India: the e-Tourist Visa
I'd heard a few horror stories about the Indian visa process, namely from my dad. One of his friends had had some issues with the photo or something, but luckily I found the process a lot smoother. Admittedly it wasn't quite as quick and easy as the Australian visa process, nor was the website as user-friendly, but the whole thing was relatively stress-free and simple.
The e-Tourist Visa.
The e-Tourist visa allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days on one single-entry trip. This means you can't leave and re-enter India whilst using this visa and it's also perfect for my India on a Shoestring visa.
To be eligible for the e-Tourist visa, you must:
- have a passport that is valid for at least six months after you arrive in India;
- have an onward flight and sufficient money for your stay;
- be in India purely for recreational/tourist purposes - aka no working!
You can find a full list of eligible countries on their website here, and luckily as of 2015 UK passport holders can apply for the visa!
How much does it cost?
As of September 2016, the visa cost me £47.10. Whilst this is significantly cheaper than my Australian Working Holiday Visa, many other countries offer a free tourist visa for this time period. You win some, you lose some.
How long does it take?
The e-Tourist visa is usually approved within 3 business days. In fact, I'm pretty sure mine was approved the following day even though it was a weekend. Annoyingly for organisational freaks like myself, you can only apply for this visa within 34 days of your arrival date. If you're not a fan of leaving it that late, you can always apply for the traditional tourist visa and do it the old fashioned way.
Types of questions.
Either I've completely blanked out a good proportion of the Australian visa process, or it's just the Indian visa application that includes some strange questions. Be prepared to fill in your parents' details, every country you've visited in the last 10 years, and pick an occupation from a specific yet uncommon list. I really struggled with the job question as I'm loathe to label myself unemployed as I'm just 'between jobs' for two months, but I didn't want to lie. In the end I went for 'self-employed/freelance' as technically I will be a freelance TEFL teacher by the time I reach India.