How To: Indian Tourist Visa for U.S. Citizen Guide

///How To: Indian Tourist Visa for U.S. Citizen Guide

How To: Indian Tourist Visa for U.S. Citizen Guide

No one can emphasize enough how complicating applying for an Indian Tourist Visa from the United States can be. I decided to play it safe and applied through Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS), which does all of the visa processing for the Indian Consulate. I chose this instead of going through a third party, which I heard some positive but mostly negative feedback about.

In a nutshell, I was transferred from website to website with very little guidance in between and broken explanations as to what my next step would be (and there are MANY steps). To add to this frustration, if the visa application checklist is not followed precisely, your application will be rejected- and I’m talking your signatures can’t even be a squiggle beyond the provided signature boxes.

After months of trial and error (and a little screaming at my computer), I finally sat myself down with a beer and dedicated hours (and the next few days) to get past Step 1 of the application process until I could finally mail that sucker off. I am creating this post because I wish I could have found something thorough enough to walk me through it step by step. Therefore, this will be a long post, so bear with me and come out successfully the first time.

First, I went to the CKGS website to start my application. As you fill out the form definitely select the 10 year visa and multiple entries (just in case you decide hop over to a neighboring country). For the First Name (Given Names) they are asking for your first and middle name as stated on your passport. Make sure you are selecting the proper visa for your purposes – there is a guide to the right of the first application. Fill out the rest, don’t put a space between the Captcha words, then hit Proceed once you double check your info because it cannot be modified.

It will take you to your temporary ID where it will also give you the document checklist (which you can email to yourself), and your visa total (so far). Read all of the instructions in the information section or you could miss vital info like the Neighboring Countries section. Check out the document checklist to make sure you have everything ready that it requires or it will delay the process. Write down or copy your temporary ID. Read the photo requirements thoroughly.

visa for india instructions for americans

After you check everything out, scroll to the bottom, check the box to accept the disclaimer and terms, then Proceed. You will be taken to a page to redirect you to another website, IndianVisaOnline, but first read the pop up window that gives directions for what to do when you’re done with the application, then click to continue migrating.

Let me interrupt this word flow to add:

CKGS nonchalantly tells you halfway through the process that your temporary ID will expire in an hour. I did not realize that this counted for the actual application on IndiaVisaOnline (I will call it IVO), an entirely different website. The first time around on the IVO application, I took longer than an hour due to all of the grilling questions, then once I got to the end and submitted, it did not tell me that my session had expired. I was left clueless as to what to do next, thinking I was ready to go on to the next step back on the CKGS website and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to move onward. I was stuck on this expiration several more times as I came back sparsely over the next few months to try and figure it out with my sessions unknowingly expiring.

Back to the walk-through

Once on IndianVisaOnline, click on “Regular Visa Application.” If you were born in the U.S., that is your nationality by birth. Once you get past the first initial page, the real fun starts. Make sure you note your new temporary ID (you will get a few). Fill in everything accurately or as best to your knowledge. There is no Citizenship/National ID no. for the U.S., so put NA. Yes, you have to check a religion.

Next page. Enter your address(es) and parent backgrounds. Pick a job description that best fits your role. Designation is your job title. If you are military, fill that space in. Page 3. Type in a few random places you may be visiting separated by commas. For duration of visa put 120 months so you don’t have to do this process again for 10 years. You definitely want multiple entries. Enter the cities you plan to be arriving in and exiting from. For the reference name in India, just put a hotel you “plan” on staying at with their address and number. Put anyone close to you as your U.S. reference. Unless you have confidently met all of the photo requirements yourself and have your photo on a USB, skip the picture upload and continue.

After the photo option, you will be taken to the final page. Take careful review of your details and make sure everything is correct. Go back and modify as you need. When done, write down your ID then “Verify and Continue.” You will be taken to the confirmation page with your official application ID number. Write this one down also. Click “Book Appointment” even if you are shipping in your application (you will get another chance to print your application once you pay). This will take you back to the CKGS website onto Step 2. Confirm your contact details. Congrats, you have made it further than I did my first time.

Once you get to the Additional Particulars form, you need to re-enter your passport info. It will make you click through past years to get to your date of issue, then click back up to the future when your passport expires (annoying, yes). It will provide 3 address lines for your employer. Issues may not always come about from only using the first address line, but someone from the CKGS hotline told me to try using at least 2 address lines with the address number in the first and street name in the second. Double check everything then proceed to the Religious Undertaking form.

This is where I ran into my second biggest issue with the CKGS website: it wouldn’t recognize my address. Admittedly, I live in Hawai’i, and this is where I was told to try using both address lines. When I typed in my first address, the verification was able to find it no problem and I could select shipping. For the Collection Details, however, this same address could not be found and shipping was not available (talk about a huge glitch in their software). After many phone calls and no ultimate solution, I put in my Hawai’i address for the “From you to CKGS” option then my mother’s address in California for the document return. This would involve her having to express ship my visa to me once she received it. Hopefully, mainland people wouldn’t have this issue.

The shipping will add another $30 to your total, then you proceed to pay. After payment confirmation, you will be given links to everything you need to print: Your Visa application, your Additional Particulars and Religious Undertaking forms, your shipping label and bar code, two payment receipts, and a copy of the checklist with the boxes checked off as you confirm your documents. I printed off a few of each in case I messed up.

For the printed visa application, you need to submit two copies of the same photo (usually going to get a picture taken somewhere gives you two copies). Since submitting two photos is required, I would highly recommend signing the box under the photo first. Make sure not to go even a smidge beyond the box lines, THEN glue stick-paste your photo onto the outlined box. If you paste a picture first then mess up the signature box, you have to go get another photo taken (because you need two of the same). I will add that my boyfriend’s visa picture was practically indistinguishable from his passport photo (weird, I know) except for a few minor hairs out of place. He had to go get different ones taken to make sure his application did not get rejected because your submitted photo must be different from your passport picture.

 

By | 2017-07-23T17:51:33+00:00 July 23rd, 2017|India, Travels|
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