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How to obtain a visa for India in London

November 16th, 2004 · 300 Comments

Update: Much of the information below is now wrong! Visas take much longer to get – the queues are longer, and if you don’t arrive really early, you’ll be given a ticket to come back at a later date. The best way to learn more is to look through the comments that other people have helpfully supplied – check the most recent ones.

If you ever decide to visit India, you’ll discover at the travel agent that you have to get a visa. At this point you’ll go through several well-defined stages; shock, anger, fear, irritation and acceptance. Then you’ll find out that you have to make the trip to an Indian Consulate (in my case, India House on Aldwych in London), and you’ll go through them all over again. This is a brief guide on how to get a visa for India and what’s involved. This was all applicable in November 2004 – things may have changed by the time you read this and I advise you not to just rely on this guide, just in case.

Quick Facts

1) Don’t worry, it’s not actually that difficult
2) You can be in and out within two hours
3) If you make sure you clearly and fully complete your application form, then things will go much quicker
4) Bring a magazine or a book

Before you go

I’m going to assume that you have already visited the High Commission of India’s website, downloaded the visa form and decided on when to go to the commission. The website also has a list of official holidays at the commission when they’ll be closed – check this because they have a number of holidays and you’ll feel really stupid if you turn up and no-one’s home.

Fill in your form, check it and double-check it. Get two passport-sized photos and make sure you have the correct amount of money for the application fee in cash – they don’t take cheques or credit cards.

When you decide on when you’re going to go get your visa, you might want to consider if there are any holidays around when you go. For example, I visited the commission after two days of holiday (Diwali). As a result, I suspect the queues were longer.

How can I find the commission at Aldwych?

It’s the thing with a huge queue of people snaking out from it (unless you get there absurdly early). It’s hard to miss. The really long queue is the one for visas, the short one is for people with Indian passport enquiries (i.e. not you).


The start of the first queue, disappearing into the distance.


The end of the first queue (you can see the window at the end of the curve)

What time should I turn up?

The commission in London opens at 8:30am. I arrived at 8:35am and there were already over 150 people in the queue in front of me. I think people start queueing up as early as 7:30am, and I talked to a girl who’d been queueing since 7:45am and she got out at 9:45am (i.e. two hours all told). The problem with turning up that early is that while there are fewer people in front of you, you still have to wait for the place to open.

As a result, I think that if you turn up at any time before, say, 9am, it’ll probably take you around two hours altogether. If you leave it any later, you’ll have to wait longer. I really don’t recommend turning up any later than 9:30am since there’s a good chance you won’t be able to pick up your visa that day, or at least you’ll have to wait for much longer than two hours.

What’s the process when I get there?

I heard many people in the queue criticising the commission for an illogical system. That’s not true – it’s perfectly logical and it even is vaguely organised. The only problem is that they seem to have no desire to inform anyone of how it works. Luckily, I do.

The process has three steps; queueing to get a queue number, queueing to hand in your visa application, and waiting to get your completed visa. You’ll notice there’s a lot of queueing involved.

The First Queue: Getting a Queue Number

This is the one outside of India House. I arrived at 8:35am and spent a little under an hour in this queue. It moves along quite regularly. The point of this queue is to show a guy in a window that you have a passport and then to collect a piece of paper with a queue number (or numbers, depending on how many passports and visa applications you’re making). The queue number you collect here (e.g. B69) is for the second queue, inside.

The Second Queue: Handing in your visa appplication

After you collect your queue number, you’ll be allowed inside and walk upstairs to a room with a bunch of commission staff behind windows. There are a lot of seats here and in a side room that also has vending machines.

Once you get upstairs, do not loiter around in front of window 1, which will be directly in front of you when you go through the door at the top of the stairs. Window 1 is for people collecting their completed visas and right now, that’s not you. Instead, go and wait in the main room and get a seat if you can. There’s a display in the corner of the room with the current queue number. Notice that a letter from A to E is also highlighted below the number. The queue number cycles through the letters and goes from A1 to E99, so do not make the all-too-typical mistake of going to a window when it’s your number but not your letter; the staff won’t be impressed.

Since many people there are submitting multiple visa applications (e.g. for friends or family) the queue number tends to go in bursts. I got inside at around 9:30am and the queue number was A77. My number, B69, took about 40 minutes to come up. When it’s your number, go straight to the next free window; don’t worry if they seem to have skipped past your number.

Once you’re at the window, hand over your application, passport, passport photos and money. Do not waste everyone’s time by searching through bags and wallets for the necessary stuff; you just spent at least an hour queueing before this so you don’t have an excuse. This bit only took me a couple of minutes because I’d filled in my form properly and hadn’t been denied a visa in the past. After she’s taken all your stuff, she’ll give you a receipt with your queue number (the same one as before) written on it. She will keep your passport – they need it to process your visa.

Waiting to get your completed visa

They hand out visas at window 1. For some inexplicable reason, there are always loads of people rammed up against this window despite the fact that there can be an hour long wait and also they always call out your number multiple times when they have your visa ready. Who knows why people do this – it certainly doesn’t speed things up.

The staff member who gave you your receipt will tell you how long you can expect to wait if you ask her. I was told it’d be 45 minutes; instead it was only 20 minutes. I put this down to my charming personality, or more likely, the fact that there weren’t any issues with my passport or application. You might as well sit down again at this point and wait for your number to be called out. Don’t fall asleep or listen to music, even if it seems it’ll take ages based on what numbers they’re calling out at the moment; they tend to skip around numbers a lot so they might be calling out B1 in one minute and B60 in the next.

When they call out your number, fight your way through the silly huddle of people around the window and get your passport with your visa inside. They’ll tell you to check it – do it! You are checking to make sure that they’ve gotten your passport number correct, and that the valid dates are correct for when you want to visit (they’ll actually be valid for ages longer than you’ll typically need it).

And then you can leave, all done! Like I said, it took me two hours altogether and I suspect it would be even quicker if I hadn’t gone through after two days of holiday.

Other Questions

Is there a toilet?

While I have not seen it myself I’m told there is one downstairs.

You’re wrong about x

Perhaps I am, I only went there once and things may have changed. Please do not rely on this guide for anything really urgent.

I can’t be bothered queueing up, is there some way I can mail my application in?

You can mail it directly to the commission, or you can use a visa service. The visa services are often much quicker and more expensive. Whether or not you want to use them depends on how much you value your time. I don’t know anything more about them so don’t ask me to recommend one.

Why did you bother writing this?

I estimate that at least 400 people go to the commission every day. That’s up to 100,000 per year. I was not been able to find anything decent online about the actual process of getting a visa before I visited, and for many of the people there, it’s quite a stressful and anxious procedure. I decided that a guide explaining all of the steps involved would make it a little clearer and more understandable for all concerned. Perhaps it might even speed things up!

Will you update this guide?

I sorely doubt it, unless there happens to be a good reason.

I would like to reprint this guide

Email me. There’s a link at the top of this page.

Tags: india · london

300 responses so far ↓

  • Vandana // Dec 13, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    Very useful – thank you!!!

  • Vasantha Kumar // Dec 20, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    interesting and useful; good of you to do this

  • Kevin Couchman // Dec 29, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    Many thanks for your valuable information. I went to get a Visa on Dec 29th 2006. I arrived at around 10.30am, picked up a ticket almost immediately and was told to come back in 30 mins. My number was eventually called at around 12.45pm and I was told the visa would be ready at 1.45pm. I turned up at that time only to find they had closed upstairs and the staff were tucking into an end of year lunch. Eventually I found someone who could help and he handed over the Visa at a window downstairs.
    In summary it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and as long as you have some reading material the wait is bearable.
    Thanks again.

  • Hiral Patel // Jan 12, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Excellent article, very useful, and straight to the point. Thanks for your submitting this.

  • Amar // Jan 18, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    very good

    thanks

  • David // Jan 24, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Got my visa this morning. Thanks for your advice. Started queuing at 8.30. Got ticket and entered building at 9.05. Got to visa counter at 10.05. Received visa at 11.10. But, interestingly enough, I spoke to a guy who arrived at 9.30, queued for 5 mins outside and waited the same lengths of time inside. Maybe he was just lucky but he certainly waited less time queuing in the cold!!

  • Hugh // Jan 26, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Cheers for this – I went down yesterday and got scared off by the queue – at least now I know how it works.

  • Shirley // Feb 20, 2007 at 8:57 am

    Does the person wanting the visa have to go to London or can a representive go on their behalf and are there any cases where it is not issued on that date.

    P.S. I found your information very interesting

  • nathalie // Feb 20, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Very helpful – its the only information I have found that actually tells you how it works and the timings..!

  • Sara // Mar 12, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    very usefull indeed many thanks every thing i needed to no wicked !

  • momo // Mar 22, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Very helpful thanks.

    Just a couple of things to note:

    1) Make sure you join the visa queue and not the pasport one like I did for 10mins.
    2) when you get your queue ticket it’s just a number, no letters involved.
    3) the visa room is now downstairs.
    4) watch out when your number is near as they are very trigger happy and may go past your number, just remember what window it was and you’ll be cool.
    5) visas handed out at window 7 – it gets crowded but there’s a guy with a little microphone that’s not very loud, so best to stick around there (if they say it’ll take an hour, give it 35mins).

  • Ram // Apr 15, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Very good and thanks. I now feel a lot better about visiting that scary place to get my visa.

  • Steve // May 18, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Thanks! This was very helpful… takes time to write this, so much appreciated.

  • nama // May 29, 2007 at 6:02 am

    whether ETA is required for indian visa

  • Maria // May 29, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Hi,
    Thanks for the useful information. I will be applying for the tourist visa very soon, but am unsure about Q 36 on the form. What is meant by references both in India (hotel perhaps) and in applicants country?? Or does this apply only for the business visa?
    Thanks a lot – Maria

  • Maria // May 29, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Hi again,
    I found a completely different form than that I downloaded from the Indian Embassy website.
    It looks better and I guess my question is answered by that. Thanks anyway
    Maria

  • AJ // Jul 20, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for this- just a few points to add
    1) if you have a new passport (or one with no previous indian visas inside) when you go to get your visa – be sure to take your old passports with you aswell- as they like to see them for some reasons- (i had the pleasure of having to travel all the way back home and pick up my old ones and then come back)
    2) if this is the first time you are applying for indian visa and you have no family there- you will only be entitled to 3 months instead of the usual 6 months
    3) REMEMBER the visa starts from the day u go to get it- something which i did not read and then found to my shock meant my 3 month visa expired while I would be in India

  • Kath // Aug 7, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Hey
    I’m jsut filling in the Indian Visa form and it asks me for two referees in India. What should I put? I don’t know anyone there and haven’t yet booked any accommodation.
    Thanks

  • Adrian Hon // Aug 7, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Hmm, not too sure about that one. I suspect you’ll want to book accommodation and use someone from there as a reference. I guess you could make someone up, but ultimately the references are there to help you (e.g. if someone really needs to reach you, or if you get hurt).

  • Raj // Aug 13, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    You can write ref. of the hotels you have booked. Write telephone number. If dont have anything dont makeup anything. Dont forget to write 2 ref. in U.K

  • Jo // Aug 21, 2007 at 10:14 am

    I went there and since I am not a UK resident for the last year and didn’t have any proving papers they told me to wait for 3-5 days. I handed in my application and a copy of passport and now I need to call a number and check when it is ready to collect.

    Does anyone know what the difference is betweeen the white and yellow queueing tickets. I got a white and they told be to go downstairs, but another guy he got a yellow and went upstairs…

  • Om Prakash Srivastava // Aug 31, 2007 at 10:41 am

    It is really useful but unfortunately I found it after I got my visa. Only one thing to re-emphasise, check before you queue whether it is for Indian Passport holders or for visa. I wasted 30 minutes in wrong queue.

  • Prity Khambhaita // Sep 10, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Very useful information. I may just take the route of posting it.

  • carol marlow // Sep 11, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    I want to come to the embassy in november to collect a visa, are there any days that I should
    avoid?

  • Helen // Sep 16, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Hi I need to do this but I have to be able to get to work by 10 in the morning! Do you think this would be possible? Also can you queue up, leave your passport and then come and collect it the next day? Thanks

  • Jane // Sep 17, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    I have just read on High Commission of India that there is No postal applications now? A bit anxious about what I should be doing now.

  • Adrian Hon // Sep 17, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Jane: You could always use one of the visa services. You’ll have to send your passport and forms to them and it’ll be more expensive, but it’ll be quicker. I’ve never used any so I can’t recommend anything though!

  • Another Hon // Sep 18, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Any decent Travel Agent will provide visa services. The one I use frequently will charge a total of £77 for an Indian visa and it will take 5 working days. You could ask the Travel Agent to collect and deliver your passport to your office or home address. £77 is made of 3 components: £30 for the visa fee, £32 for the handling agent, £15 for the travel agent (the company you deal with directly). However, if you book your air tickets through your travel agent, they would normally waive their fee. Under such circumstances, you will only need to pay £62. For those who could not spare the time to go to Aldwych, this is a very good option indeed.

  • The Travel Visa Company // Sep 19, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Dear Applicant’s,

    As some of you may already know the Indian High Commission will no longer accept postal applications in the UK.

    Your 2 options are:

    1) Go in person – Please note that as of September 2007 die hard visa applicant’s start to queue from about 6.30am

    2) You can use an authorised agency like ourselves!

    We offer a standard 4 working day service for £66.00 including return delivery (Visa Fee £30/Handling Fee £29/Special Delivery Post £7 )

    We also offer an expedited service for those running short on time!

    You can call one of our helpful Visa Consultants on 020 7833 9080 or visit http://www.thetravelvisacompany.co.uk/india.htm

    We hope that this information is useful – Thank you for reading.

  • Lou // Sep 20, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    This was very useful information, thanks. I never would have brought cash or known what queue to stand in. I almost got into trouble because the business reference letterhead ran off the bottom of the page. You must be able to see the address. The man behind the counter told me off and rolled his eyes at me, but gave me the visa anyway. Arrived at 08:30 and had my visa at 10:30.

  • David // Sep 24, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Two up really helpful pieces of info:
    1) DO NOT BRING ANY BAG OTHER THAN A SMALL BAG FOR YOUR APPLICATION/FORMS. I HAD TO RETURN TO MY HOTEL TO DUMP MY CABIN SIZED SUITCASE! You are not allowed in the building with anything other than “a ladies purse” according to the notive. Practically, even a laptop bag may be disallowed.
    2) I arrive 7.30am Monday, out with Visa and soaked to the skin by 9.30am!

  • Mark // Sep 25, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Very usefull site, does anyone know if it is possible to get your visa application processed at the Indian consulate on Saturdays? Since their website quotes working hours between Monday and Friday.

  • Steve // Sep 26, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Looks like things are deteriorating since they stopped accepting postal applications, or else there is a surge in applicants.

    Today: arrived 8:45. Queue to reach window for 2 hours (with many people still behind me). By this time they had stopped accepting applicants directly into the hall and I was given a ticket to return at 2pm. Arrive 2pm – visa obtained within 45 minutes. When I left the 3pm crowd was arriving.

    My advice is:

    1) No luggage (they do seem happy with rucksacks, small briefcases etc, but it seems a bit arbitrary – it’s your risk).
    2) Arrive BEFORE 8:30am if you want to get the visa that morning. In fact I think 7:30 am is probably advisable on the experience today.
    3) You can collect the next day, but frankly once you’ve actually handed over your passport and money the remaining wait is insignificant – may as well tough it out.
    4) Just go through a visa agency!

  • Mike Veal // Sep 27, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I obtained my Visa yesterday (26th Sept 2007).
    I joined the queue at 9am, and eventually reached the window at 11.30 am. A queue of two and a half hours.
    I was given a queue number and told to come back at 2pm, which i did.
    My queue number was 90, and I waited for exactly an hour before I was seen inside.

    The Visa application window is open from 8.30 till 12. They will close the window either at 12.00, or whne they have handed out 1500 “Q” numbers (I think they mean “queue” ). One visa application, one queue number. So based on my experience, anyone turning up after 9.30am is likely to have a long wait, then be turned away.
    One more word of advice. Wrap up warm. The queue is in the shade all morning, but not sheltered from the wind. You will freeze.

    Unless you absolutely have no choice, use a visa agency.

  • TD // Sep 27, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Just jumped though all of the hoops – plan on a whole day “invested”…

    First step (queue outside to Bush House starting at 0930): 2 hours

    Second step (inside once the office opens again at 1400): 1.5 hours

    Third step (to pick up the passport): 1 hour

    All of the advice and observations in the posts and article above are pretty much spot on. However, be sure to be on-time getting to the building for thte “second step” at 1400. If your number is called – they will not wait to move on to the next number.

    There’s a video of the queue outside on youtube…

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=wNx_CtvC5uk

    By the way, cheers for your very informative article – much apprecaited!

  • Louise // Sep 28, 2007 at 9:21 am

    This has all been excellent advice. Which is the best Visa Agency? I have been totally put off by standing in the rain!

  • jeremy // Oct 1, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Anyone know what is the latest time in the day that the Embassy will issue a Visa if you get there early?. I will turn up at 6.30am in a couple of days (got turned away today after 2 hours queue) and I need to know whether I may be given a come-back time to collect visa as late as say 3.00pm or later the same day.

  • David // Oct 2, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    I arrived 7.20am on a Monday, waited in pouring rain. Out with visa by 9.30am. Very efficient i thought!

    There was a much larger queue waiting for Indian passports. Make sure you don’t wait in that queue – as there are plenty of people like me who will join the end of the passport queue in front of you. On rainy days the queues merge together which makes things tricky.

  • Robin // Oct 4, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Very useful article and comments. Thank you.

    They seem to be getting absolutely swamped with people at the moment… We got there at 7.30am this morning and didn’t get our ticket till 11am.

    Our tickets are for TOMORROW as all the ones for today had already been given out (maybe they started giving them out yesterday). I’ll see what happens when I go back at my allocated time of 11am tomorrow.

    It was the couple in front of us’s SECOND DAY queuing, on the previous day they hadn’t got there early enough and had got near the front only to be turned away!!! They didn’t live in London so were having to pay train fares each time they came to try and get their visa!

    Another bloke I spoke to was on his THIRD visit… He’d come last week and been turned away without even getting a ticket. He came yesterday and got there at 7am and queued for 3 hours to get a ticket. THE TICKET WAS FOR THE NEXT DAY THOUGH so he’d had to come back again at his allocated time today to actually apply & get his visa.

    Some people were getting very irate as they were due to fly tonight but were not going to be able to get a visa today. One woman was refusing to move away from the ticket window because she needed a visa today and they had to call security to remove her.

    I’ll be back at my allocated time tomorrow now I’ve got my Q tickets but if I was doing it all over again I would JUST PAY FOR A VISA SERVICE!!!

    For the sake of an extra £40 quid compared to wasting hours of your life standing in queues over several days, I know what I’d choose…

  • tina // Oct 4, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Very helpful. I have just read that you can only get a 28 day stay in goa. We plan to stay 32 days
    is this possible? help anyone.

  • Chris // Oct 5, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    Went in this morning (Fri 5th October 2007) to get the visa. Having read the previous post I was a little concerned and arrive at 6.45am. There were about 100 people ahead of me but the door was in site. Queue started moving at about 8.20 to get the ticket to go inside and apply for the visa.

    I recieved my ticket and was inside handing the form over by about 9.20. A word of warning – the numbers come up very fast and they don’t hang around so pay attention. I was told to come back between 15.00 and 16.30 to collect my visa which I am now waiting to do.

