SUCCESS!!

VISA

Finally, after much patience and confusion, my India Tourist Visa has arrived!

Following on from my last post about this, let’s re-cap with a quick how-to (and some corrections!) on how to apply for an India Tourist Visa for UK Based Applicants.

How I Obtained an India Tourist Visa

1. I completed my application on the India Visa Online website.
2. Upon submitting my application, I also paid for my visa online (£93.60) and made an appointment to go to the London based embassy to complete my application. Upon making my appointment, the webpage changed to an appointment confirmation page, which I printed and kept and good thing I did because it was required later on! An alternative option is to post a copy of your application along with two 2×2 photos and your passport to the embassy and pay for Special Delivery for it to be returned to you. I have a couple of friends who have gone through this process at the Birmingham based embassy and told me that by going in person you can collect your visa the very next day. This turn out not to be the case for me, but it’s what I opted for anyway! So I made my appointment for 11:00 Thursday 29th January.
3. I also paid a couple of quid extra to receive text message updates on the process of my application, but this turned out to be a completely pointless thing to do, as I’ll explain shortly.
4. Next, I sorted out my photo. The passport photo machine had a specific option for “India Visa” which cost £7.
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Gorgeous.

5. To my horror, I received no confirmation of any kind from the embassy that my application had been received, or an itinerary list for my appointment. So I used good old common sense and packed
Confirmation of my appointment
Itinerary of flights
Proof of where I’ll be staying
Proof of address
Several copies of my application
My passport
Two 2×2 photos
Confirmation that I had paid for my visa

I was told by one of the aforementioned friends who had done this that this what a good list, but more might be needed! I was also advised to take copies of my birth certificate, my parent’s birth certificates, my parent’s passports and my parent’s marriage certification!! Basically, legal confirmation of anything that is mentioned on the application!
I was also advised, in spite of having an appointment, to arrive at the embassy early as possible as queues are normally out the door…

6. So, come Thursday 29th January, I arrived at the London based India Visa Application Centre bright and early at 9:00 only to see no queues and no panic what-so-ever. So, I enjoyed a nice relaxed breakfast at Costa Coffee nearby, and returned at 10:30
7. I was greeted by a very friendly individual, who seemed to welcome the excitement that was suddenly bubbling over from me (you’d think it was the day of my flight for all the giddiness). I was asked if I had an appointment, and when I confirmed I do, was asked to produced the confirmation. Pow. I did.
8. I was given a waiting number (shown in the picture above) and directed to the glue stick and scissor area, where I completed my application by sticking my grumpy face down securely.
9. After about 10 minutes of waiting, my ticket number was called. I was asked for my application and passport. When I asked if I will be returning the following day to collect my visa, I was told with a polite smile that this would not be the case and that it will be ready for me to collect the following week. So, I opted for it to be posted to me instead, which cost my about £10 for Special Delivery. So to review, the only documents I needed in the end were my passport, and my application. But I still think it’s better to be extra prepared!
10. Less than a week later my visa arrived, and was followed a couple of day later by a series of text message telling my the process of my application… So I wouldn’t bother with this feature in hindsight.

And that’s how it’s done! So that sees me more or less ready to go, with just 11 days left on the count down!

Following all that visa fun in London, I then drove west to Bristol for a Sister Weekend!

As I’m yet to visit India, I’ve never experienced authentic Indian cooking. But it’s said that if you want to find this in the UK, there’s only one place to go…

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And that’s exactly where my darling sister took me.

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The dreaded visa

It’s hard to believe it, but in just 6 weeks and 5 days I will be beginning my adventure! I realise I ummed and ahhed about a variety of routes and may have left some confusion, so for clarity, here is my absolute plan of what’s what:

India

26th February I will depart London Heathrow at 8:50pm and arrive in Delhi, India, on 27th February at 10:40am! I will then engage in a month long guided tour of all the best bits, including a variety of beautiful temples and the Himalayas Mountains!

South Africa

Then, on 29th March I will depart Dabolim Goa, India Airport at 6:45pm and arrive Chhatrapati Shivaji, Mumbai airport at 7:55pm. Then at 1:35am (so, 30th March now) I will depart Chhatrapati Shivaji, Mumbai and arrive in O R Tambo Johannesburg Airport, South Africa at 6:55am. THEN at 10:45am I will depart O R Tambo Johannesburg Airport only to arrive, finally, at 12:25pm in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Here, I will spend two months working within a Game Ranger internship, helping on the Safari and by the end have a FGASA qualification. Will it come in handy one day? Who can say!

Zambia

So! 25th May at 6:10am I will depart Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and arrive at 7:50am in O R Tambo Johannesburg, South Africa. Then I’ll catch another flight at 10:40am, which will see me land safely at Livingstone Airport, Africa, at 12:30pm. I’ll then be transferred over to an area of Zambia where I’ll be volunteering within the community. I will also drift over to Botswana for 4 days somewhere in the middle, to explore the Safari and go bush camping!

Botswana

And finally

Wednesday 17th June at 1:10pm I will depart Livingstone Airport, Africa, and arrive at O R Tambo Johannesburg, South Africa, at 2:55pm. I will hostel it up for a night, then 18th June I will get an 11:25am from O R Tambo Johannesburg, South Africa in order to arrive at Chhatrapati Shivaji, Mumbai at 12:05am (now, by all technicalities, on 19th June). Then, at 1:05am I will depart Chhatrapati Shivaji, Mumbai, arriving at Suvarnabhumi International Airport Bangkok, Thailand, at 6:55am!
After what I’m sure will be a memorable night on Khao San Road and a day tour of Bangkok, I will jump on the train all the way up to Surin where I’ll stay for four weeks caring for elephants!

Thailand

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