I’ve seen a cheap, late-availability holiday to Goa in India but a friend says it’s a nightmare to get a visa quickly. Is that really the case? Rachel, Saffron Walden
India is famed for its bureaucracy and getting a tourist visa for the country used to be a tricky process. It required sending off your passport, and the £80 application fee, to the Indian High Commission in London weeks before travelling. That’s not great if you just want to book and fly on a cheap, last minute deal.
The old system was so complicated that there was a booming trade in visa agencies who would complete the application for you – for a hefty additional fee!
But that all changed last year with the introduction of the new ETourist visa by India, which UK citizens are eligible to apply for. It allows you to travel to the country for up to 30 days on holiday, to see family or friends or for casual business and medical reasons.
The new visa costs US$60 and you can apply online. Even better you can get one up to four days before you’re due to travel. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6-months after your planned return date and you’ll need a return or onward ticket.
But beware – you should be careful to use the official Indian Government website to apply. This is found at indianvisaonline.gov.in. There are lots of unscrupulous websites that will charge you a fee just for redirecting you to the official application site.