    I did meet a couple who had arrived at 7.30 on Thursday only to end up getting issued a ticket for today. They did not have to queue again for a ticket but there ticket number for handing over the application was after the numbers for all the other applications today – i.e. they had to sit in the hall and wait for todays ticket holders to do there stuff first.

    I will let you know how I get on later when I go to pick up my visa.

  • Sarah McNewitt // Oct 6, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Oh My god.. I cant beleive what i went through on Tuesday last week. Havin got to the embassy at 7.30, i still had to wait for 2 hours before getting a ticket. When i got to the window i was told that all the days tokens had been distributed and i should come the following day. Having travelled all the way from Bristol, it was just a nightmare. I ended up using one of those visa services “Prince Visa”. A bit expensive but better than that queue anyday.
    All please dont waste your time just use a visa agency. I gave my passport to them on Wednesday and got it back through DHL today. Well worth it.

  • Chris // Oct 6, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    I noticed the poor spelling and grammar in my last message – written in a bit of a rush with lack of sleep. Picked up the visa at 15.30 in about 5 minutes. Not bad.

  • ol // Oct 8, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Went this morning. got in queue at 8, got to first window at 11am and was given tickets for friday morning (the earliest time)

  • himalayanlearning // Oct 9, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    Our charity has had one volunteer drop out of flying and we have a spare queue number for friday 12th morning. if anyone is interested in making a small donation, let us know at http://www.himalayanlearning.org (registered charity no. 1103105)

  • Mr Richard // Oct 9, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Hey himalayanlearning.
    I would like the ticket if it is still available.
    I was planning to queue to save money from using a service.
    Since I dont line in London I’d be extremely grateful for a ticket.
    Could you contact me at:
    regi.public(at)gmail.com

    Where (at) is the @ symbol (to stop spam bots spaming me!)

    Thank-you

  • himalayanlearning // Oct 9, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Sorry everyone, we’ve just had a response! Good luck!

  • Keith Mould // Oct 9, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    A special visit from the Portsmouth, arrived tues 9th at 8:15, queued for three and half hours only to be given a ticket to return after 3:30 NEXT TUESDAY. No explanation of what the ticket was, the man at the window wouldn’t answer any questions, security at the door wouldn’t answer any questions, referring everyone back to the previous window (or rather the enormous queue to get back to the window.) I don’t know if I can risk coming back in one weeks time as if something goes wrong I won’t have time before the flight. So, do I come back tomorrow pre 6:30 and try the early lottery??
    An absolute shambles, and the process looks past bursting point. If I hadn’t already booked my flight I would have cancelled the trip and spent my money in someone else’s country. I strongly advise anyone to either use passpport agency or even better just don’t go to the damn country.
    I’m bloody furious, but I’m nowhere near as bad as most of the other people who were in the queue around me.

  • Anna // Oct 9, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    Hi – I went this morning and was in the queue by 5am. They opened the doors at 8.20 and although most of us were expecting just to get a ticket, they actually ushered us through for a visa, and I had my full visa issued by 9.40. Dare I say it was actually quite fun chatting with people in the queue -and I was glad I went as early as I did.
    Re the agencies – I’m sure lots of them are great, but remember no one will look after your passports and forms like you will yourself. Even though I would have submitted mine to an agency if I’d been able to – having seen the mayhem, I’m glad I took it myself.
    Good luck!
    Great blog – thank you for starting it. Certainly soothed my nerves before I went!

  • MJP // Oct 9, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Think I was one of the group with the above ‘poster’. Seems to work like this: the new travel agent reps start to drop in some time after 6am. They write a note of how many Qtickets they want that day on an unofficial list by the window. At 8.30 the staff know how many ‘today’s Qtickets’ will then be left over for Joe public. I started queuing at 5.30. Pick up a white ticket at 8.30, straight downstairs, didn’t even sit down as my number was being called as I arrived. Back in 1 hour and on my way with 3 visas by 9.45am. Noted that as I went past India house later (11am) there were still people joining the queue down past the BBC – must have still been 400 there! So – get there before 5am and there’s still hope on the day. At least you get to meet some nice people before breakfast!

  • Mez // Oct 10, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I hold a British Passport and I am trying to get an Indian Tourist Visa and I am having major problems because my parents originate from Bangladesh but are British – anyone else had the same problem?? Please share your experience/advise with me.

    I queued for 7 hours on Monday and I then got a ticket to come back Friday (12th October 2007) – I told them that I fly on Sunday 14th 2007 and they said that this shouldn’t be a problem. But after reading a few blogs and speaking to a few of the private visa companies, they said that it take longer if your parents originate from either Bangladesh or Pakistan –

    Anyone know why this is and if there are any extra supporting documents that I can take to speed up the process. I’m hoping that after some serious grovelling (which I hopefully wont have to do, but I am prepared to), they will give it to me the same day.

  • CMB // Oct 10, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I’m getting conflicting advice about whether I can submit an application in person for a work colleague. The High Commission web-site certainly implies yes but Edinburgh office (the only one to respond to a phone call) ‘thinks’ you can only submit for a family member. Does anyone know for sure?

  • Mez // Oct 10, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    You can submit for anyone – as long as you have all the relevent paperwork, it shouldnt be a problem.

  • Hels // Oct 11, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Hi everyone, it is a bit chaotic at the embassy to say the least! I queued last Friday morning from 9am onwards, to be given a ticket to come back today! However, if you start queuing from 6.30am you can get a ticket for the same day I later discovered…so if you need a visa urgently or you don’t want to come back again start queuing from AT LEAST 6.30am. I think it might get worse as apparently people had been sleeping outside the embassy from 2.30am this morning in sleeping bags to to get one for sure on the day. The root of this problem seems to be the fact that they have stopped doing postal applications. Its quite organised really though if you stick to what is asked of you and get there early.
    Also, in answer to the above question, yes you can definitely submit for anyone, as long as you have the paperwork, photos, cash and their passport – I got a visa for me and my boyfriend this morning.
    Hope this is helpful and sorry if its not what you wanted to hear about getting up early…!

  • Hels // Oct 11, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Oh and there is a toilet downstairs in the hall for white tickets (once you’re allowed in the building!), but you can go through and use it even if you have a yellow ticket, just ask.

  • David // Oct 12, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    The wait appears to be getting longer. I joined the queue today at 8.30am and received a Q ticket just after 11.00am only to find that I have to return on the 22nd for the application to be processed i.e. in 10 days time!! Be warned if you need a visa quickly.

  • Paul // Oct 12, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Whether it’s due to the postal strike or the fact that they have stopped taking postal applications as the above person says, but… Today Friday, I queued from just before 8am all I got was a ticket at 10:30 allowing me to come back next Thursday at 10am. Currently, if you want to be served same day 7:00 seems a realistic time to turn up…

  • Gavin // Oct 13, 2007 at 10:45 am

    This info is pretty much worthless now, the consulate in London is so behind on visa applications already for the new holiday season that you are now queing in person for approx 3-4 hours just to get a ticket to come back in 10 days, if you have a flight within the next 10 days you will have no choice but to pay one of the Consulates new “Official” travel agents to get your visa, these agent have paid the consulate large sums for this right and in return the Consulate has ceased accepting postal applications, if you need your Indian Visa urgently, these agent are charging £129 + the £30 visa fee.

    I was at the consulate at 8am on friday 12th of October and had to que for 4 hours just to get a ticket to come back on the 22nd, anyone flying before this date was told they had to pay the agents or lose there flight. This a typical Indian money making scheme, make a few extra pounds with the bright Official Agent idea and stop taking postal applications, but lose 10,000 times that in lost tourism!

  • stephanie // Oct 14, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    I arrived from Norfolk at 9.30am on 11th october, at the HCI, obviously too late to get a visa same day, to be told to come back next Friday. This excercise cost me £70 in fares, a day off work, to return home without a visa. I came out of the queue for the yellow ticket, took a tube to west hampstead and left my passports with an agent for a fee of £40. I love my holidays to Goa, but am seriously looking for a new destination. I don’t think I can go through this ‘pallava’ again. I am shocked the Indian Government have let this chaotic system of applying for visas happen which will undoubtedly affect tourism.

  • MJP // Oct 15, 2007 at 8:44 am

    Disagree, Gavin that “This info is pretty much worthless now”. If anything this blog is more important as the days pass. Once again, if you are able/willing to camp out (latest news suggests 4am latest) you stand a pretty good chance of a visa on the day. This might change in the next few weeks as more people turn to agents and they take up more of the (unofficial but hinted at) 200 ‘today Qtickets’.

  • Another Hon // Oct 15, 2007 at 10:31 am

    I’ve been to India and Thailand recently. If I am thinking of going to India merely for a holiday, I would swap it for Thailand any time due to this shambolic visa fiasco.

  • Nick White // Oct 15, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Went this morning – arrived 4.50 with about 30 people ahead of me. About a thousand behind me when I left (seriously – went right past Bush House). Had my visa by 10.00am. Not sure when they stopped allowing people to have tickets for today – but it was pretty soon after I got in. Remember that people are making applications for several others at the same time.

    It was pretty rotten to have to go so early, but fortunately I live in London whereas others live further afield and have had to make several visits.

    Quite stupid really – at £30 a visa which takes approximately 5 minutes processing time in actual person time they could afford to pay a bit of overtime and take on some more staff. Seems like they probably turn away £10,000 a day and hope it will come back. They lose much more in goodwill.

    Time to publicise this – some TV travel program and some national news coverage might help.

    But all in all the spirit of the blitz lived on and in the right frame of mind it can be fun (so long as you get your visa at the end of it). So thanks to those all around me who made ita fun wait…hope you all got to Maidenhead/Colchester/Dubai! and good luck with the charity work in Delhi.

    So, in a nutshell, either think of an alternative destination or bring water, food, collapsable chair, torch & book – but don’t bring a big bag – they really might not let you in.

    Good luck!

  • Richard Farnsworth // Oct 15, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Having had the wind put up me by recent posts and the strikes I went for the visa agency solution. Handed over the passports Wednesday, visas ready today (Monday). Agencies have a queue ticket allocation (although their allocations have been reduced because of the trouble) so they seem safe from the main stumbling block here. I was willing to throw money at this problem using the express service (agency fee+£50) but they, Princes Visa, said it wasn’t necessary. They could have skinned me if they’d wanted, so credit to them.

  • Avril // Oct 15, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    I have been at the embassy from 8.30 this morning and got a ticket to return next week at 12.15. I was frozen, hungry, thirsty and really fed up by then. I travel in January by ship but do not enter Hong Kong until 12th Feb. Someone on this site says that I may not get a 6 month visa as I have not already visited India. HELP!!! Do I go back next week or will it be a waste of time? Does anyone know for sure if I will get a 6 month visa?

  • MJP // Oct 16, 2007 at 8:04 am

    Avril, all tourist visas are for 6 months from date of issue. So, no problem.

  • NRP // Oct 16, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    I am getting seriously worried. I have to fly to India next Friday as my dad passed away recently.
    I send my application in Sept by mail as I’ve always done, but it was returned 2 weeks ago due to the change in process. I gave up on the idea of using an agent as they all asked me to send things by Royal Mail which given the current situation I was reluctant to do.
    I resided to going up to HCI tomorrow for a same day visa (Wed 17th). My plan was to get a 5am train from Brighton to arrive by 7.30am… however THANKFULLY I found this website.
    I’m now leaving here at 2am by car so will be there by 3.30am. I simply cannot afford to come back dissappointed so will be sat in the cold for 5 hours until they open.
    Would appreciate any advice as I’m dreading the whole experience!

  • Adrian // Oct 16, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    I went there this morning with my girlfriend. We turned up at 4.30 am and I counted 18 people already there queuing. The line grew very quickly behind us and before long it was snaking round Aldwych, so people have obviously heard that it is wise to get there early. In fact some of the people around us were there for the second day having queued before but arriving too late for a same-day ticket on previous days.

    As we were 19th or so in the queue we got our numbers soon after 8.30 and these were called by 9. We got our passports back with the visas at around 9.45. When we came out the queues were as long as ever though. I can’t imagine many more people would have got their visas the same day.

    My advice – either pay to use an agent or go very early and wait. It’s not much fun sitting waiting in the dark but if you need your visa urgently it works!

  • Iffat // Oct 16, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    I went to the indian embassy on 12th October. i joined the queue at 8.30am only to be told that i should return on 22nd October.
    That will be a problem for me as it will take a month to process my visa as my parents are from Pakistan. that means that it will be too late for me by then to get a visa to India before the time i was meant to fly to India in time for a wedding and for my birthday.
    the advice is to make sure that you arrive before 5am and wait in the queue. that way you should get a visa either on the samr day and if your parents are from Pakistan, Bangladesh or SriLanka, then you will atleats get in to hand your application in. then you will have to wait for a month, making numerous phone calls which usually go unanswered.
    Beware, if you are the child of a Pakistani, Bengali or Srilkankan, you must make sure that you attend yourself. Non of the agents will be able to do that for you as they will sent away and told that you have to attend in person.
    Frankly, in those circumstances, it is a complete waste of time and effort. you might aswell go elsewhere, where you will be treated with some degree of respect atleast.

  • Im soaking wet // Oct 17, 2007 at 8:23 am

    just a quick update on todays situation

    i arrived at 4:55am. there was about 20 people ahead in the queue. at least one of which was a travel agent doing multiple applications.

    i left at 7:25am and there were about 300 people in the queue. my girlfriend is still there with our applications. i’ll update this when i find out what time she got them.

    pretty cold and raining but all good fun if you prepare yourself mentally.

  • Im soaking wet // Oct 17, 2007 at 9:42 am

    done. sucessfully left the building at 9:22am.

    so 4 and a half hours in total.

    for those needing visa quickly id definetly recommend the same. if you get there that early then you are queueing in the off street bit as well. bit more spacious and chances to sit down.

  • Ross // Oct 17, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks for all the info, looking at heading up tomorrow so hopefully queues arent too big! Someone mentioned earlier that if you havent visited India before you can only get a 3month tourist visa…is this true!? This would screw my trip up as i’m going away for 6months and india is my last stop!

  • Ross // Oct 17, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    And will they still issue a visa if you dont have an indian reference?

  • julian // Oct 17, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    I am flying in 10 days. and they turned me back today and told me to return on the 30th October..and gave me a ticket…i.e i am pretty much stuffed.

    If i camp out overnight, you reackon i’ll be able to get one in one day too?

    Cheers,

    Julian

  • MG // Oct 18, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Hi everyone!

    I took the advice of Im Soaking Wet and arrived at 4.30am this morning. Having been given a 30th Oct ticket yesterday.

    Stood for 4 freezing hours and got in at 8.35am. Processed at 9am and got passport at 9.50am. The people around were very pleasant.

    I was approached twice to ‘help’ jump the queue but steadfastly refused, even offered £50. It is only fair for everyone to queue in line and wait their turn.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to this everyday – flying out on Wednesday. Good luck to all!

  • Jo // Oct 18, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Hi,

    After realising that the embasy has stopped taken postal applications I decided to use one of the approved travel agents. I sent our passports to them on 25th Sept’, my partner has got his back today and I’m still waiting for mine. We fly on 27th October so looks like I’ll be queing !!

  • dan // Oct 19, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    does anyone know what the situation is for getting the visa at the consulates in birmingham or edinburgh?
    i might go to edinburgh insted of london and try but don’t know if it’s possible to get one on the day or what the queues are like

  • Mukesh // Oct 20, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Guess What !!!! – No Postal Applications, In London, Edinburgh, and Birmingham NO LONGER ACCEPTED.

    BE WARNED, Yes The Indians, have done it again, they changed the rules again, they will no longer accept visa application via post, instead they expect you to use the travel agents, who will also charge you their handling fee. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. !!

  • rav // Oct 22, 2007 at 11:37 am

    queued up at 420am this morning. got tickets 18, 19, 20. it opened around half eight and i was all paid up by quarter to. then had to wait half an hour and i was all done by half nine.

    the queue outside when i left was well over 200 metres past busch house. i wouldn’t bother going any later than 6. good luck.

  • Marion // Oct 22, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Wish I had found this website before last week !I arrived at Embassy on 18th October at 7.40 queued for two hours and given a Q card to come back on 31st Has anyone experienced this return trip yet its got a time on it but I am not convinced it will work
    also I was wondering about the surgeries they have around country has anyone been to one recently
    The whole situation is mad I got visa in march without any problem Its certainly not going to encourage tourism
    Good luck everyone its all very “character building” and prepares you for indian way of life I suppose

  • Hels // Oct 22, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    I heard someone in the queue say that you can’t get your visa on the day in Birmingham, presumably its the same in Edinburgh, I think they have to send them down to London first, but I should think the queues can’t be any better, they are NOT accepting postal applications as I’ve said before so everyone has to queue now whichever embassy you go to.

  • Bell // Oct 22, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Hi,
    Thank god for this site as it really helped in ensuring that I got my visa and now WILL be going on Sunday-phew!!
    I went on 17th Oct at 6:20am and was out with visa by 10:15. Talked to people who’d arrived around 7am and they were being told to come back that afternoon for Visa.
    So from what I witnessed I wouldn’t say its essential to camp out but if your trip depends on it and you want to do it in ‘one hit’ then be there before 7. Anytime after and you’re looking at revisiting in the afternoon or going back around 10days later at an appointed time.
    Plus sides are the camaradarie, total elation upon receiving said visa and meeting fellow travellers for great advice,tips and now knowing I need to pack socks!
    Its freezing but worth it,

    Good luck!

  • Bell // Oct 22, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    P.S Standard tourist visa is for 6 months. We just randomly chose hotels out of guide book for Indaian referee. Take Cash (no cheques/cc’s accepted) Ideally dont have large bags/suitcases with you and although my passport was brand new I was not asked to show old one however its worth taking as someone on this site was asked.

  • Fiona // Oct 23, 2007 at 11:45 am

    My partner has travelled to London today to obtain holiday visa’s for us, arriving at the Indian Embassy quite late – 10.45am – he was then issued a ticket for Friday 26th October – I’m going to have to go on Friday with our tickets – am I going to be ok to get there for 8.30am/9am? I have my tickets for the day, so surely its a case of waiting for my number – or is there a chance i’ll get to told to come back another day? Thanks in advance

  • Fiona // Oct 23, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Correction for above – 9.45am this morning!

  • Dave // Oct 23, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    I started queing today at 4:55 and there were 30 or so people already in front of me. I was applying for 2 visas, the first was completed by 9:15, the second by 10:00 (don’t know why one took longer than the other).

    It was not possible for me to get in to London before 7:00, so I decided to arrive late last night and stay in a cheap hotel (cheaper than paying an agent to get my visas). I found a bed in a hostel dorm for £12 right next to piccaddilly station (Piccaddilly backpackers 10-15 minute walk to India House), bit shabby but relatively clean.

  • James // Oct 23, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    I went this morning (23rd Oct). I read this very helpful info and got up at 4! Arrived at the queue at 5.25 am. It had 40 odd people in it but many were getting more than one visa. The queue grew quite a bit after 6:00 am so be careful. I ended up being number 68 and 69. Doors opened at just before 8:30. Handed my papers over by 9:00. Told to come back at 10:00. Collected visas at 10:10. It is possible and good luck.

  • Dave // Oct 23, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Fiona – when the doors opened at 8:30 this morning there was a second queue of people (maybe only 30 odd people) who already had tickets (white ones rather than the yellow ones we were given) They went in at the same time as us (8:30) but were sent to a different room.
    I don’t know if they had a specific time on their ticket as well as a date or not though. Good luck anyway

  • Fiona // Oct 23, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Dave – thanks – we have yellow tickets too – date and allocated time slot – thinking we should be sorted on Friday – fingers crossed! Wonder if the white tickets are for Indian Passports?

