I have my tourist visa in hand.
Let me tell you about the best government transaction in the world. The Indian government has outsourced its visa department. Ironic isn’t it! I do not know what prompted this decision, but it is the most efficient bureaucratic endeavor I have ever experienced. Here’s how it works.
You first fill out a visa application online on the Indian embassy’s website. It’s pretty standard: name, age, citizenship and Indian origins and purpose of your trip.
You are then assigned a confirmation number. This takes about 15 minutes.
The next step is another online application through a private company called Travisa. Starting with the confirmation number proving that you already informed the Indian government of your intention of visiting their country, you fill out once again a simple form, scan your picture, print the application and mail it, with your passport, real picture and a check. That’s it. All of this was done from the couch. No office to drive to, no wait line, no customer service rep in a bad mood. All I had to do was fill out forms and have a picture taken (which happens to be the most horrible picture of me ever. I went to get my hair done a few days later!)
I sent my application on a Monday at 4:45 pm, and my passport with the visa was delivered back to my door on the following Monday. 7 days, you can’t beat that type of efficiency. If you need your visa faster, you can go to their offices.
Outsourcing the government, who would have though!