When I searched for some information on how to apply for an Indian tourist visa in Kathmandu, I found a couple of useful blog posts but apparently the process has slightly changed so I thought it might a good idea to post the latest information on the process. So here’s how to apply for an Indian visa from Kathmandu as in October 2013:
Step 1: Fill in the Online Application Form
The first you have to do is fill out the online application form. Before you start get some addresses (including phone number) at hand:
- Your current address: this will most likely be the address of your hotel in Kathmandu.
- Your address in India: find a hotel in the place where you will arrive. You don’t have to book the hotel, you just need an address and phone number (we filled in the Radisson in Varanasi and nobody asked :-))
- The address of your employer (if you have one).
Now fill in the form. In the first field called “Indian Mission” you fill in “NEPAL-KATHMANDU”. The rest of the form is pretty straightforward or else it’s explained in the right column. Don’t wait too long filling out the form or else your browser session might expire and you can start all over again.
After you filled in the form, submit it and print a copy. If you don’t have a printer save the pdf and have it printed in one of the local print shops (or your hotel).
Step 2: Get Passport Photos
You will need one 2×2 inch passport photo. You can have them printed in one of the local photo shops. We paid 350 rupiah for a set but I think you can have them cheaper (we had to get them just before closing time).
Glue the photo on the printed application form.
Step 3: Sign Form
Sign the application form at the bottom of the last page and beneath the photo that you just glued on the form. Use a black pen if possible. You’re done with the application form now. Take it with you on the first visit.
Step 4: Copy Your Passport, Nepalese Visa and Previous Indian Visa(s)
Make a photocopy of the following passport pages:
- Main page (that’s the one with your name on it)
- Visa page with your current Nepalese visa
- All visa pages with a previous Indian visa (if you have them)
Now that you have all the required documents ready, you can go visit the India Visa Service Centre (IVSC) which is next to the Indian Embassy and about a 15 minutes walk from the Garden of Dreams in Thamel.
Bring the following:
- Your passport
- The signed application form with the attached photo
- Photo copy of your passport
- Photo copy of your Nepalese visa
- Photo copy of any previous Indian visa
- Money! Including all the extra fees we paid 4900 Nepalese rupiah for a 6-month visa but I think it’s the same for all other durations.
Note that you will only get a 3-month visa if you have an earlier Indian visa in your passport (happened to the guy in front of me).
The IVSC opens at 9:30 AM but it’s not really necessary to line up early. There was a queue of about 25 people when we got there.
In case you forgot something or made an error, there are shops around the IVSC where you can still fill in the application form, make photo copies, make passport photos or glue it on the form so no worries. Unless you forgot your passport…
Once you’re inside the IVSC, get a ticket at the ticket machine and wait for your turn. They call your number and display it as well so I think it’s pretty unlikely that you will miss it.
After your number is called, line up in the small queue for counter number 1 (Visa counter). A security guy who is standing next to the counter will take care of this little process.
Once you’re at the counter hand over all the documents and answer the occasional questions you might get. When the employee is done with your application form you will get your passport back.
Now move to the next counter where you have to pay the visa fee. The date that you have to return is written on the receipt that you get. It probably takes 5 business days to process the visa application. Keep the receipt on a safe place!! You need it on your next visit.
You’re done with your first visit now. Have a coffee and relax. We got there at 9 AM and were out by 10:30 AM. Not too bad.
Please note that you don’t HAVE TO pick up your visa on the exact date that they give you. It can also be after that date. Some people go trekking for a couple of weeks and pick up their visa when they return to Kathmandu. If you plan to return to Kathmandu later on your trip, I think that is the best idea (more on that later).
After waiting patiently for a week you return to the IVSC in the morning. The process is the same as on your first visit. You only have to bring your passport and the receipt you got on the first visit.
The employee at the counter will now tell you whether you will get a visa and how long it will be. In our case the application process wasn’t completed yet. We had applied for a 6-mont visa. I guess that means the process in our home country wasn’t finished yet. Or something. Anyway, she offered us a 3-month visa or else we had to wait another 5 days. Since a 3-month visa was enough for us we were ok with that one. But this is why it’s a good idea to go trekking first and come back at the end of your trip.
You have to deliver your passport and can come back the next (working) day at 17:00.
Keep the receipt!
So the next day after lazing around in the Garden of Dreams for a couple of hours, you return to the IVSC to collect your passport with Indian visa. They say to come back at 17:00 but we got there at least half an hour earlier and they were already giving out the passports. No queue. Nothing. Walk up to the counter and show your receipt.
Check your visa. The issue date will be the date of the second visit. Or in our case it was, I’m not sure what the date will be if you come back later on the second visit. That might be another good reason to return for visit 2 in the end of your trip.
You’re done now. Happy travels!