India Tourism Visa

A Big Roadblock to Traveling in India

UPDATE AS OF DECEMBER 2014: India has introduced a limited Visa on Arrival scheme for residents of certain Western nations, notably excluding the UK. Click here for more info.

UPDATE AS OF JUNE 2014: It seems that BLS has ended its disastrous reign as India’s visa service for foreigners and a new company called Cox & Kings has taken over. Click here to learn more.

Need help planning your trip to India? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

A, long long time ago, the process of getting an India tourist visa was rather simple. As I wrote in this post from a couple years ago, US citizens could get their India tourist visas quickly and easily, either in-person or by mail, using a company called Travisa Outsourcing.

Unfortunately, these times are long gone.

This July, the Embassy of India replaced Travisa with a company called BLS International, a company whose handling of India visa processing has been met with almost universal disdain. Stories of months-long delays, gross mistakes and even outright passport loss have not been uncommon.

I recently obtained my India tourist visa from BLS International and while I was lucky enough to get my India tourist visa, when all was said and done, the road was not without obstacles. I hope my story of getting an India tourist visa from BLS international helps you.

Applying for an India Visa from BLS International

On the surface, the process of getting an India tourist visa from BLS International is identical to how it worked with Travisa Outsourcing. After completing the online India visa application (which is, admittedly, a bit excessive in its length), you are given a BLS tracking number, as well as instructions for how to submit your India visa application via mail – i.e. what to include in the package, where to send it and other important information.

Another way BLS International seemed similar to Travisa is that it allows you to track the status of your India visa application online your passport number. Unfortunately, India visa tracking information is not always updated in real time. Mine updated only when they received the application, not when they sent it to the Indian Embassy for processing or even when they’d already mailed it back to me!

Is There a Working Phone Number for BLS International

I tried to be patient, but when my India visa status didn’t update for more than a week, I had little choice but to call BLS International directly. There was just one problem: The phone numbers on BLS International’s website don’t work!

The good news? I eventually got through to someone, using the BLS International phone number 1-855-436-0725. The bad news? I just tried that number again, today, and it doesn’t work. I had to call four times to find out the status of my India visa application, at which point the operator had BLS manually expedite my passport to the Indian embassy in Houston.

I ended up getting my India visa in the mail about two weeks after I sent it in, although I’m not sure how long I would’ve had to wait for it if I had never called the BLS International phone number.

The Bottom Line on India Visas from BLS

I worry about the long-term implications of BLS handling India visa processing, if they don’t get their act together. Most travelers I know would just as soon find other countries to visit than deal with this BS to obtain a visa to India.

If you live in one of the five cities where BLS has offices, I recommend you apply for your India visa in person there. Getting your India visa by mail from BLS International is simply too complicated!

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: India

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is the author of 1088 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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RenegadePilgrim December 24, 2013 at 2:49 am

In 2010, I got my India visa while I was in Rome, Italy via the Indian Embassy there. It took a week. I was kinda stuck in Rome since they had my passport (which was not great, since I had already been there before) but it was so much easier and only cost a little bit more than if I had gotten it in the US. So, that’s another option.

Robert Schrader December 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

Good point Heather!

Teebs January 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm

As an American tourist in Dublin, Ireland, Can I get my India toursit visa at teh Indian Embassy in Dublin? Does each country vary in their ability to process non-residents? Thank you for nay help on this – I need by visa in 9 days.

Robert Schrader January 3, 2014 at 5:42 am

Hi Teebs,

I don’t know this answer for sure, but you can email them at [email protected] to see!

EClaireU February 4, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Can you still go through Travisa? Is the processing time less if you go in person?

Robert Schrader February 5, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Travisa no longer handles India visa applications, unfortunately.

Globe Trotter February 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Hi Robert, Thanks for taking the time to write these articles, they are very helpful. Your site is well designed and informative, and the pictures amazing!
I need to get a tourist Visa for a month-long trip to India, and am a little concerned that SSN seems to be required along with everything else. I am not comfortable giving this information to the Indian consulate, especially via a third-party company (BLS). After all, with all this information, anyone would be able to access my bank records! I would greatly appreciate any advice you might have for me.

Robert Schrader February 11, 2014 at 8:42 am

Unfortunately, going through BLS is the only way 🙁

Kimnoo March 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm

If Travisa is no longer handling the Indian visa process then why the hell seriously why the hell can I still print an application for my Indian visa on their website, complete with how much they will charge for the service??

Robert Schrader March 29, 2014 at 7:54 am

Because it’s all a mess, haha

vtnyc June 22, 2014 at 10:40 pm

The new company ckgs is a mess too..3 weeks and no visa or sign of my passport….been at their office three times last week, till midnight when they call out names from passports stuffed intheir filing cabinets..awful…if my ecuadorian visa werent in the passport, I would try to get another passport…my flight leaves in a based in nyc

Robert Schrader June 23, 2014 at 8:02 am

I’m so sorry! Good luck!

Boo July 1, 2014 at 7:01 pm

How can a Thai national residing in USA get an Indian tourist visa ?

Robert Schrader July 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Contact the nearest India Embassy to you for advice, please!

Ramie K July 14, 2014 at 12:42 am

I thought BLS had closed down entirely, but I think you can directly apply to cox & Kings they have all the information and a step by step instructions on what to do and you can either send it by mail to them directly or make an appt. and go to the nearest location.I actually thought BLS was closed so I applied directly to Cox and Kings.

Robert Schrader July 14, 2014 at 7:20 am

Good luck!

