If you want to stay in India consecutively for longer than 180 days without needing to leave, then an e-Tourist visa will not be appropriate for you. This article is going to explain step by step, in-depth, how to apply for an Indian visa from the UK. We have a similar post on how to apply for an Indian visa from the USA. Rachel’s fiancé, Ben originally wrote this guide, and we recently did a little update with the help of her friend, Jules, to make sure everything is up to date!
This complicated paper visa application is if you are coming to India and want a visa longer than the e-Tourist visa allows. If you only are coming for a short term travel, you don’t need to worry about this and instead will want to read this post or, if you know you want to use a 3rd party, jump right to iVisa to start the process.
Things to Know Before Applying for your Indian Visa from the UK
You’ll be working with VFS, not the Indian Embassy
In the UK, the Indian Embassy outsources their visa process to VFS. This website can be quite confusing so this guide has been written to help you navigate through the difficulties.
A long term tourist visa will allow you to have a visa to enter India between 1 and 5 years with multiple re-entries. It lets you stay in India for a maximum of 180 days per trip. If you want a 5-year visa, biometric information will be collected at the VFS Centre. You cannot apply for a 5-year visa by post.
How to Apply
In the UK there are two methods of applying for a long term Indian tourist visa: by appointment in person and by post.
Through Appointment at a VFS Visa Centre in the UK
Currently located in the following locations: London (Goswell Road, Hounslow) Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Belfast, Bristol, Bradford, Newcastle, Cardiff, Liverpool, Leicester, and Glasgow. Here are the location and contact details for each centre. Please read Step 1 below as the mission chosen is different to your chosen appointment centre. confusing!
By Post in the UK
This option is available however VFS advise you to make the application via appointment to avoid any inconvenience/delay. Postal applications are known to take 2-3 weeks longer than an appointment. VFS will also take no responsibility for your passport.
If you physically can’t make an appointment but you know a friend/family member that can visit a VFS Centre an authorisation letter can be submitted. This authorises them to submit your application on your behalf. The link for the authorisation letter is here.
Cost of Indian Visa For UK Citizens
The cost depends on the duration/length of the tourist visa, below is a table taken from the VFS site showing the current long term visa costs (as of 26th March 2020).
Select the following link to learn more about the options of Indian visas for UK citizens. Indian Tourist Visa Options to UK Citizens.
Indian Visa Processing Time for UK Citizens
Processing times vary for each application, it is typically between 3-5 business days, you will also need to add some time for your passport and visa to be sent back to you. If you are collecting the passport and visa from the centre, then this is typically faster.
How To Apply For An Indian Visa From The UK
Step 1: Complete the Online Visa Application
Page 1: Visa Application
- Select Country– United Kingdom
- Indian Mission – Please read carefully
If you live in Scotland you must Select “UK- Edinburgh” as Mission, while filling the online application form. When booking the appointment you can select Edinburgh or Glasgow.
If you live in any of the following places:
Birmingham, Durham, Humberside, Isle of Man, Isle of Scilly, Manchester, Shropshire, Yorkshire (North), Lancashire, Midlands (West), Staffordshire, Yorkshire (South), Leicestershire, Northumberland, Cleveland, Yorkshire (West), Lincolnshire, Cheshire, Tyne and Wear, Cumbria and Derbyshire, Merseyside, Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire,
you will need to select “UK- Birmingham”, as the Mission while filling the online application form, appointments can then be booked at the offices in Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester, Liverpool, Bradford, and Newcastle
If you live in any other part of the UK, not the counties mentioned above, you can book appointments at any of the 2 offices in London (Goswell Road and Hounslow), Bristol, Cardiff, and Belfast. Applicants wishing the submit their applications at these offices must select UK- London.
If you want to do a postal application please select UK-London. Visa applications by post can be made, as long as it is for a less than 5-year visa duration. ALL applicants requiring a 5-year tourist visa will need to make an appointment application as biometric information is required (fingerprints and photo).
- Insert- DOB, Email, Date of Arrival
- Select- Tourist Visa and select purpose that best matches your trip.
Page 2: Applicant Details Form
- Applicant Details- Complete all fields for the person wishing to obtain a long term Tourist Visa, for Citizenship ID No insert- NA.
- Passport Details- Insert the details of the person wishing to obtain a long term Tourist Visa.
- Click Save and Continue (orange button)
Page 3: Applicants Address/Family Details/Marital Status/Occupation/Military Experience
- Applicants Address Details – Present Address and Permanent Address, if they are the same tick the box.