  • Carolyn // Oct 23, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Does anyone know for sure if Birmingham can issue visa on the day if you queue? May as well Travel the extra 2 hours and queue in london if they dont.

  • Fiona // Oct 24, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Carolyn – I’ve heard the Birmingham office is closed for a refurb – thus helping to contribute to the choas at London -someone correct me if I’m wrong?

  • Marion // Oct 24, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Fiona- Hope you get sorted on friday .I have got a white ticket for 31st Oct for 11am so white tickets def. not for passports Can you let me know how you get on on friday I dont know whether to turn up early even tho Ive got a time on my ticket
    I will keep my fingers crossed for you

  • Fiona // Oct 24, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Marion – thanks – need to all the luck we can get! Be interesting to find out the difference between white and yellow tickets. Will definately let you know how we get on – my partner who went yesterday said the people in the queue with the Q Cards dated for yesterday just quickly queued & got to the door and said this is my ticket and time and were allowed in, so going to turn up about 10ish for our 11.30 – 12pm time slot – hopefully this will be sufficient.

  • Meena // Oct 24, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Hi to all, Excellent article & very useful so well done and thanks very much.
    Just one Q
    Does anyone know if there is a separate service for disable person? I am wheelchair user and I am now planning to apply for my visa in person. I didn’t know that India Embassy is not accepting postal service any more until this morning when my postal application was returned to me. I’m shocked to find out how much the visa companies are charging for this service! It’s absolutely extortionate as we haven’t got any choice in the matter have we! Either pay or queue. I will appreciate your reply if anyone knows!
    Many thanks
    Meena

  • Chris K // Oct 25, 2007 at 11:22 am

    I’ve just got back from the HC in London, so I’ll do another update.
    I went along yesterday around 10am, and queued briefly before being given a Q ticket for the 31st October. This wasn’t really a good date for me (and I’ve still got the ticket now as there was no-one outside to donate it to when I left this morning), so I decided to head down early this morning. Arrived at 6:05, about 70 people ahead of me in the queue.
    As people have said, the queue was actually not bad, as you chat to your neighbours. Best to chat anyway, as it stops people being able to sneak into the queue! You might want to bring a cushion and flask of tea though!!
    (Note: There ARE 2 queues which tend to overlap. The queue for Indian Nationals was smaller than the visa q, so people joining it at the back appeared to be pushing in…but weren’t. You need to watch though, as it could be used to sneak ahead. People were all pretty good natured tho)
    As you look at the building, the Visa Q window is the window on the left..the one on the right near the steps is the Indian Nationals’ window.
    Once the queue got going it went pretty quick. I was inside by 8:50ish, and at the window presenting my passport by 9:15. Took 2 minutes before getting my receipt.
    You then need to wait until they call out the number on your receipt which means your passport is ready to pick up. I was upstairs (yellow Q tickets) and the window #1 was for passport collection. Downstairs (white Q tickets) has its own window for passport collections. Ask if unsure!!

    They said it would take an hour, but my number was called in 15mins! Job done and out of the building by 9:30.

    When I left the queue had entirely gone for visas, but the Indian Q was pretty big. I did see some visa people in the wrong queue, so look out as you are leaving and let them know if they’re in the wrong queue. I’m sure they’ll appreciate not having to wait for no reason!!

  • Chris K // Oct 25, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Sorry….just realised I got my right and left the wrong way around!!! To confirm…. as you look at the building the Visa Q window is on the right, just in front of the statue. The Indian Nationals window is on the left, by the steps!

  • Sanj // Oct 25, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Got there at 6am, there seemed to be about 40 people ahead of me, all done by 9:40. Note don’t go there with 7 or 8 passports (per person) they might turn you away.

  • Posy // Oct 25, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    Does anyone know if you actually have to go in person. Want to get mine and my boyfriends visas, does he have to come as well?? ?I’m guessing he does but if its poss he doesn’t it makes everything alot cheaper. Anyone know?

  • Fiona // Oct 26, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Hi Posy – no, as long as the visa form is complete and signed and you have their passport and photo’s than you can go on behalf of the other person – my boyfriends there right now with mine and his! Its his second trip down – I’m nervous!

  • CBS // Oct 26, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    I turned up yesterday at 9.30 and got a yellow ticket straight away, to come back on Nov 1st.

    I was given a 11.30 to 12 time slot. Does anybody know if turning up at like 11am on the day would be enough or if I should plan a lot more time for queuing beforehand?

  • Avril // Oct 26, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Well, after waiting a week to go back with my tickets I have our visas. I had tickets for 10.00am I managed to get in at 9.30am. It was like being crammed into a cattle truck inside. The Q outside was just as long as the previous week. I waited about 40 minutes for my number to come up and handed in the forms. It took another hour and then we were all crammed round window 7 trying to hear for our numbers to be called for collection. It was bedlam. I got the first visa and then had to wait for the second. We sail on a world cruise in January and we have one day in Mumbai. I had to go through all this for one day. I will make sure that I never ever have to go to India again by ship or any other way. It is disgusting in this day and age in England that we are treated like cattle in London. Good luck everbody.

  • Fiona // Oct 27, 2007 at 8:58 am

    We have our Visa’s! Very happy – but my boyfriend agrees with Avril’s comment – it is like a cattle market – rather stressful and have to look after number one a bit – but it is possible! We are glad Goa is cheap after having to buy all these train tickets to get the Visa’s! CBS – regarding your timeslot – you should be fine, our timeslot yesterday was 11.30 – 12pm but my boyfriend turned up at 10.30 and was at the counter handing in the documents at 11am – Visa’s by 12pm. Good luck everyone – it will be worth it!

  • Fiona // Oct 27, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Just like to say as well – this site has been a great help – i get stressed travelling as it is so the rigmarole of getting visa’s has sent my blood pressure soaring! Thanks for all the advice and good luck messages – it was great to know it wasnt just us having a nightmare!

  • Bob // Oct 27, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Just noticed on the High Commission website that postal applications are being restarted from 5th November.

  • SKK // Oct 27, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Postal applications resume from 5th November!

    http://www.hcilondon.net/visa/restoration-of-postal-visa-app.html

  • Grace // Oct 28, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Me and the friends i’m travelling with are going to get our visas on thursday (1st nov). Got our train tickets, before i found this site, which means we wont arrive in london till 10am.
    Is it worth trying, or should we arrange it for another time and just have a good day out? Bearing in mind we don’t go till Jan.

  • Tony // Oct 29, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Looks like they’ve bowed to popular opinion and decided to restore the postal service w.e.f. 5th November.
    http://www.hcilondon.net/visa/restoration-of-postal-visa-app.html
    You have to pay for Royal Mail Special Delivery (2@£4.30) but that’s considerably cheaper than using an agency and certainly less stressful than standing in a long queue on a cold November morning!

  • Dave // Oct 29, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    After visiting India for the last 25years this sounds as if they are going back t othe dark ages. Guess we have upset them again. I think I will holiday in Dubai instead

  • Phil // Oct 30, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone for their advice. My girlfriend and I were planning to turn up at 8 this morning until we read all your comments last night. We arrived at 6.30 instead and had about 50-60 people in front of us, by 7 there were about 100 behind us and by half 7 that had doubled. The queue was massive by 8.30 and I doubt we’d have got in today if we’d arrived at 8. One thing to note is that there was a sign in the window of the embassy which seemed to be saying postal applications would be accepted from 5th November. Please contact the embassy before you post anything though as I could have got this wrong! But it’d be worth checking with them in case they’ve changed their policy again. Might also help get those queues down. Good luck!

  • Julie // Oct 31, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Didn’t want to spend 4 hours queuing used Prince Visa to get ours. Amazingly efficient got visa in less than a week well worth the £35

  • Rashmika // Nov 1, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    I would like to thank everyone who has provided such useful information on this site.

    I went to collect my visa yesterday. I got there just after 6am and there were about 50 to 60 people ahead of me. The queue grew quite rapidly after 7am and by 8am it was really big. I got chatting to a couple of people next to me and the time went really quickly. The office opened up at 8.30 promptly and we were in before 9am, called to the counter at 9.15 am and visas issued before 10am. The service is very quick once you get in there.

    I think it is advisable to get there before 7am if you want visas on the same day as I think they still only process the first 300 and the rest are given tickets for other days, up to a week or 10 days later.

    I also saw a sign saying that a postal service would be starting from 5th November but best to check with them to confirmthe procedure and timescale before sending anything off.

    I was fully prepared on what to expect after information from this site and it made the whole process less painful and I met some great people on the day.

  • Marion // Nov 2, 2007 at 9:36 am

    I aarrived at Embassy at 9.45am as we had Q cards for 11-1130 No queue! Where was everyone ? unlike last time on 18th Oct when it was stretched way past Bush house
    We were in and out in about 45minutes .So easy My husband wouldnt believe all the hastle I had last time I think things have settled down now and I would say Turn up early if you want them the same day otherwise after 9am everyone has gone but you will be given a card to come back another day
    It was great to hear about others experience
    Good luck to you all

  • vc // Nov 4, 2007 at 3:08 am

    I heard that they hold visa surgeries around the country. One is on the first of december in liverpool but they only hold them every three months. Best to phone and check when they are held and where.

  • Mike // Nov 6, 2007 at 10:55 am

    The High Commission, LONDON are now accepting Postal Applications (from 5th Nov) does anyone know how long it takes?

  • owen // Nov 7, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    i used a travel agent astro global travel in bolton http://www.astrotravel.co.uk.tel 01204 599701 sent on 15 th oct 3 passport one was ready last week and the others come back today 7th nov charges an extra 10 pounds on top of the 30 pounds for the administration well worth it no hassle +recorded delivery fee .i paid 60 pounds last year for an express service and that took 2 weeks!!!

  • owen // Nov 7, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    i used a travel agent astro global travel in bolton http://www.astrotravel.co.uk .tel 01204 599701 sent on 15 th oct 3 passport one was ready last week and the others come back today 7th nov charges an extra 10 pounds on top of the 30 pounds for the administration well worth it no hassle +recorded delivery fee .i paid 60 pounds last year for an express service and that took 2 weeks!!!

  • Cooky // Nov 9, 2007 at 11:20 am

    I have sent my passports to London on the 6th November via Special Delievery, my travel date is 24th November. I have put in the £50 emergency fee as it is now 2 weeks tomorrow before I travel.

    My problem is I have been trying to contact the Embassy to ask if it will be possible to process in time, or if I should make other travel arrangements?

    I would go to London myself but I live in Jersey! Which is a £100 flight (at least) + hotel..

    Does anyone have a contact numbers that actually works, or any ideas?

  • Derek // Nov 9, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    What a releif that postal applications are to resume, after quotes of £120 for the two visas we need by an agent l was ready to apply in person, then a look at this site woke me up !!! people arriving at 4am. l think that the contry needs to wake up we are in 2007 and this queing lottery needs to stop, just look at the australian system of apply on line and it takes no time. £30 is also a rip off, l know the country is poor but l bet none of the fee arrives there. Love India but as with a freind of mine if the air tickets were not booked l may not have returned again.

  • sunny // Nov 13, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Went the morning with some trepidation after reading all these reports. My holiday is in December but my husband barely spends two days in the UK together to get a visa – so it was now or never. Arrived at the Embassy at 6.20 am, already a huge line. I later found out I was about 200th in line. The only upside to the whole experience was the camaraderie of the other fellow applicants (and getting my visa!). Very cold so wear moon boots/warm shoes and really thick socks.You have to feel really well and fit to do this which is so unjust, if you are old or infirm you will just get pushed about. I wore a mink coat – even that was nt warm enough. Two hours 20 minutes shivering wait until I got in and a further 3 hours until I got both visas. But I did it!! Dont bother turning up past 7am. It was quite amusing seeing cabs turn up at 7.30am with incredulous looking people getting out of them . The queue was that huge. Inside the HCI is filthy and smelly – I hope I have nt caught anything and the service is slow and none too pleasant. Given the amount of money they take in visa applications it is fairly inexcusable. I heard many stories of people missng flights, holidays and business trips because of this mess. Sad for India really, shame this beautiful democracy can’t get it act together. Thailand next Christmas for me.

  • Mira // Nov 13, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Hello there, I just wanted some advice. I gave mine and my husband’s passports for th eIndian visas to an agency. There seems to be huge problems with the agencies at the moment as I have been waiting 3 weeks and there seems to be one issue after another and the hhigh commission keeps deciding not to accept any of their visa applications. I am travelling to Goa in two days time and not sure I will get my visas! There seems to be some sort of an emergency list and I have been told that they will go in tomorrow, but I’ll have to wait and see. If anyone has any other suggestions then please let me know! I was thinking of going on Thursday myself to get them, but I’ve heard horror stories of people lining up in queues as early as 5.30am!

  • Sarah // Nov 13, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Mink coats aside, if you’re looking for a get rich quick scheme, just go and hang out round Aldwych around 7am.

    Today I would have quite happily handed my passport over to anyone (and pay them anything!) to sort out a visa for me.

    I arrived at 7am, hit the front of the queue around 9am, to be given a ticket with a number on it and told to come back at 2pm. Incidentally, these tickets seem to be handed out totally randomly, so make sure you try and pick a bloke with the low numbers.

    Finally got my visa around 4pm …. and felt a strange sense of achievement. Is this weird? However, it is a six month visa with multiple entries. I think as well as my two week holiday in Kerala, I might just start going to India for long weekends – just to get the most use out of my visa.

  • Andrew // Nov 14, 2007 at 11:53 am

    I went this morning, and its still quite busy. I arrived at 5:15am and there were around 50-100 people in front of me.

    The embassy opened 8:30 prompt, and you picked up a ticket and entered the building as you got to the front of the queue.

    Inside its much like a post office, in that there are six functioning counters and your ticket number will flash up on a display with the counter number underneath. Its important that you watch this continuously when it gets near your range as they will quickly go through several ticket numbers for the same counter number, so that a group goes to the counter at the same time.

    After that you must wait to recieve your visa, they give you a time (e.g. 1 hour) and open counter 7 for giving passports back with the visa stapled inside. There is a large notice saying that counter 7 is only open between the hours of 3pm-5pm: ignore this as its only there to screw with your mind.

    Its not the best system, but the staff are very efficient within it.

  • Dorian // Nov 17, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Like many of you on this forum, I found myself having to bite the bullet and get down to London. The information here has been most useful, wouldn’t have stood a chance otherwise.

    Having studied the form, I decided to aim for 04:00 in the Q. I travelled the day before (Sunday 4th), stayed in a local hotel and had an early night. I woke up before the alarm and found myself in the Q by 03:35 – crazy.
    At this point, there were 10 or so ahead of me. A slow build-up to about 150 or so by 05:00; by 06:00 halfway to Bush House and by 08:00, between Bush House and the Aussie High Commission! If you’re gonna make the trip, make it count and rule out returning at a later date.

    Best tip on this page is to talk to your neighbours; this helps in two ways. Firstly, the time flies by and you start to enjoy the experience. Secondly, because you’ll need to be united later on when the Q jumpers swarm like vultures.

    As opening time looms, many crafty people try it on by striking up moronic conversation with you. Questions like ‘is this the back of the Q?’ made me laugh. Another manoeuvre would be the ‘place someone else in the Q and pay them to freeze their minerals off’’ manoeuvre; actual visa applicants would then turn up, pay off the stooge and assume Q position after a nice night tucked up in bed. Got a bit heated when two new faces tried this with multiple applications in their hands. They didn’t succeed to get in front of our group, and left fearing a good hiding.

    Remember, an application = a ticket. Visa agents have had their slots cancelled till 12th November (I’m told) to curb multiple applications and get things running smoother.

    Today, the ticket window opened at 08:15; I got A8. The wooden door opened at 08:20 and I was off upstairs to the cashier; my receipt from her says 07:23 (should be 08:23 – clock not right). Was told my passport would be ready within the hour, and it was. Out by 09:25; job done – time for a fry up.

    When I left, they were up to B33 on the machine and being told to come back another day for collection. Outside was bloody chaos; glad I came early. Met some great people whilst in Q, it really is a small world.

  • Mukesh // Nov 17, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    BOYCOTT, BOYCOTT, India as a tourist
    destination until and unless the visa chaos is sorted out immediately.

    I do feel sorry for all the hundreds who are suffering from undue stress as a result of this mega incomptence of the Indian High Commission in the UK.

    However, lets not lose sight of ONE important principle which people who are rushing to join the long queues for Visas, appear to have forgotten is;

    “I’ts their job to sell you a visa , i’ts NOT your job to buy”.

    So think on !!!!!, imagine, the financial loss to indian airline and airports, and hotels etc.

    Not sure how many of you will agree with me !!

  • Mike // Nov 18, 2007 at 1:27 am

    Have been looking at Indian High Commission building on Aldwych every morning the past week. The queues are dense before 8.30, but by 10 o’clock there are no queues. Are people posting comments on this site actually going there, or repeating eyewitness stories from a month ago? Spoke to people near the building. Seems they are issuing visas same day, and have crossed 3000 a day!! Incredible India!!

  • sowan // Nov 18, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    i went to the high commission last wednesday (Nov 14) at about 8:30am and i was shocked by the length of the queue (well into wellington street). too bad that i wasn’t actually aware of the indian visa chaotic situation. i got a yellow card after having waited for an hour and it says i should go back on 22nd.

    it is not a good day for me to go, so i’ve decided to do postal. yet, now i’m a bit worried when i will get my passport back. it says a min of 10 days in the website, not the most helpful information.

    anyone tried postal and got their passport back already? it’s exactly 10 days after the embassy resumes postal!

    wish me luck that i can go for my trip in early/mid december!

  • Dorian // Nov 18, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Mike – I can assure you, I was there on 5th November; my account above is FACT and supplied to assist people.

    I had initially engaged the services of a Visa Agency who failed to deliver – I then decided to do the job myself. Many others in the Q were in the same position due to the suspension of this service by HCI.

    The Queues vanish at 10:00 because tickets are issued for a future return time. Limited numbers are guaranteed turnaround on the day, depending on backlog loads – it really is a lottery….

  • George // Nov 18, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks for maintaining this blog. The information here is just what is needed.
    My contribution – Do not bother calling the High Commission’s premium rate information (sic) number. All the information on it is available on the HC website. The only ‘extra’ is a phone number for an emergency out of hours service. This number is ‘not recognised’ and the emergency service, as far as I can ascertain, does not exist.
    For those about to run the gauntlet – be strong and enjoy the cameraderie of the early queuers!

  • Richard // Nov 19, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Just to say that I went to the High Commission this morning, arriving at about 6:15. There was a queue of 50 people along Aldwych by that point, which went around the corner towards the entrance. By 7:00 that small(ish) queue had just about trebled in size into a monster.
    I wouldn’t recommend pitching up later than 7:00 if you want your visa same day.
    Thanks to everyone for posting; absolutely invaluable in deciding what time to pitch up.

  • Kirsten // Nov 19, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    I will be queing tomorrow morning and have been trawling through these comments…is it still really this bad? I have to get my visa the same day, no choice so is 3.30 too early or…more like 4.30am… Slightly anxious to turn up and find I am the only one!!

  • Another Hon // Nov 19, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    If you don’t want to queue at unsocial hours in the twilight zone, you could think about getting your visa from the Birmingham office. My friend in Birmingham told me today that you could get your visa on the same day if you turn up at 9. Could anyone confirm this with recent experience?