David W July 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Several updates. Travisa IS STILL handling visas to India for US citizens (my wife) and US residents (me). Travisa is responsive and returns email questions within hours. Travisa may not be the cheapest BUT they are responsive and helpful. Out visas are being processed by them right now. Having said that; the other folks are a known disaster to the Consulate General of India, S.F.; from their website ”

Complaints againts M/S Cox & Kings Global Service please

Complaints againts M/S BLS Service International Ltd please

David W July 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm

We will, of course, let you know how it all goes, including time and costs.

Robert Schrader July 31, 2014 at 7:30 am

Thank you!

Julie S August 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I am going to Europe in September and will be there for a couple of months. I’d like to go to India from there to visit a friend (for about a month) and am wondering if I can get my visa for India while I’m in Paris or London, rather than trying to get it here in the US before i leave. I’m afraid if I send in my passport I might not get it back in time, and going to San Francisco in person is doable, but a hassle. Do you know if I can get it while I’m there? I also heard that starting in October, the process will (hopefully) be simplified to an online visa application only (taking 3 days). Any advice would be appreciated.

Robert Schrader August 4, 2014 at 7:26 am

Hi Julie:

I do believe you can get this done in Europe, but being that it relates to India, it will be complicated. A couple readers of mine were going to do it in Madrid, but actually decided to fly to Rabat, Morocco to do it instead on account of the complication!

Ana Cor Eta August 18, 2014 at 2:26 am

Hi robert,

2 questions, first is: Do I need to book first my flight to obtain the Visa to India? , and the second question : I just quit my job , and they ask for a “Financial Requirements” do you think I will be OK with my bank statement? thanks! ACPJ

Robert Schrader August 18, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Hi Ana:

1) You do need to have flight info, although they have no way of verifying you actually booked your flight.

2) I have never had to provide financial info.

Ashley Cruz August 26, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I am a US citizen traveling around the world for 10 months. I am currently in London but would love to go to India. I am unsure of the options I have on receiving an Indian Visa. I’ve asked Travisa for clarification and they haven’t responded to me. Can I simply go into the India Consulate here in London? Do I have to fill out the application and have my passport mailed all the way back to the states? I’m so confused.

Robert Schrader August 31, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I am not sure about London. I know you can get one in Spain or Morocco! Why don’t you call the consulate in London?

Christina Z. September 9, 2014 at 12:37 am

Anyone have a timeline on how long an in-person application takes to get the passport with the new visa back? Say in Atlanta? Thank you!

Uzbeth September 23, 2014 at 1:29 am

I’d love to hear what you found out or hear from others who have had this same scenario. I am also traveling around for the next 9 months. I am currently in France and would love to go to India.

Robert Schrader September 23, 2014 at 6:48 am

I am curious to see where this drama all leads!

lex October 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm

BLS International

lex October 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

The indian government just does not want people to go there it seems. Lex

Robert Schrader October 6, 2014 at 6:07 am


wpartist November 5, 2014 at 12:07 am

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Elizabeth Nosser December 2, 2014 at 6:29 am

Ashley , I am currently in UK as well , did you find out what to do since its been 3 months since your post ….gosh I need HELP !!!!!

Robert Schrader December 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm

India Visas on arrival were just introduced, but not for the UK 🙁 Good luck

Elina Pontng December 12, 2014 at 1:02 am

Great and a very useful blog for me. I like reading this blog. Keep sharing.

laurels lengkong December 21, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Hi Robert,

I’d like to ask you a question about my friend, he is US citizens and also working in Indonesia now. If he would applying VoA in India how much its costs? we are so consufed. thanks

Robert Schrader December 22, 2014 at 7:29 am

Hi Laurels: Go to this website –

Pilar January 11, 2015 at 9:57 am

How can I do a complaint against an Indian embassy? My husband visa has not been granted however they refuse to give me a letter so I could get back all the money I paid for my flights.

Robert Schrader January 13, 2015 at 8:28 am

Good question 🙁 I think the Indian embassy probably has a lot of pending complaints lol

Pilar January 13, 2015 at 8:38 am

Yes I think is a good advice for anyone intending to go to India!! 🙁 🙁 Go to the embassy with plenty of time and loads of patience!!

April April 7, 2015 at 11:37 pm

hi Uzbeth, I was wondering if you ended up getting your visa in France, if yes, was was the process like. I am a US citizen and very soon, ill
be in a similar scenario as you. thank you!

Robert Schrader April 13, 2015 at 6:52 am

Now, U.S. citizens can get visas on arrival.

R. Stasel August 4, 2015 at 9:29 pm

BLS International may be out for US citizens, but I used them because the High Commission told me they’ve outsourced all visa processing to them. This is false. There are other companies. Wish I knew. BLS Intl has my money, no visa as promised, started process 3 months ago, and my ticket to leave is in 3 days! It is a travel hell. Wish I found your blog earlier!

R. Stasel August 4, 2015 at 9:30 pm

I went to India High Commission in Canada. Was told it’s all outsourced to BLS now. Thus began my nightmare.

Robert Schrader August 11, 2015 at 9:18 am

Thanks for the update!

Harry December 22, 2015 at 9:29 pm

I am an American citizen. How much gap is required for a US citizen to re enter in India on multiple entry 5 year visa? Any help and suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

Thomson Thomas June 16, 2016 at 2:12 pm

One can apply for Indian Visa online.

Robert Schrader April 3, 2018 at 12:31 am

Hi Terry:

You cannot renew a tourist visa within India, so far as I know. I’d recommend leaving India, then applying for an India e-visa and re-entering using that.

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