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Indian visa costs go up

10th June 2008

The cost of a tourist visa for British travellers visiting India has increased. Visa processing has been outsourced to VFS Global, an Indian service company which handles visa applications for numerous embassies worldwide, and which has introduced service charges for all visa applications.

A six-month visa now costs £30 plus £8 in charges if applied for in person or online, or £30 plus £15.40 in charges, including service charge and a charge for returning passport, if applied for by post.

VFS has also introduced a premium phone line for visa enquiries.

Tour operators and tourist boards have reported problems with the phone lines and delays with applications since the move to VFS at the end of May.

The Indian High Commission says the outsourcing is a response to increased numbers of British visitors and is designed to speed up applications and allow people to pay for visas online by credit card.

Meanwhile, political unrest in India has left thousands of travellers temporarily stranded. An indefinite strike called by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) party has crippled much of West Bengal, including the popular tea-producing region of Darjeeling.

The GJM has asked all visitors to leave the area as it begins the strike it hopes will lead to a separate state. Efforts are now underway to move the estimated 40,000 Indian and foreign visitors currently in the region. However, because of the strike, transport out of the region is in short supply.

Have you encountered any problems obtaining an Indian visa? Do you have any visa horror stories? Share your experiences on our community website goWander.com

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