Tuesday 27 March 2012

Getting your Indian Visa in Kathmandu (in 2012)

I found a few other sites around that detailed the process of getting an Indian Visa in Kathmandu and it looked rather grim. Some describing that it's probably best to go there the night before to get a ticket from the machine so you're served quickly. However, the process has changed as of some date in 2010/2011, so this is how it works now. Note the ticket machine is inside the gate now.

Also apparently at this embassy they may not issue the full 6 month visas. I put 4 months on all my forms and that's what I got. It's the same cost up to 6 months but I heard they were not issuing so many for the full 6 anymore.

Visit 1:
(this is for a tourist visa, for a transit visa skip to visit 2).

Things to have with you:

  • Passport
  • Contact details for where you're staying.

Your task today is to line up, take a number, fill in the telex form to your home countries Indian high commission requesting permission to get a visa issued in Kathmandu.

I stupidly turned up at 6:00am after reading bad stories about how long it takes. Once I got there I found out the Indian Embassy no longer handles the visa, but the Indian Visa Service Centre about 20 meters before the Embassy gate now handles all visas. I walked around for half an hour, went back and found one person lined up at 7am. I then went and had breakfast to consume more time.

Here's the rest of the days process:

  • Lined up at 8am, roughly ten other people waiting (it's not peak season).
  • 8:30am they let people in the gate, you get the magic security wand waved over you and you're inside.
  • Go to the ticket machine and get your ticket for first visit for a Tourist visa. When I was there someone was helping with this process for the first people in. I got A8 and I was last in of the people who were waiting.
  • Fill in the Telex form. BLACK PEN ONLY. Note that you need your Father or Husbands name on the form, and the contact details for where you're staying.
  • Wait until 9:30am when they start calling numbers. (or leave, and have some breakfast until 9:30am. There's a "KFC" next door.)
  • PAY ATTENTION. They will skip over your number if you are not listening and it's rather quick. I moved 5 places ahead because people were too busy chatting.
  • Hand your telex form and passport to the guy in the window. He gives you a payment form to fill out, and the Visa application form you need for your next visit (you won't need it today).
  • Take the filled out payment form to the other counter (which is counter 1, the second one you go to. Yes that's right, counter 1 is not the first one you go to)
  • Keep your receipt, you need this for your next visit. Note the date on the bottom which tells you which day you have to come back. That date will be 3-5 working days away.

I was out of there by 10:30am.

Visit 2:

After almost a week has passed, it's time to go back and repeat the process.

Things to have with you:

  • Passport
  • Visa form (you can fill it in today to pass the time)
  • One passport photo
  • Receipt from last visit
No need to have any photocopies or multiple photos despite the number of places advertising photocopies and photos. Of course, I could be incorrect if this is your second visit to India, they do ask when your previous entry/exit dates were.

Process for this visit:

  • Line up at 8am after breakfast
  • Gates open at 8:30, get your ticket (C2!) for your second visit (or transit visa visit)
  • Fill in visa form to pass the time (for transit visa people you need to ask for a form), glue on your photo with the free glue.
  • 9:30am they start calling numbers. PAY ATTENTION. The order is type, then number, as in: A1, C1, F1, A2, C2, F2 etc. A is first visit for tourist visa, C is second visit, F must be transit. I was third to get a ticket, but fifth to the window because of this.
  • Watch people not listen to the numbers and get skipped over again. (PAY ATTENTION)
  • When your number is called, line up behind the person who got skipped over at Counter 2. 
  • Hand your filled in visa form, passport and the receipt from last time. They will hand back everything, plus a new payment form.
  • Fill in the new payment form and wait around at Counter 1
  • Hand over everything again, plus 3850r (3600 for visa, 250 for "processing")
  • Take your new receipt, you'll need it again to get your passport back.
You now have until 4:30pm to waste time, the board on this day said passports would be back at  5:00pm though.

Visit 3:

Things to bring:
  • Receipt from the morning

Now you just have to wait to get your passport back.

How it went down:
  • Lined up at 4:25pm, gate opened at 4:30pm
  • Wait until 5:10pm
  • Notice everyone rushing to the two counters to line up. They were going through rather quick so I just keep playing with my phone until the line died down.
  • Hand over receipt, get passport back with fresh Indian visa.
I was out of there by 5:30pm.

And that's it! I had 6 days to waste in between visits so I spent it gaining a cold and the squirts. Time well spent I think.

New info for late 2012!:
James in the comments notes a few more things in the high season for this process here:


  1. Hey, great blog - very useful! We did the same thing this week using your advice and I blogged about a few extra things we noticed - http://www.jamiebettles.com/myblog/getting-an-india-visa-in-kathmandu/.

    1. I've noticed this post gets the most hits on my blog, glad people are finding it useful!

      I've just linked your post in too. I'm still laughing that they are charging for lower numbers!

  2. Great post. It seems that even in other country, visa services time takes a little bit longer before you have can avail it. Kinda stressful at first, but it is worth waiting.