Indian visa in Kathmandu: How to get it?

Indian visa in Kathmandu: How to get it?

We arrived in Kathmandu in mid September 2014, geared up and ready to spend our time in Nepal trekking in the mountains.

Our first week was mainly taken up getting our Indian tourist visa.

The process for getting an Indian visa in Kathmandu is relatively simple, bureaucratic, takes 7 working days and requires 3 visits to the Indian embassy in Kathmandu.

This sign at the Embassy sums up the process nicely:

Obtaining Indian visa in Kathmandu

This sign at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu sets out the process for obtaining an Indian visa.

Here is our simple summary based on our experience.

PRE FILL AND PRINT YOUR INDIAN VISA APPLICATION FORM

First before doing anything, you need to complete the online website, print it out, sign it the day before your intended first visit to the embassy.

This is the hardest part simply because Nepal has frequent power cuts and finding reliable internet in Kathmandu is a bit of a challenge. Reliable internet is required because the Indian Embassy website is very slow and frequently crashes.

We recommend Electric Pagoda in Thamel for good internet if your hostel/hotel wifi doesn’t work very well, then find an internet café to print it off.

The link for the application form on the Indian Embassy’s website can be found here (use Chrome or Internet Explorer).

FIRST VISIT TO THE INDIAN EMBASSY:

The first visit to the Indian Embassy Visa Centre is to give them:

  1. your signed application form
  2. x2 large non passport sized photos (get a local agency to do these)
  3. a copy of your Nepalese visa
  4. a copy of your passport
  5. the visa fee

For the photos and photocopying your passport and Nepal visa, there are a few helpful agencies next door to the Embassy who can do this for you for a nominal fee. We advise getting them to do the photos as the size required for the Indian visa is much larger then a standard passport sized photo.

The Embassy’s Visa Centre is located at the Indian Visa Service Centre, 296 Kapurdhara Marg, Kathmandu (Next to the Embassy of India, Kathmandu).  It’s around 15-20 minutes walk North from Thamel (the dark grey area in the map):

Map of the Indian Embassy Visa Centre in Kathmandu

Map of the Indian Embassy Visa Centre in Kathmandu, located around 15-20 minutes walk North from Thamel

The Embassy’s Visa Centre is open between 9:30am to 12pm on Mondays to Fridays:

Public notice of opening times at the entrance

Public notice of opening times at the entrance

We advise getting there before 8:45am to ensure you are one of the first in:

The Indian Visa Centre in Kathmandu

Sebastien arriving early at the Indian Embassy Visa Centre in Kathmandu getting a place at the front f the queue

Once in, you get a ticket, wait your turn in the queue (it’s very quick).

When your number is called, you go to the counter, hand your papers and pay the fee:

The counter at the Indian Embassy's Visa Centre

The counter at the Indian Embassy’s Visa Centre

At the counter desk, they will then confirm the date for you to return for visit number 2 with your passport – usually in 5 working days.

Note – the Indian Embassy is closed on Indian public holidays not Nepalese ones.

Here’s the list of Indian public holidays for 2014 for guidance:

Public holidays list for 2014 advertised at the Visa Centre

Public holidays list for 2014 advertised at the Visa Centre

The visa fee is around £30-40 for most countries, except for UK who are charged a whooping 14,150 Nepalese rupees (around £88 / $137)):

Visa prices for various nationals

Visa prices for various nationals – god help you if you’re a UK passport holder (!)

SECOND VISIT TO THE INDIAN EMABSSY

After five working days (or the date given to you from your first visit), you return with your passport and visa fee receipt. You hand this to them, collect a receipt and leave.

Same thing applies – arrive early (just before 8:45am) to get in first and leave soon. The queue starts to get quite busy the closer you get to 9:30am.

You will normally be told to return the day after between 5-5:30pm to collect your passport and visa.

THIRD VISIT TO THE INDIAN EMBASSY

The next working day after your second visit, at 5-5:30pm, you come to collect your passport and visa and voila, you have clearance for India (we were given 3 months):

Nomadic Boys selfie with Indian visa

Nomadic Boys selfie with Indian visa – we have clearance to enter!

