***UPDATE: As of October 16, 2020 CKGS has terminated all Indian visa application services including OCI. VFS Global will be the new visa service provider in the USA. Visit http://www.vfsglobal.com for more information. Note that India does not offer visa on arrival to US citizens.
After years of imagining and preparing myself, I declared 2016 as the perfect time to finally set foot in the land of Incredible India. And to make the trip more amazing I’ve decided to also visit Nepal, a country known for hosting the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.
But before anything else. . . I need a visa! US citizens can obtain a visa on arrival in Nepal but India is a different story.
Nowadays, you can easily apply for an Indian e-tourist visa online via https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html. The application must be submitted 4 days prior to your trip and is only valid for single entry. Very convenient, though it won’t be practical for anyone planning a side trip to India’s neighboring countries. Yes, you can reapply for a visa but it wouldn’t be too practical unless you have plenty of time for paper work and processing. To avoid any problems, it’s better to have a multiple entry visa on hand upon arrival to India.
This is a post summarizing my experience in obtaining my Indian visa. Please note that I applied as a United States citizen living in Southern California. Indian visas may be obtained in the US through Cox & Kings Global Services. My experience below might be different from yours. The application process is based on residency status, location, and other varying factors. Before filling out the application form you must first read the application guideline by visiting CKGS. You need to know which forms to fill and which documents to attach with your application. You also need to know where to send your application form. It’s necessary to follow every step otherwise you’re risking delaying your application process. A minor mistake can cause a huge delay! Trust me, I heard tons of horror stories.
09/20/2016: Filled out the online application form. I received a temporary ID on the same day.
09/21/2016: Mailed my application form using Fedex overnight shipping.
Here’s a list of documents I sent along with my application form.
- Passport Copies (2)
- Driver’s License
- Passport Photos (2)
- Application checklist
- Visa Additional Particular Forms
- Payment Receipt
- Application Form
- Original Passport
At the end of the online application form you will have an option to pick your mailing service of choice. It’s easier to just pick CKGS’ Fedex shipping option. Once you paid, you will be able to print a shipping label. All you have to do is go to FedEx and find the right envelope. The people at FedEx can help you with this. Before mailing, please make sure you have all your documents printed, use the application checklist as a guide. I paid $155.25 for the entire application process including shipping.
09/22/2016: Received an e-mail stating that CKGS received my package. I’m really impressed by their quick e-mail updates.
09/26/2016: Visa application in-Transit to consulate, received a tracking ID for checking the progress of my application.
09/28/2016: Application was returned to CKGS.
On the same day, I received a Fedex tracking number for my package.
09/29/2016: I got my precious passport with a shiny 10 year multiple entry Indian visa attached to it. 🙂
Over all, an amazing experience with CKGS. Filling up the application form was tedious, but following the guidelines helped me get my Indian visa with ease. For anyone wishing to go to India please check if you really need one and if you do, don’t wait the last minute to obtain your visa. Give yourself at least two months before your trip. By doing so will allow you enough room for possible delays.