The process for applying for a visa to travel to India, from the USA, is pretty much simple on the face of it. Being such a vast country, India has not been able to establish Consulate services in all the major cities. This means that most of the applications have to be mailed/couriered to the designated Consulate depending on the applicant’s state of residence in the USA. To add to that, India has outsourced the visa application process to a dedicated Visa Agency called Travisa.

Travisa does enjoy a monopoly situation and their fees reflect that. The processing fees are on average equivalent to a one way air ticket from most major cities. To save on Travisa costs, applicants (not residing in the city where the Consulates are located) would have to at least a day off from work and fly. Submit the application in the morning and wait for collection – not earlier than 5:30pm. Based on this, it is a no-brainer of a decision, to use Travisa’s service.

Ask anyone who has applied for an Indian visa and you probably will be told that it is a somewhat nerve-wracking experience. Although, from experience, Travisa and India have made the process a lot simpler with the online submission of information. This takes out a lot of confusion on the information and documents actually required as opposed to what is perceived to be required.

However, that said, to be greeted with the following notice as soon as you start the process, pretty much starts the jangling of nerves. Most Indians will have prayed to their many Gods of all shapes, sizes and forms before they clear their time, space and desks to begin the process.

Customers are experiencing connectivity problems off and on when completing the Indian visa application form. We do apologize for the inconvenience, though since this form is not hosted by Travisa, we are not able to offer technical assistance. With patience and persistence, the application form can be completed. We appreciate your understanding.

To me that really translates to ‘Welcome to India’! (With patience and persistence)

So after, painstakingly filling out the forms; noting the file number in case the website decides to start hating me, checking and rechecking everything (I did think of answering ‘Not in mood’ to the item ‘Sex:’ Quite prudently, I decided a straightforward Male or Female – again after due confirmation – response would be the wisest thing to do!) making sure the Passport photos were the exact 2×2 size, the background color was a pleasant and appealing white, and the face in the photos fairly resembled me; the final forms were printed, the original sets were neatly tucked away in nice clean envelope and dispatched via Overnight courier service.

Now back to praying to the Gods of all shapes, sizes and forms right up to the time the Passport and that very important – almost Bullion – visa is delivered into my hands.

~ Rakesh