- Family Details– Father and Mothers Name, Nationality, Place of Birth (Town), Country of Birth.
- Marital Status– Single or Married, provide details if married.
- Parents/Grandparents Pakistan Nationals or Belong to Pakistan Area– If yes provide information.
- Profession/Occupation of Traveller– Present Occupation (select from list), Employer/Business Name, Address, Past Occupation, if any, Military Services (Yes/No- if yes provide details)
- When this section of the form is complete, click Save and Continue (orange button) at the bottom of the form.
Page 4: Details of Visa, Previous Visa Information, Countries Visited in 10 Years, SAARC Countries, References
All applicants requiring 4 years or less can make a postal application. After deciding the duration of your visa, complete the first section of the form.
- Places to be Visited– Insert places in India planning to visit into box one and two if required. Of course, if you change plans once in India, it’s not a big deal. At least get the flying into and out of destination on there.
- Duration of Visa– Please insert the duration in months- so 1 year would be 12, 1.5 years would be 18 etc.
- No of Entries– This means how many times you can re-enter India, as there is no cost difference between single and multiple entries, its best to select multiple unless you know you will only travel to India once whilst the visa is active.
- Port of Arrival- Please insert the Airport/Sea Port city you are planning to enter India, eg Mumbai.
- Expected Port of Exit- This is not a mandatory field but if you know, please enter the airport or port you have booked to leave India.
- Previous Visa/Current Visa- If you have had or have an Indian Visa please provide the details required.
- Other Information– List countries you have visited in last 10 years.
- SAARC Countries– If you have visited any of these countries in the past 3 years select Yes and fill in the details- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.
- India – This would be a known reference if you have one in India, if you don’t use your hotel/accommodation as a reference.
- UK – This can be anyone you know who can act as a reference for you in the UK.
When finished click Save and Continue (Orange Button)
Page 5: Upload Passport Photo
- Choose File– Select the Choose File button first, then a window will open, find and select your passport photo image file, it must be in JPEG format and be no larger than 1mb in size. The image should 350 pixels (width) and 350 pixels (height). It should be a recent front-facing photograph with white background, do not scan your passport image and use this, it should be a new passport style photo.
The application is liable to be rejected if the uploaded photograph is not clear and as per specification.
- Upload Photo– After choosing the file to upload, click the orange Upload Photo Button. This will take you to the resize screen.
Page 6: Resize and Select Photo
- Resize and Select- A preview of the JPEG passport photo you uploaded will appear in the left-hand box, with your mouse select the area of the photo showing your whole face and white background when happy click the orange Save and continue button.
Page 7: Review Passport Photo
If happy with the photo select “Save and Continue” if not happy select “Upload Image Again” and if you’re getting frustrated Save and Temporarily Exit or use the hassle free service!
Page 8: Review and Confirm Application
Review the form and make sure all information is completed and accurate, the visa could get rejected if this is not the case. If happy please select Verified and Continue button at the bottom. If you want to make changes select Modify.
Page 9: Confirmation
Now your application has been confirmed!
Click the Print Form (orange button), the completed application will then automatically download a PDF, into your Downloads folder.
*Make a note of your Application ID (Starting with GBR) you will need this to pay the visa fees online.
If you will be carrying out a postal application there is no need to click Book an Appointment, unless you are applying for a 5-year visa and biometric data is required.
If you click Book Appointment you will be taken to this screen: Select the UK Mission you inserted in the application form, then select “Get Appointment.”
At the time of writing this guide, the Get Appointment button was not working. Don’t worry if this is still the case keep on reading!
Step 2: Complete Declaration Form/Insert Passport Photo and Sign Printed Application Form
The next step is to go to this link and download and print, complete and sign the Declaration Form, which looks like this:
Print out the application form that was downloaded from the Indian Visa site. Make sure you have 2 passport photos that is 2 inches/5cm by 2 inches/5cm and glue one to the form, the second will be inserted in the envelope. Sign the box below the passport image box. The passport photos must be 5cm by 5cm – a special size specifically required for the Indian Visa.
Make sure to also sign the second page at the bottom, this should match your signature, all signatures should be the same as in your passport.
Step 3: Book Appointment/Make Payment
You’ll want to go to this link.
- Insert your Application ID Number (GBR)
- Insert Passport Number used for Application
- Click Retrieve Application Button
Page 2: Re-Confirm Details
- Once you have clicked Retrieve Application you will be taken to this screen:
For Postal Applications
- Mode of Submission: Please select Sent by Royal Mail SDE
- Submission Centre: Hounslow London will automatically be selected.