BEST PLACES TO STAY NEAR THE EMBASSY

Thamel is the tourist centre of Kathmandu, so you will not struggle finding a place to stay at. To be as close as possible to the Indian embassy, we recommend you stay in a hotel or guest house north of Thamel like we did. Check out these two places if you have not found accommodation yet:

HOTEL MI CASA   Book online

  • Located in the north of Thamel, this beautiful hotel has very friendly staff and a delicious breakfast.
  • Prices start from $45 / £30 a night with breakfast.

HOTEL ENCOUNTER NEPAL   Book online

  • More budget option, this place is clean and comfortable.
  • Staff is very polite and professional stag.
  • Prices start from $29 / £19 a night.

In January 2014, the Indian government apparently announced informal plans to widen the visa on arrival to a further 180 countries to boost tourism and business (to include most European countries) in mid October 2014.  But, at the date of posting this article (mid October 2014!) nothing has yet transpired on this…

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72 Comments

  1. Andrew

    Mike at our Delhi hotel WhatsApp’d me to ask if I had a visa or if I was getting it upon arrival so perhaps it’s introduced for the UK now or maybe he didn’t realise from which country I was visiting. Love Mike 🙂

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      I hope so – it’s such a bureaucratic pain getting this visa. Hope they lower the cost for UK passport holders too!

      Reply
  2. julien

    Thanks for the long and clear description. By the way, how many months did you get to stay in India?
    Safe travels

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Hi Julien thanks for your message. We got 3 months for India, which was more then enough for what we planned. When are you going?

      Reply
  3. Dizzy

    Thanks, this was most helpful. Had to apply here as embassies in Central Asia were saying 2 weeks, didn’t have that time.

    US citizen, just applied here in Kathmandu. They are making all US citizens apply for 10 years visa with that fee as only choice, even though “we don’t give those out here”. Be prepared with 11,100 Nepalese rupees, they don’t have change.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      That’s so cheeky of them! At least you can always return after you’ve applied lol!

      Reply
      • Dizzy

        No, can’t return- they make you apply/pay for the 10 yr, but they said they usually give out 3 month. 6 month if really lucky. They said it’s a policy now that all US citizens have to apply for the longest visa (only choice available for us apparently) but most embassies are not allowed to give out that length. My friend told me to ask once in India if they would give me the 10yr I paid for. I’m dubious if that will work or not.

        Reply
        • Dizzy

          I got 4 month single entry btw, after applying for 6 months ME and paying for 10 years :/

          Reply
        • Stefan Arestis

          Crikey what a mess! Good luck 🙂

          Reply
    • Mica

      Hi Dizzy, I’ll be doing the same thing in a few weeks time. Curious to know if you ever got any embassy in India to give you the 10 year visa since you paid for it. Thank you!

      Reply
  4. Rusudan Tsiskreli

    Hi
    Thank you for such detailed description,
    I have question, do you know anyone who had applied for 6 month visa and got it?
    I am citizen of Georgia.
    I read on russian forums that citizens of russia are often refused and given maximum 2-3 month visas, Ukraine citizens not more then 2 month.
    Regarding Georgians I have no idea.
    So I just wish to know how it is about 6 month visas?

    Reply
    • Dizzy

      No one I met today got anything more than 4 months. Actually everyone else I talked to got 1-3 months here in Kathmandu. They weren’t giving out multi entry.

      Reply
  5. Nicole

    U.S. citizen here. I can confirm that Americans are paying the 10 year fee, 11,100 npr, and receiving a measly 3 month single entry. Wish I would have read the comments before coming here *grumble*

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Awww man that sucks! Thanks for the comment Nicole.

      Reply
  6. Lexi

    Has anyone had more recent dealings with this? I am looking to get at least a 6 month visa hopefully more!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Are you US/UK passport out of interest?

      Reply
    • Nicole

      Im American and got 3 despite paying for 6 months/10 yr visa. I met a French woman and a Spanish man who also got 3 :/

      Reply
  7. Anna

    Hi guys! Super useful post! Thanks for explaining the process in such a straightforward way. By the way, UK nationals are now eligible or the ‘Visa on Arrival’ which deceptively you do have to apply for in advance so it’s not truly visa on arrival.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks for the info Anna.

