Sep 29 2011
This post last updated January 21, 2013
Getting a visa to India in Bangkok takes a little longer and is a bit more complicated than for most other Asian countries, but it’s not rocket science if you know where to look. It is also 100% not necessary to have a third party take care of the process, particularly Khao San agencies. Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to the subcontinent in no time.
The most important aspect of the Indian visa process to be aware of is that visa applications are only available online; if you show up at the India Passport & Visa Services Centre and ask to fill out an application by hand, you’ll be out of luck. Applications must be filled out online (see below for instructions), then downloaded, printed and brought to the Visa Services Centre in person. Note that this is a different location than the actual India Embassy, which is situated a kilometre away on Sukhumvit Soi 23.
Things became extra confusing when no one bothered to update the “tourist visa” link on the official Embassy of India Bangkok’s website, which is now a dead end. Although the correct link can be located elsewhere on the embassy’s website, the site you want is called Apply for Visa to India in Thailand, which is specific to the visa process and more up-to-date than the embassy website. It also provides info on India visas and services elsewhere in Thailand.
Although the Apply for Visa to India in Thailand site has most of the info you’ll need, the actual visa application is found at still another site, and at time of writing one of two links on the Apply for Visa to India in Thailand site was broken. To find the correct link, click “Online Applications” from the left sidebar and then the “Apply Now” icon at the bottom of the screen.
You’ll then be whisked to the standardized Indian government page that all visa applicants from anywhere in the world must go through. Once again, however, there’s a problem with the “Online application link” on this homepage — it’s an “untrusted connection” according to our computers. Rather than taking the risk, click “Online Visa Application” from the left sidebar and hit the “online application” link.
The application page you need will then emerge after navigating this maze of electrons, but we’ll make it easy on you: just click here for the application page. Fill out the multi-page application, submit, then download, print and keep your temporary application ID number for reference.
With the finished, printed visa application in hand, head to the India Passport & Visa Services Centre (see directions below). You’ll also need your passport, two 2X2 inch passport photos, two photocopies of your passport and Thai visa page (if you have one) and a separate reference form, which can be downloaded via this page and must be printed and filled out by hand. You’ll also need the visa fee, which varies depending on your nationality. Fees are not always updated online, so it’s wise to bring some extra baht along just in case.
Update Feb 16, 2013: Comments in early Feb 2013 indicate an onwards flight or some other proof of leaving India are now an absolute requirement. See the comments below for more detail.
Applications must be dropped off between 08:30 and 14:00 Monday through Friday, excluding Indian and Thai holidays, and pick-up is between 14:00 and 17:00. Processing time typically takes six working days, although it can apparently take up to eight working days without warning. It’s possible to track your visa application online by inputting your passport number and last name on the Apply for Visa to India in Thailand homepage. Also note that if you can’t make it to Bangkok in person and have a reliable postal address in Thailand, it is possible to apply by way of a courier.
For most nationalities, a tourist visa gets you a six-month double entry stay. Although it still says otherwise on India’s official tourist visa FAQ form, an official at the Visa Services Centre in Bangkok told us that most nationalities are no longer required to stay outside of India for a minimum of two months after leaving the country, though the requirement apparently stands for Chinese and most Middle Eastern nationalities. A variety of other visas — including business, journalist, medical and student — can also be processed in Bangkok, though you’ll need to get the specifics on these from the Visa Services Centre or India’s Ministry of Home Affairs.
To get to the Visa Services Centre, take the BTS sky train to Asok station and exit to the east, following signs for the MRT. Rather than going into the MRT station, continue walking along the elevated walkway above Sukhumvit Road. Once you reach the end of the walkway, exit on the stairs on the left hand side and continue walking in the same direction on Sukhumvit until you reach Soi 25. The visa processing centre is located on the 15th floor of the Glas Haus building, smack on the corner (see map).
India Passport & Visa Services Centre
Glas Haus 15th Floor
Sukhumvit soi 25, Bangkok
T: (026) 652 968
Open Mon-Fri, 8:30 – 17:00; closed on Indian holidays
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