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Just recently, USA was added to the list of countries who’s citizens may use the Visa on Arrival procedure. This is a big improvement for the leisure traveler planning a trip to India, since most of the work is done online and not waiting on line at Indian Consulates.
First some basics:
Eligibility – Visa on Arrival is available for people with passports from the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Guyana, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands,Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam.
You must meet the following requirements:
1) sole objective of visiting India is recreation , sight-seeing , casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit.
2) passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India, with at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer.
3) have a return ticket or onward journey ticket,with sufficient money to spend during stay in India.
Additionally, the Visa on Arrival procedure is not applicable to: (1) travelers holding a Pakistani Passport or of Pakistani origin; (2) Diplomatic/Official Passport Holders; (3) to individuals endorsed on Parent’s/Spouse’s Passport (i.e., each individual must have a separate passport); and (4) International Travel Document Holders.
Note: the Visa on Arrival procedure only applies to arrival in India by air. It does not apply to land and sea arrivals.
I just applied for the Indian Visa. Before applying, you need a photograph meeting the specifications on the website, a PDF of the first page of the passport, and payment of $60 fee.
The photo must be: Format – JPEG, Size 10 KB -1 MB, height and width of the Photo must be equal, Photo should present Full face, front view, eyes open, Center head within frame and present full head from top of hair to bottom of chin, Background should be plain light-colored or white background, No shadows on the face or on the background, no borders. I was most worried about the height and width being equal, as none of my photo programs would do that – but when you upload your photo, you have the opportunity to crop it to equal sided dimensions, so that is not a problem.
You will also need to give the name of a reference both at home and in India. I did not know anyone in India, but I phoned Hyatt and got the name and address of the manager of Delhi Hyatt Regency.
You will need about 30 minutes to complete the form application. It is in a series of pages. You can save and return to the application if you need. I took screenshots as I went along, but it was not actually necessary, as I received a series of emails as each portion of the application was submitted. Still, it is not a bad idea to make screenshots.
Many of the questions are quite personal: Where were your parent’s passports issued? Are any of your grandparents of Pakistani descent? What is your religion? What is your level of education? What countries have you visited in the last 10 years?
The “level of education” has a possible answer of “illiterate.” If you are filling out your own application, and you can’t read, how could you choose “illiterate”?
I filled out the application Tuesday evening. The turnaround was very fast, about 14 hours. I received an email Wednesday morning:
Your application for Tourist Visa on Arrival has been processed with following result.
Application ID :-xxxxxxxxxxxxPassport No :-xxxxxxxxxxxxxApplication Status :-GrantedVisa No :-xxxxxxxxxxxx
You can arrive in India between 04/03/2015 to 07/04/2015. (Date format is dd/mm/yyyy).
Visa is valid for 30 days from the date of entry
For any assistance contact TVoA support center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Tele enquiries(IVRS enquiry) call at +91-11-24300666.
– Please carry a copy of this ETA at the time of Travel.
– TVoA once issued on arrival is Only Single Entry, non-extendable , non-convertible & not valid for visiting Protected/Restricted and Cantonment Areas.
– Biometric details of the applicant will be mandatorily captured at Immigration on arrival in India.
@TProphet on Twitter (who writes the blog Seat 31B), tweeted that “When you get here, it is a separate immigration desk with nobody at it. Don’t follow the crowd.”
There is a thread on Flyertalk with a wiki and a lot of useful information. From this most recent post by Astroflyer, it appears that the program is working well:
So I landed in BOM after the long flight from EWR and used the TVOA with absolutely zero problems. The agent didn’t ask a single question, but it did take a minute or two to capture biometrics (fingerprints and photo).
Just a note, it’s very easy to miss the correct counters for VOA in BOM as it’s poorly signed. They are counters 1-8 which are just on your left when you first enter the immigration hall.
And one addendum…bring a print out for your airline. They need to see the “granted” status with your visa number. Agent said he’s had to deny boarding to a couple people whose payments had not gone through and did not have “granted” status.
So, it seems that all is going smoothly with the new procedure.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.