Applying for an Indian tourist visa in Bangkok

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#1 Nov 11th, 2007, 14:05
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  • Rogue Two is offline
#1
Summary of points:
  • Visa applications are no longer handled by the Indian Embassy in Bangkok, but by a private outsourced company based in the Glas Haus building on the corner of Sukhumvit and Soi 25 (Skytrain Station Asoke, Exit three, SECOND left off Sukhumvit, right on the corner, stright ahead to the lifts, 15th floor). Don't bother going to the Embassy - you're wasting your time;
  • The cost of this service has increased by 480 Thai baht for non-Thailand residents - the total charge is 2,680 Thai baht;
  • The form that you download from the usual websites for this purpose are no longer valid - don't waste your time.
  • You will still have to wait five days for your visa;
  • The process is, at time of writing, relatively new and some of the staff are replacement barely-trained monkeys who replaced the previous staff because they're cheap.
  • Security there is a farcical comedy
'Official' website here: http://www.thaindian.com/news-snippe...gkok-4404.html

Hi all. Missus Rogue and I recently applied for an Indian tourist visa in Bangkok and as non-thai-residents (NTR) we thought you might like to hear of our experiences.

Firstly, a bit of background: we applied for an Indian visa in London (we're British residents) in early January this year. It was a mildly irritating process of confusion and barely-controlled chaos, but it wasn't too bad. The whole process took about 2.5 hours, discounting the short period where we went across the road for lunh at Pret-a-Manger in Aldwych (we were treating ourselves, as anyone who knows about this rather costly sandwich shop chain will appreciate). Staff were, in the main, friendly and helpful if a little harassed. We left happy and relieved that the process was so relatively easy.

Fast forward nine months.

After a fantastic trip through the subcontinent and a stunner in South-East Asia, we decided that we weren't quite ready to go home yet, and to go back to India for Christmas. Being in Thailand, the best place to do this is obviously Bangkok. Here starts the lesson:

We arrived at the Indian Embassy (Soi Asoke/23, Sukhumvit, Bangkok. Skytrain Station Asoke, Exit three, first left off Sukhumvit, 15-minute walk) only to be handed a sheet of paper telling us the following:

Quote:
In order to bring about greater efficiency in issue of visas, the collection of visa applications and delivery of visas has been outsourced to an Embassy approved service provider, VFS (Thailand) Ltd. The service will be operational from 25 October 2007.

With the new arrangements, the Embassy will be able to provide “Next Day Service” to Thai nationals and applicants of other nationalities normally resident in Thailand i.e. the visa will be issued on the following day after an application is received. The maximum time that any visa applicant is expected to spend at the Visa Application Centre would be 20 minutes.

All visa applicants are, w.e.f. 25 October 2007, requested to directly contact :

India Visa Application Centre
No. 1, 15th Floor, Unit 1503,
Glas Haus Building,
Sukhumvit 25

Sukhumvit Road, Klong Toey-Nua,
Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel : 02-6652968
Fax : 02-2605829
Website : www.ivac-th.com
So, we went over to Soi 25 (Skytrain Station Asoke, Exit three, SECOND left off Sukhumvit, right on the corner, stright ahead to the lifts, 15th floor) with our completed application forms from the website to be handed another form to fill out. We were handed the ticket and the forms and went inside to get cracking. inciedntally, they took my Swiss Army Knife, camera, cigarettes, lighter and mobile phone before I went in and refused to give me a receipt for them.

After a not-too-long wait, we handed in our applications, paid our fees (a total of 2,680 baht each, and went off to explore Bangkok. Again. The guy who handled my application was friendly, knowledgeable and professional, but Mrs. Rogue was not so impressed with her consular assistance.

A week later, we arrived at the visa centre before 11 am (as we had been told, although I believe it's now 10 am - check this) and were again frisked by security. This time, they took my lighter, but not Mrs. Rogue's, my bag, but not Mrs. Rogue's Rogue's camera but not mine and didn't bother with my Swiss Army knife.

Call that equal opportunities?

Anyway, we handed in our passports after the usual ticket-wait and bugered off for some lunch. We were told to come back between 15:30 and 17:00 even though the sign on the wall said 15:00 - 16:30. We decided to compromise and got there about ten minutes after three.

Ticket-wait again, then after about 45 minutes when our number was called, we got to the front of the queue to be told that our passports had not arrived yet and there would be a further 50-minute wait.

That turned out to be fairly accurate.

Anyway, we got our passports and our visas and we're going to India on Wednesday. Hurrah! But I don't understand the justification for this. It's supposed to increase efficiency, but you pay 480THB more for the same service. And most of the staff don't know what they're doing.

I hope this saves you a few hours.

RogueII
Seeking solace at the centre of attention is like seeking sustenance at the centre of a doughnut...
#2 Nov 11th, 2007, 14:20
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#2
"increasing efficiency" has become a meaningless phrase used by marketing and 'management' (in itself an increasingly meaningless word!) types to justify their actions.