- Mode of Delivery: You have two options, you can either select IVAC provided Secured Mail Envelope and pay for VFS to return your passport with visa inserted OR
- You can insert return self-addressed special delivery envelope with your application. If so select Self-Provided Royal Mail Special Delivery Envelope.
For Appointment Applications
- Mode of Submission- In Person at the Application Centre
- Submission Centre- Select the Mission that is closest to you, not the Mission you put in the application form!
- Mode of Delivery- You have three options:
- You can either select IVAC provided Secured Mail Envelope and pay for VFS to return your passport with visa inserted
- Collect in-person from the Application Centre OR
- You can select return self-addressed special delivery envelope with your application if so select Self-Provided Royal Mail Special Delivery Envelope.
Please make sure you complete the following:
- Visa Category- This should show Tourist Visa
- Visa Duration- Please select the duration of the visa you are applying for- this must match what you inserted on the application.
- No of Entries –For Single select- S, For Multiple select M and Triple select T. This must match what you inserted into the application form.
- SMS Service- You can sign up to an SMS update service for a fee of 1.44GBP, if you don’t remove the tick from the box.
- Photo Upload Service– Untick this box as you are already providing 2 passport photos.
Finally, Click the Save Button.
Book an Appointment
Now go to the Appointment Menu and select the New Appointment Option.
A new window will appear showing a calendar, select a date that is suitable for you highlighted yellow:
You will then be taken to a screen that allows you to select the time of the appointment and confirm. When you are happy with the Date and Time select confirm. Make sure to have all your documents ready for this appointment. The next stage is to pay for the Visa online.
Click the Home option in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
After going back home you need to go to the Top Left of the Page and go to Visa Fee & Pay Details, and select Fee Details and Payment:
You will then see the payment summary below:
If the amount looks correct click Continue and you will be taken to a Payment Confirmation Screen, click Submit.
You will then be re-directed to a payment screen that looks like this, insert your payment information and click Pay Now.
When Payment has been confirmed a receipt will be generated, save this and print it. This will be inserted into your Application envelope.
Step 4: Final Stage, Prepare Your Application
Now you are ready to take your application to the appointment you have booked or post your application. Just make sure you have the following in one envelope:
- Printed Application Form that has been signed on Page 1 and 2, with one 5cm by 5cm Passport Photo glued to the Application Form.
- A second 5cm by 5cm Passport Photo inserted into the envelope.
- Your completed Declaration Form signed and dated.
- Your Passport inserted in the envelope.
- A Royal Mail pre-paid return signed delivery envelope inserted (if you selected this option), do not include if you selected for VFS to return your passport and visa.
For postal applications seal the envelope and mark it to:
Houslow Application Centre Address
Indian Visa and Consular Application Centre
The Vista Centre
First Floor – Part A Block
50 Salisbury Road
All visa applications by post must go to the above address.
That is it! You’ve finished your application. We hope this article on how to apply for an Indian visa from the UK made this a breeze for you. Thanks to Ben and Jules for taking the time to do this for all our UK readers!
For More India Travel Planning Guides:
Check out some of these posts to help you continue planning your trip to India. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of the Hippie in Heels India Travel Guide
Trip Planning Tips
- The 30 Best Places to Visit in India
- Travel to India Made Easy With This Step By Step Guide
- 100 India Travel Tips You HAVE To Read
- 10 Tips for First Time Travel to India
- Travel Insurance for India
- How to Get a SIM Card in India
- How to Book a Train in India As Foreigner
- Do You Need a Filtered Water Bottle For India Travel?
- How to Dress in India: the Ultimate Dos and Don’ts
- 10 Travel Essentials For India
- Men’s India Packing List
- The Only Backpacking Through India Packing List You Need
- One Month Backpacking India | Itinerary, Hostels, Tips
- My Guide: the BEST Itinerary for India
- Kerala Backpacking Tips & 10 Day Kerala Itinerary
- Have The Perfect Rajasthan Trip By Copying This Two-Week Itinerary
- Goa One Week Itinerary for the Beach Lovers and Foodies
For more questions, feel free to join our Hippie in Heels: India Travel Tips Facebook group.
Pin for later!
Join my email list and get exclusive updates & news straight to your inbox.
I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Thank you so much for writing this incredibly helpful ‘how to’. I’m about to go through the visa process for long term travel through India and fingers crossed using your step by step, it should be a breeze – thanks :)
Sooo glad you saw this and I hope it helps you! I know it took Ben a long time to go through all this and perfect it!
