India requires all travelers to arrive with a visa in hand, but the country doesn't make it easy to secure one once you're on the road. True you could arrange your visa before you leave home, but it starts expiring right away, which puts you on a strict 6-month timeframe for entering and leaving the country.
So what happens if you plan an India trip at the last minute and you're already traveling? Most Indian embassies in SE Asia will only issue to their own citizens, so if you've already left the States (or another country), you're left scrambling. One known option is to fly back to Bangkok and secure your visa there. But we found another way to get an Indian visa, on the unlikely island of Bali.
Here's how to make it happen:
Where and When To Go
The Indian embassy is located in the Renon neighborhood of Denpasar, which is about a 10-minute (20,000IDR) cab ride from the beach town of Sanur. The exact address is JI Raya Puputan No 163, Renon, Denpasar, Bali-80235 (thanks to a reader for the update!). Sanur is absolutely the most convenient place to stay if you're trying to get to the embassy, though the trip is also possible by cab and motorbike from the Kuta beach area. Allow an hour each way.
The embassy accepts visa submissions Monday through Friday from 9am to noon, so plan on arriving at 11am at the latest. They're quite strict about the cutoff time.
You have to leave your passport at the embassy for 5 business days, which means you're passport-less for a full week. Pickup is from 4-5pm Monday-Friday, though we arrived earlier in the day and managed to get our passports with minimum fuss.
What To Bring
- A printout of your submitted online application
- Two passport photos
- A printout of a bank statement showing "sufficient" funds
- A printout of your flights INTO and OUT of India (NOTE: if you're crossing to Nepal by land, a printout of your hotel reservation for your first night in Nepal suffices as the "out" ticket)
- A printout of your hotel reservation for your first night in India (NOTE: if you haven't yet planned the trip, just reserve the cheapest room on HostelBookers.com and show that)
- A good attitude—your visa application process may also double as your official interview
How Much It Costs
The full list of fees is here, but expect to pay to pay in the range of 850,000IDR. Make sure you have the funds in cash.
Interested in travel and backpacking in Indonesia on a budget? Check out our Indonesia destination pages.