      Reply
  8. Louis

    So complicated and all over the place in true Indian fashion. Totally not a “visa on arrival”, have been confused by this myself. Let us know if it’s worth all the hassle!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Yeah – didn’t think the VoA has been implemented yet… Would be amazing once they get it sorted, but still seen no record of it in place.

      Reply
    • Elen

      The visas on arrival have been active for a couple of years… I got one (on my NZ passport) over two years ago. Different nationalities have had them phased in at different times, though.

      Reply
      • Stefan Arestis

        Everyone loves the New Zealanders 🙂

        Reply
        • Elen

          It is a strong passport to travel with, it’s true!

          Reply
  9. Andrzej Brandt

    Invaluable post! we will try our luck on monday. keep fingers crossed 🙂

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Andrzej- good luck and most of all enjoy this beautiful country ?

      Reply
  10. Rohan

    Hi guys
    Nowadays you can apply visa online 5-6 days before your journey,then they send you a confirmation mail and you have to just take it’s printout and you will be given visa on arrival in INDIA of 6 months.
    Government has reduced the trouble for everyone these days and it is a very efficient process as you don’t have to interact with any bureaucrats nor visit the embassy.
    For more info – https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html
    Cheers

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Rohan ?

      Reply
    • Lexi

      Where do you see anything about 6 months? This would be life saving if this is true…

      Reply
      • Rohan

        It is over a year i think since it has been implemented for over 150 countries.Just go on the official website and see for yourself .

        Reply
        • Lexi

          I understand! I just went to the website and didn’t see anything about a 6 month visa could you send me the direct link to the page that says this?

          Reply
  11. Val

    Thanks so much – this is very useful information. I have been wondering about getting tourist visa in Nepal, especially after earthquakes. I noticed that UK citizens could apply for tourist up to 5 years – is this true??? Hard to believe! If anyone can let me know that would be great!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks for your comment. Didn’t hear about a 5 years application when we were there, but a lot may have changed since.

      Reply
    • Elen

      I know that 5 and 10 year visas are possible, but I don’t know if they’re given from Ktm. I know people who got them in Australia, though.

      Reply
  12. Stephanie

    Hi guys, very useful info here!
    I am an US citizen. And I was wondering when you applied and you got for example 3 months single entry to India, are you talking about 3 months validity (meaning it starts the day you received it) or 3 months that starts from your entry in India?
    Cheers.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Ours began on the date we received it and not on the date we entered India.

      Reply
  13. Kilian

    Great how-to, thanks for sharing!

    Do you guys know by any chance, if it is also possible to get other visa types from the Indian Consulate in Kathmandu (I’m trying to get a student visa from there) or do they only do tourist-visas?

    The ways of Indian bureaucracy are a big fat enigma to me(;

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Can’t remember seeing non tourist visa signs there but someone else may correct me.

      Reply
      • Kilian

        Alright, bummer! Thanks for the heads up!

        Reply
  14. Elen

    Thanks for the great tips! I’m a resident of Kathmandu, and the tips you’ve mentioned are still a hassle… printing, etc. Good to know about this before I show up there in a couple of days!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks

      Reply
  15. Nico

    Hey guys,
    very useful post and comments. Many thanks.

    One question though: on the first visit, will I have to leave my passport there?
    That would pose a problem for me, cause I’m attending a vipassana meditation course right after that first visit and for whatever reason they also require me to leave my original passport with them to attend the course … 🙁

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks Nico. Sadly yes they keep it 🙁

      Reply
    • Kerstin

      Hey, I just went there today for my first visit and they didn’t keep my passport. They will only keep it after the second visit until the next afternoon.

      Good luck 🙂

      Reply
      • Stefan Arestis

        Nice one – thanks Kerstin!

        Reply
  16. Nico

    hey Stefan,
    are you sure? I just heard from someone else that they had to leave their passport there only on the second visit.
    When did you get your visa?

    Cheers

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      We got our in September 2014, so a lot may have changed since. I remember we had to base ourselves a week in Kathmandu for the visa as we wouldn’t have our passport to hand.

      Reply
  17. Jas

    Does anyone know if you can get an Indian student visa in Kathmandu as US citizen?

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Valerie said:

      “No one can get student visa outside their own country. You also have to have registration with the institute where you are studying, an “S” form from them and a “C” form from your landlord. Everything is now online and it is a complicated process but not impossible. Just need to follow the rules and have loads of patience!”