  • Ballinger Belle // Nov 19, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Many thanks to all contributing to this site. I adore India and have gone there regularly over the past few years. I have always got my visa done by an agent (WorldMark Visa). They have normally turned it round for me in less than 3 days – Brilliant – but when I called last Thursday, they told me they had over 300 passports and no slots for lodging until 29th Nov!! As I fly on 30th this is too risky. For anyone thinking about using an agent – make sure you check status with them first. I will be queuing this week and I hope I get “processed” in time. For a country specialising in IT/High tech, the visa process really lets them down. India should join the Aussies and set up an electronic visa system.

  • karan // Nov 20, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I went in today i.e. 20/11 and reached about 7:30am. The queue was long with 250 people ahead of me but once the counter opens it moves fast. I was in the consulate by 9 and things are slightly chaotic but I managed to complete all the visa formalities by 11am.

  • neil // Nov 20, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    hi all (deep breath) going to get my visa from one the visa surgeries – cost is £30 + £10 processing fee Q) do i have to pay in postal order £40 or pay £30 cash & £10 postal order – dont want to cock it up!help……..

  • Ballinger Belle // Nov 20, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Quick update. I went in today and joined the queue at 6am (I know, I know but if you’re going to do it then do it right !!) They started to issue queue tickets from the window at 8:20am and being number 42, I was actually out on the Aldwych with my visa in my hand at 9:05am. Result ;o) All I can say is, just like India itself, it may look like chaos but there is a process and it works pretty well. The staff are efficient and very polite considering what I can only guess they have to go through. By the way, why do people turn up, stand in the queue and then have to fill out a visa app. form at the window ?? Duhhhh.. The staff were even polite to these.

  • Vicky // Nov 21, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Just a FYI.

    I sent my postal application on the 7th November, I received it back yesterday. 10 working days, and I live in Jersey!

    To get updates on how long it will take, dont use the phone numbers on the website. Fax the below number and ask them to call you, they would normally call the same day and let you know the status of your application.

    0906 844 4543

    I was very impressed with the postal service, dont queue if you have 10 working days before your holiday.

  • M Jay // Nov 21, 2007 at 11:41 am

    MESSAGE FOR NEIL

    My Brother when to get his Visa at a surgery in Manchester. He took with him £30 Postal Order for the Visa. Also the hall where he went charged a ” processing fee” plus £10 CASH.

    Good Luck to you.

  • Rachel // Nov 21, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Went to London today, arrived 5.40am, no 45 in q, got through 1st phase by 9am, went back at 10am to collect, all finished approx 10.20am. Strongly recommend to arrive early, the q by 6.30am was very long.

  • jules // Nov 21, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    I also went today, arrived at 7.15,not sure the exact amount of people in front of me. i was out by 11.15 with Visa. A bit mad inside, but it seems to work. wrap up also, two hours outside is not fun if cold, i also told a fold up seat…

  • Tammy // Nov 21, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Just a quick note to let you know that they are now accepting postal applications again, so, if you are not travelling in the next week or so, I would recommend this as opposed to standing in the queue..

  • Duncan // Nov 21, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Despite the return of postal applications the problems continue in London. Monday 19th November queue started forming just before 4am. Within one hour it had climbed the steps and I lost sight of the end. By 9am it was back as far as the BBC building and more people were joining still.

    A big thank you to everyone who’s posted here.

  • sowan // Nov 22, 2007 at 11:08 am

    thanks Vicky for her message! i feel much better now that i know that she’s got her passport+visa via the postal service.

    though i’m not sure if the fax line works, cuz i tried all day yesterday (during different times of the day), but it didn’t get through at all.

    anyone knows anyway that we can contact the high commission to check the process of the application?

    really appreciate everyone who shares the info!

  • Question // Nov 22, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    A quick question:

    For a tourist visa, do i need to book the flight first and show them the tickets when applying visa?

    Thanks very much.

  • Adrian Hon // Nov 22, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    Answer: No.

  • Vivien // Nov 23, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Hi, I went to India House on thursday 22nd November. I arrived at 5 am and was 15th in the queue, which is not too bad.

    For people living in the South of London, the information below can be quite useful: I left from the South of London by train – yes there are night trains down here, leaving east Croydon at 3.47 on the brigthon – bedford line. Stopped at Blackfriars and took a night bus on fleet street, arrived at 5 am at House of India. The place were you have to queue is between Bush House and the building that’s been renovated into a block of flats. It’s actually some sort of a very dark alleyway that is not illuminated at night and it is hard to find early morning.

    In terms of queue, I think 5am is a good time to arrive. You can do a multitude of visas per person (I had people doing 5 and I did mine and my girlfriend’s and wasn’t asked anything about living together etc….). I was pleased that one information from the House of India website was correct: Mauritian Visas are free! That was one free visas out of the two.
    The queue was more than 500 metres (one house past Bush House, that’s well over 700 people) long at 7 am, so think carefully about when you arrive, it DOES matter. We had to expell a few people making a go a queue busting – don’t worry about the rude asian guy with fishy eyes who pretends to come from birmimgham and says his father died in the night in India, if you’re really hard with him he’ll set off to work at 8am pretending someone sorted him out – funny…

    Got my ticket at 8.25, entered the embassy at 8.30, handed both application forms and passports at 8.35 am- if you have foreign passports (non UK), bring a bank statement or whatever justifies one year of residency – and got out at 9.15 am with two visas!!! superb service. Don’t forget that your passport must be valid at least 6 month, otherwise you’ll have to get another one issued ASAP. Happened to the very nice guy in front of me (5 months and 2 weeks left on his visas) who had a plane ticket for the day after…

    Overall the service is good provided you come early (as in very early) – there was no need to come before 5 on this particular day, even 5.30 was still ok (60-80 people queuing already), but as soon as the tube and train line opened (that is around 6 am), the queue went up in number exponentially.

    From someone who’s done the French embassy in Kensington, I can tell you that House of India is an easy one: you just need your passport, application form filled and if required proof of residency and that’s it! deliverance waiting time is nothing. For the same arrival time at the French embassy, even prebooked you get in at 11am, submit at one and won’t be out until 4.30 pm with a visa. On top of that you’ll get a pretty humiliating discussion about your finances or right to go to france, medical insurance etc… and cheaters bribing the guards at the entrance or queuing the chinese way (one in the queue at 4am, 50 turn up and take the place at 8am…).

    Overall, House of India was really a pleasure if you’re used to embassies and I had a wonderful time having discussions with the other people queuing. If you were 9 to 18 in the queue, please get in touch! and good trip!
    Vivien

  • Question // Nov 23, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Hi, I went to the High Commission of India this morning (23 Nov, 07), queuing outside around 8,00.

    I got the ticket with a number start with X at 9,00 and was told to come back at 10,30. When I came back, there is a shorter queue about 50 people for ticket X. Actually, they did not shout out the number now but you just need to queue again there if you held a ticket start with X. I’m not sure about the other numbers. I arrived at the window at 11,30.

    Foreigners may need to phone them in advance to make sure about what process you need to go to get a visa. I’m not on the list of nationality on their website but still need to go through special process. (They said this was newly applied since Jan 2007 for certain countries.) UK residence or bank account does work here.

    I’ve just done the French embassy in South Kensington and feel it is more international (regardless where you come from), morden (you pay by card), cleaner and less bureaucratic. You need not to get up early, just arrive on time. And most important –everything needed are listed on the website!! I got an appointment at 8,30, arrived at 8,00 and came out with visa at 10,30.

  • Lesley // Nov 24, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    I went to get my visa in Birmingham on Thursday. I joined the queue (of about 130 people) at 08:20 and they let us in at 08:50. They give each person a number (like a cheese counter) and when your number is called you go and hand over your application. I was called at 11:50. Then you go back at 15:00 to collect it, again queuing on a first come, first served basis. I started queuing at 13:30 and was out of there with my visa by 15:30.

    It’s a protracted affair but as long as you know that it’s fine. I met some lovely people in the queue and had a look around the Jewellery Quarter for a bit.

    In answer to an earlier question, you don’t have to show your flight tickets. All you need is your completed application form, your passport, two passport photos and £30 cash/banker’s draft.

  • Tania // Nov 24, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Please help!!!!

    I am very slowly getting into a state of panic. I sent off for my visa on the 5th November as did my friend, we still haven’t received them and we fly on the 1st December. Obviously they have our passports as well but has anyone got any sugesstions?
    Is it possible to get another passport and then go to London for visa? Can’t do anything till Thursday because of work.

  • Another Hon // Nov 25, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    Yes, it is possible for a person to have two standard UK passports. I applied for a second passport some years ago in Liverpool when I sent my original passport for getting a visa to China by post. While I was waiting for the return of my passport, I had to go to the USA for a short visit. I remember that I filled an application form with the ususal passport size photos and most importantly, armed with a letter from my employer confiming my employment status. The details may change now, talk to the passport office for an update. Finally, I got my passport on the same day!

  • Dave // Nov 26, 2007 at 12:38 am

    My visa has been in the hands of an agent since the 6th November and I have been informed that I can expect it to be back in my possession on the 29th of November. Bit of a security risk, how many copies could be made in this amount of time.

    I guess many people will give India a miss next year as the additional cost and the time taken to get a visa is prohibitive. Its ok if you live close to London but we are 360 miles away so standing in line is expensive and tedious and out of the question.

    Our visas are costing £65 in total. We sent ours around the time of the announcement to restart postal applications.

    I do not think the Indian embassy realises how much they are going to cost the economy. Even if I do get a visa I am not sure I want to travel now having lost money on a trip to the middle east because I did not have a passport.

  • Mira // Nov 26, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Hi there. I posted a comment earlier on. I just wnated to say I did get my visas back by the skin of my teeth. I got them at 9pm fromt he agency and I flew out the next day. My advice is to get the visas sorted out earoly and keep an eye on the comments here. They are very valuable! Good luck to all. P.S. Weatehr in Goa is AMAZING!!!

  • Mary // Nov 26, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks so much for the explanation of how to get your visa from the High Commission as nobody there tells you; just knowing the system meant I could keep calm and put all the waiting time to good use (two exhibitions and some retail therapy)
    So as a guide for anyone going next week – I went on Friday 23rd Nov and arrived at 8.20 a.m. Massive queue. By 9.15 I had a ticket with my number (504) and was in Starbucks warming up. The timings given with the tickets are not accurate; 504 got me to the first window at 12.30. Then things went pear-shaped. The window where they hand back passports closed at 1 p.m. until 2 for lunch, and after lunch all the applications seemed to have been randomised – they were giving out passports to queue numbers anywhere between 400 and 650. I finally got my passport back at 3.30.
    So in conclusion, the system does work but you need to put aside a whole day to getting the visa. As a bonus you get a taste of India before you go!

  • Natalie // Nov 26, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Ohhh this all sounds so complicated! 3.30 in the morning is not a good time to be standing about in the cold this close to christmas… !
    Does anyone know how long a tourist visa lasts for, and whether it starts immediately or not? I can’t seem to find that information anywhere.

  • Dorian // Nov 26, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    Natalie, Your Visa will be valid from when it is issued. Tourist visas are automatically issued a six month lifespan with multiple entries. This means you can leave India and return again during its validity.

    If you find my original post above, you will see that I queued from 03:35. Not exactly sure how desperate things are at the moment – people on this list do seem to be arriving much later and getting a result though.

    Don’t forget, Diwali (Deepavali) occurred on the 7th November, this could have added to the problems that I experienced.

  • Jon // Nov 27, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    After reading this thread I rather dreaded ever booking a holiday to India in the first place! But let me give another perspective on the process:

    I arrived at the High Commission today at the gentlemanly hour of 9.30am. I got a ticket to come back at 11.30am. So off I went back to work (I’m lucky in that I work in Fleet St). Arrived back at the High Commission about 11.35am; applications were processed by 11.50am, and I had two visas in hand by 12.10pm.

    Either I was very luck, or things have improved markedly from October / earlier in Nov because it really wan’t too much bother at all! For those who travel in from out of London, Covent Garden is just around the corner and an easy place to kill a couple of hours waiting for the return time.

  • Tess // Nov 28, 2007 at 11:15 am

    Just got back from the Queue now. Got there at 6:15am, and made friends with my fellow queue victims as suggested – a very good plan, as we had 4 jumpers. One didn’t dispute our objections to his right to be in the line, and disappeared. Another, a couple, stood resolutely refusing to make eye contact, claiming to have been there since 4am (we saw them alight from a taxi) and when challenged further, Mrs turned on the tears. No sympathy but they were clearly professionals as they managed to get to number 20 in the queue eventually. And then one super nice gentleman who lost his place in the queue for making a phone call… yeah right.

    Anyway, queued from 6:15, only got cold when it got light and it was cold, but once the embassy opened, the queue moved pretty quickly. I was number 47 and 48, at the counter by 9:13 and passports in hand by 9:20.

    By the time I got out, the queue outside was only about 30 people long, but it was pretty packed inside, so not sure whether you go early and sit in the dark but get it processed quickly, or go later and wait a similar amount of time, but in office hours? Total time for me was just over 3 hours and would choose the early option again, just to be sure. And it really wasn’t too bad.

    Glad it wasn’t raining…

  • Nick // Nov 29, 2007 at 10:17 am

    Hi,

    I went all the way up to Edinburgh yesterday to get my visa (from Newcastle upon Tyne).

    I got up at 5am as suggested and got tot the Embassy for 5:20ish, and there was NO ONE THERE!! Which should have been a good thing, right?

    Wrong. Being that I’m not Scottish I couldn’t apply for a visa from there. There is a sign outside saying that proof of Scottish residency is required.

    I’m now going to have to use a visa agency because I’m not doing all that again but in London….

  • Jo // Nov 29, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Went to The High commission on yesterday Wednesday 28th, arrived at around 8am queued for around an hour, told to return at 10.30am received my visa’s at around 12. So wasn’t as bad as I thought, and to be honest I had a great time, every one was high spirited and very helpful. And if there wasn’t all that waiting around I wouldn’t of met so many interesting people. The way I’d describe it would be structured chaos, if you knew the process then fine if not ask. Every one is in the same boat so people are more then willing to help..

    Although one thing that did confuse me is that my partner was given a 6 month multiple entry visa, while I was given a three month 1 entry visa, due to my occupation a picture researcher, Strange..

    Anyway Good luck all those heading up there..

  • Jay // Nov 29, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Any recommendations on visa agencies to use or avoid ? would be gratefully received !

  • Dorian // Nov 29, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    Jay, Visa World were the start of all my problems – see my original entry above. Nice and friendly before you pay them; bloody useless and unhelpful after that. They had my passport for over a month, before eventually telling me they were sending it back, unprocessed. This was despite numerous phone calls and much anxiety.

    If they had been more upfront about the situation in London at the time, I would not have taken them up on their service. I met several people with similar views that day.

    Avoid, not recommended….

  • sheila // Nov 30, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    there at 630 after getting up at 430! in at 0845 got visa and passport at 930. wont do it again though!!!

  • Paul // Nov 30, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Went to the Indian embassy in London today. 30th Nov. Arrived at 7.30 to find a queue of at least 200+ people, the people at the front arrived at 4am. By 8.30 there was 300+ people behind us.
    Despite all that it wasn’t too bad, once the doors open it doesn’t take long to get inside, it’s just a lot of waiting around. The advice on this site is spot on. Finally walked out with visa in hand at around 11.30. Make sure you have the correct form from the high commission website not from a travel agent site and have the stuff in your hand ready to go once your in, and once your in don’t go anywhere until you have your visa. Toilets are downstairs.

    To be honest if you have time do it through an agent or by post and save a lot of hassle, they are taking postal visa applications again now due to all the queue problems. If you don’t have time wrap up warm and wear comfy shoes. Your going to be standing around for a long long time. And chat to the people around you, your all in the same boat and it really helps pass the time. It was actually a good laugh by the end… Who had the lucky numbers for the next visa, they come out in random order so make sure you can hear the numbers being called for collection.

  • Tania // Dec 1, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Visa still hadn’t arrived by Wednesday so went to London on Thursday. We got there at 07.30 and the queue was half way round, by 08.15 we couldn’t see the end of it! We were inside by 08.50 and had to wait for the PRO who doesn’t appear till 09.30. There were plenty of people in the same situation as us (had sent passports off but hadn’t had them back). We then had to fill a form in and were told to come back at 15.30, left the building at about 10.30.

    Just after having had something to eat I received a phone call from my son……..yes……my passport had arrived at home! It was stamped the 20th but they hadn’t posted it till the 28th.

    In all fairness for those who were getting visas on the day it seemed to be going pretty well. They had already started to issue visas whilst we still waiting for the PRO. I do agree about the queue jumpers and made sure one man realised what I thought.

    Next year I will NOT be sending my passport off but will queue for it and hope that the weather is okay again! There were so many people who had used agencies/posted and it seems that this is the only sure way.

    Well I’m all packed and now off to Goa again……..Good luck to all on here and thankyou for keeping me sane!

  • sowan // Dec 1, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    hi all! i’ve finally got my passport with the indian visa this morning (Dec1). i posted the application on Nov14, so it’s 12 working days since the day that i posted it.

    to be very honest, i was very worried until this morning about whether i could get my document in time (i’m going to fly off on Dec16), but given my experience, i think it’s quite okay to do postal if you have at least a month’s gap between your application and your trip.

    good luck to you all!

  • Jay // Dec 3, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    Thanks a million for all your help with this visa malarchy – it’ll all be worth it when we’re basking in the sun ! x

  • Arran // Dec 4, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    I applied for a visa by post 10 working days ago. At the time of applying, the HCI quoted that by post it’s 10 working days. I need to fly to the states later this week, but my passport hasn’t returned.

    So I went down to the HCI today to see if I could get my passport and visa processed, or at least get it back…

    If you’re in a similar situation I wouldn’t recommend trying this!!!

    The queue wasn’t too bad, I arrived at 7.45am and queued to the stage where you get your ticket by 9.30am. Trouble is, to get any further you need to show your passport, which I didn’t have. I explained my situation to every official I could find to speak to there…

    The answer was that it is ‘*utterly* impossible’ to get your passport processed quicker if you’ve posted it by turning up in person. Perhaps I was just unlucky, but I was given no other options about returning later etc. to be processed. I was told the office does not have any connection with the postal visa service and there is no way of getting the passport out of the system.

    The official postal turn around time has now gone up to 15 days – but it seems from the other posts here that it could actually be more.

    So if you’ve posted it, in my experience you’ve got no choice but to sit it out, fingers crossed. If anyone has actually managed to do this though, I’d love to know how!

    The good news is, the queue doesn’t seem too bad at the moment, it looks like you should get a ticket at the door before 10am if you turn up 7-8am.

    If I do this again, I will get an agent to get the visa in 2-3 days, because it seems unknown when you will get your passport back.

  • Bob // Dec 5, 2007 at 6:55 am

    I went to Birmingham yesterday, joined a queue of about 30 people at 0630. Around 0845 they opened the lobby so we could get out indoors. About 0900 they opened the door and gave out numbered tickets. Upstairs we sat in a pretty large room, and by 0945 my number was called and I was told to come back in the afternoon about 1600. I did, but had to hang around Birmingham all day. At 1605 I got my passport back with visa in it. I met a lot of people, saw some dodgy characters with huge numbers of applications, some strutting and ‘look at my car’ going on, but this didn’t seem to affect my getting the visa.

