Journalist Visa

#31 Sep 24th, 2009, 22:27
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#31
One look at BBC on my visa application and I was forced to get journalist's tourist visa, despite not being a journalist and writing no content for the BBC and having a letter from my employer explaining this.

I have the feeling that if worked in the canteen making sandwiches I'd still have been forced to apply as a journalist.

So, as well as having to fork out and extra 25, I'm guessing that I'll now get a grilling from immigration when I arrive...
#32 Sep 24th, 2009, 22:56
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#32
You won't get grilled. You have a perfectly valid visa. You don't have anything to worry about.

But now you will be able to talk about traveling to India as a journalist -- you can even drop "overseas correspondent for the BBC" into the conversation if you need to impress someone in a bar. Make the most of it!

On a more serious note, journalists are a tight community -- if you ever needed help in India, since you are a BBC employee, the local media organizations would be happy to assist. Even though you are not a writer or TV personality, all the local media have backoffices and support personnel, too, so they will get where you are coming from.

See why India wants you to have j-visa?
#33 Sep 24th, 2009, 22:59
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#33
Quote:
I have the feeling that if worked in the canteen making sandwiches I'd still have been forced to apply as a journalist
That is more or less correct. Anything media-related will get you into that category.

I'm surprised they didn't accept the letter, though. We had one member, profession photographer, from whom they accepted a declaration that she was a wedding photographer, and not connected with the news industry at all.

<cross-posted with Merchant>

I agree: I don't think you'll get any hassle from immigration --- but might be a good idea to keep that BBC letter with your travel docs.
#34 Sep 24th, 2009, 23:11
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#34
Yeah -- it's a matter of your employer, not what you actually do.

There is an assumption here that people on j-visas face more scrutiny or difficulty, but that's not really the case. You might warrant some curiosity from the people who check your visa, like hotel clerks (they are required by law to record your particulars). But you don't have to tell them anything if you don't want to. Foreign journalists in India are generally respected, and the guy at the desk may feel some particular pride that you have chosen his establishment to lay your head -- especially if you are in some out-of-the-way area. In a big city, no one will notice or care.
#35 Sep 25th, 2009, 01:01
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#35
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Originally Posted by Merchant View Post Foreign journalists in India are generally respected, and the guy at the desk may feel some particular pride that you have chosen his establishment to lay your head.
If I had to have a journalist visa, I'd tell the hotel that I wasn't anything at all serious such as a "proper news journalist" and that I only did their travel features, such as reviews on hotels...
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#36 Dec 29th, 2009, 20:48
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#36
I'm a freelance media person, currently not working and about to go on a most definite holiday to India. As we'd like to visit Nepal as well a multi entry 6 month visa would definitely be better than a three month single entry.

Having read this forum I'm going to put self employed as employer and a more general term for my job. Only thing is my passport has in it an I visa for the US - the one for media professionals. Has anyone had any problems with saying they're non media and then being questioned over previous visas?
#37 Dec 29th, 2009, 22:38
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Originally Posted by CD1010 View Post Only thing is my passport has in it an I visa for the US - the one for media professionals.
The HCI spotting that previous visa is a risk you wiil be taking if you choose to describe your job as other than journalism; only you can decide if it is worth taking that risk.

Remember that as a journalist you can still apply for a journalist tourist visa, though the fee will be higher and you will have to supply documents stating you won't be working there. Details on the VFS Documents page.
#38 Dec 30th, 2009, 18:38
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#38
People's jobs and employers do change over the course of their lives...
#39 Dec 30th, 2009, 21:21
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Originally Posted by NonIndianResident View Post People's jobs and employers do change over the course of their lives...
True, but at the very least, them spotting that previous journalist visa is likely to result in them asking for a written statement that they are no longer a journalist, which would not only result in great delays to the application, but could also put someone in a very dodgy position.