Thanks Ben also! If obtaining 1 year multi entry visa, would a couple of weeks trip to Sri Lanka around the 180 days mark count as leaving India and allow me straight back into India afterwards to continue with remaining 180 days? – Thanks :)
Jules, there are specific guidelines on how many days you have to leave and I cannot remember offhand! I think it’s all on their site :)
Rachel and Ben, thank you so much for this, just finished my application and couldn’t have done it without this guide! Just wanted to add to this my experience with the VFS office in Bristol – they were strict as to how the printed photo looks. It must be with a completely white background with no shade, and your head and shoulders both need to be in the pic, not cropped in too much. Took me a couple of photo booth trips before my application could be accepted. Thanks again!
Thanks for sharing Cat! That will help people for sure :)
I was tearing my hair out at the visa process until I read this… thanks so much for posting!
I’ll add (for anyone having the same problem) that I couldn’t pay online straight after submitting the application. I kept getting an error message saying ‘passport number and GBR number don’t match’. I was quite concerned because I knew everything was correct, but the guy on the helpline rather huffily told me that of COURSE it didn’t work, because 24 hours needed to pass first.
That info was nowhere on the site *facepalm*. But sure enough I was able to pay the next day.
Now waiting for the shiny new visa to arrive :D
One of my friend was trying to get an Indian visa but he failed. I think this article will help him a lot. Thank you.
Very useful. if I take an I phone photo and attach to online application, do I then have to print the same photo as a 2inx 2in to take to appointment or can I use a photo booth to get a different photo?
I am visiting by cruise ship 5 different ports so assume I need a multiple entry 1yr tourist visa. Mike
Any advice for applying from the UK with an Irish passport – I’m duel nationality – it seems really confusing and they never answer the phone or answer emails properly.
A couple of things to watch out for.
If you include the word “Media’ anywhere on your application then at the least you will be required to write a supporting letter that states you are not a journalist. I included the name of my Ltd company and had to do this.
If you are in a rush you can get seen pretty quickly by turning up at 830am (London) without an appointment. There is no proper queue system and even though the place was already full, I was seen within 10 mins.
Thanks Rachel & Ben for all the very helpful information in your blog and in the e-book. I have my visa for my upcoming trip to Rajasthan and Gujarat but I have a question: my visa, which is valid for one year, states that “registration within 14 days of arrival in India is required for visas valid for more than 180 days”. I’m not planning on staying in India for more than 180 days, but does this mean that I have to register? If yes what is the process? I am very confused by the small amount of information available on this subject!
No, you do not. you have to leave in 180 days so if you are planning on overstaying for some reason you need to go tell them (they can offer an extension sometimes but this is RARE and even when they do, when you leave india you’ll face issues and sometimes get blacklisted)
Thanks so much Rachel and Ben, this is so helpful! I’m heading to Goa at the end of Jan and will be doing my application online and booking an appointment in Liverpool. Will I need to send off my passport before my appointment or do I take it with me at the time of the appointment? Thank you for your help x
Nia, since you are going in person for an appointment you just take it with you!
Hey! I’ve managed to navigate away from the print page and go straight to booking appointment and it closed my application and now I can’t access it to print it… HELP!!
Did you write down the application number? With that you can re-access it – but without if you’ve exited out you might have to start over!
Hi, thank you very very much for all the information about India. I applied online thru indianvisaonline.gov.in and they sent me online “Visa” saying that all approved. Did i do somethings wrong? Or do i still need to make an appointment etc. Thanks, Semra
The online visa is for the 60 day visa, this mail-in visa is for longer stays in India.
This article was so helpful. Thank you so much! I have colleagues travelling out there for business reasons. Would they get a business visa and is it possible to get a multiple entry business visa?
My sister and I will be staying in India for less than 60 days but can’t use the e-visa as we are flying from Udaipur to Cochin at some point during our stay – is that right?
We therefore need to do the normal online tourist visa and make an appointment in person. We are leaving for India on the 23rd July. Is it too far in advance to fill out the form at get the visa now? Should we wait until a few weeks before we want to go? or can we do it as far in advance as we like?
Thank you so much for the article, it’s been really helpful!
Hi Rachel, quick question!
I am a British citizen and hold a valid British passport however have been living in Australia for 2 years on a working holiday visa.
I plan to fly to India from Australia in Jan 2020. When applying for a long term visa for India, do I still follow Ben’s UK guide? As the VFS form asks which country I am applying from and I am unsure what to do.