      Reply
  18. Daniel

    Hi. Thanks for all the information. I just have one specific question (and sorry if you’ve already cleared it before at some prior comment): have we to upload the passport photo in the form? Or is it just the case to paste it on the form?

    Thanks a lot

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      They have a desk inside with scissors and glue 🙂

      Reply
  19. Elen

    FYI, they’re now charging UK passport holders a whopping Rs 17,500!!! And only giving 3 month visas these days. But thanks SO much for the great guide, I’m sure I would’ve made at least one unnecessary and wasted trip if I hadn’t read this first.

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Yuck- too much!! Thanks for reading Elen 🙂

      Reply
  20. Brez

    The 30 day visa online costs about £38 , but doesn’t kick in until your arrival. You can get the 6 month visa for £110 but only from within the UK and that starts from when you receive your passport back from the Indian embassy.
    Has anyone actually got a 6 month visa for a UK passport holder from Nepal,? If not, is it possible from anywhere else in southeast Asia?

    Thanks for the info guys, seems a pain in the butt to have to come all the way back to the UK just to get a 6 month visa when your over in that neck of the woods, but hey, that’s India after all .

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Thanks for the info

      Reply
  21. Eugene

    Thanks! Very helpful!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Our pleasure- thanks for reading 🙂

      Reply
  22. Adrienne

    Hey guys, thanks for clearing up so many little things! Just wondering if anybody has had experience or difficulties getting a 6 month visa for India in Nepal with an Australian passport? Finding it hard to sift through all the small print, thanks again 🙂

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Our pleasure – hope you get the answer here.

      Reply
  23. Laurence

    Great info. Anybody having experience with 2nd visit after a period longer than those 5 days? Was thinking to go trekking in the meantime and return after 10 days or so. Thank you

    Reply
  24. Adam

    Thanks for the info. Super helpful 🙂

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Our pleasure

      Reply
  25. Kira

    HI all,
    AM planning to go to Nepal in December from India to get a new tourist visa.
    Not sure its worth the trip if only for 3 month.
    Has anyone got a visa recently?
    Or can anyone suggest another country to go to (and not Bangladesh).
    I am irish citizen.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  26. Dan

    Hey,
    I know I’m a couple of years late to this thread and probably won’t get a response, but here goes nothing..
    I’m Australian, and I’m about to go to India.. I want to go for as long as I can, however I’m restricted by a 6 month tourist visa. Do you know if it’s legal/would work if I’m in India, and just before my tourist visa expires I leave for Nepal, in the meanwhile my indian tourist visa will expire, and then whilst in Nepal apply for another Indian tourist visa and then return back to India once everything is approved?
    Thanks so much
    🙂

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Hmmm- no idea about visa runs but people do it all the time- hope you get your answer ☺

      Reply
  27. Guillem

    Can I get a new visa if the one I have is still valid? (first visa in another country)
    Thanks!

    Reply
  28. Asif Qureshi

    I have a friends who is US citizen
    She coming to India via nepal
    Can she enter in India via nepal if she have both countries visa in USA?
    PLEASE ANSWER

    Reply
  29. Inge Kuijper

    Hello guys! Thank you for your post.. I have 2 more questions: Is the picture uploaded on your online form the same as the picture you tagged onto it? So you first had the photo taken, then printed the form, and tagged the photo onto it? I already uploaded a photo that I am worried is too small – can it be different from the one you paste onto it? Also, do you think it is possible to pick up the paperwork on a later date, as I’d like to submit my application and pick it up after my 10 day Vipasana? 🙂

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      Should be ok. If not they have stationery there to cut it to size or a shop next door to take new pics. We were gonna pick it up after our Annapurna Trek but couldn’t because we needed our passport for it. You should be able to but double check!!

      Reply
  30. Oscar Vinson

    Hi Stefan,

    Really informative and helpful post. I am currently budgeting for my visa application, and I noticed that you mentioned that we have to get the services of one of the nearby agencies to help us with the photos, how much do we have to prepare for the payment for the agency?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Stefan Arestis

      An agency to get photos?! No thanks – we just did it ourselves in a nearby stationery shop for a few dollars!!

      Reply

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