In these days where everyone has access to google, bear in mind that it can be very easy for them to check these things out if there is even a whiff of uncertainty - and yes where there is doubt about something like this, they DO google names of applicants.
#40 Dec 31st, 2009, 01:50
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#40
Even a whiff of suspicion of "journalism" is enough. They seem to be really hot on this.
#41 Jan 11th, 2010, 09:21
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Thank you for this very helpful thread. I am India-bound in April to meet my fiance's family and it's only now that I realize how my profession could be a liability to this personal trip.

I guess I have no choice but to state my ACTUAL profession since as what merchant said, "it's not what you do that's at issue; it's who employs you." So no point to dillydally figuring out what to put in that profession slot.

Since I will be staying for just 15 days max and the next time I go there would be Jan 2011 (for the wedding), I suppose no prob with me getting a 3-month j-visa for now, yes?

Thanks again.
"Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled." Mohammed
#42 Jan 29th, 2010, 18:47
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#42
Hi,

Just wanted to add my experiences in the hope it may help and demystify for others. I'm a UK citizen and journalist, and have just applied for a tourist visa (in London). I was really concerned about applying for the right type of visa - I'm going on a tourism-only trip - and have been reading this thread lots.

Actually, it was really easy. I completed my application online, for a tourist visa. (Putting a random hotel in Mumbai as my address and the Dep High Commission in Mumbai and the British Tourist Help Office in Goa as my Indian referees, and my parents and boyfriend as English referees - you have to complete these details if you complete the application online.)

I put my job as Reporter. I decided not to pay online as you have to pay 25 extra if you work in media, even though you're still getting a tourist visa, and I didn't want my applicaiton to be delayed by paying the wrong fee. After completing the application online, I booked an appointment - there were days available at the Goswell Road, London centre in 2/3 days time. You just get allocated a day, not a time.

Went to the centre this morning, got there at 8:30 and said I had an appointment and was seen at 9:30. The centre seemed pretty calm - a short queue but nothing drastic.

The only extra stuff I needed (apart from printed out complete application form, passport photos and passport) was a letter signed by my editor saying I was going for tourism purposes only and would not undertake any work for the duration of my stay (I'd brought this with me). I had no problems at all - I paid the extra fee media professionals have to pay (making the total c 64) and was told I could pick up my visa in 2 - 3 working days.

Hope this helps anyone in the same situation. You may be able to write a different job description and get away with it but I thought that for 25 it wasn't really wirth the risk of potentially delaying my application.

Best,
Sophie
#43 Jan 29th, 2010, 23:38
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#43
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Originally Posted by sophiebels View Post I'm a UK citizen and journalist, and have just applied for a tourist visa (in London). <snip> Hope this helps anyone in the same situation. You may be able to write a different job description and get away with it but I thought that for 25 it wasn't really wirth the risk of potentially delaying my application.
Hi Sophie, welcome to IndiaMike.

When you get your visa, it would be great if you came back and told us how long they took to process it.


Good luck with your application, and your forthcoming trip, I'm sure you will find all sorts of useful information on here.
#44 Feb 3rd, 2010, 21:48
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#44

Journalist doing tourism - visa in London, UK

Yup no probs. I went in on Friday and they said it would be ready by Tuesday. It's Wednesday today. I just checked online and it's ready for collection. Pretty great! May have been ready yesterday, I just didn't have time to check. (That said I still wouldn't leave it too late if you need one of these and have time to spare, just in case. A friend of mine messed up his application a week before flying and had to rebook his flight - twice. He works in media but hadn't said so when he applied for normal tourist visa.)

You can check whtehr it's ready through the VFS site - you just need your passport number.

Have to go and pick it up sometime. If anyone knows roughly how long you need to queue for for colleciton that'd be really handy.
#45 Feb 3rd, 2010, 22:14
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#45
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Originally Posted by sophiebels View Post Have to go and pick it up sometime. If anyone knows roughly how long you need to queue for for colleciton that'd be really handy.
The Visa Application Centres in the UK which do offer collection are open for collection from1300hrs to 1630 hrs. They start giving out "collection ticket numbers" a bit before then, so by 1pm, there is a queue. Most people arrive between 1pm and 2pm and they will queue for around 30 minutes to an hour.

However, usually by 2.30pm the queue has gone, and by 3pm the place is often empty.
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