    Some observations:
    - the Birmingham consulate has a notice on its website listing the counties it serves, including, endearingly, somewhere called the ‘Isles of Siccily’. I wasn’t from one of those counties and they didn’t apparently care but they *might*. Certainly if you go to Edinburgh and are not a Scottish resident you are sunk.

    - a chap who seemed to be familiar with things India said that if it’s urgent and you take your air ticket they will be sympathetic and not delay.

    - a woman was getting angry with the staff. Bad idea. They are just doing their job, I found them quite nice.

    - The consulates invite constructive feedback and people should send them some. But the policies of the Indian government on visas are beyond their control. I suggest writing a nice letter to the Indian High Commissioner gently suggesting that the convoluted process is seriously damaging India’s tourist and foreign investment.

    - Particularly irritating is the meaningless of it all. They don’t ask whether you have any criminal convictions, whether you belong to any odd organisations etc.. I suppose they might have a database with lists of people they would refuse but it seems the main purpose is to make a point that India requires all foreigners to have visas. Indian nationals get treated far, far worse if they apply to go to the US or UK. And of course probably every country requires Indians to have visas for entry. So hassle all round.

    Good luck everyone!

  • Adam // Dec 5, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I have found this site extremely helpful and thus want to pass on my experience and advice:

    I arrived at the consulate at 6 am and was about 20th in the queue – not bad at all. I quickly started chatting away to those around me in the queue and had quite an enjoyable time – despite the cold and rain (I came prepared for that). In fact one person went and got the coffees in whilst I saved his place!

    I could not believe the cheek of people trying to push in for all sorts of reasons. Some were honestly mistaken as the front of the queue has lots of gaps in it as people take shelter in the large windows. It is quite easy to recognise people pushing in if you are near the front and everyone will support you if you tell them to move on – must have had to tell 10 people or so.

    Don’t worry about having daysacks or small bags with you, I took only a carrier bag but quickly realised that a proper bag would have been acceptable.

    All in all I had my Visa by 9.20am and met some very nice people – in particular A22, a stunning journalist for a international magazine .

    I fully recommend going to the consulate in person but only if you can make it early. I never like not knowing the whereabouts of my passport.

  • Granville Green // Dec 6, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I also found this site helpful and here are my experiences.

    Arrived at about 7am, the queue was probably around 100 people in front of me. Didn’t notice any queue jumpers.

    Got my Q ticket at about 9am and was called at about 9.30am

    Passport was ready by 10.30am.

    Take an umbrella!

  • Melissa // Dec 7, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    I’ve had a nightmare with this. My passport has been lost by Royal Mail (Thanks!) and I now have to get a new one. The passport will not be with me until at least the 18th Dec and we fly on the 22nd. The Embassy has said that they will be able to grant me a same day Visa as long as I arrive between 6.30 and 7.30am. I’m based in Sheffield and wonder if we can go to Birmingham instead as it’s much nearer for us.

  • em // Dec 9, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    hey all! does anyone know if it is possible to get a visa on the same day if you are not a UK citizen, but nevertheless are an EU citizen and have lived in the UK for over a year?
    thanks a million, what a helpful site!

  • Navin // Dec 10, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Hi all, after reading the blog I decided to get there early. Arrived at 5am was about 15th in the line. Ticket at 8.20, handed forms in at 8.40 visa back at 9.45. Early start but consdering the 100s behind me, well worth it. I met some people in the line so time went by quickly. It would be great to know if my Irish friend managed to get her visa as she missed her flight yesterday…. navin.suppiah@tiscali.co.uk

  • Pat // Dec 11, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for your very helpful infor. It may be old (2004) for Dec 07, but still mostly relevant. I got there by 7am and the queue was near the BBC building. By 9.15 am I got the Q ticket number 139. I went off for 45mins to a nearby coffee bar to de-freeze with latte. Returned and waited 30mins to hand application in. Spent another 45mins in the coffee bar. Collected visa by 11.30 am. Total 4.5 hrs

  • Martin // Dec 11, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    This blog is great source of info, thanks to all!

    I arrived at High Commission of India in London at 6:40am today. There were about 60 people in front of me. I spent 2 hours in the queue, it was freezing morning, so please don’t forget warm clothes. At the very end I would kill for cup of hot coffee and envied all the smart ones that came with their girlfriends or whoever. My number was called at 9:10 and was told the visa would be ready in an hour. Went to opposite deli for a breakfast, came back and … voila! I got my passport back with a new and shiny visa at 10:10.

    For non-UK nationals: I you want to have your visa quicker and cheaper, proof of minimum 1 year residency is necessary. One year old bank statement did the trick.

  • melvyn // Dec 13, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Hi today is the 13th of dec
    can anywayone tell me if I can pick up a visa on the day easily…or if I will have to wait for a week….I am not sure……my feeling is good to get a visa but I just wanted to hear it from you if you judst got one as cklose as possible to todays date and please fill me in on all the do’s and don’ts…such as the best time to get there…etc…….
    and is it still the same layout for queing as in that door down the side of the building,…….?

  • melvyn // Dec 13, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    sorry my email is lovingness@hotmail.co.uk
    and not @hotmail.com
    and what is the exact cost of a 6 mth tourist?

  • Richard // Dec 13, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Quick Question – I have been following peoples stories with interest and am planning to run the gauntlet at the high commission next week.

    Can anyone tell me what I need to put on the Visa form regarding referee’s in India?

    Is this a trick question? Do they care that I don’t have a referee in India?

    Any answers would be greatly appreciated….

  • Mukesh // Dec 15, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    I REPEAT, NOW LISTEN YOU PEOPLE;

    It’s not your job to buy indian visas, It’s their job to sell you a visa.

    SO STOP QUEUEING, outside the Indian High Commission at 6.00 am.

    SO LET the I H C staff await your custom at 6.00 am !!!!!!

  • Ben // Dec 17, 2007 at 11:28 am

    Hi – This has been a great posting and really sorted me out.

    I arrived at 5.20am this morning and was about 20th in line. People were goos humoured until about 7.30, when random people started trying to push their way in. Luckily a gentlemen next to me was having none of it and kept going up and asking them to leave.

    I got in by 8.40, was told to come back in 1 hour to pick up passport, however I went back at 9.15 and it was ready.

    There were a hundred and fifty or so still outside at the time I left. Hope they all made it.

    My advice – take something to sit on, a flask of coffee, an Ipod, a book and a torch – (was funny trying to watch people read in the dark!), and be very vocal when people wander up in front of you.

  • anonymous // Dec 17, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    I have been refused a 6 mth tourist visa
    instead they have only given 3 mth wsingle entry
    does anyone know what regulations they uise….I am bristich citizen

  • Dorian // Dec 17, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Richard – In response to your question, it’s so that you are contactable (to a certain extent) in case of an emergency. Likewise, the UK referees can be relatives, spouse, etc.

    Put your known hotels/addresses in the two spaces to suit the longest durations – that way, you’re covered.

    Hope this helps….

  • Richard // Dec 18, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Many Thanks Dorian, I went to the High Commission this morning and the whole process went very smoothly despite a long cold wait.

    I arrived at 6am and was 30th in line. By 6.30am the queue was up the steps and soon after it was round the corner and far away.

    I recommend getting their early if you can. Once I was in I was processed almost immediately and had my passports back by 9.25am.

    Happy days…….

  • Adam // Dec 19, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Same as above today, i got there at 5.45 and was about 15th in line.

    Many thanks for the creators of this forum.

  • John // Dec 20, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    We arrived at India house this morning at 6.40 AM and got position 49 & 50 in the queue (just standing on the steps), people at the start of the queue were in sleeping bags and looked like they had been there all night!

    Got number 42/43 and were dealt with at 9.05AM and had our passports and visas back at 9.50AM.

  • nmouse // Dec 21, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    Started queuing at 4.30. Got a ticket at 8.30. Visa granted by 9.

    Chatted to others already in the line and others who joined later. On getting the tickets (tell the man at the counter how many visa applications you have) from the counter at 8.30, my numbers flashed up on the number display almost immediately. The officer checked the form and the passport, counted the money. No other questions asked and was told to come back in 1hr. If you wait for a 15-20mins, they call out the numbers of the prepared visas very soon. There is no queue for collecting the visas.

    TIPS for VISA applications.
    Get a night bus or cab to arrive at the HCI before the London Underground starts its first journeys – the queue starts getting longer from around 5.30.
    Make sure you join the right queue – the visa services queue leads up to the door near the memorial stone of a police DC.
    Wear as many layers of clothing as you can, including at least 2 pairs of socks and thick boots – it gets very cold.
    Bring something to while away time – mp3 player, (not book as there is little light till about 8am), some food/drink.
    Get friendly with those in front of and behind you in the queue – they can help while away the time, keep your position in the queue if you want to buy some coffee or snacks, take a loo break or if queue jumpers intimidate you.
    Be wary of queue jumpers. Deal with them right away.
    Bring a collapsible chair/stool – very handy for waiting 4-6 hours outside.
    Have the exact amount in cash (a few were stranded after having only credit cards or not enough).
    If you are given a white ticket, proceed downstairs, yellow ticket – upstairs.

    Tips for OCI applications:
    Have 4 square photographs (35mm x 35mm) for each application. You can crop the normal photographs to this size. It doesn’t matter if the background is white. (http://hicomind.org.nz/oci/photospacification.html)
    Have two copies of everything for an application.
    For each photocopy – write “SELF-ATTESTED”, your name, signature and date.
    Make sure the first page (photo page) and the last page (mother/father/address, etc) of your passports are copied as well.
    Collate each set of application documents to save time.
    Don’t staple anything together.
    You can get your passports cancelled when you submit your applications.
    Get a separate ticket from the consular/passport services counter which is a separate counter and has a different queue.
    1 ticket can include many applications for OCI.
    Go upstairs and go to the “OCI cell” which opens at 1000.
    Wait for your number to be called out.
    Have the exact amount of cash.

  • Linda // Dec 22, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Hi…I have just been very impressed with the speed I received my visa via a postal application. I posted it on 12 Dec and it was returned 21 Dec, total of 9 days!!! I did type my application form so it was very easy to read (you can do this online in the Word format). Also if you are in doubt which referee to give as your 2nd one, I used the British High Commission in New Delhi, the consuls name and full address can be obtained via Google.

  • Phil // Dec 24, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Thanks to the tips here I had a stress free visa application session today.

    Arrived at 06:20 in about 50th place and settled in for a couple of hours on a camping chair. Saw a visa officer at about 08:45 and had my passport back and was on my way at 09:30.

    If you live close to a consulate I think it is time well spent to go in person. I only went myself after a visa agent’s courier lost my passport last week but I would do it again.

  • Stephen // Dec 31, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    After reading the comments left by others, I was prepared for the worst! Decided I wasn’t going to “camp out” at an unearthly hour, so arrived at the more civilised time of 8.05. Queue was up to Bush House (about 150 yds). Here goes, I thought. But surprise, at about 8.25, the queue started moving, and quite briskly too. By 8.45 I was collecting my queue ticket. Tell the guy how many visas you’re applying for – one Q ticket per application. I was given 2 white tickets, (2 visas to get), other people got yellow ones. I then joined a short queue to get inside the door. A guy here lets you inside in groups, to help keep the crowds down once inside. White ticket, down the steps, yellow, upstairs.

    It was fairly packed inside, but everyone was in good spirits. Keep an eye on the display – it tells you which number is next and which window to go to (it’s like a bank). The numbers can move on quickly so keep a careful eye on it, but sometimes it stays on the same number for ages, due mainly to people filling in forms at the window. Hint, fill in the form BEFORE you get here and save everyone, including staff, a lot of waiting. It’s painful watching idiots filling in their form at the window!! Get a life.

    My numbers came up at 10.15. After your form is processed you get a ticket (or tickets) with your original Q number on. This is for collecting your visa at window 7. I was told half an hour. Window 7 is about the size of a small serving hatch with a speaker above it, to the left of the main windows. Your ticket number is called here when your visa is ready. The speaker is not very loud, so keep listening or get close to the window. The visas don’t arrive in any particular order, so you may miss your number if you don’t hear it.

    My numbers were called at 10.30 – brilliant.

    A couple of things:
    The queue outside died away at about 9.30. but then a smaller one started to form at about 10.15. I think they were telling people to come back later – possibly to keep numbers inside down.

    The sytem works well. The staff work very hard, so smile and be polite to them. The main “problem” is the cramped and crowded situation inside, but it’s not intolerable. There are seats, but you’ll be lucky to get one. I found that by having a chat to people the time passed quite quickly. I quite enjoyed the experience (I need to get out more!!) and it was nowhere near as painful as I had expected.

    Hope this helps. Good luck and happy new year. Goa here I come!!

  • TonyB // Jan 3, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Joined queue @ 7:25, got queue ticket @ 8:35, went inside @ 8:40, made application @ 9:20, went for a coffee then picked up visa @ 9:50, that’s 2.5 hours overall.

    It’s a trade-off: if you want to be certain of getting your visa or want to get it quickly, join the queue early & wait for a long time. But if you’re not in a hurry & could go back next day, join the queue late, don’t queue for so long but take a risk. I was told they handle 1500 applications each day.

    There’s a photo-booth & a coffee machine adjacent to the visa hall. If you’re Australian but your passport was issued in the UK, then you don’t need to provide evidence of residence or pay the surcharge.

    It’s not a big deal, but queuing is colder than you expect.

  • Jay // Jan 8, 2008 at 8:46 am

    The holiday season is over, and the postal application is back on and running, SO STOP BLOODY BEING STUPID, unless it’s brtitsh nature to queue at 5.00 am for no apparent reason

  • Jay W // Jan 8, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    The comments above are apt; unfortunately due to late booking, we couldn’t rely on postal application. I’d also had a bad experience several years ago where India House lost my passport when I made a postal application.

    Therefore I arrived just before 6.00 yesterday. Intially I was fairly close to the window but was steadily bumped back as the queue gets longer due to people holding a place for friends/relatives to “wander in” later. Why do people do this – it p*sses off everyone else who has taken the effort to stand around in the cold!! A couple of us challenged them, but they denied they’d done anything wrong or simply lied and said they’d been queuing all along!

    You are able to make multiple applications so why not stay in bed and get your wife/girlfriend, husband/boyfriend to queue up for you instead. This is the approach my wife took, hence the reason I was sent out in the cold yesterday!

    I had been queuing for a couple of hours opposite a High Commission window saying no bags except for a “small ladies purse”, but the bag rule seems to have relaxed; Many people were taking in small rucksacks, including me.

    Given the bag rule has been relaxed take a flask of tea/coffee with you and some food – it is a long wait and it gets cold. An MP3/iPod is also a good idea to while away the time.

    Most important is talking to the people next to you. Everyone has their own story.

    In terms of process the doors open promptly just before 8.30. You collect your numbered ticket(s) and go either upstairs or downstairs depending on ticket colour. On Monday morning the waiting room was a tip and looks like a very old social security office (for those who remember them!). The room soon fills up. My application was seen at 8.30, and ready for collection by 9.20.

    Window 7 where the Visas are released is near to the upstairs entry door and soon becomes a bottleneck as people crowd around the serving hatch while others try to enter the Visa hall.

    The whole process is a big money making machine for someone. The costs (including hidden costs for those who need to stay overnight in hotels/car park fees/ other travel costs etc) must be substantial when aggregated across the thousands of applicants per day and are unnecessary when things could be done more simply and with a little investment more quickly. I can only guess it is not in the interest of High Commission of India to change things while they are making so much money and as the previous correspondant said, we are so stupid to put up with this system.

    Yesterday, next to the window where you collect your Visa upstairs there were two adverts: The high commission was “interested in receiving offers” on two top of the range Mercs, which were now nearly five years old I somehow doubt they were swapping the “company car” to a Prius!!

  • Jay // Jan 10, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Jay W

    I agree with what you are saying, The Indian Government is making huge amounts of money, the number of BRITISH tourist alone, stands at 500,000 per year. So if you say £30 per a Visa x 500,000 amounts to mega £ 15,000,000 YES ( Fifteen million Pounds per Annum. So given this cash cow producing this kind of cash, why would they scrap the visa system. They don’t have visas for Dubai, oman etc.

    When I was in East Africa.the Africans had a way of dealing with the price fixing cartel of the asians traders, was to BOYCOTT the shops owned by the asians, which in turn meant, – No customers equals no business !!!

    However the disease of UK – RIP THE PUBLIC OFF AT EVERY TURN, seems to be everywhere, because no one complains, or bothers to walk away.

  • kam // Jan 12, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    We got 4 visas this morning from visa surgery in Nottingham. Husband queued from 6.45am – there were already 15 people before him. Dropped mum in law off to keep his place at 8am so he can take son to football. Picked mum in law up at 10.30am – 4 visas ( £220 postal order). We were advised by the community centre to go early and wear warm clothes. Ring local indian temples – sometimes they provide help with getting visa on your behalf.

  • sarah // Jan 14, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    We’re travelling to india one lot on Sunday and the other lot on the 15th Feb and need visas……to use a service and send the stuff off is between £70 and £160 but to que up it sounds like from above posts to take a whole day and then some off work to get a visa!

    Has anyone qued at london for a visa recently? I know they were having problems in October but i’d like to be assured that turning up at 645am ish will guarantee a visa that same day at least?

    Can anyone advise?

    slightly worried!

  • mohinder // Jan 14, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    This site has been really helpfull !
    Just to update the information. I obtained my visa this morning 14th Jan. The visa process from the time the doors opened to when I picked up my visa was 1hr 20min.
    I joined the Q at around 0640 with 67 in front of me. so 1hr and 50min spent Q’ing!
    By 0700 it had grown to around 250 people.
    However when I left there were only 10-15 left. Maybe I could’ve had another 30-40min in bed!
    Make sure you have warm clothing it was perishingly cold in the wind especially if you are not behind the main buliding.
    Thanks Mik for the latte and your company which made the time whizz by…..all the best with your visa.

  • nmouse // Jan 15, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Sarah, the visas are issued on the same day, usually between 0.5-2h. Therefore you only need to take a day off work. It is also possible that if you queue early enough you can get your visas by mid-morning and go back to work after noon.

    Also, the visas’ start date is the day you get it. So you can get all your visas in one visit including for those travelling in Feb. Most visas last for at least 6 months.

    As everyone pointed out, the earlier you queue up, the further in front you are and the earlier you get your visas. What usually happens is the numbers increase quicker around 6.30am as soon as the Tube starts running between 5and 6am. After reading the advice left by others here, I decided that losing some sleep and bearing the cold by waiting early and getting out early. Wrap up for the cold and wet weather, have a good breakfast, make sure you have the right documents, exact amount in cash (no cards or cheques) and the required photos. (Maybe a collapsible camping stool as well :)

  • Jim // Jan 16, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    What an excellent site. Adrian very impressed that you chose to share your experiences in such an accesible manner. It’s a pity that it fell to you but pleased that it has and you’ve answered most of my questions on my first trip to india. Not sure whether you can help further but I note that I have to take other documents, does this relate to proof of a return/onward ticket. Any help gratefully recieved. Jim

  • Gareth // Jan 18, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I have flights booked for the 6th March to Delhi. Can people reassure me that if I apply for my visa via the post next week (22nd Jan) it will definately be ready by then!?

