I think I love you a little, this is exactly what I have spent the last few hours searching for. Thanks so much for writing it, will certainly help with my application now. Wishing you the best karma filled weekend. Namaste! X

  • Gemma says:

    Hi there, love your blog! It’s helping me final make sense of this whole process haha!

    Sorry if you’ve already covered this and I’m being dim, but my partner and I are planning to go to Sri Lanka in December, we’d like to stay there for 2-3 months before flying over to India. We’d like to apply for the 6 month visa but if we do this before we go then we will only be able to actually get 2-3 months in India as the visa will begin when we get it, before we go to Sri Lanka! can we apply for a 6 month visa from Sri Lanka? Are we just as likely to be able to get a 6 month visa to India from Sri Lanka as if we were applying from the UK? We’ve already booked our flights to Sri Lanka and now we’re kinda panicking because apparently we need exit flights from Sri Lanka to get into the country but I don’t want to book flights to India until I know we will be able to get a visa…

    • Anna says:

      Hi Gemma, generally it’s always best to apply from your home country as you will get the maximum visa validity from there. If you’re from the UK you could try applying for a 1 year visa – they recently introduced them and its the same price.

      You can get a visa for India in Sri Lanka but I haven’t done it myself. I’ve heard they sometimes give out 1 month or 3 month or maybe 6 months. You can never be sure how long they will grant you.

      Maybe try to get a 1 year visa for India while your in the UK and then you don’t have to worry so much about the timing and you know you have your visa sorted.

      • Gemma says:

        Hi Anna thanks for your advice, I just realised you’d replied so sorry for my late reply! We did end up applying for the 1year visas from home, just waiting on them coming through now so fingers crossed!!

  • Chris says:

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you so much for your post.

    Please can you tell me if it is still possible to send the application by post without the need to attend an appointment in-person?

    Many thanks,

  • Rfe says:

    Thank you for this great post. This is very helpful. 
    I recently heard of a 5 year tourist visa. Do you know anything about it? 
    I did see it mentioned somewhere on the site, with a 300 pound fee. 
    As I intend to visit India a few times over the next few years it seems like a good investment..
    It’s not clear if additional documents are required. 
    How risky do you think it is?
    Of course I understand you’re not an immigration officer, just wondering if you’ve heard anything about it..

    • Anna says:

      Hey Rfe. Yes, I have heard of it but I have also heard of people applying for it and being refused or only getting 1 or 2 years but not receiving any refund. I’ve heard that its harder to get than the shorter visas and riskier for the chance of denial but this is just what I’ve heard from friends. If your from the UK I think you can get a 1 year visa quite easily now for the same price as the 6 month visa. Hope this helps and hope you get your visa fine.

  • Steve says:

    Hi Anna,

    wow, am I grateful for your post, without your advice, I would never have understood the very complicated website, you explained eveything so well!! ( I am a technophobe)

    I now have my application form, all ready for posting, and I cannot wait for my trip to India, and yeah I intend to take my time and soak it all up!! – months – if they send me the correct visa, of course!

    keep up the good work,
    much appreciated,


    • Anna says:

      Hi Steve! Yes its a bit complicated isn’t it! So glad that I could help – hope everything goes smoothly and hope you enjoy India! 🙂 Happy Travels

  • Dulcie says:

    Great advice, thanks so much!! I am now slightly freaking though as I am leaving on 4th Nov and won’t be able to send my application until Thursday – eg. 15 days before I leave… Do you have any idea if I will be able to have the address on the envelope as where I am staying in London just before I leave..? Or if there is any way to contact them to go and pick up my passport from the office?? Aaaaah!!

    • Anna says:

      Hey, 15 days might be enough time but it’s cutting it fine. Maybe try to make an appointment instead of doing it by post that could be quicker. I guess you could put any address on the return envelope – I’m not sure I think you need to allow more time really to be on the safe side. You can contact VFS Global to check by emailing or call +44 203 793 8629 or +44 203 788 4666 .. Hope this helps

  • Yangchhen says:

    Thank you very much for very clear advice. I can now be more confident in making an application. I would have missed including a Declarstion Form, if I had not come across your blog. The online form does not ask for name of hotel, etc but after printing there is a blank space for it. I did not write and add on the printed form. I hope it is okay.

  • Yangchhen says:

    I am retired so have no current employer as requested in form . I cannot proceed further without filling that. I have just entered my home address. Is that okay or will I be denied a. visa because of this. Very confusing.

    Your advice to each question is excellent and very clear. Most useful

    Thank you

    • Anna says:

      Hey I’m glad that you found it the post useful. I’m really not sure what happens if you don’t add the hotel – maybe it is OK as maybe they don’t check that anyway but with all these things its always best to read the form really carefully and answer every questions otherwise they might deny the visa. I’m sure there is an option to say that you are retired or unemployed on the form.

