Photo credit: Mr. T in DC
E-visas are supposed to make getting an Indian visa much easier if you don’t need to stay longer than 30 days. But are they really hassle free?
I just got an email from someone describing a really horrendous experience that his friend had with the e-visa scheme. The guy was scheduled to come to India for a three-week treatment at an ayurvedic clinic—but he never made it because the whole e-visa process got messed up.
He reported that “it was a complete disaster, with multiple problems and egregious errors (e.g., confusing website that also crashed; losing almost-completed forms), wrong passport number put on the visa, extra charges, terrible customer service, over a month to get the visa anyway, etc.). And, despite heroic marathon efforts to clear it all up, there was zero flexibility in Delhi, and he ended up in Nepal with no Indian visa….”
He mentioned meeting other people who had similar problems with the online visa and suggested going through the regular channels instead. Of course, that’s certainly not guaranteed to be hassle-free either, Indian bureaucracy being what it is.
Last time I got an Indian visa, a little over a year ago, I used a visa service and found it was really worth the extra expense as I didn’t have the luxury of extra time to get it. I used Travisa, who had done the processing for several years, so they really know the ins and outs of visa—and, no, I don’t work for them or get anything for the referral!
What made it worthwhile to use the service was that they caught a mistake, or at least, something that would have raised a red flag and held up my visa. It was something that was far from obvious, but if I’d submitted it as I originally had it, it would have taken another week or more. Indian bureaucracy being what it is, there are always arcane rules to be dealt with—not to mention bureaucrats who interpret those arcane rules differently. How I long for the days when you could go to the consulate in the morning to take your application in and get your visa the same afternoon!
I’d love to hear from readers who have gotten or tried unsuccessfully to get an e-visa. What has been your experience with the website and the formalities at the port of entry?