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Regular Visa Application for India

Foreign nationals who wish to visit India need proper travel authorization from the government of the country.

An Indian visa is a legal permission granted to foreigners to cross borders to India for various purposes like tourism, business, treatment and work.

Indian visas are classified in two major groups – the electronic visas and regular embassy visas. 

While citizens of eligible foreign countries can apply for an Indian eVisa online. Others will have to get a regular embassy visa.

Here’s what foreign travelers need to know about the application process for a regular embassy visa. 

Before Applying

Application for an Indian embassy visa is a longer process when compared to an eVisa.

Applicants have to first complete the online application form. After that, they have to gather all the documents and drop them off along with the completed application form.

For this, applicants need to book an appointment with the nearest consulate or VFS Global office. 

Though it is a straightforward process, it is always good to be prepared. Several Indian consulates offer a sample PDF of the application form.

Applicants can make a checklist of documents needed and information to be submitted before the actual application. This will help them to avoid mistakes while applying. 

Identifying the Visa Type 

The first step is to identify the visa type. Based on the nature of the visit and duration of the stay, a foreigner can choose a visa type.

The India government issues visas for tourism, business, study, employment, research, films and documentaries and medical treatments among others. 

Each of these visas comes with separate guidelines and documentation. Applicants are required to comply with them.

Note that the Indian bureau of immigration accepts documents in English. If their documents are in some other language, applicants need to translate it. 

Online Application Form 

All applicants need to login to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/ to apply for a Regular Indian visa.

They have to choose whether they are opting for an eVisa or a regular visa and proceed to the application form. 

Before applying, they are advised to go through the instructions provided on the site before starting the application form. 

Applicants also have to select the Indian mission from where he/she intends to apply for the visa.

They have to select their country of origin and nationality from a drop-down menu on the first page of their online application form. Here, they are also asked to share their email address, visa type and purpose of the visit. 

Once completed, they will be directed to a page wherein they have to submit several personal, passport, family, travel and employment details. 

Personal details to be submitted include information such as name, second name, nationality, gender and marital status. 

After this, they have to type in passport details like date of issue/expiry, country of issue and passport number and family details such as name and nationality of parents and spouse. 

Applicants are also required to give information with regard to their employment including the name and address of the employer.

Following this, they need to submit their contact details such as phone number, permanent and current address.  

After filling out all the necessary fields, they can submit the form.

Once submitted, the system will automatically generate an application ID using which they can check the status of the visa.  

They have to use this application ID for communication with the Indian consulate officials. 

Note that filling out the application form and submitting it does not complete the Indian paper visa application process.

Applicants need to drop off the physical copy and supporting documents at the nearest Visa application centers or Indian embassies. 

Booking Appointment 

Applicants of a regular paper visa have to fix an appointment with the nearest Indian mission or visa application center. 

After completing the application form, the system automatically asks them if they want to book an appointment. If they click on the yes button, they can book the appointment. Make sure to choose the right mission based on the jurisdiction of the applicant’s address. 

Once the applicant books an appointment, he/she will receive an email confirming the date and time of the appointment.

On the scheduled day, they have to visit the visa application center to get their photo taken and fingerprints scanned. 

Note that all applicants need separate appointment times. If they are a family of five, they need to book five individual appointment schedules. 

A few embassies allow applicants to mail the completed application form to them. In such cases, applicants need to enclose recent passport sized photographs, processing fee and all the requisite supporting documents to the VAC (Visa application center) office. 

The Indian government is very strict about the size, resolution and format of the photograph. It should not exceed 300 KB in size, 1000 pixels in resolution and should be submitted only in jpeg format. 

At the VAC Office

It is better to reach the visa application center at least 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. All applicants must carry a printed copy of the application form, appointment confirmation letter and all the supporting documents.  

They are encouraged to attach the appointment letter copies with every application.  

After reaching the VAC, security personnel will attend to them at the entrance and guide them. They will be provided with a token number based on which they will be called for taking biometrics, photograph and verification of the documents. 

Applicants will be guided towards an official based on their token number. The official will verify their documents and, in some cases, may ask a few questions about the nature of the trip.  

At the center, all applicants are asked to submit their fingerprints and photographs. There are professional photographers in most VACs to help the applicants with. 

The digital photograph should show the full face. Applicants are required to remove glasses, even the prescription ones.    

They also need to scan all their 10 fingers. Biometrics information is mandatory for an Indian paper visa. 

Note that children under 14 years of age do not need to give their biometric details. So, they are not required to visit the VACs.

Minor applicants above 14 years should submit these details and hence have to visit VACs with their parents.  

Once the process is completed, the official may give tentative timelines for getting the visa processed. They will inform the applicants of the status through text messages.  

At the VAC, applicants can also get additional services for a small fee. These services include photography, photocopy, courier and SMS services.

 Applicants can make payments for courier services at the VACs. They will mail the documents once the visa processing is completed.  

Track the Applications

All applicants will receive an email from the VAC about the visa status.

They can also track the visa status online using the reference number provided by the VAC. They have to use the number and their last name to access the information. 

Delivering Visa and Documents

The visa will be delivered via post or courier. The time taken to process an Indian paper visa varies from country to country and consulate to consulate. In most cases, the visa will be delivered to the registered address within 30 days. 

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