I’m a British Citizen, so why can’t I get an eVisa to travel from the UK to India?
A: India’s eVisa came into force in 2014 and was suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was restored in March 2021. It is available to nationals of “156 eligible countries” from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe as well as the whole of the European Union members.
Astonishingly, the Indian government inexplicably changed its visa rules for British travellers who must attend person to get a paper visa.
Unfortunately, so many wish to travel from the UK to India that there is a substantial backlog, and you may have to wait months for an appointment.
This would be fine if you can wait at least three months. If not, pre-booked holidays will have to be cancelled or postponed causing financial disruption for small travel agents who have to refund money to disappointed holidaymakers.
To get the ball rolling, visit the office to upload scans of your passport – Indian Government website.
You can attend an interview at any of the 10 centres in the UK: Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, London (central and Hounslow) and Manchester.
If you get an appointment, the process may be a long one. You turn up 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment when you are allocated a numbered ticket. You could face a wait of up to four hours. If all is in order, your paperwork approval and the payment process should be smooth.
The UK is not the only nation excluded. It joins Algeria, Burkina Faso, Lebanon and Pakistan. Until recently, British visitors could still apply for a paper visa by post. Any visas issued before October 2021 are no longer valid, so you’ll need to apply for a new one.
Why has the Indian Government done this?
There is no official explanation. However, the Indian Government remains furious over the tight restrictions the British authorities place on Indian visitors to the UK, and perhaps this is the way they are showing their displeasure. Yet it does seem a bit of a pyrrhic victory when you take into account the loss in revenue from tourism.
UPDATE 9th November 2022 : This week at the World Travl Market the Indian Government hinted at a reversal of this policy but without stating when this would happen. Will will let you know.