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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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????

  4. 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?

  5. 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!!

  6. 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

  7. 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…

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.


  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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


    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 for more information and to track your application.

    Info valid as of 16 March 2009

  25. 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.


  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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…

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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?

  35. 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 ?

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

  37. 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!

  38. 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…

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

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

  42. 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?

  43. 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?

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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

  47. 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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