  • Nik // Jan 21, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    This site helped me with info to get my visa so thought i would report my experience to help others …

    Turned up at 7am to get my visa (and 2 others for friends) today – was already quite a few people in the queue when I arrived (it is all a bit disorganised as people dont seem to realise that there are 2 queues – 1 for Indians and 1 for foreigners) – but it opened bang on 8:30am and I was inside by 8:40am with numbers 1099, 1100 and 1101 (meaning there were 99 applications in front of me)

    I got seen by 9:15am and was told my visas should be ready for collection in around 1 hour – so i sat down and started to read the collection of magazines I had bought along with me

    I was pleasantly suprised when the first of my passports was ready after just 30 mins – the second was ready another 20 mins later and I was impressed at how smoothly everything was going (i guess it was all too good to be true!) – then I waited and waited and waited – for some unknown reason it was a whole 90 minutes later that the third passport finally appeared – meaning I didnt get out until almost midday!

    So it seems everything goes well for getting in the building and giving your application in but it is completely random on how long they take to process the visa and give back your passport as I handed 3 in at the same time and one took only 30 mins while the third took 2 hours and 30 mins!!

  • C // Jan 22, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    which days is it open ?

  • Dave // Jan 22, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Since this website was extremely helpful thought I’d return the favour. Arrived at 6:45am today, was in by 8:40 and had my passport back by 9:30. The trick is definately to get in early, and get it done quick. The queue behind me was massive.
    Once I’d handed in my passport I had time to pop out to a cafe to get a bit of breakfast before returning for it, it really was that easy.

  • Ree // Jan 23, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    was there last week, at 5am! yes we really wanted to get the Visas! there were just 2 people in front of us. Be warned if you are coming early no matter how warm you are when you leave the house, it gets really cold when you are standing still for a few hours. really cold, i was lucky someone had left a deckchair behind, but the rain started, so bring shoes that are water resistant too and a flask, alas , nobody has pounced on the idea yet to make a packet selling coffees beside the Queue.

    If you def want to get your visas the same morning ie people who came later would not have got their visas til the afternoon or would even have been told to come back, you need to get there early ,at around 6:20 the queue starts to build after the tube opens, but the queue size varies each day. oh and watch out for queue jumpers we had a a guy with dreads get really shirty when he was asked to step back in the queue as we knew has had just arrived while we had been there for hours, as it turned out he barged his way in and then had 10 visas to get, obviously works for an agency, but then thats ten people who have to wait longer for their visas, really annoying!

    once inside its just a metter of waiting again but at least then its warm and dry! we were in at 8:30 out by 9:15.

  • Ree // Jan 23, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Oh and just to say we checked the queue when we left at 9:15 and there were hundreds in it, it could have been because it was a friday, i don’t know!

  • vc // Jan 23, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Hi.

    Wonder if any could help. I got my visa processed no problem for an indian tourist visa, but there is a single letter spelling mistake in my surname will it make any difference when the time comes to travel. Incidently I sent my application of by post and got it back three of them six days later xx

  • tan // Jan 25, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I am on a Malaysian passport & have permanent residency in the UK. I was expecting to apply for my visa today but only go back to collect it in 3-5 working days as I was not on a UK passport, but to my surprise, I was in & out of there in under 3 hours… with a 6 month tourist visa! How brilliant!

    I got in the back of a huge (& growing) queue at 7:45am, took a book & magazine with me so waiting wouldn’t be so bad, but instead I got chatting to a lovely couple all the way. By 9am I had my ticket number (190) and was sat down inside waiting for it to be called. When I got inside it was on number 59. I’ve never seen numbers called so quickly! By 10am I was at a window submitting my application & payment to the lady who was very efficient and friendly. That’s 2 applications per minute, I was very impressed! She told me I’d have my visa in 45mins, but based on the helpful information given above, I knew it could possibly be quicker so I hung around. True enough, I collected the visa before 10:30am. Done!

    Thanks for setting up this forum Adrian & to everyone else for sharing their own little experiences. Only because I came across this was I prepared for the worst, but it turned out to be a smooth process; and it was great chatting to other people who had already been to India.

    Cheers

  • mk // Jan 26, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    i have made my application for a tourist visa in december 07,i need to return to the HCI London to collect my passport,what times can passports be collected from the HCI london ???? thanks

  • mike // Jan 27, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Hi!
    Ree, good to get the details about the queue. Do you know that even if you reach by 10 a.m., you still get a token that guarantees you a visa by the afternoon. Perhaps its better not to crowd around in the early dawn darkness, and reach by 9 a.m.

  • Jane // Jan 28, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Do you know if it is possible to apply for a visa on behalf on someone else? Thanks.

  • toral // Jan 30, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Hi

    I went to get my visa sorted today and just a few things I thought I should point out:

    1) you don’t HAVE to wake up and slave over to the embassy at 5 in the morning. I went there at 10.30 and got a Q card instantly. I was told to return at 2 to get entry to the visa hall. Although I got there at the specified time, there was a massive queue. I was in very quick, though. And once inside, we waited till 2.45 until the staff got back from their break. After that the ‘handing in your application’ is fast since most people weren’t there. Also, whether you go in the afternoon or the morning, the length of time you’ll spend at the embassy is more or less the same. Personally, afternoon was easier for me.

    2) The Indian Consulate website is not the best source of information and I wouldn’t recommend calling them up since most people don’t know what they are talking about. Best way to get things done would be physically going to them and that is a major pain, as I found out the hard way. I thought they were perhaps the most unhelpful group of individuals I’ve ever come across.

    3) The process is easy but here is a few details that people with situations like mine should know about:

    If you hold a British Travel Document: They will want to see your Bank Statement. They will do this because they want to see if you have enough funds to finance your trip.

    If you are a student: They want to see a letter from your school/college/university. And if you’re like me (Gap Year Student), avoid mentioning it in your application since they don’t understand the concept. Just write Employed/Unemployed. There were 3 students in front of me and one was sent home without a visa while the others were informed that just because of that it would take 9 days processing time. My friend, (a gapper herself), went through this only a week ahead and none of this happened to her application.

    I would honestly not recommend people to go on their own if they could help otherwise. Just use a visa service. They are efficient and it will save you a hassle. Although only use that service if everything is in order and you DON’T have special situations.

    Just thought I’d write you my story. And yes, I do have to go in again and I’m not looking forward to it.

    Also, I thought I’d just mention it even if it sounds irrelevant: They actually lost a girl’s passport some days before and have yet to resolve it. She’s been coming in since that day.

  • Rekha // Feb 4, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Is there a reason why they give out only 15 tickets for OCI applications? I went to HCI London in person and just missed out as I was 16 or 17. And they would not give me one for the next day. Is it really logical to queue from 5:30 am when OCI applications can only be submitted after 10:00 am and until12:00? They advised me to post it. What’s wrong with hand delivering it seeing that I was there already?
    And why 35mm x35mm size photos? Can’t find anywhere for this size or without white background. I don’t trust the postal system to return my passport on time – I am travelling in 10 days time to Europe and was hoping to get the application in and passport returned before then. Any suggestions?

  • NicMacc // Feb 4, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Hi,

    Found this website really useful so hope my experience helps.

    This is a much less busy time for people getting Visas than November so please do yourself a favour and don’t get there at 5am.

    We started to queue at 8.48am, I checked my watch because of this website, the number of people in front of us was a surprise. I would guess about 150. The line of people snaked up the stairs and round the corner… a long way round the corner.

    They opened, as this site says, at 8.30 so we were already moving as we joined. We got our Qtickets (378/379) at about 9.15-9.20. It said come back at 11.30 so we went off for breakfast. We returned at 11.15 and went inside.

    The room was rammed but I soon found out that there was a huge queue in it for Indian passports too so the amount of people in front of us wasn’t as large as I first thought.

    Our numbers were called and we were out of the place by 12.30. No problems. Total time = 3hrs 45mins of which 2 hours was spent in a cafe or walking along the South Bank.

    There are not enough chairs in the room but I would recommend that you don’t wait around window 1 when you are waiting to get your visa. The numbers are called out on a microphone, so you can hear from the other side of the room.

    I read on here how bad the system was and that it was a farce. I have to disagree, the system is exactly the same as the one for a US Visa except that there are a lot less chairs.

    Don’t get frustrated, it’s the way it is and everyone is in the same boat. Just take something to do (Book, Magazine, PSP etc) and pay attention to the numbers.

  • Rocco100 // Feb 6, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    I obtained my visa this morning. I arrived just after 5.30am and there were only 5 people ahead of me. By 6am there were at least 150 behind me and by 8.30 the queue was endless!
    However, if you’re ahead in the queue at least you can sit on the windowsills, and beleive it or not the 3 hours went really quickly. I had my visa by 9.15am.
    I had to arrive so early to be guaranteed my visa as I booked really late and only had 3 days to spare, otherwise, as I live in Brighton, I would have used a visa service.

  • Dan // Feb 12, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Hi
    I went down there yesterday 11/02/08 we arrived at 6.15am and there were 23 people in front of us, by 7.45 there were hundreds behind us maybe more.

    Got queue no’s 24 & 25 was in the visa hall by 8.40am at the counter by 8.50am and was handed my passport back with visa in at 9.15am.

    So get there early wait it out, dont let any cheeky Indian’s push in and your be done in no time.

    In the words of Gordon Ramsey… Done !

  • Jane // Feb 12, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Went to get visa on Monday 11th Feb. No problems at all. Arrived in the queue at 7.20am. There were about 100 people in front of me.

    Got into the visa hall by 8.45 and was given q card number 99. Paid for visa by 9.30 and had collected it by 10.30.

    Service was efficient and although it was a little cramped in the hall was a relatively easy process!

  • Sally // Feb 13, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Having read about the ridiculous times that people were arriving at the Indian Commission, I decided I would try the postal service.
    I filled in the forms, got my postal order and sent mine and my husbands passport by special delivery. The Indian Commission received them on Tuesday 5th and sent them back to me on Monday 11th. So why get up at the crack of dawn to queue in the freezing cold, when the postal service is so efficient!!!

  • Momoko // Feb 15, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you all for sharing information!!
    It was really useful.
    I went to HCI London to get visa yesterday.

    Started to queue at 6.40am.
    There were 35 people before me.
    Submitted documents and paid for visa by 8.55.
    (cost only 6pounds as my passport is Japanese)
    Collected it at 10.

    It was much easier than I thought!

  • Will // Feb 15, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Arrived at High Commission London at 07:10 on 15th Feb. About 50 people in front of me. Got into the visa hall by 08:40, ticket # 54. Handed in application at counter at 09:05. Was told to come back in an hour. Went for some breakfast, back at 10:05 to collect it. Out by 10:20. Could have waited around and got out earlier, because when I went back they were handing out passports for ticket #s 100+. All relatively painless apart from the slightly early start!

  • nmouse // Feb 17, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Rekha: Don’t know if this will help you now, but I’ll go ahead anyway.

    Photo – Getting an OCI gets you a visa sticker on your passport with your photo as well as a separate 4 page OCI passport booklet. The photo you submit is used on both of them. After extensive searching about the issue of the unusual photo requirements, I made sure that the photos were as close I could get them to their specifications. I trimmed the edges of a normal rectangular passport photo to get it as close to 35×35 while still showing some shoulder. The photo had a white background, but this was not an issue at all. Google tells me some resorted going to a studio to get the exact specifications, but going into a photo booth would be just fine, I’d say.

    Time – And as for the OCI tickets, there’s no need to queue up from 5.30. I’d say 9 or 9.30, but 8 at the earliest.

    Also, on average it takes 5-8 weeks for the OCI to be ready for collection from the time of submission. Since they don’t take in your passport to process the application, it’s not a hassle to travel while waiting for the OCI.

    Tickets – At the OCI cell, it takes between 2 and 5 minutes to process one OCI applicant. Since one ticket can include e.g. a family of 5 applicants, and since some people are not organised in their submission of application, namely, taking out staples, rummaging for documents and counting out cash, the process can get delayed. I suppose that’s why they limit it to 15 tickets for the 2 hours.

  • Ahmed // Feb 25, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Hi , i just wanted to know i am a pakistani national want to apply for indian visit visa to meet my fiance and i just want to know what is the format of sponsor letter and what all documents do i require her to send me . I stay in london with my family and have a valid visa till 2010 i want to go to the state of goa so let me know about the procedure and advise would be welcomed thank you

  • AndyL // Feb 25, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Hi everyone,

    This is a great page and helped me loads when i went down today (25th Feb 2008) so wanted to contribute my experience.

    Went amazingly well and smooth, arrived at 6:30am and was 10th in the queue. queue slowly built up so by 7:30am the queue was round the block. Key point is that come early (ie about 6:30am) but don’t be insane and get there any earlier.

    Doors opened – be wary of queue jumpers, be assertive! I was in the building by 8:30am and sat down. Watch out for the numbers on the electronic board, will come out with a ticket number and the counter you have to go to – numbers go in order and go fast.

    handed over my stuff and got told it would take any hour but finished in 40min from counter 1.

    Tips I would consider useful:

    1. Have all your documents filled out and ready to go (cash or postal orders not cheques or cards)

    2. Try and sit on the front row so you can get to the counter quickly as the numbers go fast

    3. Make sure you fill out the form fully (someone trying to get a 5 year visa could only get 6 month as didn’t put parents town of birth!)

    4. To clarrify even if you are a first time application you can get a 6 month visa

    5. Check your VISA when it comes out, name, passport number, stamp and signiture on stamp.

    All in all I was out by 9:30am a very happy man! Well worth the effort to arrive early!

    Hope this helps

    Andy

  • Katy // Feb 27, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    The posts above were all really useful to me when I went to the get my visa on 21st Feb. But don’t get too concerned about arriving really early. I arrived at about 7.30ish and must have had around 50 people ahead of me (the queue was up the stairs onto the pavement but not much further), I was still indoors before 8.30 (they opened the doors early, ticket no. 57) and was processed around 9.15, before getting my passport back before 10.30.

    It was all very well organised if you knew what was going on (which I did thanks to this blog). The queue for visas is to the right and the shorter queue on the left is for Indian Nationals.

    There were several people who went through the process just as swiftly as I did but had arrived a good hour or so earlier – thats just a whole hour more that they had to wait in the cold to get it done in just the same amount of time as me. However I will say that by 7.45-8 the queue had grown a great deal and was snaking a long way down the road.

    All in all it was a fairly painless process.

    A note on Postal applications – my friends all went down this route and found it very efficient. Though it says it can take between 1-2 weeks my friends all seem to recieve theirs back within 6 or so days.

  • Stephen // Mar 5, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Here’s how I found it. Quite painless. Arrived at 06:50ish as that’s when my train to London got me there. Was number 36 in the queue. Got to the ofifce where they issue “Q” numbers in about 2 mins after it opened – the queue moves very quickly. Yellow Tickets have to go up the stairs (Ground Floor!), white tickets downstairs (Basement). Had to wait until about 08:5o to be called to the counter. Top Tip – when you think your number is going to be called ready yourself by going to the front – it your not at the counter in about 30 seconds they call the next in line! This happened about 3 times in 20 mins when I was there.

    Process was simple – Passport, Completed Form, 2 photographs. There is a Photo-Me machine on the “Ground Floor” if you forget to bring two photos.

    Passport returned from Window One at 09:40 – a bit of a bundle and you have to be assertive as piles of passports arrive at the same time and people try to queue jump.

    No big hassle for me – I work in London 10 mins away by bus – but my best advice is PLAN AHEAD and use the postal service. If that fails use aVisa Courrier company. These guys were very apparent in the Embassy and were in and out inside of an hour (although they must have been in the queue outsdie since 6am!).

    Hope this helps – it’s not bad, and if you can’t hack the embassy in London you should think hard about how you are going to cope in India….

  • Tim // Mar 5, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    5th March:

    Started queuing at 7:10am. Fifty people or so ahead of me. By 7:45 the queue was as far as I could see behind.

    At 8:30am the queue started moving quickly. Was inside by 8:45am.

    Grab a seat if possible in side; there will be another longish wait, and soon the hall will fill to bursting point, so not comfortable to stand.

    Was seen at about 9:30am. The numbers go very quickly and this part of the system was efficient.

    Was told it would be an hour to collect from Bureau 1.

    Actually took about 1:30 mins, but in fairness I could have missed the initial call for my collection. This part of the system does not work well. Imagine 50 people squashed around a single window shouting out random numbers at a rate of knots.

    Tips:
    - Get there between 7 and 7:30am (earlier not necessary)
    - Dress for the cold weather
    - Bring book/PSP/etc
    - Grab a seat when you get inside
    - Be patience
    - Be prepared to be there for the morning

  • Peter // Mar 10, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Thank you for this very useful site.

    The following points from my experience might be helpful:

    1. It is important to get a Q ticket for EACH visa you want, otherwise you risk being sent back into the queue to get more.

    2. Currently there is a notice showing to the effect that from 1 June NO BAGS or BRIEFCASES will be allowed in the visa hall with the exception of “ladies purses” (American for handbags?). The notice says that there is no storage place for bags at the High Commission so users must “make their own arrangements” to leave bags elsewhere before entering the visa hall.

  • terry h. // Mar 13, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    If a visa lasts for 6 months why not get one
    sooner.?

  • Emmanuel // Mar 14, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks for the all the facts above!

    I had been to the India House on 12th March at 7:00am, stood in cold windy weather and weathered it all :-). someone called this “endurance test”
    8:30 the counter opened and was given token 1041.
    By 9:00 my number was called and the visa was issued by 9:45am.
    My suggestion, if anyone wants to get the Visa on the same day, then go there early.
    Good luck!

  • Bob // Mar 27, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Just to say it seems to have calmed down and got better now. I fouled up and arrived late, 9.30, got number 1336 with an estimated time of between 10.30-11.00. Came back at 10.30 for the number to be only at 1100 something. Decided I may as well grab a seat if possible. My number came up at about 11.50. By that time they seemed to have got into the swing as they were shooting along quite well. Took all of 2 minutes to hand over form, photos and money and that was it. Either lunch or something back end then seemed to hold up the passports coming out as before they had generally been pretty quick but mine took just under the hour to get done. So all out by 1.
    The only advice I found was if you can get chatting it passes the time & makes it a bit more interesting. Met a few very interesting people up there. Bags didn’t seem to a problem. & the final counter where they call the numbers, definitely cram through when they call your number. I was being polite and stood at the back of the crowd only to find that most of them hadn’t had their number called yet but were just waiting hopefully. Push on through.
    Thanks for all the advice above though, it really set me up & helped me.

  • Mr J Charles // Mar 28, 2008 at 11:18 am

    PLEASE READ THIS COMMENT BEFORE GOING AND STANDING IN THE RAIN FOR 2 HOURS!!!!

    I have just received my passport back from sending off a postal application via Special Delivery to the Indian High Commission in London.

    It took under 7 days in total.

    If you are not in a rush and are going to India in 3 weeks or a month ahead then the postal service was excellent.

    The only extra cost was the Special Delivery each way (£5 each way) and the postal order charge (£5).

    There really is no need to pay a visa agent £90 to do this for you unless of course you have just booked and are going next week.

    We are currently heading towards the end of the holiday season so it is much quieter at the commission.

    This website is fantastic and provides all the info you could ever need and more for your trip. Read the threads and note the dates when people were posting them and if you have the time send it by post!!!!!

  • Matt // Apr 1, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    I found this article so helpful that i feel compelled to add to it! I went and got my visa this morning with no problems whatsoever. I arrived at India house at 7am and counted about 40 people ahead of me. However by 7.30 the queue had doubled, and grew rapidly. The door opened at 8.30 and i got handed my ticket on entry to the building at 8.35. I had my passport back with visa by 9.20. This was much quicker than expected so definately shows the value of getting there early.

    I would say a good benchmark for arrival is 7am, any earlier seems pretty pointless. Oh and make sure you get in the right queue for visas and not the one for passports. Ask around if your not sure! Hope all goes well.

