Home Ask the Editor Q&A: I’m a British Citizen, why can’t I get an eVisa to travel from the UK to India?

Q&A: I’m a British Citizen, why can’t I get an eVisa to travel from the UK to India?

UK citizens have been removed from India's eVisa system.

by Sharron Livingston
23 comments
India taj mahal

Q:

 

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 Any visas issued before October 2021 are no longer valid, so you’ll need to apply for a new one.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.

23 comments

keerthi Oct 29, 2022 - 11:36 pm

very bad for Indian origins who recently got passport and have to travel to their parents, when loci card timings is also very late,. if Indian origin they should have special consideration.

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VIREN Nov 2, 2022 - 3:23 pm

I believe that in this situation only previous Indian passport holder suffer rather then any English person. In my opinion how many English or white person visit India rather then people from Indian origin who has roots in India. End of the day it’s India loosing tourism not England. Specially when Indian visa cost lot to travellers and the current situation at VFS service for their wonderful service where people has to wait for months and months for visa. I believe it’s loss to Indian government and people of Indian origin loosing trust in Indian government

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Dr Bob Kelly Nov 3, 2022 - 5:09 pm

I am booked on a cruise which includes 4 ports in India. I have been to Northern India but would love to visit these four coastal areas and spend some money but the problems of getting a visa prevent me from doing so. This is ruining my holiday plans, giving me an unfavourable picture of India (which I certainly did not have) and not allowing me to spend money in India.

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Jill Nov 16, 2022 - 7:18 pm

Hi , I made a last min appointment at my nearest office to get the Indian tourist visa like 3 weeks before departure it was a quick and easy process, I received my passport and visa within 4 days after my appointment , I too was severely panicking because I was listening to all the bad new surrounding the visa process but fortunately it was quick and easy

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Sharron Livingston
Sharron Livingston Nov 16, 2022 - 7:53 pm

That’s great to know. We have been told that more offices and slots have opened up.

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Mahinder Nov 3, 2022 - 9:11 pm

I spent so much money getting a 5 year e tourist visa which expires in 2024 but was refused to fly out as this visa is now suspended. I went to the airport to fly out on a very religious occasion and was refused to fly. Are we getting a refund for a service we paid for but not honoured. Can the high commissioner be sued for not providing service for paid services

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Shailen Nov 4, 2022 - 9:11 am

Its to do the with trade politics UK and India, at list allow e-visa for children whose parents are Indian passport or OCI holders. This is just inducing more trouble for our own peoples and effect our own countries tourism business And now with this Sullea Braveman its just going to get worst. The fact that Indian high commission has open a new centres for visa means its trying to make more money and don’t have any intension to open the e-visa anytime soon.

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mdoc Nov 8, 2022 - 3:16 pm

It seems this has back fired and India have become a laughing stock on the world. It amazes me when India play these games with UK. The UK goverment is not hurt by India’s step to stop the e-visa for UK citizens, only India is hurt by loss of revenue and looking like a desperate third world country. My advise to the Indian Goverment and who every is running it, is make sure all your time and resource’s are foucused on your country and the talented young generation only that way you can compete on the global market and become number one.

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peter Nov 17, 2022 - 6:30 am

Your home minister doesnt know the diffrence between pakistanis , bangladeshis and sri lankans and club them as “indians”pls tell her these are three diffrent countries and we are not responsible for immigration mess of these countrires…by the way there needs to be a short refersher course before some one joins the home office…where do you get these people from?

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Peter Scotts Nov 11, 2022 - 7:07 pm

Just wasted £1500 on flights to Delhi and internal flights, all non refundable. We had 5 year evisa and most web sites stated they had been restored. There was very little publicity given to the fact it was not restored for U.K. passport holders. No warning on flight sale sites. By the time we realised our mistake it was too late to get paper visa. Lost this years holiday but will go to Thailand next year.

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Jammi Nov 13, 2022 - 1:39 pm

I am a British citizen and barely travel to india. However I got an e visa for 5 years in 2020 which they have cancelled so who do I contact to get a refund.Also this is just an excuse to get money off us.

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Philip Nov 13, 2022 - 6:47 pm

Please get your facts right everyone (including the author).
UK is kept off the list as UK refused to acknowledge the Indian vaccine during covid19

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Smith Nov 14, 2022 - 4:14 pm

And the reason why the Indian Vaccine was not approved – it had not gone the usual testing and approval procedure as required by WHO.

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Philip Nov 15, 2022 - 10:19 am

As you can see, I didn’t comment on the rights or wrongs, just letting people know the actual reason, rather than the authors ‘inexplicably they changed the visa rules’, or the misinformation in the comments section

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suki Nov 15, 2022 - 6:00 pm

Travel agents with Indian embassy staff are charging (backhanders) between 50 to 100 pounds for visa applications appointments this needs to looked into urgently.

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Sharron Livingston
Sharron Livingston Nov 15, 2022 - 6:31 pm

Have you experienced this?

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K Patel Nov 15, 2022 - 11:18 pm

There are so many people from UK wants to visit their families in India but the process for Regular Paper Visa is very complicated & takes a long time. I hope PM of UK Rishi Sunak & PM of India Narendra Modi has a discussions during their meeting at G20

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Ann Nov 17, 2022 - 8:06 pm

I have just paid for a trip to India with a travel agent and filled in a visa form only to find they are not issuing evisas as India don’t want us. Tourists spend lots of money in India so why don’t they want us? It must be their loss but why. So sad for these people as I’m sure they like the tourism to boost their economy.

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Susan Nov 18, 2022 - 8:02 am

Our Indian prime minister has just said he will let 3000 Indian graduates come to U.K. to live. This will lead onto them wanting to bring in arranged marriages partners.
We as U.K. citizens are not permitted to holiday for a couple of weeks in India and spend money to add their economy.
As someone who has many Indian friends, I am getting messages of hardship the Indian government has inflicted on hotels and shops in Goa especially due to lack of high spending U. K. tourists.
I have a 5 year multi visit visa bought in good faith that is not being honoured.
Travelling several hundred miles to get a paper visa (even if there were appointments, which there isn’t) as an option would add greatly to costs, and who can say Indian government would not change their mind and scrap them.
Thailand welcomes tourist a simple holiday visa obtained on arrival is available, lovely friendly people, and a government who realises the value of tourism.

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Andy Nov 19, 2022 - 11:01 am

It is a tit-for-tat arrangement. UK doesn’t have an e-visa system for India, charges high fees for Indians to get visas to UK and there are unreasonably long waiting times to get a visa. One of my nephews had to cancel their UK visit because the UK Hugh commission couldn’t process the visa on time even though the application was made 2 and a half months before the travel date. Unless the visa rules are relaxed and are reciprocal there will always be complaints.

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PRAKASH Nov 26, 2022 - 3:39 pm

This in-person Visa process causes so much stress on those who wish to visit India.

We paid for 3 X 5 year e-visas in 2019 (due to expire 2024), and used it once only (for obvious reasons we could not travel after March 2020). It is now defunct (where is our refund?) This is total theft and those with 5 year evisas should have an extension on compensation.

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