Things I wish I had know before applying for the new India e-visa
Joining the snaking hundreds deep queue for immigration at Kolkata airport we noticed a small sign with an arrow pointing towards the e-tourist visa counters and smugly joined the much smaller 30 deep queue instead. The smugness wore off when we were still waiting half an hour after the previous queue had cleared.
So what was the problem ?
If you arrive on an e- tourist visa you will have your biometrics taken at the airport. Since 2016 everyone travelling to India requiring a visa will need to provide biometrics but if you apply for your visa the old fashioned way via VFS Global you provide your biometrics before you leave – still long winded – but in my opinion better than having them taken at the airport.
Why did it take so long ?
For the majority of the time there was only one counter open and the process of collecting our biometrics was painfully slow. The digital fingerprint machine needed several attempts to collect thumb and 4 fingers from each hand – each time the machine glass needing to be wiped and having to continuously have your fingers wiped of any grease to work – and then the staring into the camera for ages for the photograph.
Will this happen every time ?
I was assured that this process only happens once and next time I would not need to have biometrics taken again but if you still have to join the e-tourist visa queue and everyone in front of you needs their biometrics recorded you will still be there for a very long time. Some research on the internet has thrown up horror stories of the process taking 6 hours so in comparison we were fortunate – if you can call it that. I did try to ascertain which queue I would have to join on a subsequent visit but didn’t manage to get an answer – will update this post if I find out.
Note also ..
Luckily our hotel driver was still waiting for us. If you were arriving later in the day be aware it is apparently difficult to get a taxi from Kolkata airport after 10 pm . And on a more serious note – if you were planning to get a connective flight – you might well miss it.
And lastly …
Please don’t let the visa problems put you off travelling to India – as the advertisement claims .. it is indeed Incredible !
For more info on Indian visa’s read my blog Filling in Indian visa and uploading photos and passport PDF
Why not leave a comment below and share you’re experience ?