  • Rahima // Apr 14, 2008 at 12:00 am

    Hello – I’m a Canadian citizen, resident in UK for past 4 years. Have had 2 previous Indian Visa – one about 18 months ago. Is it still possible to get a visa in a day in London if you’re not a UK citizen. I am out of the country at the moment & will only have 3 days to handle the visa before i leave for india. Help!

  • Harry // Apr 19, 2008 at 10:52 am

    I followed your advice and got there at 0630 – 18th in the queue. It was cold – I wish someone sold coffee to the queuers! The visa section opened soon after 0830. They handed out a white or yellow ticket [visas are processed downstairs and upstairs]. I was seen by 0845 and had my visa by 0930. Many thanks for your helpful advice!

  • Omkar // Apr 23, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Does anybody know how the passport services queue looks like ? Does one need to get in queue that early for that as well ?

  • sasha // May 6, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I went with friends today who are all of pakistani origin and were hoping to accompany me on holiday this summer – i myself hold a 10 yr indian visa as i am of indian origin…
    my friends were treated disrespectfully to say the least, they were requested a series of documents which were not stated anywhere on their website or in any guideline documentation the HCI provide – in fact, it seemed the PRO (Public relations officer) just made things up as he went along! Needless to say, even after this whole rigmarole they were NOT issued visas.. I was really disgusted by the behaviour and attitude of the HCI staff.

  • Mike // May 20, 2008 at 12:50 am

    Seems that the Indian visa applications are being outsourced, and instead of standing in queues in front of the High Commission, applicants must apply through a private company. More about this at the High Commission website:
    http://www.hcilondon.net/visa/visa-advisory-notice.html

  • James // May 26, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    I’m in a similar situation as rahima. I’m an Australian citizen and am on a trip around the world and need to get an Indian visa very quickly. Does anyone know if I can still get a visa in a day if I rock up early enough? Please help.

  • Chris // Jun 3, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    VISA SERVICE OUTSOURCED
    I’ve just been through the new, outsourced visa application service and I have to say, it was a lot less hassle than the old one described here.
    I hadn’t realised that the outsourcing had started so I’d filled in the old form by hand and went early this morning (as recommended here!)to the High Commission…only to find notices posted on the door telling me to go to one of the 2 new visa application offices. I went to the one in Goswell Road, a short walk North of the Barbican tube station. I arrived at 8:15, the doorman showed me in and I sat with the other 8 people who’d got there before me. At 8:30 the doorman went around personally distributing numbered tickets to everyone in the order they’d arrived!
    By 8:40 I was at one of the desks and by 8:55, I was out and on my way.
    NOTE: You can no longer get a visa while you wait…however:
    > I believe you can now fill in the forms and pay on-line.
    > You can pay with credit/debit cards at the desk (although most of their chip&pin machines weren’t working…they’d only been open for 3 days!)
    > You can either pick up your passport when it’s ready or have it posted to you – the application centre can supply the special delivery envelope when you get to the desk.
    > You can track the progress of your application online.
    In all, it appears to be a very simple and much improved service. All the staff at the centre, while obviously still learning the process themselves, seemed efficient and friendly.

  • Paul // Jun 8, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I have noticed that on the on-line application you have the option of 2y, 3y, and 5y VISA length (max stay 180 days). Is it actually possible to get these if you are a white westerner on non idian origin?

  • Mr. C. Depala // Jun 9, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I regret to inform you that I visited the Indian Embassy today on 9th June 2008. I was there at about 07.30am waiting in the queue and at about 08.30 one of the person waiting in the queue told me that this is not the queue for visa. I went to the man standing on the door of embassy and he showed me the two addresses one near Victoria station 60-62 wilton road and the other one near Old st. station 142-148 goswell rd. I went to one in wilton road near Victoria station. The doorman there told me that they do not do vise there. I was told that I have to apply through internet only and have to bring the reference no forvisa. I still do not know what is the correct procedure?. I wish someone will let me know the correct procedure.

    Thank you.

  • Chris // Jun 11, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Update to my previous comment: The visa arrived by recorded delivery at 7:30 on Friday morning…about 3 days after I’d made the application.
    The online tracking wasn’t very helpful but the overall process seems simple, efficient and hassle-free.
    (I’m in Hyderabad now!)

  • Guy // Jun 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Outsourced Visa application- 142 Goswell Rd.

    Arrived 10am ish on Wednesday, greeted by the friendly and helpful doorman who gave me queue ticket and I sat in the large enough waiting room. No problem with my small (nearly empty) bag, though I suspect it would have been inspected if bulkier than it was.

    The queue system was efficient with a large screen and loud announcements advising which ticket was up next at which desk.

    Tickets seem to be in three types; ‘Appointment’ ‘No appointment’ and ‘Collection’ (after 11am). It appears that Appointment tickets get priority (fair enough) with ‘No Appointment’ seen if time is available, which didn’t seem to be a problem as the three ‘No Appointment’ numbers in front of mine came up at around 6 minute intervals. But then nothing – only appointment tickets… for about 40 minutes more. I should’ve get there a few minutes earlier…

    At the desk the lady was also helpful and friendly, suggested gently I should’ve applied online and made an appointment too to save the wait, (again, fair point) but checked my forms and letters without fuss (business visa, but process seems identical for tourist visas) and I was away from the desk in 25 minutes.

    I received a tracking reference and expect to collect in 2 – 3 working days; hope to update on how that works later.

    My suggestions for others would include:

    Apply on line if you can (though I can’t vouch for it’s efficiency) as apparently that’s how you get an appointment.

    If you haven’t, download the word version of the form and fill it out in typed capitals before printing – they do not like handwritten forms, only sign and date by hand at the bottom. This is not actually as easy as it might seem, since the formatting jumps about, so allow time to put the formatting right.

    I put ‘N/A’ in the non applicable boxes which seemed ok. I don’t know if my day was good or bad, but if you have no appointment it would seem advisable to arrive before 9.30am to minimise waiting.

    Handling fee (on top of visa fee) is around £8 to £10 incl. VAT, and depends on type and length of visa required (So 12 month business visa totalled £59.09); they take cash or credit / debit cards, but not AmEx.

    I’d tried to phone the day before to ask on a couple of points, but no reply. I guess not quite perfect, but clearly a great improvement on the hassles noted in the old system!

  • Paul // Jun 15, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Travelling to London today to apply for 2y multiple entry tourist VISA tomorrow (Monday 16th). Will post details IF I get it….

  • Paul // Jun 16, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Just back from applying for the VISA. Was told that a 2y and 5y are a no, no as I am not of Indian origin. I have therefore applied for the 1y but was told by the lady that I may still only get a 6m one. Seems like I will have to travel to Sri Lanka for another in December. So if you are applying and NOT of Indian origan DO NOT apply for anything more than a 1y VISA.

    Can’t really say this ‘out sourcing’ in better as you cannot apply and get the VISA on the same day – which was very handy. Also there is not enough information on the web page and you can only apply with a PRINTED out pre filled online form. How are people with no internet going to manage or maybe they don’t want us?

    Oh well, the VISA is coming back via post and should be here by Friday. Will put another post then.

  • Vivek // Jun 18, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    As per the new system you must fill the online visa application form and then print the form and take it to the Embassy. You can also make appointment to submit during your online completion or walk in with the Printed application form. Do not walk in without completing the online application, I’ve seen so many people had been turn down by the security guard who had not got the online completed printed application form. You then will have to take a ticket and wait for your turn and once they call you to the booth, the officer will check the form and if they are happy with the form then ask you to pay the fee over the counter. Three days later go and collect the passport or pay £6 to send it by special delivery. If you hold a EU passport, please take 1 year utilities bill or bank statement or the resident permit.

    Please do not go there without completing the online application form ! They will not accept the hand written form.

    Good Luck!

  • Jess // Jun 19, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Hello,

    To anyone who has received a tourist visa through thew new system – how long did it take process? From day of drop-off to collection?

    Cheers,
    Jess

  • Paul // Jun 19, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Hi

    Got my VISA back today via Special delivery. It wasn’t a 6m but a 1y multiple entry. Would be worth those who visit alot trying for the 1y as it works out cheaper. 2 weeks and I will be there……

    Paul

  • Guy // Jun 21, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Update to my post above – Online tracking was effective, visa declared ready for pickup on Monday (two full working days excluding arrival and collection); I arrived around 2pm, but had to wait around 90 minutes for queue number to be called (a number of couriers were in front of me, and they had to check a number of passports). Again, getting there earlier would prob have helped, but no complaints.

  • RUSSELL // Jun 22, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    can someone give me the link to apply on line for the indian tourist visa.

  • Bob // Jul 3, 2008 at 5:14 am

    I live in UK but carry a U.S. passport and tried to use the new visa service at Wilton Rd. on June 26. I waited in the queue outside for about 90 minutes before being allowed in and given a number. I had pre-filled my form but found out that I had downloaded the wrong form. I was allowed to complete the new form and submitted it. I was told that my visa would be ready early next week. After waiting a full week and not getting any updates on the website, I waited again on July 2. I was told that it could take another 1-2 weeks because I had not been resident in UK for one year. I asked to withdraw my application so I could have my passport for a flight this weekend to another country. I was informed that withdrawals of applications could not be processed due to the large volume of passports sitting at the HCI. Any advice on how to get my passport back quickly? I’d gladly give up the visa.

  • mr latif // Jul 9, 2008 at 5:42 am

    thanks for the info.im a british citizen born in pakistan,need to get medical visa to india, at birmingham,i will be visting delhi,agra,mumbai,vapi,surat.on the application what shall i fill in at the RESTRICTED AREA & PLACE PERMITED.thanks

  • MichaelP // Jul 15, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Read Gill Charlton in The Daily Telegraph 11/July about an unhappy reader with bad bad experiences with VFS GLOBAL – the new Visa Processing contractors employed by the Indian Govt.
    If the authorities @ the Indian High Commission do not take heed of the bad feelings created by VFS Global towards the British Visa Applicants – both NRI’s and others – I am afraid the British Media are going to take them apart and there will be bad and unnecessary publicity against the IHC – so VFS – either shape up or ship out.

  • P Kerai // Jul 31, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    The staff issuing Visa tend to go off for coffee breaks and lunch together and they tend to shut during that period, and I remember it was my turn next and had to wait 1/2 hour until they re-opened again, so waiting could be around 2 hours plus the time the staff take for their coffee and lunch breaks (unless things have changed recently!).

  • Ben // Aug 15, 2008 at 8:52 am

    The new online form requires a “sponsor” and seems to want a UK-style address. Can that be right – they want a UK-based sponsor? How can it be relevant anyway for someone who’s not planning to work or study in India? I can’t find any guidance, FAQs or whatever.

  • Debs // Oct 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    We thought last years process of obtaining a visa was a nightmare. Well this year its got worse. I created an “online” application on 23 Sept. (You aren’t really applying on line, you are just populating the form and making the payment on line). I printed the form signed it and posted it special delivery. The following day I checked with the royal mail website that it had been delivered and it had. VSF Global did not open it and log it until 1st October, today is 4th October and the online tracking system still says that it has been received. No updated as to if and when it will be retunred. I also had major problems with the online form. It kept populating fields with information that I hadn’t entered. Somethimes Iwonder if they actually want tourists. I have been going for ten years now and the visa process degenrates every year.

  • Aurora // Oct 17, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    AWFUL!!! i went to the india center in Victoria on 23 sept. i have applied for a non uk resident (i couldnt give any proof that i lived here for more than a year) i am French. they told me to fill a form non uk resident, it will be a bit more expensive 10pounds and will take between 7-10working day. at the date of today when i track my applicaiton online it is still saying, your application is being processed. i am flighing on 29oct to india. i went to the embassy again this morning to know what was wrong, they couldnt help me, just saying it is still in process. i am lost, is anyone has any suggestions to give me????

  • Nads // Oct 21, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I haven’t tried the online process and I’m leaving in two weeks so i’m going to give it a go and go straight to one of their centres tomorrow with the visa form all filled out along with all the info I think they might require (on top of what they already require as my Mum is from Pakistan). Has anyone tried to go straight there before applying online? What was your experience?

  • dan // Oct 24, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Visa Application

    It has a box saying that I need two references from India, are these compulsory? or can I put N/A as i don’t know anyone there!!

  • Raj N1 // Oct 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    In relation to whoever said they turned away written applications, they don’t turn people away. You get a different queue ticket to the people who get an online appointment. It may take a bit longer for them to go through the numbers as online appointment holders have priority.

    Avoid going a day after a holiday. I went after Diwali on Oct 28, when it was closed the day before and there were masses of people.

    Note the online tracking of your applicaton. It will basically tell you if your passport is ready for collection

  • john // Nov 6, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Worse than ever!!!!!

    The new system to get a 6 month tourist visa is an absolute joke… I have 5 six month visas in my passport now and this time at the Victoria VFS office was the absolute worst. They are utterly utterly incompetent. You have to wait a minimum of 3 days, I think only divine intervention or the say so of a corrupt Indian or English politician (there is very little difference in my opinion now) would make the process quicker and to top it all off they charge £1 per minute if you have an inquiry on their telephone ‘help’ sic line. This is the worst, the absolute worst…

  • Jay // Nov 10, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    John – You should read my note dated 10 January 2008.

  • Dexter // Nov 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    John:

    I’m surprised that many EU and non-EU tourists desire an Indian visa a mere couple of days before the date of their intended departure, and expect their desire to be granted immediately. Perhaps the Indian High Commission needs to state clearly that people shouldn’t put off applying for a visa until two days before the date of departure, given the increasing number of applications they receive every day.

    My experiences show that the Indian situation isn’t half as bad as with other embassies, such as the US Embassy. When I went to apply for long-term visa at the US embassy in Germany, the waiting took upto 4 hours, despite having to schedule an appointment, just to hand in myr application, a month in advance. (By the way, the minimum wait time to get an appointment for visa is a month, so those intending to leave for the US in few days can kiss their tickets goodbye – you ain’t getting the appointment in such a short time. Plus, you pay 10 euros just to schedule an appointment, or some two Euros per minute for scheduling appointments or receiving clarification by phone).

    Ironically, the time of appointment given by the US embassy was 9:00 a.m, but my token number wasn’t called until 10:30, and then, once the papers were submitted, I had to wait for another two hours before my token came up again, to find out whether or not the visa was approved. Once approved, your passport with the visa mailed to you, so that takes about another couple of days.

    Compared to my experience at the US embassy, I was happy with the relatively ease with which I could get an Indian tourist visa (all within one day, without having to schedule an appointment, just to hand in my application, a month in advance ).

    Getting a visa is taking incredibly long and becoming more cumbersome in embassies of almost all countries that are seeing tremendous influx of tourists into their country.

    Still, I’m sure that we Europeans will always find something to grouch about when it comes to dealing with those “other countries.”

    My best advice, if you want short waiting time, is to visit some obscure tourist destination, or countries not considered as attractive tourist destinations, especially for westerners – like Bangladesh. Even Bangladeshis from Europe prefer to visit India on a holiday than visit Bangladesh. I was amazed at the number of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis queuing up outside the Indian embassies in Germany and Netherlands.

  • Dexter // Nov 12, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Another Hon,

    I’ve also been to Thailand and India, a couple of times to each country, and I agree that Thai visa can be got at a much shorter time. But then that is because, at least from my observations of the two embassies in Germany and Netherlands, the tourist demographics to Thailand seems to be overwhelmingly westerners, whereas for India, they are not only westerners and Indians living in the west, but also from other south Asian countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The Indian visa queues thus tend to be much longer! When I went to the Thai embassy in Germany to get a long-term visa , there were only two applicants waiting in queue that morning. No wonder my mission was accomplished in less than 20 minutes.

  • Dexter // Nov 12, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I want to add, the postal service works best, at least for those that plan their holidays sufficiently in advance. For the last three visits to India, I got my visa by mail well within a week of sending in my application, despite their website’s clarification that it would take at least 10 working days to receive it by mail.

  • mit // Nov 12, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Hi, i need to go to india asap because my mum is very ill and was wondering if there was anyway of getting a visa the same day with the new system?

    If i cant, the office is closed tomorrow and then theres the weekend, so i’ll have to wait about a week before i can go, and I can’t wait that long due to the circumstances.

    Thanks

  • Noki // Nov 13, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Hi can someone answer this: can i get a india visa as i got police caution last year? does it affect my application?

    Please help thanks

  • Nish // Nov 14, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    That was quite interesting and entertaining. So, here I am to add to this list of queries…… If anyone can provide any information / guidance I would appreciate it as the VFS website / Helpline is anything but informative and helpful…

    I am an Indian citizen, having recently got married to an Englishman. By virtue of being a spouse of an Indian national, my Husband becomes a PIO (Person of Indian Origin). So we called the HCI, London to enquire about the PIO Card which amongst other benefits, is a “visa” valid for 15 years. Imagine our surprise when we were informed that PIO cards are issued to Foreign Spouses only after 2 years of marriage. We were then advised to contact VFS for the necessary “Entry visa”.

    After numerous, aborted attempts to contact VFS over telephone, we finally saw reason and dropped them an email. Our query were very simple. Could hubby dearest apply for a 2 year Entry visa ? We got a reply from them, though mind you, it says response within 24 hours and we got a feedback on the 5th day only.

    The reply went to state that my Husband could apply for a 5 year visa only after one year of marriage….. pardon ??? From where are these rules cropping up and why are these so discretionary ?? I am really annoyed at the lack of information and clarity.

    Does anyone reading this post, have some information and guidance on this matter ?? I would be pleased to hear so.

    Many thanks, in advance.

  • pug // Dec 4, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    It took me 5 working days to get a 6 month multiple entry tourist visa for a japanese national here in the UK on a tourist visa.

    The Indian visa staff at the Hayes office gave a bad service and a lot of wrong information.

    The information posted on the walls was also not clear.

    At first they told us it was immpossible for us to get a visa as we were not working or resident in this country therefore needed to apply for it in our home country, Japan, then after I wouldnt give up on the matter, eventually another officer said “it may be possible but will take 4 weeks, and maybe off the record if we were lucky and as Japan is an efficient country 3 weeks, if we were from the congo it would take a lot longer”, – we got it in 5 days.

    What a nightmare with the official shouting over the full waiting area “you chinese cant get a visa”.
    I politely responded “err, no, Japanese and theres no need to shout that at us over the whole place in front of everybody” to which his answer was, “pakistani, chinses, japanese all the same!!!” ???

    it was a disgracful service.

  • lukman // Jan 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    thanks ! awesome info..

  • Jo // Jan 12, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Just picked up two visas for my parents from the Goswell Road office. Took them in mid-day Thursday – had to wait half an hour which is not bad for a visa application office at lunchtime. Everybody very friendly. Then picked up them up today with only a five minute wait this time. If you can manage it, I would definitely recommend going there in person. My parents originally submitted their application by post. You have to fill in the form on-line so you assume that that information is being sent electronically. The website then mentions things about “if you would like to print your application”, etc. It’s only if you read it really carefully that it explains that it’s actually compulsory to print the form, sign it, and include it in the envelope with your passport when you send it by post. My parents then got the application rejected because they had “paid too much”. This is despite the fact that the payment is something which you actually have to do on-line, so you don’t get any choice in how much you pay. We suspect it may be because they were making two applications so the website charged them for return postage twice (which you don’t get any choice about), but then because they sent both passports in the same envelope, the person processing the application decided that they would only to pay for one lot of return postage. But seriously – could they not have just processed the application and then refunded them the difference?