Like "For your own safety" it is a trump card, and allows of no further demand for justification, or argument.

Words like this are always chucked around a lot when the outsourcing thing happens, because it will have been these management/consultancy/marketing types that dreamt the whole thing up and made the deal. There is no requirement for actions taken under these headings to have anything to do with safety or efficiency!

It is an incurable disease.

Hopefully, the machinery may work better when it is less new. Thanks for posting the current situation and procedure. I'd like to make the thread sticky and shorten the title, if that's ok with you, so that it stands out. It could be useful to quite a few people.
#3 Nov 11th, 2007, 14:29
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#3
Sure, it's OK if you want to shorten the title. I tried to include as much usable information as possible.
#4 Nov 11th, 2007, 14:38
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Two View Post Sure, it's OK if you want to shorten the title. I tried to include as much usable information as possible.
Full marks for post-writing! Excellent summary, padded out with personal experience, backed up with quotes, no waffling. 10/10.
#5 Nov 11th, 2007, 14:48
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Two View Post Sure, it's OK if you want to shorten the title. I tried to include as much usable information as possible.
Have done .

I don't know that we have many Thai resident members, but even for them the thread could be useful.
#6 Nov 12th, 2007, 10:55
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#6
Oh, for Thai residents (including legally-resident expats*) the process is much the same, but it's 400 baht cheaper and the time-lapse between initial application and visa issue is 24 hours. Thai residents collect the day after application.

I don't know whether the paperwork required is different, but I'd assume that you need,at the very east, your work permit or retirement visa.



*If you're not sure whether this applies to you, it doesn't. You don't forget easily the process of becoming a legal resident of Thailand.
#7 Nov 16th, 2007, 04:50
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  • daindm is offline
#7

How long was visa?

Hi Rogue pair,
Very informative entry. I can thoroughly relate. My wife and I (plus often one of our adult age daughters) regularly apply for tourist visas from our home country - Australia, and alternately - Sri Lanka, both Kandy and Colombo. But not Bangkok (yet)
I was jsut confirming that the visa you were granted was for 6mth. Don't think this is a stupid question, sometimes 3mth only is given.
Hope to hear from you soon, Dain
#8 Nov 16th, 2007, 12:15
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#8
Hi Dain.

Yes, it was a six-month multiple entry (number of entries unspecified, so I assume unlimited) visa, the same as I got in London in January this year.

They ask you to specify length of stay, so I just told them six months.
#9 Dec 10th, 2007, 09:22
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Here in Bangkok, it takes 5 working days to get a visa if you are not a Thai or Resident. Ex-pats without resident visa (retirement, etc.) wait 5 days. In Monday am, out Friday afternoon. Very smooth process once you're in the door. Expensive, though, and, you need to have 2 photos with blue background. They have a photograph service on premises which charges an outrageous 250 Baht for the 2 photos. What to do? They won't accept white background photos. 3100 Baht for a 6 month multiple entry visa. No longer give 1 year visas. Plus 480 service charge. Sawatdee Khrap!
#10 Jan 19th, 2008, 00:49
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#10
Thanks to the Rogue's

You have saved me heaps of blundering about and the long sweaty march down
Soi 23 !

does any one know if the 5 working days it takes to process is exclusive or inclusive of drop off and pick up days : drop Monday morning would mean pick up on same friday or following Monday ?
#11 Jan 19th, 2008, 08:02
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#11
If you process in the morning on Monday, you pick it up on Friday.
#12 Feb 20th, 2008, 11:45
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If you wait until later than day 5 to come get the visa, what day is the visa actually issued? Day 5, or the day that you bring your passport to pick up the new visa? Since the six month clock starts ticking with the day the visa is issued, I would really appreciate info on this, as it effects my travel plans. Thanks!
#13 Mar 10th, 2008, 18:41
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lahe lahe View Post If you wait until later than day 5 to come get the visa, what day is the visa actually issued? Day 5, or the day that you bring your passport to pick up the new visa? Since the six month clock starts ticking with the day the visa is issued, I would really appreciate info on this, as it effects my travel plans. Thanks!
It's a good question and I don't know the answer to this. I would imagine that the visa begins on Day 5. Can it really effect your plans that much if it is picked up on Day 6 rather than Day 5?
#14 Mar 10th, 2008, 19:01
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#14
This is my guess: the visa will begin the day they print it.

That could be anything between day 1 and day n, the day you collect it.

Do you leave the passport with them?
#15 Mar 11th, 2008, 16:55
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post This is my guess: the visa will begin the day they print it.

That could be anything between day 1 and day n, the day you collect it.

Do you leave the passport with them?
You just solved the mystery, Nick. You only leave the application with them and return with your passport on Day 5. Everything is stamped then. I had forgotten about that.
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