If you’re planning on vacationing in India, researching the visa options can be quite frustrating. There are so many websites that offer visa service, but most will charge unnecessary fees. How do you know what type of visa to get? How do you interpret the strange wording? If you are going to India for tourism purposes and expect to be there for less than 30 days you might be able to qualify for an E-Tourist Visa (eTV).
The E-Tourist Visa is simple, quick, completely electronic, and doesn’t require shipping to the Indian Consulate or weeks of waiting for processing. The cost is about $60 per person (plus a small fee of about $2 for processing), and after spending about 30-45 minutes to enter the data, you will have your visa emailed to you in just a few business days. With this all-online process, you don’t have to plan months ahead.
A couple of points to note – The visa cannot be entered until you are within 30 days of arriving in India. For example, if you arrive in India on October 30th, you cannot apply for your eTV before October 1st. Also, the eTV is only good for one entry into India, so if you’re planning a return visit within 10 years, you might opt for the 10 year visa.
I found the eTV wording a little confusing, so below I’ve outlined the steps to apply for your eTV.
1.) Go to Indianvisaonline.gov.in
2.) The home screen will have a list of countries whose citizens can apply for the eTV. Ensure your country is listed.
3.) The home screen also has a list of eligibility requirements. Make sure you still qualify according to these requirements.
4.) In addition to the pretty basic eligibility requirements, you must have a valid email address and way to print your visa if it’s approved.
5.) If you’re within your 30 day window of traveling to India, click the eTV Application button.
6.) On the first page you will enter your nationality, port of arrival into India, date of birth, email address, and expected date of arrival into India.
7.) Once you click Submit you will receive a temporary application ID. Write this number down just in case you have to stop entering the data and want to finish filling out the form later, or if you get disconnected from the system.
8.) On the second page you will enter personal information like your name, date of birth, city/country of birth, religion, education, passport number, and citizenship.
a.) For the ID Number, do not enter your social security number. United States citizens should enter “N/A.”
b.) For the Visible Identification Marks, enter if you have a visible birthmark or tattoo. Otherwise enter “NONE.”
c.) Some of the education choices are a little confusing, so follow the chart below for help.
i.) Below Matriculation = Below 10th Grade
ii.) Graduate = College/University Graduate
iii.) Higher Secondary = High School
iv.) Illiterate = No Education
v.) Matriculation = 10th Grade
vi.) NA/Minor = Children still in school
vii.) Post Graduate = Graduate School
viii.) Professional = Professional/Technical Training
9.) On the third page you will enter family details like your mother and father’s name, nationality, place of birth, country of birth. You will also enter your occupation, employer name and address.
10.) On the fourth page you will enter more information about your visit to India including the purpose of your visit, the cities you plan to visit, and the port of exit. If you’ve visited India before you will need the address and cities you visited along with the last visa number and date of issue. You will also have to enter all of the countries you’ve visited in the last 10 years.
11.) You will have to upload a recent picture of yourself against a white background. The size cannot exceed 1MB in jpg format.
12.) You will also have to upload a copy of the photo page of your current passport. The size cannot exceed 300KB in pdf format.
13.) Next you will get to verify the information you entered and submit the application. Make sure to write down the Application ID as you will need this to check on the status of your visa.
14.) Next you will pay for your visa. If you select SBI e-Pay, you will receive a Paypal option. Your payment can take up to 2 hours to process.
15.) If approved, your eTV will be emailed to you in just a couple of business days. Print it off and take it to India with your passport. You will also need the eTV when you exit India, so make sure not to lose it.
I found this process to be pretty straight forward, and I actually received my eTV the day after I submitted it, so it was incredibly fast and efficient. I had no problems getting in to or out of India, so I don’t hesitate to recommend this process to others!
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