[philiptellis] Walking the world in search of interestingness

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Visas for an Indian traveller

I live in the US, but travel on an Indian passport. Almost every international trip I make is for business. Most of them to speak at a conference, and my schedule is pretty tight. I've already travelled to speak in Belgium, Canada and Hong Kong this year, and have upcoming gigs in Australia, the UK and Germany. Apart from Hong Kong, I need a visa to enter all the others, and visa processing time is what limits how much I can travel.

On average, it takes 3-5 business days to get a visa. Add to that the time that my passport and docs are in the mail and that's a little over a week that my passport isn't with me. This is for every trip that I need to make, and since I need my passport for every application as well as to make the trip, I can't do them in parallel.

The good news is that some countries let you have a visa for a year, sometimes more, but not all do. European countries grant a visa from the day of entry to the day of departure. My last trip to Belgium got me a 5 day visa. I'll probably get the same when I travel to Germany. My Canadian visa is valid until a few months before my US visa expires (go figure). The Australian visa is valid for a year, and has a fairly simple application process. A UK visa may be granted for anywhere between 6 months to 10 years, but the application process is fairly involved.

Some applications require you to go for an interview, and some don't. Either way, I've always had good experiences with the various embassy staff, but the Australian Embassy in Washington DC has been the friendliest.

Over the next couple of months I'll fly to the US, apply for a German and Australian visa, fly to Australia, fly back to the US, apply for a British visa, then fly to the UK and Germany and then back home to relax for a bit.

I hear that tourist visas are easier to get than business visas. You need to show more money, but need fewer docs. Travellers from Europe and most American countries don't require a visa to most destinations.


May 21, 2010 5:36 pm

be careful with the visa for european countries that are long as your staying, with this volcano ash cloud you risk to be "trapped" in europe for some more days of what you thought ...

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