This July, the Embassy of India replaced Travisa with a company called BLS International, a company whose handling of India visa processing has been met with almost universal disdain.
I recently obtained my India tourist visa from BLS International and while I was lucky enough to get my India tourist visa, when all was said and done, the road was not without obstacles.
On the surface, the process of getting an India tourist visa from BLS International is identical to how it worked with Travisa Outsourcing.
Another way BLS International seemed similar to Travisa is that it allows you to track the status of your India visa application online your passport number. I tried to be patient, but when my India visa status didn’t update for more than a week, I had little choice but to call BLS International directly. I worry about the long-term implications of BLS handling India visa processing, if they don’t get their act together. If you live in one of the five cities where BLS has offices, I recommend you apply for your India visa in person there.
As an American tourist in Dublin, Ireland, Can I get my India toursit visa at teh Indian Embassy in Dublin?
I need to get a tourist Visa for a month-long trip to India, and am a little concerned that SSN seems to be required along with everything else. If Travisa is no longer handling the Indian visa process then why the hell seriously why the hell can I still print an application for my Indian visa on their website, complete with how much they will charge for the service?? I thought BLS had closed down entirely, but I think you can directly apply to cox & Kings they have all the information and a step by step instructions on what to do and you can either send it by mail to them directly or make an appt.
I do believe you can get this done in Europe, but being that it relates to India, it will be complicated. 1) You do need to have flight info, although they have no way of verifying you actually booked your flight.
Anyone have a timeline on how long an in-person application takes to get the passport with the new visa back?
I’d love to hear what you found out or hear from others who have had this same scenario.
Ashley , I am currently in UK as well , did you find out what to do since its been 3 months since your post ….gosh I need HELP !!!!! I’d like to ask you a question about my friend, he is US citizens and also working in Indonesia now. BLS International may be out for US citizens, but I used them because the High Commission told me they’ve outsourced all visa processing to them. Let Me Plan Your TripWhether you're going on a honeymoon, a regular vacation or a round-the-world trip, let me plan a custom itinerary for you!
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And while some of these statements are most certainly true, we found the research to be the hardest part of the whole application process. After a few days of stressing out and asking questions in some online forums, we figured that the best way to get the right information was to head on over to the Consulate for India in Chiang Mai and ask some questions.
So, we hit off on the scooter bright and early on a Monday morning with the hope of getting some answers. However, the man that sat outside was actually quite helpful – ok, he didn’t smile or say “good morning,” but he did do his best to help us and explained what we needed to do. At this point, I should say that while applying for a visa for India in Chiang Mai can be straightforward, our situation was a little different in the sense that we needed to get a 6-month tourist visa for India. We didn’t plan on staying in India for 6 months but our trip down to the South of Thailand ruined our chances of applying for a 3-month visa as it didn’t give us enough time. Again, having read reports online, we didn’t think this was possible but we figured that it was worth finding out for ourselves. After explaining our case for needing a 6-month visa to the reception man outside, we kind of felt resigned to the fact that a trip to Bangkok was inevitable as he basically told us that we’d have to return to Chiang Mai before leaving Thailand in order to get a 3-month visa.


Next, the door of the building slid over and we were permitted to enter and talk to the other guy – you remember the one that denies all of the visas? After having a chat with him and explaining our case in-depth with travel dates etc., he basically told us that every application is different and just because others couldn’t get a 6-month visa approved in Chiang Mai, doesn’t mean that we couldn’t. I think his exact words were, “People come in here with confirmation emails for flights that they haven’t yet paid for and hotel reservations that have been constructed in Microsoft Word and they think we’re stupid enough to accept them. He also explained that he wants to grant visas as he wants people to see his country, but he wants people to also stick by the rules and not try to make a mock of the whole process.
As we didn’t have any documents with us, we finished the conversation off with him telling us to go and get ourselves sorted and return with all of the necessary documents.
We thanked him for his time and hurried home with the intention of getting pics taken, filling out the online application form, doing some photocopying, printing off flights and booking a hotel and returning the next morning with all of the evidence. The same reception guy was there on the Tuesday morning and he didn’t bother to check our documents as he probably remembered us from the day before. Well that was until we mentioned that we had already spoke with the Consular of Thailand on the previous morning and he told us that getting a 6-month visa was no problem. We were ushered out of the room and patiently sat outside to hear the outcome of the phone call.
After doing the necessary, I gave the reception guy a big smile and wave to which I got a nod and a slight smile in return, and thanked the lady at the window when she handed us our receipt and told us to come back the following Wednesday to collect our passports. Because of the conflicting info that we got online and our experience of getting a 6-month visa when we thought we couldn’t, I’ve decided to share our story with anyone who is currently in Chiang Mai and feeling totally clueless as to what steps to take. Below is a rough guide outlining what you need to apply for a visa, why it’s important to have a hotel reservation and how to go about the whole process.
For the online visa application form, head on over here and hit the orange tab on the top left of the screen. Once you’ve filled in details such as your address, expected travel dates, religion, reason for needing a visa, current occupation and a reference in both Thailand and India, you just select the option for printing when you come to the end of the application. In respect the reference in Thailand, we just put the name of our real estate agent and his work address and as we didn’t have a contact in India, we just put the name of the hotel where we’ll be staying in Mumbai when we arrive.
At the end of the application, you’ll be given the opportunity to pick a date for which you want to visit the embassy with the printout of your form and other documents. Make sure that the photos you use for your application are the correct dimensions of 2×2 inches as the small rectangular ones will be rejected. As mentioned, having an e-ticket with the details of your inbound and outbound flights is also essential. Sign your name at the bottom of every page of your documents as doing so will save you time when it comes to handing them over for processing. If you’re applying for a tourist visa for India, don’t arrive at the embassy saying that you want to travel to the country for any other reason other than tourism. Depending on your nationality and intended length of stay, you may be eligible for an Indian visa on arrival so be sure to check out what your requirements are.
It takes 5-8 working days to get a visa for India in Chiang Mai and the visa starts from the day it is issued so keep this in mind.
Having been through the process of securing a 6 month Indian visa in Chiang Mai, I can say the whole affair really wasn’t that bad. Having said this, I do believe our saving grace was deciding to visit the embassy on that Monday morning.
If you’re currently facing the prospect of applying for an Indian visa in Chiang Mai and don’t know how to go about it, I hope this post helps you out in some way. Florence has relocated herself to S.E Asia to pursue her life-long dream of travelling and working around the world. Your post will be complete if you could tell us what all you faced at the immigration counter at the airport. Once we had our visa we were good to go and we weren’t questioned at the airport at all. We left home on a one way ticket to Thailand in 2013 to travel the world full-time and build an online business along the way. Bring the approval letter, your passport, 2 photos, exit and entry form and stamping fee to get your visa stamped at the arrival airports.
Vietnam visa approval letter is a letter issued by the Vietnam Immigration Department (Vietnam Government) that allows you to enter and exit Vietnam for a given time period. Before issuing an approval letter, the Immigration Department checks your application very strictly. A colored scanned copy of the approval letter will be sent to you by email, so please make sure that you have provided us with the correct email address. As I wrote in this post from a couple years ago, US citizens could get their India tourist visas quickly and easily, either in-person or by mail, using a company called Travisa Outsourcing.
Stories of months-long delays, gross mistakes and even outright passport loss have not been uncommon. After completing the online India visa application (which is, admittedly, a bit excessive in its length), you are given a BLS tracking number, as well as instructions for how to submit your India visa application via mail – i.e. I eventually got through to someone, using the BLS International phone number 1-855-436-0725. Most travelers I know would just as soon find other countries to visit than deal with this BS to obtain a visa to India. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips.