  • Another Hon // Jan 14, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Dexter,

    I am very impressed that you read my comment posted on 15 October 2007. This shows that this website is working well. The reason why I said that if you were a tourist, you could consider countries like Thailand was simply because passport holders of 41 countries, including most European countries, did not need a visa to go to Thailand. Secondly, if you want to have a good relaxing holiday, try Banyan Tree in Phuket, you will not be disappointed.

  • SR // Jan 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Slightly off topic. When completing my (6 month tourist multiple) visa application I stated the port of entry and exit (both Kerala). Now I’ve changed my mind and wish to begin and end my trip elsewhere.

    Does it matter where I enter/leave India now I’ve got my visa? I take it a multiple visa means exactly that: I can enter/leave India as many times I want within a 6 month period? Grateful thanks for any answers.

    Also, I find real travellers’ blogs/forums/advice written by real travellers far more reliable than glossy travel books. Much thought put into this, Adrian.

  • Adam I // Feb 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I’m a medical student in the UK, I’m half Pakistani half English, born in England, never been to Pakistan (though my Dad was born there).

    I’ve been to the Indian VISA office in Birmingham twice in person and submitted an application online. My online application was sent back to me because I apparently put the wrong payee on the cheque payment – I wrote exactly what it said on the website.

    Each time I’ve been in person I’ve been sent home with a request for more information. I’ve have provided everything they asked for and they just ask for more.

    Now they cheeky b******s want to see my last 3 months of bank statements!

    My 100% english colleague (with no Pakistani heritage) got her visa through in a week with no hiccups.

  • CeeJay // Feb 23, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Just thought I’d let you know of my experience applying for a Tourist Visa.

    Filled in the form online which was pretty straight forward. Paid and booked an appointment online. (Appointment was for Victoria VFS office 10.15 today).

    Turned up early today at around 9.30 and was asked to go tothe 1st floor (no queue outside). Went up and was asked if I had an appointment, to which I answered I had. I was given a numbered ticket and asked to take a seat and wait for mynumber to be called. There were around 100 people sitting around, so I expcted a long wait.

    I was probably sat down for around 20 seconds when my number was called. Went up to the desk and handed in my application/passport/photos. I was given a receipt to collect in 2 or 3 days and told to track the application online.

    I was in and out of Victoria VFS office in less than 2 minutes. Not sure why this was as many people seemed to have queued for 2 hours and I guess that the 100 people in the waiting area didn’t have an appointment.

    Still, I can’t really fault the service today. I’ve applied for many visas over the years and 2 hrs seems to be the expected wait.

    The only down side was that I had to cancel my half day holiday and go to work!

  • Andy // Mar 4, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Just thought I’d relate my experience from 1/3/09. I filled everything in online on a Thursday, there were no appointment places until the Monday so that’s what I took. Arrived at about 9:30 at Goswell Rd, received an appointment ticket number (there seen to be more than one set of numbers, perhaps for those who book and those who just turn up on the day) and had to wait around an hour for 25 or so numbers to pass – there was a computer problem that morning and they had to fill things in manually which was causing the delay. A nice man walked around checking forms while you were waiting and I was told to apply for a 6 month visa instead of a 3 month as they were the same price. There was no problem with crossing things out with a pen on the sheet, and no questions were raised when I submitted the ’sponsors’ field as blank. I was told there was a minimum 2-3 day wait generally, and that mine would be 3 days. Picked it up on the Wednesday at about 3:30 pm, only two people in front of me and it took around 2 mins. All in all I found it positive and much better than many other embassies I visited while working as a courier. NOTE: I overheard there are NO same/one-day visa services offered.

  • trish432 // Mar 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    The forms say block capitals, what do I do about email address? If I use capitals it will be wrong email address.

  • Mark Walters // Mar 10, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I sent off for my Visa 04.03.09 and received it on 10.03.09 – in just 4 working days.

    I’m a British citizen and followed the instructions on the VFS Global website as best I could. My advice is to send off for it as well and trust they process (second day, 06.03.09) and return it (third working day 09.03.09) quickly.

    My options were:

    1) Go to London and apply in person. I wanted to but the website is unclear as to how to do this without an appointment (nearly 4 weeks for the earliest). Should you apply online, print this out then turn up? Or print out application, fill in by hand and then turn up? How true are all the nightmare stories about queuing? It would be helpful for some recent experiences and advice to be posted on here for others. It took me hours of research and pondering to work out what the best thing to do was!

    2) Pay an agency to process the application. I guessed the wait would not be as long as 15 working days plus transit so the agencies would have been a waste of time, money and added an extra layer of complication. Also STA travel advised me not to as it can cause extra problems.

    3) Apply online and make an appointment in London. This is what I first tried on 02.03.09 but the earliest appointment was 01.04.09 – useless!

    4) Just bite the bullet, cross my fingers and apply online, pay online and send the application in (to Hayes in my case) – worked out very well.

    I tell you this because in all I probably spent about 8 to 10 hours on this over 3 days – a lot of wasted time.

    NB I just put the British consulates names (Delhi and Mumbai – find them online) as my Indian sponsors and my doctor and a mate as my UK sponsors. Apart from that the form is not too confusing.

    I’d like to know that having chosen Delhi as my entry and exit point, if I could change those now my Visa ‘says them’. I’m sure no one will check but I’m going to stick to Delhi just in case.

    Please help others by posting useful tips on here – it is confusing and who is going to pay £1 a min to probably get more confused on their helpline?!

    Finally I’d comment although this blog is very useful, a lot of it is probably out of date, after past difficulties with the visa office etc – so please blog fresh up to date info for others!

    Mark Walters, Brighton, UK, March 2009

  • naz // Mar 12, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I have been travelling to India for last 9 years, every year it seems to be getting harder to sort my visa out. I sent my visa application on 13th jan and i am still waiting, after chasing them i managed to get a meeting with their visa officers. I had to explain slight changes to my visa application.

    I was asked to explain why I did not have a birth certificate for which I explained that I was brought here on my mother’s passport at infancy and have never seen or had access to my birth certificate.

    Changes in father’s name- I have been brought up fatherless and have had step and foster fathers. I have suffered physical and verbal abuse as a child and it was the most painful part of my life which I do not like to refer to. This is the reason when asked to write the father’s name I either say unknown, or I always write one of the foster parents who were kind to me. When I presented my application myself last year I was told why I did not know my Pakistani father’s name and the chap insisted I wrote a Pakistani name otherwise my application will not be accepted, therefore I changed it and wrote my step father’s name on it there and then, to simplify things. The latest application I made I wrote my biological father’s name as I was not certain whose name I had put down in the last application, which I was asked to change in the visa office.

    During my visa application interview by 2 visa officers, I was made to feel like a criminal or a terrorist and was interrogated and told that I was deliberately trying to mislead the authority. Which is totally untrue, I tried to explain it was a genuine mistake and was not intended to mislead in any way. I have produced all the documents that would verify me. My company accounts, marriage certificate, bank statements letter from my accountants and so on. I was left waiting for over 2 hours, when I enquired where every one was I was told they had gone home, and I was shown the way out which was rather humiliating and distressing, especially after having to discuss the most horrific and sick part of my life. It has taken years of help and therapy to overcome the pain and lead a normal life. I am now happily married and have 3 children.

    Lastly I was interrogated about why I keep going to the same place in India every year i.e. Jaipur, Udaipur and Aggatti.

    I explained I have good friends in both Jaipur and Udaipur who I like to visit, and I have provided their names and numbers. I have sponsored a little girl called Sabreena in the SOS Village in Jaipur, who is now nearly 9 and like to visit her yearly and keep in touch. I also pay for group of children’s schooling in Jaipur and pay for destitute children’s requirements personally and visit them and spend time with children in a disable children’s orphanage in Udaipur. There is no sinister agenda on my part. Bangaram which is in Lakshwadweep, it is a safe and beautiful island and we all enjoy scuba diving and like the staff and service and this is why we keep going to the same place.

    I am sad to inform you of the absolutely appalling way the Indian Visa Office are dealing with
    British Citizens. I have been a regular visitor to India for the last 9 years and have many friends there and love the country.

    I am a British Citizen and have lived here since infancy. My birth place was Karachi which I have no control over. Both of my parents are dead. I knew my mother but have no knowledge of my father. I am married to an Englishman, have 3 children, and run my own business, no criminal record, or any other suspicious behaviour.

    I travel to Lakshwadweep islands every year with my 3 children husband and two other friends for our Easter break. We have made our travel plans and paid for our flights, I was not expecting such carry on and felt I had sufficient time to sort the visa out because I sent my passport in on the 13th January. It is only now I have been able to get any response from any one, because I kept calling until someone responded. My family would be terribly disappointed if they all had to curtail their holiday if my visa was not granted.

    I am at a loss of what to do we are all suppose to travel on the 16 March to India for our Easter break, and I am travelling around the whole world for a year with my husband and 3 children for a family Gap Year, India is included in our travel plans. I do not want to go through this ordeal again in a couple of months.
    I strongly feel this behaviour should be exposed to press and general, maybe that may force them to be more helpful.
    Any suggesstion.

  • Asha6369 // Mar 16, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    BEWARE! India House in Aldwych no longer processes Visa applications. The closest India Visa Application Centres in London are:

    60-62 Wilton Road,
    Victoria, London, SW1V 1DE

    Or

    142-148 Goswell Road,
    London, EC1V 7DU

    I went to the Goswell Rd office (above) and it is wheelchair accessible, with disabled toilets, cold drinks machine, photo machine, computer and printing facilities at a charge.

    Or in Hayes:
    1-3 Canalside,
    Uxbridge Road,
    Hayes, Middlesex, UB4 0JN.

    There are also centres in Birmingham and Edinburgh

    20-21 Pemberton Street
    Birmingham, B18 6NY

    66 Handover Buildings,
    Rose Street,
    Edinburgh, EH2 2NN

    Its best to make an appointment if you are going to go in person, otherwise you have to wait for your number to be called before you can make an application. Make sure you have the correct application form available online at the web address below, 2 passport sized photographs, and passport. PS Very important: You can’t get your visa issued the same day anymore as you could at India House. It now takes 2-3 working days! But you can have it couriered to you for £7.40 up to a max of 2 passports.

    You can make more than one application if youre applying for your partner, husband, wife,etc. They do not need to go in person as long as you have all the relevant documents, signed.

    As the visa process has been outsourced to VF Services, you also have to pay a service charge to VF Services UK Ltd, VAT and Admin charges so its not the straight £30 for a Tourist Visa.

    But you can pay by debit card if you go in person, a real bonus.

    Visit http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk for more information and to track your application.

    Info valid as of 16 March 2009

  • Rose // Aug 12, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Hi There,

    I was born in Karachi, I am a British national and has been living in the UK for 30 years. How can I get a multiple-entry visa for India?

    Please let me know the best options or suggest firms who do this.

    Regards,
    Rose

  • darshna // Aug 22, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    i need an emergency visa to India as my father in law has passed away need to fly monday evening where do i go? please help

  • Fed Up // Feb 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    UK citizen, work in India but thinking twice about it now. Had a business visa before and applied through Middlesex thru the post originally applied for wrong visa (employment) but even then they recognised this and sent the appropriate visa. This time I have applied thru Edinburgh…what a bloody mistake that was been waiting over a month now and lost over a months wages waiting to get back. I don’t think it is the VFS company’s fault it is the useless edinburgh indian consulate. Every 3 or 4 days they ask me for something else……won’t bore you with the details but the last thing they ask me for was a declaration to accept a 6 month instead of a 1 year visa which I did….now I thought that was it but today I get a call asking me to attend an interview. My employers are as much help as a chocolate teapot too.
    I don’t understand that because I have had one before that there is such a problem now.
    And if they treat me like sh*t at the interview i’m gonna tell them where to shove the visa it is no longer worth the hassle dealing with the losers…….beware.

  • Fed Up // Feb 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Oh yeah and my interview is not till the middle of February, gotta wait another fortnight.
    Considering they want to get on the “superpower” ladder and i’m a teacher…..joke, nothing more.
    They are all corrupt…

  • seism // Feb 5, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I went to the office in Hayes arriving at 9:00 this morning with an appointment. It was relatively prompt (max 20 min wait), and the people were friendly and helpful.

    However, less helpful was the fact that I had neglected to bring a Proof of Residence in the UK (bank statement or bill) – having permanent landing for 2+ years I assumed it was not necessary and didn’t see it on any checklist – so was sent packing in about 5 minutes and my appointment rescheduled to next week.

  • seism // Feb 5, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Forgot to mention.. thanks for keeping your excellent blog post up! The comments are also very good, but as it’s getting quite long you might want to consider archiving it and pointing people to a forum.

  • Lara // Feb 24, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Visitors do n0t need to get to India to experience it. Their one-time visit to the Indian High Commission to get a visa will give the taster of a third world, ill-mannered introduction from the High Commission staff! The High Commissioner’s own office provides such a poor introduction to the ‘Indian experience.’ I have just experienced the rudest collective group of embassy staff in my life! Note that it is difficult to attain the names of individual officials who make rude comments(They tend to threaten to not to serve!). Even the High Commissioner’s name is hard to find from websites. He is personally responsible for the conduct of his office. He should stop hiding behind facades! Fellow Indians, do not put up with bad treatment. We are being abused while paying these officers to be in office. Complain to the Indian government copying the High Commission in London- even at the risk of your complaint being filed in the bin!!! If we do nothing, then we all deserve the service we receive. All the best.

  • Melanie // Mar 7, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Thank you all for the very useful information! Need a visa for this coming Saturday 13/03/10! Stupidly thought we could get visa on entering India (like Africa!) Feel only option is to queue but may use a 48 hr service. Will let you know!

  • Jacs // Apr 6, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I applied online a couple of weeks ago after booking a holiday to goa by teletext. The website was confusing and not clear how long it would take in one place it said 3 working days in another 15. We decided to take our print out and passports to the regional office in Cardiff. The man there was very helpful and even reopened as we arrived just before he shut. I checked online and it was processed within 4 days. The only trouble is it hasn’t arrived and we fly on Thursday so if it doesn’t appear tomorrow we’ve had it. We paid the extra for DX at £7.40. I guess it’s somewhere in Royal Mails system but why pay the Special Delivery fee? Pretty annoyed at Teletext for selling a holiday that it was impossible to get a visa for in time. Anyway tomorrows another day and it might arrive. If it comes Thursday it will be too late to drive to Gatwick so it looks like Cornwall instead.

  • Michael Vella // Apr 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I’m a Maltese national but I’ve been living in the UK for 4 years. Will it be OK for me to apply for a visa by post?

  • venkat // May 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I have a 6months multiple tourist visa to India until 4th July 2010. i intend to travel to India in a few days and return by the end of this month ie 30th May 2010. Is the visa i have is O.K as it has just over a month valid period left ?

  • tahir rana // Jul 19, 2010 at 10:30 am

    well done, if only the indian embassy would have employed people like you maybe then india would wake up!

  • Shineymine // Nov 9, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Hello -

    Has anyone recently done a postal application? If so can you let me know how long the turn around was for you? My boyfriend and I are due to fly next Friday and I overnighted the app last Tuesday (so they signed for it on Wednesday). I know we left it late- but he was in the states so I couldn’t do it at the same time as mine…. ughhh- hoping it will be here in time!

  • Shineymine // Nov 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Just an update on my experience…
    I took the train up to London on Friday 22 October. Got to the centre (close to Victoria station) at 8:29 and was given number 17. I was in the centre for a total of 20 minutes- fast and efficient. I requested the DX delivery service when I was there and had my passport the following Wednesday morning (27th)- total of 5 days!

    Boyfriend got home from the states and we posted his app overnight delivery on 2 Nov. Signed as delivered on 3rd- application status updated on the VFS website on Tuesday the 9th as “received and in process”. I’m not sure what was going on between the 3rd and the 9th- but assuming that since the 5th was a holiday it was in ilmbo for a bit. Checked the status on 11th and it said “Processed and ready for pick up”- 20 minutes later the status updated as “handed to royal mail for delivery”. Hopefully should receive it by tomorrow

    An odd thing though…. I put a postal order for £7.40 in the envelope to have the parcel sent back using their DX service. I’m not sure why it says that it has been handed to Royal Mail- as I didn’t include a return envelope and I do not have a tracking number for RM. I have sent their customer services an email to see what’s going on. As long as we get it I’m happy- but just a little confused about the return…

  • Shan // Nov 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Hi, I’m trying to fill out the online application form and finding it very confusing indeed…
    Can anyone tell me what I should write in ‘Restricted Area’ and Place Permitted’? Also someone above very usefully suggested putting the british consulate in Mumbai/Delhi as the ‘Indian Sponso’. Is it necessary to have their Christian name or just the address? I can’t get to that part of the form til I’ve filled in the restricted area and place permitted and have got stuck at that.
    Thank you to everyone who has posted useful information on here. I’ll endevor to do the same once I have any advice to give.

  • Shan // Nov 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Follow-up to quedstion above as found my own anwer. Just puy NA in “restricted area” and “place permitted” unless you’re travelling to eg Kashmir. You’ll also need name, address and phone number for two referees based in India.

  • Thejaraju // Nov 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks, it is very important to everyone,
    Information is best cycle around the World.
    now it is continue like the same way……..

  • Sheila // Jan 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Hi, does anyone know what to put in the bit on the online application that says “special mark” – is it on your body, like a mole or something?

  • Charlie // Feb 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Please does anybody know can you still get a visa the sameday at the India high commission. Thanks

  • FlimFlam // Apr 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Hi
    I am due to fly to India on the 21st of April and need to get a tourist visa for the trip. I dont have a UK passport but have been living in the UK for nearly 20 years. The form says that I need to have utility bills from 2 years ago as proof of address which I dont have. I do have pay slips, bankd statements, credit card bills etc – does anyone know if they accept these if I went in person? Also how long it would take to process my visa?
    Thanks

  • Arrghh // Jun 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Hi there
    Im a british citizen who unfortunately has parents that were born in Pakistan even though I have never been to Pakistan myself, I was told it would take a minimum of 45 working days for, I handed my application in on the 27th Jan and Im still waiting for an answer and Ive applied for a medical visa, talk about taking the piss, what takes them soo long? Everytime I enquire I am told to sit tight until High Commission of India gets back to me, but when will this happen? has anyone had a similar problem?
    I will be one very unhappy bunny if they refuse entry.

  • SimonD // Nov 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Convoluted and difficult process getting India tourist visa online – Nov 2011. Payment total and how to pay not obvious on line and web site does not have a logical flow for the Visa application process. No contact telephone numbers for help on screen. Egypt and Turkey allow other citizens to buy a visa on arrival for a small fee if they are only staying for a few weeks, why not India ?? Reminds me of being in an Italian bank in 1980 before the age of computers trying to change some money, which took all morning.

  • monty // Nov 26, 2011 at 6:05 am

    hi im checkin my application on line and its showin me ur application is processed and sent to indian high commission london uk for further assessment can any one help me is it showin for all application or its just with me ple help me

  • why is it taking so long???? :'( // Jun 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Hi I applied for Indian visa back in feb and now It is june they have stamped my passport with a vaf stamp and and told me that there will be a reference/background check by the Indian govt being performed. What exactly does this mean? I am suppose to get married to my fiance and I am a us citizen my parents are both Pakistani but US citizen for over 40 years now I provided the embassy with an affidavit stating I will be getting married their and my fiance is an indian national so what’s the hold up? How long will it take me to obtain my visa now that they stamped my passport with a vaf stamp? Somebody please help my fiance and I have waited too Long to be together

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