India Visa Application Process for South Africans

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If you are struggling with the e-Tourist visa process, then contact:

You may only use an e-Tourist visa if you are flying into INDIAN VISA FOR SOUTH AFRICAN CITIZENS through one of the follow airports: “Varanasi, Trivandrum, Tiruchirapalli, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kokata, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Goa, Gaya, Delhi, Cochin, Chennai, Bengaluru, Amritsar or Ahmedabad”. If you’re entering via a different town, then let us know – it will be interesting to hear about it. Even though you are restricted as to which airports you can enter the country, you can exit from any Indian immigration check-point (stand you want to exit India from.

(Lighthearted) tips for when you arrive in India:Don’t judge the country by its large cities – they dirty and polluted – start off somewhere like Goa.Female tourists wearing scanty clothing can expect a lot of stares.
When to apply

You may apply a minimum of 4 days before your flight to India, and a maximum of 30 days before. The visa will be valid for thirty days after your arrival in India. You may only use an e-Tourist visa for a maximum of 2 entries into India over a calendar year (to be clear; for the second entry you’ll need to apply a second time).

The application process for an e-tourist visa works as follows:

Step 1 : Apply online

Click here to register for an INDIAN VISA FOR US CITIZENS. Note that you’ll need to upload a picture of the photo page of your passport and a recent photo of yourself. If the photo of yourself or the photo page of your passport isn’t clear, your application will be rejected.

  • The photo should have no borders, there should be no shadows, the background should be light/white, show your full face with eyes open, have an equal width and height, be in .jpeg format, be a maximum of 1mb and a minimum of 10kn.
  • The photo page of your passport should be scanned in in pdf format, with the file size being a maximum of 300kb and a minimum of 10kb.
Step 2 : Pay visa fee online

Fortunately the cost for South Africans is mahala, R0.

Step 3 : An e-Tourist visa will be emailed to you
Step 4 : You are ready to hop onto a flight to India

Be sure to print out the e-Tourist visa and carry it with you on the flight, to present to Indian immigration on arrival. With an electronic application it’s not possible to take your biometric data, so this will be done at Indian immigration after your flight there. Then your passport will be stamped, and voila – time to see India.

VFS Global

Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the online e-Tourist visa, or if you can’t because it doesn’t cater for your requirements, then you can do it the old fashioned way by applying through VFS Global.

India outsources the administration of its visa application service in South Africa to VFS Global, to whom all documentation must be submitted. It was previously BLS International, but this was changed on the 1st Oct 2016. Important contact details for assistance are:

Note that VFS Visa Processing SA only collects the information, and they then submit it to the Indian Mission, who then decide whether you are accepted or rejected.

First Steps

Step 1

Familiarise yourself with the VFS Global requirements and processes for a South African to visit India.

Step 2

Have 2 colour photos taken which meet the Indian Government requirements. Note that these are not standard passport sized photos. Click here to see detailed requirements.

Step 3

Fill in the online form application form here. Sign it in 2 spots: (1) below your photograph on the 1st page, (2) below your declaration on the second page. Signatures must be the same as that in your passport. Use Pritt or any other suitable adhesive to stick your photo to the top right of the application form.

Step 4

Pay VFS Global’s fee via EFT, using your passport number as the beneficiary’s reference number. Save your proof of payment, and print out 2 copies of it (this is one of the supporting documents you’ll require). The Indian Commission charges nothing (which is why some claim it is free) for South Africans, but a fee must be paid to VFS for them processing it (and there’s no way around it, all applications must go through them). At the time of writing (9 March 2017) VFS were charging a fee of R117; and you could optionally pay an extra R50 to use their courier service (same day dispatch) or an extra R36 for next day dispatch. 

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