  • Michael Millar says:

    Hello Anna

    I’ve just received the email from VFS Global saying that my email is ready for collection/Courier

    Now this might be a silly question, but if i’ve attached a return signed delivery envelope when i sent my Visa off, Do i still need to pay for a courier?

    Many Thanks


    • Anna says:

      Hey Micheal. The email/ text from VFS Global just says the same thing every time so don’t worry if you have included the return envelope then your visa should be posted back to you like this.

  • grace says:

    Hi Anna, really useful post, thank you!
    Just wanted to check what you mean by declaration form?

  • grace says:

    Never mind, I found it! Thanks

  • grace says:

    Hi Anna, on the form there is one space for a photo to be pasted.
    Do you stick it on with glue?
    Also, where do you put the other photo?

  • Charlotte says:

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for this post, I’ve read both of them and they’ve been so helpful!
    I’m a UK citizen eligible for an ETV – I just had a few questions about this and I haven’t been able to get hold of anyone on the phone! Would really appreciate some advice 🙂

    I’m flying in to Mumbai and getting on a connecting flight to Kochi. At what stage will they issue my ETV? If it’s in Mumbai I’m wondering if there’ll be enough time as I only have an hour or two before the next flight.

    Is an ETV also valid on inbound flights? After arriving in Kochi, I’m heading to Madurai then Delhi so will the visa still be valid?

    Lastly, when it’s advised to apply for a visa no less that 5 days before departure, does this include weekends or is it just working days?

    On the reference and declaration form, do you have any links to any templates I could use? 🙂


    • Anna says:

      Hi Charlotte, glad the post was helpful.

      To be honest it depends on which carrier you take if you have to switch airports in Bombay then you will need to clear immigration and get the E Visa there or somethings you can transfer straight through without changing airports and do immigration at your final destination so I cannot say but if you ask your airline they will be able to tell you.

      The visa will be valid and if your flying domestically within India you do not have to go through immigration for those flights.

      I’m not sure if it’s 5 working days or all days – maybe best to ask the professionals – If you need professional assistance contact iVisa for the E Visa or Visa HQ for 6 month visa. You can also contact VFS Global with any queries by emailing or call +44 203 793 8629 or +44 203 788 4666 (Monday – Friday 8:30 – 15:30 (except for Consular Holiday) You can also call 09057570045 from Monday – Friday 8:30 – 17:30 (except for Consular Holidays) but this number charges 95p per minute from a BT landline and more from a mobile.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  • Alice says:

    Hello Anna,

    Happy New Year to you!

    Thank you for this wonderful website- its answering so many of my questions !

    I’m currently filling out my visa application form ( also seems like they have made changes very in the last week but anyway) …. and my question is..

    Do you know how important it is to have the correct Port of Entry? I think I will fly into Cochin, but haven’t booked flights yet as want to make sure I get the Visa first! Should I hold off submitting it until i’m 99% sure or just go for it anyway now?

    Many thanks,

    Alice 🙂

    • Anna says:

      Hi Alice

      Glad you’ve found my site helpful – as I say I’m not an immigration professional so I can’t say for sure but no ones ever checked my point of entry – I’m not sure oif it really matters so much but don’t quote me on this – if you want professional help the numbers to call are listed at the bottom of the post.

      Hope you have a good trip – Kerala is a great place to start! —> 🙂

  • Will says:


    Great post which has cleared up many of my questions. Just to confirm however, I am from the UK and will be visiting India for 3 weeks in April. Am I right in saying I simply need to apply for the E-tourist Visa online?

    Also, I will be flying domestically a couple of times during my stay in India. Surely this wont affect my one entry visa as I wont actually be leaving India during these flights?


    • Anna says:

      Hi Will

      Glad that the post helped you 🙂 Yes if you visit for less than 30 days then an e visa is the easiest and quickest option and if you are flying domestically it will be fine as you won’t be leaving the country.

      Hope you have a great trip 🙂

  • Honestly this post is such a life saver. I am planning on visiting India after Sri Lanka and SEAsia this year however I’m already travelling so it will be tough to get it by post unless I stay in the same place for a while. I’m definitely reading your other India posts! X

    • Anna says:

      Hi Charlotte

      Glad that you found it useful! You can get the 30 day e visa online anywhere in the world and you should also be able to get an Indian visa in Sri Lanka quite easily.

