Our online guru Eli Orzessek grapples with India's complicated visa process.

My wife and I are planning a tour to India shortly and understand visas are required.

However there seems to be some conjecture as to how one should apply. It appears there are two ways of obtaining a visa through the Indian High Commission in Wellington.

One is if you go to their website and enter your details at the bottom of the screen. The other way is to go to their website and click on (eTV) short for e-tourist visa, this will ask you which mission do you want to apply from, in our case that is Delhi because this is where we will arrive.

Once you have completed a couple of pages of questions — including sending a pdf of your passport and a photo to attach to the application and have paid the necessary fee online, you click "send" and it goes to what my understanding was Wellington.

But no, the application goes direct to Delhi, whereupon they grant the application and send via email your granted visa documentation.

Now the fun really starts — the instructions on both applications ask that passports with two photos of each applicant must be sent for processing with another fee of $20 per application, which we have done. This is over and above the $150 already paid online, which goes straight to Delhi. The financial figure is not at issue, it is the correct process. Fortunately I have kept extra copies of material for taking to Delhi as backup.

I spoke with a couple of travel agents who were unsure of the correct process. Do passports have to go to Wellington for processing if done by (eTV)? To compound matters, it is impossible to to speak with anyone at the embassy to clarify matters. I hope you may be able to clarify the position, not only for us, but for others intending to visit India as tourists.

John Galbraith

Wow. That does sound very confusing — I feel your pain. Many embassy websites look as if they were designed with rudimentary software in 1996 and can be quite difficult to navigate.

I emailed the Indian High Commission to ask whether passports need to be sent to Wellington when applying for an eTV.

The slightly confusing answer I received was "No pl. the visa is sent electronically".

Have any other readers had experience with this visa process?


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