Hello, my girlfriend and I arrived in Vientiane and applied for an Indian tourist Visa. After one full week of travelling up north to Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang, we are now back in Vientiane with our tourist visas. The whole process was absolutely hassle free, with no questions asked, and also reasonably cheap compared to where we are from (Australia). We noticed that a lot of people were getting sent back and having the applications rejected because they didn't have the necessary information. It is also good to use forums as a guide from people's experiences for this kind of thing rather than the official websites, as the sites may not be up to date, nor may the information be easy to find. Here is a very simple checklist of what you need to attain a 6 month tourist visa for India:
1. Firstly, you need two 2"x2" (5cm x 5cm) passport photos. If you are in the city centre or along the Mekong river, it is very easy to get these done at any Fujifilm store. If you cannot find one, ask any local and they should be able to help. If not, check google maps for Rue Setthathilath (this road runs parallel to Fa Ngoum Rd, which runs along the Mekong river). There are a couple of stores there. While you are getting this done, ask the store workers if you can use their computer to send the passport photos as a file to your email (or Facebook). This is for your application.
2. Flight itinerary. Though this may seem optional, this is a keystone to achieving your visa. Book in advance to make sure that if you do not get the application sorted, you do not start stressing out!!! If you do not feel like booking in advance, there are a few websites that give you an itinerary if you fill out all the necessary information. Print this out in colour.
3. Reservation of first night accommodation in India. Though optional, this still is extremely helpful in attaining your visa without any questions. There are plenty of websites that allow you to book hostels, guest houses and hotels anywhere in the world. However, if you do not want to be a room in advance (just like the flight), you should check the cancellation policies of those websites. Most websites, however, give you a full refund, so you can cancel after you print out the booking. Print this out in colour.
4. Application filled in and printed out. This is done online on the official indian visa website. Fill in the information to the best detail that you can. Most people are a bit baffled by the references section. This is rather easy. Just get a business card from where you are staying in Vientiane and the name of someone at reception, and add their name, accommodation address and phone number in the columns provided. Similarly, for your Indian reference, simply use the information from your booking. If you do not have a booking, you can always find information about almost all guest houses to wherever your flight is arriving in India with a simple search online. There is no need to stress about this. The most important part of the application is uploading your passport image. Download the photo that you sent to yourself, and resize it to 350x350 pixels (completely necessary) and upload into the application. Print the application in colour and sign below on the bottom of the back page and just below where the embassy will stick the photo on the front page.
5. Scan and print (in colour) copies of your Laos visa and your main passport page.
6. Make sure you have at least two blank pages on your passport with at least 6 months validity.
7. Payment is only in USD, and varies from country to country. Some information is on the Indian Embassy Vientiane website, but it is also good to call them to confirm. Make sure the money is crispy and clean, which should not be a problem if you get the cash from any currency exchange. For Australians, it is $58 USD.
A few last pointers, applications are received between 9-11am on weekdays and usually take 5 business days to process. Pick up is between 4-5pm on weekdays. The embassy is closed on weekdays. Print everything in colour! This helps immensely with them asking less (if any) questions. There is a coffee shop on Rue Setthathilath Rd that prints in colour for 4000 kip per page, and is located near the temple. If you have difficulty finding it, just ask around for a Internet cafe with colour print. The tuk-tuk ride from centre of town takes around 10 minutes, or 15 if there is traffic. We payed 60000 kip for a return trip for two people, but you may be able to get this cheaper. When you give your passports away, go and travel for a full week, and then come back to grab your passports!
So, long story short!
1. Two 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) passport photos.
2. Copy of flight itinerary (in colour).
3. Copy of first night accommodation in India (optional but highly recommended (in colour))
4. Application form filled in and printed out (in colour). Make sure to upload passport photo into the form in 350x350 pixels (very important)
5. Scan and copy Laos visa and main passport page (in colour)
6. Have to blank pages in passport.
7. Payment in USD.
8. Give application to embassy between 9-11am on weekdays.n