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There are so many Indian Embassies around the world and most of them have quite clear steps the citizens need to follow to apply for the certain type of visa. But what if you need to open a visa in another country?
My country doesn’t have a diplomatic relationship with India. It means, every time I want to visit India for any purpose (travel, work, business), I have to visit another country to open my visa. This gave me immense additional expenses a chance to visit interesting destinations.
Though I’ve opened Indian visa in several countries, I would like to write more about Bangladesh. If you are a citizen of Bangladesh, Indian Application Center has gathered detailed information about documents and application process for local citizens.
If you try to find information online about visa in Bangladesh for foreigners, you can stumble upon some general notes on lonely planet dating a few years back. Since it’s my duty to experience less known stuff and provide you the information, I decided to get the first-hand experience.
If you would like to apply for an Indian tourist visa in Bangladesh as a foreigner, you will find in this post a step-by-step guide about formalities. Overall, it was quite a lean experience for me, though it does take a long time. Here are specific questions I will focus on:
- Where to open Indian tourist visa in Bangladesh?
- Documents required for foreigners to open Indian tourist visa in Bangladesh
- Indian tourist visa at IVAC Gulshan – how to reach?
- Timings and Fees for an Indian visa in Bangladesh
- Other useful tips
Note: this is my personal experience I went through. I’m not providing any visa advice and you should seek further information in the concerned embassy.
Heading to Bangladesh? Check out Sonargaon – the medieval capital of Bengal.
Where to open Indian tourist visa in Bangladesh?
There are 12 application centers in Bangladesh spread in several divisions. In my humble opinion, your best bet will be Chittagong and Dhaka. I would highly recommend Dhaka. If you have any issues, your documents will be sent from the application center to the Indian embassy in Dhaka and you might need to pass an interview (very rare case, but visa application officers will inform you about it).
Plus, Dhaka is literally and figuratively the center of Bangladesh. You don’t need to be in the city all the time during the process, but it’s very easy to come back almost from anywhere within 5-8 hours if required.
Documents required to open Indian tourist visa in Bangladesh
Unlike other Indian Embassies I’ve been to, the application center in Bangladesh asked me a bit different set of documents:
- Passport. Its validity should be at least 6 months.
- Photocopy of passport & Bangladesh visa (if applicable).
- Application form. You need to fill your application form online on the Government website. Ensure you have a photo corresponding the application standards. You will need to upload it with the application. Just follow the instructions.
- Recent photo. It should be the same photo as in the online application!! Print out two color photos 2-inch x 2-inch (51mm x 51 mm). Unless you are a pro photographer who’s been into this stuff for years, I recommend shedding some money (50 Taka) to a photo studio. Just communicate that you need a picture for an Indian visa. They will edit and print-out your pictures according to the required standards.
- Bank statement. Print-out your bank statement that ensures you have enough funds to travel around India within the timeframe you are planning to. I couldn’t provide my bank statement in English, thus I’ve printed out the account statement from PayPal. It worked for me.
- Current reservation of hotel/other place you stay in Bangladesh. If you have an AirBnb reservation it might cause unnecessary questions and check-ups (been there, done that). Tourism is not that developed in Bangladesh. I recommend to not improvise and make a booking in the hotel/guesthouse/etc during your application, where you can print-out your reservation from Booking or other sources
Note: the documents above are the required for people who are tourists in Bangladesh. Foreigners who are employed there need to provide employment letter, tax details, etc.
This was the most challenging Indian visa due to the lack of Information, though the most economical one as I didn’t have to make ticket reservation and other bureaucratical stuff. While I know there are many people who Photoshop tickets or do it through fake agents, I don’t take chance with my passport.
Indian Tourist Visa at IVAC Gulshan – how to reach?
The right question will be not how but when. Gulshan is a posh area in Dhaka, where all the Embassies, MNCs, and other important buildings are (to read: terrible traffic 24/7). It took me 1.5 hours to drive 8 km – let’s talk about traffic jams now.
I went by bus till Gulshan 1 and walked by foot from there. It costs roughly 20 Taka, depending on the district you are coming from. The auto might be slightly faster as it might avoid popular big roads and take back streets to reach. Because of the traffic, the common price for an auto between districts is 200 Taka. Try to avoid rush hours when everyone goes to the office.
Important: Once you arrive at the Application Center, there might be a line of hundreds of Bangladeshis. Don’t join the queue. Firstly, approach the guard with your passport and say you are a foreign resident. After the gate, there is another application queue.
Bangladeshi citizens apply for the visa on the ground floor, while foreigners have a separate small office in the basement. Hence, it’s not relevant for foreigners to stay in the line outside.
How long does it take to open an Indian tourist visa in Bangladesh?
Due to the number of applications (there are thousands lacs of Bangladeshis who visit India monthly for medical purposes, travel, shopping, etc.) the application center takes minimum one week to process your documents. It might be longer if you have a special case and need to pass an interview or additional check-ups.
Tip: Get a SIM card in Bangladesh before applying for a visa. The application center needs a contact number to get in touch with you if there are any problems with documents. I got a message that my visa was ready within 5 days after application. You should come to pick-up your passport on the appointment date and time mentioned on your payment receipt. If you don’t get a message by your appointment date or a day before, give a call to the application center at the number mentioned in the receipt.
Indian Visa costs
There is a price list for 150 countries in the Application Center. Of course, my country wasn’t on the list, so I paid a general fee (the most expensive one). It was 9594 Taka (~115 USD). 8994 Taka is a visa cost plus 600 Taka is a processing fee.
Bangladesh citizens don’t pay a visa fee, only a processing fee. For other citizens, the cost ranges from 6 to 9k Taka from what I’ve noticed in the print-outs in the application center.
Not Valid for Prohibited/restricted and Cantonment areas
What does it mean? It’s a standard note on Indian visas in Bangladesh. It simply means that you can’t visit military and similar areas which are restricted for all tourists (with or without this note).
You can visit J&K, North-East once you get standard permit/registration according to necessity. From my experience, this sentence is a formality. I’ve opened several permits in India with this visa and didn’t have any issues.
Other useful information
- Where to print out your documents for a visa? You can print all your documents on the way to the Embassy. India is a really popular destination for Bangladeshis so you will see the whole street with different agents in basements providing help in filling visa application, printing and other stuff related to visa.
- Bangladesh makes checking into the hotels quite a hassle-free procedure. I made 7 copies of my passport main page and Bangladeshi visa before submitting my passport to the Embassy. Afterward, I was traveling with the copy of the documents and a receipt from the Indian Embassy.
- The validity of the visa starts from the moment you get it in the Embassy. I got a 6-month Indian visa despite I was asking for less.
- Many people commented on forums about the unfriendliness of the officers. To be honest, this was one of my best experiences in terms of attitude and support of the people in the center. Everyone was polite and helpful in the shift when I was applying.
I was honestly ready for any outcomes while applying for this visa as I couldn’t get explicit information online or on the phone. I hope you found this report useful. If you have ever applied for an Indian visa in Bangladesh and have further tips, don’t hesitate to share 😉