India for me is both rugged, rustic, and astonishing. Most of the streets are perceived to be chaotic but for me, that’s what makes the country interesting--- the noise coming from the cars and the voices of the vendors trying to sell their goods matched with the crisp scent of spices and capped off with such gorgeous architecture and backdrop.
A visit to the Taj Mahal and the Harmandir Sahib as well as a walk down the Dharavi Slum could provide you with an insightful view of what India is as depicted in history and reality. For nature lovers, a Golden Triangle Tour and a Ranthambore National Park Tour could make the adrenaline junkie in you leap for joy.
You can also go on a spiritual retreat, a yoga retreat, or even live in houseboats! :) It sounds a little dreamy but worry not because with just your Philippines Passport and an Indian Tourist visa, you’ll be able to see how beautifully rugged this country is! :)
ELIGIBILITY FOR E-VISA
Before applying for an e-visa, make sure you are eligible to apply so you won’t end up wasting your time. You should meet the following criteria:
Your sole objective in India should only be for recreation/touristic purposes, visiting friends or relatives, or for just a casual business visit. (For those planning to work there, you should obtain an Employment Visa)
- Your passport must have at least 6 months validity from the intended date of return from India and must have at least 2 blank pages.
You must have a return ticket or an onward journey ticket and enough money to spend during your stay.
- You’re entering India via any of the following airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Changdigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, Varnasi or the seaports of Cochin, Goa, Mangalore. (If you’re not entering on any of these ports, I’m afraid you have to get the regular visa from the Indian Embassy. I’ll discuss the process below).
WHEN AND WHERE TO GET YOUR INDIAN TOURIST E-VISA
As Filipinos, we are required to have a visa before entering India unlike before where we can avail of the Visa on Arrival. It is pretty easy and could be obtained within a minimum of 4 days before your intended flight and the application can be done online. (For example I am traveling on January 10, I can apply on January 6 or earlier).
REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN AN INDIAN E-TOURIST VISA
Unlike most of the countries which requires a lot of things from you before you can enter their territory, India is different. This is the shortest list of requirements I’ve seen by far and seriously, the easiest to obtain. See for yourself haha!
1. Scanned copy of the your passport’s bio page which should have a remaining validity of 6 months or more.
2. Recent scanned ID photo against white background.
3. Payment of the visa fee which costs $50 (more or less Php 2400) which can be paid via credit card or PayPal.
STEP 1: Apply online. Fill in the required details on the Indian E-Visa Application Page. Aside from your Personal Information, Family Details, and Employment Details, they will also ask for your Trip Details including the travel date, airport of entry and your hotel’s address and contact number so make sure to keep your flight and hotel bookings handy.
STEP 2: Upload your documents. Once you’re done with the forms, you will be directed to a page where you have to upload the scanned copy of your Passport Biodata Page and ID photo.
STEP 3: Settle the visa fee. This can be done using Paypal, Debit, or Credit Card. (Visa, Mastercard, or Maestro for debit cards are accepted)
STEP 4: Wait for your visa! This usually takes 72 hours but most of the time it takes shorter. You will receive an Electronic Travel Authority on the email address that you provided them.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO OBTAIN AN E-VISA
If you did not meet all the qualifications to obtain an e-visa as stated above, don’t worry. All you have to do is submit your application form together with all the requirements as stated below at the BLS International Office located at the 9th floor, 902, One Corporate Plaza, Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City. The submission shall be made between 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and Release Time is between 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
REQUIREMENTS FOR PERSONAL APPLICATION
Unfortunately, you need to obtain more documents if you have to do the personal application but don’t stress yourself out just yet. It’s still pretty easy to get compared to other embassies!
1. Duly completed online application form;
2. Passport size photo. With white background;
3. Photocopy of the passport biodata page;
4. Original Personal Bank Certificate. This must include account type, current balance, opening date, ADB for 6 months, and the receipt of the certificate;
5. Original or Certified True Copy of Personal Bank Statement for the last 6 months with the receipt;
6. Original Certificate of Employment. This must include your position in the company, date hired, compensation/salary, office address, HR landline number and HR email address;
7. BIR-stamped Income Tax Return Form;
8. Copy of roundtrip flight RESERVATION;
9. Invitation letter from a family/friend/sponsor in India if there’s any. You should also include his/her passport copy and financial statement.
10. Supporting documents. BLS may ask you to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances so I suggest to just prepare it as well. This varies from one person to another: If you’re a business owner then you have to present your business permit. If you’re a student, then your need your school enrolment certificate, school ID, affidavit of support, etc. If you’re a digital nomad, you also need your employment certificate and/or history of Paypal Transactions.
1. Can I apply at the Indian Embassy?
No. You can only apply at the BLS International Office. The only people who can apply directly at the Indian Embassy are holders of Diplomatic Passports.
2. How much is the visa fee if I apply personally?
The fees vary depending on how long the validity of the visa is.
3. How long is the processing time for the personal application?
The processing time is 4-5 working days.
4. How long is the tourist visa valid for?
It depends on the Embassy. They’ll be the one to determine the length of validity of your visa.
5. Can I apply for a long-term visa?
Definitely! Just indicate how long you intend to stay and they might just grant you a 6-month visa :)
6. What about a double entry visa?
Again, it depends on the Embassy. I’ve seen people who were granted double entry visa :)
7. Is visa approval guaranteed?
No. Like all visa applications, the fate of your visa application rests entirely on the Indian Consulate Embassy.
8. When should I use the visa?
It should be used within 120 days from date of issuance.
9. Is there a limit to how often I can get an Electronic Tourist Visa?
Yes. It can only be obtained for a maximum of two visits in a calendar year.
10. Is there a required format for the scanned documents on the online visa application?
Yes. Your passport biodata page should be in PDF format and a minimum of 10 KB and a maximum of 300 KB. The passport photo should be in JPEG format and a minimum of 10 KB and a maximum 1 MB.
For more information about the personal application, check out the BLS International Site or call them at their Help Line at 5765116/4789152 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. (P.S. We're not promoting them but because they are the authorized Visa processing agency of the Indian Embassy in Manila)