How to obtain a visa for India in London

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.

302 Replies to “How to obtain a visa for India in London”

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. i used a travel agent astro global travel in bolton 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!!!

  11. i used a travel agent astro global travel in bolton .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!!!

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 !!

  20. 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!!

  21. 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!

  22. 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….

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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!!

  26. 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?

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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……..

  30. 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.

  31. 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.


    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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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…

  35. 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..

  36. 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.

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

  45. 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!!!

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