Sign up to receive my weekly email newsletter – it's like a trip around the world to end every week! I am not comfortable giving this information to the Indian consulate, especially via a third-party company (BLS). A couple readers of mine were going to do it in Madrid, but actually decided to fly to Rabat, Morocco to do it instead on account of the complication! My husband visa has not been granted however they refuse to give me a letter so I could get back all the money I paid for my flights. How much gap is required for a US citizen to re enter in India on multiple entry 5 year visa?
At that time we still had about 7 weeks or so left in Thailand, but after reading the hassles that other travellers had with getting a visa for India in Chiang Mai and Bangkok, we figured we’d get on the ball early. Some countries make it easy while others make it so difficult that one would think they don’t want people to visit their country at all. However, having spent the last few months in Thailand, this wasn’t going to be the case and we had no choice but to apply here and hope that all went well.
Having read stories about the moody man that sits outside and his strict counterpart that refuses visas for the most minute of details, we were expecting our morning to be a dreadful one. We weren’t very hopeful of getting a positive response because from what we knew, 6-month visas had to be applied for in Bangkok. Instead, we were sitting with the Consular of India for Thailand – the man who really approves and denies the visas for both locals and for foreigners in Thailand.
He was a very nice, intelligent, chatty and polite man who told us that he’s well up to the tricks that people try to play when applying for visas.
After waiting for around 5 minutes, we were permitted to enter through the same door as we had on the previous morning. The man that we spoke with on the Monday was gone and in his place was another man and he did not look happy. The prospect of having to spend 9 days in Bangkok waiting for our Indian visas to be approved was becoming real again. The reason being is that, as the Consular explained, they need to have a way of knowing your whereabouts for the first few days of your stay in India. From what we got from the chat that we had with the Consular, a booking confirmation will not do. If your primary goal of the trip is to learn yoga or volunteer at a project, do not broadcast that. If you need a 6-month visa, select that option on the online visa application form and explain your case as to why you need it instead of the regular 3-month tourist visa. I feel that if we left it until the Tuesday and didn’t get to meet the Consular himself, we’d have been refused a 6-month visa right off the bat and we’d currently be facing the prospect of having to hang around Bangkok for 9 days waiting for our visa to be approved. Unlike other countries, you cannot choose your dates for the visa to start so it makes timing extremely important. If they asked you to show the hotel reservation or how much money we have for the expenses. With the approval letter, you can pick up your visa upon arrival at one of the three international airports in Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang). Therefore, there will be no chance you are refused at Vietnam airport if you have obtained an approval letter. Mine updated only when they received the application, not when they sent it to the Indian Embassy for processing or even when they’d already mailed it back to me! I’m afraid if I send in my passport I might not get it back in time, and going to San Francisco in person is doable, but a hassle. So it was by no means detailed and we’re not sure if not having it would have made any difference to our application.
Turning up at the office with a beard that almost touches your baggy pants and hair that hasn’t been washed for months is most likely going to give the impression that you’re not going to India with just tourism in mind. As mentioned, we just found everything from the website and the info from other blogs and other people super confusing when we were doing our research so I can appreciate what you’re saying. However, it is strongly advised that you read our website and follow all the instructions carefully to avoid problems at Vietnam airport. We booked a hotel for 2 nights in Mumbai and the printout of the booking confirmation was sufficient. I had to call four times to find out the status of my India visa application, at which point the operator had BLS manually expedite my passport to the Indian embassy in Houston. I also heard that starting in October, the process will (hopefully) be simplified to an online visa application only (taking 3 days).
BLS Intl has my money, no visa as promised, started process 3 months ago, and my ticket to leave is in 3 days!
Do I have to fill out the application and have my passport mailed all the way back to the states?



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