Monday, 16 September 2013

The Indian Visa Saga

"A tourist visa may be issued for three to six months. The duration of the visa is at the sole discretion of the Issuing Authority. All visa fees once paid are non-refundable irrespective of the outcome of the application and duration granted. The validity of the visa begins from the date of issue by the High Commission of India and not from the date of travel"  - Official Indian Visa Information website

We left England in July. We could have requested the visa in the month of May. Posting our passports, money & documents & hoping to receive our passports back in time for our departure. Hoping that we would be granted 6 months. This would then run out in November & hopefully would of allowed us enough time to visit all of the regions of India we have planned on visiting.

This sounded like to much wishful thinking. What if they only granted 3 months. We did not have an Indian Itinerary. The request could have been declined on that reason alone. Getting an Indian Visa while travelling was our best option. We would be in Istanbul & there is an Indian embassy. We did our research & set our selves up for the hard task of obtaining the visa in a foreign land & accepted no, rather looked forward to staying in Istanbul for a week while the application was dealt with. One week is what we had read on various forums.

On our first morning we headed to the embassy. Not expecting to be able to get the visa there & then as we had many questions. The information online leaves a lot to the imagination. 2 trams, a map, several people with reasonably good directions & 1 hour later we arrive at the embassy. Greeted at the door by a less than helpful little shit. He gave us a list of things we need & telephone number if we had any questions. We had not travelled all the way to the embassy to be fobbed off so I knocked on the door again. Someone different answered the door this time. I asked for more information & we were allowed inside the room & given a number & asked to wait. Within 15 minutes we had spoken to the visa lady & we had all the information we needed & told that we must complete the visa application online. This rule came into force February 2013. (The website does not make this clear either) Once completed we would be given an appointment date to return to the embassy, where the application would be granted or declined on that day. It would then take a further 4 working days to receive your passport with all of the visa documents completed. The Indian Government loves bureaucracy or what?

We returned to the hostel & it took 3 hours to submit both applications. We experienced hair pulling computer problems; both our laptop & the 2 computers in the hostel experienced crashes & certificate problems. Which leads me to think that the Indian online visa application web site is a little glitchy maybe?

The applications are submitted so all we have to do now is wait for the appointment. We were led to think that this whole process would take about a week right? Try over 2 weeks! Remember if it is granted it will take a further 4 working days.

Neither of us are drug mules. Catherine gave up human trafficking years ago. I can not see a reason why the visa won't be granted. We remain optimistic & as is required as part of the application process we have booked our flights to Delhi on 1st October. I must say that the on line visa application process is utter rubbish. 

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