      Hope you have a great trip! 🙂

  • Polly Jeffcoat says:

    Hi Anna, thank you for the post very helpful!!
    We are planning on travelling south east Asia , just finishing selling up our life here in Devon. We have our flights booked to Sri Lanka for June 1st for 30 days and flights booked to India at the end of June
    I’m still a bit confused as to what to do for the best, we want to travel through India, including Goa :), for a few months so will need the extended visa not the E-visa. But when do we apply for it, if i do it now and it is issued by say April will we have until next April to use it? or might they randomly give us only 3 months in which case it won’t be long enough.
    why is it so confusing and difficult?
    Thanks in anticipation of your help 🙂

    • Anna says:

      Hi Polly

      Yes, it is a bit confusing and a bit of a risk as the visa starts as soon as it is issued and there is no guarantee the length of visa you will get. You can apply for a 6 month or 12 month multiple entry visa which should cover you for the time you want to spend in India. Btw if you are planning to go to Goa in July you may not want to spend much time there as it will be raining and most things will be shut by then. Maybe read these posts – and

      I think more often than not they will give the longer visa (assuming you are from the UK and all your documents are correct and you don’t have an occupation in journalism or the military or any connections to Pakistan or anything else that brings up a red flag for them.)

      It’s also possible to get the visa in Sri Lanka ( but usually they only give 3 months I think but I’m not 1005 sure) however, it’s always better to apply in your home country. You could just apply before you leave, if they did give you a shorter visa you could go to Nepal or Sri Lanka and get a new one – it’s a difficult situation I’m not sure what to suggest.

      Hope this helps and hope you have a good trip.

  • Polly Jeffcoat says:

    Thanks Anna, we already read about the monsoon so we are starting on the south east coast in Chennai and then across and down to Kochi and pretty much following your suggested route for travelling India 🙂 in the hopes that we will be constantly behind the rain, fingers crossed lol but we are brits so used to a bit of rain.
    I am going to apply for the 12 month visa in April and go with whatever happens. thanks for your help x

  • Rebecca says:

    Hi Anna,

    I’m planning my first trip to India and am not even sure how I would have started to navigate the visa process without your amazingly helpful guide!

    I’m completing the online form and can’t progress any further without checking a couple of things. Can I just confirm that as a British passport holder I don’t have a Citizenship/National ID No.? Also, is the place of passport issue what appears under ‘Authority’ on the photo page? Mine says HMPO. If this is correct, is HMPO enough or would I need to write HMPO UK.

    I really hope you’ll be able to provide some insight, Google seems a little undecided!

    Thank you so much 🙂


    • Anna says:

      Hi Becca, Yes it can be confusing so I’m glad my blog has helped Your passport number is your ID so you don’t need one. Yes, Authority means the place where the passport was issued. I just write what it says, mine says IPS but if your says something different under Authority just write whatever it says there I think. Hope this helps, have a great time in India 🙂

      • Rebecca Wilk says:

        Hi Anna,

        Thanks so much for this 🙂

        I just have one more question. I’m a little confused about which online form I need to fill in. I’ve nearly completed the form via the linked you provided: However, I’m confused about the difference between this form and the one on the Vfs Global website. I want to book an appointment in London rather than posting the application and on Vfs Global it says ‘For Visa: Applicants are advised to follow the instruction for “Appointment & Online Payment” upon completion of online form.’ So I am assuming that I actually need to complete the form on the Vfs Global website rather than the one on the Indian Visa Online website.

        Hope you can help!

        Thanks again,


        • Anna says:

          Hi Becca, there are two different forms and companies depending on which visa you want – the 30 day e visa/ online visa or the longer term visa. If you want to longer term visa you need to go through VFS Global and complete the form online there before printing it and either posting it or taking it to the appointment with you. Sorry if it wasn’t clear.

  • Rebecca Wilk says:

    Ah that makes sense, no problem I’ll just copy the info over from one to the other! Thanks again for your help, it’s appreciated 🙂

  • Steve Goodman says:

    Hi Anna – i am a Uk citizen resident in Italy for more than 2 yrs & plan to apply for a multiple entry one year visa for India – would this be granted (or one for 6 mths), if i go on a one way ticket, or do they require evidence of a return on arrival, if not before ? – many thanks, Steve

    • Anna says:

      Hi Steve, normally they do not ask for a return ticket when applying for the visa but often the do at the airport so it’s best to have one.

  • Ananya Kapoor says:

    Hi Anna

    I need to visit India on an urgent basis.I am facing a marital discord making me depressed to an extent where i need my familys support.

    Also, both me and my husband are unemployed(even if i fill in my status as a housewife.

    Will our unemployed status affect my application. Can my visa application be rejected as I am unemployed.

    Also, will I be having to show my bank statements for same.

    • Anna says:

      Hi Ananya, sorry to hear about your situation. If you are a UK citizen applying for an Indian visa in the UK then I don’t think you need to show bank statements – I have never been asked but as I am not an immigration professional I can’t really advise you on this. It would be better to contact VFS Global directly – the details are on the bottom of the post. Hope you can get your visa soon.

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