Indian visa for Filipinos: don’t commit the same mistake I did!
My constant habit of doing things last minute is the fruit of my years of “pack and go” life. I lived most of my formative years without a base so “preparing for a travel” wasn’t really a thing. I didn’t even research what to wear in India as a woman – something that is really important when traveling in India. Then applying for an Indian e-visa hit me.
Important tip: Please don’t skip reading this as this is very important: you need 5 working days in order to process the visa. I did mine in only 3 days.
Indian visa for Filipinos is applied online and you need to input the arrival date as part of the application. When I click on “July 30, 2018,” it required me to apply for an “urgent” visa. I didn’t know the price of the visa will change if it’s an ‘express visa’ so I still continued with my application. When I was about to pay, $240 USD flashed before my screen.
I was definitely not willing to pay this price most especially when I know my friends whom I went on the trip with only paid $80. I didn’t have much choice so I paid it anyway.
The funny thing is, after 15 minutes, I wanted to cancel the application. As soon as I received the Indian e-visa receipt, I asked for a refund and cancel the processing. In my mind, I can still look for other websites that will process it for cheap. Or maybe, just maybe, I will be able to put the arrival date and it will get through.
But it didn’t. The visa representative asked me the reason for the cancellation and I said, “it’s too expensive.” He explained the price hike and it all boiled down to one thing: I only have 3 days left before my flight to Jaipur. I could feel that the guy didn’t want me to cancel the application as this is fewer customers for them so he said the magic words:
“Madam, I can access the system and put your Indian e-visa to normal processing so you won’t have to pay this price.”
What, really, they can do that???? This is why I truly believe that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I’m from a culture that’s not assertive, who are always doing what we are told. No service offers us a solution. It’s always to their advantage.
I processed the visa half the price and the money was refunded to my credit card after a week. I don’t want you to have the same experience so here are the steps in applying for an Indian visa for Filipinos. It’s really easy as long as you do it ahead of time!
Step 1: CHECK YOUR ELIGIBILITY FOR AN INDIAN E-VISA
Don’t be alarmed. Filipinos are eligible to apply for an e-visa to India with the usual protocols:
- 6-month passport validity. This is a common knowledge so don’t dare travel if your visa in less than 6 months. I know it’s very hard to renew passports in the Philippines (this is why I do it in other countries) but be patient and take time to renew! Passport should also have at least 2 blank pages. I usually fill a passport quickly so when I have 6 pages left, I always make sure to renew.
- Make sure your main objective in India is for travel/tourism/leisure. In my first travel to India, I did volunteer and a tourist visa is not valid for this kind of activity. Take note that you need to go to the Indian Embassy in Manila if you want to apply for a volunteering visa.
See also: The 40 best places to visit in India
Before applying for your visa, make sure your ticket lands in the following cities/airports as these are the only ones who will accept this kind of visa: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum, and Varanasi
Otherwise, again, you have to go to the Embassy of India in Manila to apply for an Indian visa.
Step 2: Prepare the necessary documents
Note that these are not hard copies as you are eligible to apply online. However, the application website will ask you to upload the following:
- A valid passport and scanned passport bio page
- One (1) recent passport size photo (3.5cm x 4.5cm)
- Visa fee of $80 USD
In my experience, the visa fee actually varies. You must know that if you search for “Indian e-visa” on Google, a lot of websites will appear but they are all legitimate. They are travel agents although it says “Indian government” on their website. I was really confused!
Step 3: Go to the visa application page
As I said, there will be many websites when you search on Google but don’t panic! This website is what I used to apply for an e-visa in India. Accomplish the form and make sure you will already pay after filling it out.
You can pay later with no problem but this website is not too friendly. If you choose the “pay later” option, they will send you an e-mail but all your details will not be saved even if it says you already filled out the form. You will have to do it all over again even if you clicked “save” already. Believe me, I did it three times as I was comparing visa fees to other websites and it was very tedious!
Related: Is it safe to travel to India?
Once you pay, you will get an instant confirmation via e-mail. It will state that you will get the visa within 5 working days. When I saw the e-mail signature, this is when I realized that the ones processing the visa are the agencies.
Step 4: Print your visa
I’m not really a fan of printing as I’m all for “save the trees” but you need to present a hard copy upon entry in India. In my years of travel, I only show e-visas via mobile but some visas have barcodes so they need a printed copy.
I didn’t really need this after entry at Immigration in Jaipur International Airport as they already stamped the visa on my passport. It’s such a waste of paper! I wish India can find a way to be paperless when it comes to this e-visa thing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will the visa processing take?
5 days is what it takes to receive your Indian e-visa but I received mine within a 48-hour timeframe. It really depends on which company you’ll choose to process your Indian visa for Filipinos.
Can I apply for an Indian e-visa weeks ahead?
Yes, you can. Remember that the Indian e-visa application page asks you to input the date of arrival so your visa will be valid from the arrival date. You can even do it months ahead for peace of mind! Make sure you already have a ticket though!
Do I need travel insurance to process my Indian visa?
I was not asked during the application or upon entry at Jaipur International Airport but I always have travel insurance. India is not really a super clean country and most of the people I know here got sick so don’t risk it! I had an ear infection when I traveled to India but I didn’t need to go be admitted to a hospital. They only prescribed me antibiotics. You can purchase one at World Nomads. It’s the travel insurance I am using for years now.
When is the best time to visit India?
India is a big country so the weather differs. I visited end of June to mid-July. This is low-season for them and before the trip, I read that it was raining a lot but it didn’t when we were there! I think I enjoyed it more during the low season because there weren’t a lot of people and prices are extremely low compared to other seasons.
Normally, how long is the validity of the Indian visa for Filipinos?
Everyone is given 60 days for an Indian e-visa.
How much money should I have in my bank account?
Again, they did not ask for proof of income/travel money – which was really convenient. Don’t worry, India is super cheap! You can always travel there for less.
Are there any reasons I would be refused an Indian visa?
Like most visa application process for Filipinos, there are no concrete reasons for our visa being denied. I guess we just have to complete our requirements and follow the process/system. Til then, let’s hope for the best.