Q: What is a passport?

A: Any Indian citizen traveling outside the country needs a valid Indian passport. This formal identity document is issued by a government to identify the holder as a national of that country. In essence, it requests permission for the bearer to enter and / or pass through countries. A passport also can serve as your primary document of identification.

Q: What countries require a passport?

A: While not all countries require a passport for entry, like Nepal for Indians, but it is recommended that you carry one when leaving your country.

Q: What is the difference between a passport and a visa?

A: A passport is an official government document certifying your identity and citizenship. It allows you to regain entry to the country of your citizenship and is required by many countries to gain entry. On the other hand, a visa is an official government document that provides temporary authorisation to be in the country you are visiting. Many countries require a visa, rather than a passport, to gain entry. A visa usually is a simple stamp in the passport itself and is obtained from the country you wish to visit.

Visa Basics

Q: What is a visa?

A: A visa is a stamp or endorsement affixed by officials from a foreign country on your passport, allowing you to visit that country. (This rule excepts Russia, where a visa is an entirely separate document.) You obtain your visa from the proper embassy or consulate of the country you desire to visit. Over 270 countries offer visas, with literally thousands of different visas available, based upon differing countries and types and lengths of visit.

Q: What is the difference between a tourist visa and a business visa?

A: Your tourist visa is valid for up to one month and will allow either a single or double entry and exit. Your business visa is valid from one to 12 months and allows multiple entries and exits.

Business visas are usually required for travelers with a business agenda in their country of destination. Each country has its own definition of what activities qualify in the business category. As a rule, business activities encompass:

  • attending meetings, conferences, business seminars and discussions;
  • making presentations at same;
  • researching market information;
  • providing non-technical sales support;
  • visiting clients;
  • negotiating and signing contracts; or
  • meeting with government officials.
  • Tourists are not allowed to participate in any of these activities.

Q: What are the differences between multiple, double or single entry visas?

A: A multiply entry visa allows the traveler to visit a country an unlimited number of times as long as the visa remains valid and the duration of stay is within the limits. A double entry visa allows two entries, and single entry visa allows the holder to visit a country only once before needing a new visa.

Q: What will I need to obtain a visa?

A: At the very minimum, you’ll need a valid passport to obtain a visa. Once issued, your passport will be stamped verifying the visa has been issued and to indicate its expiration date. To learn more about visa application requirements, please Contact Us. 

Q: When will I need a visa?

A: Usually, you need a visa before traveling to another country. To learn about the exact details of when you would need a visa, please Contact Us. 

Q: Can I get a visa issued upon arrival?

A: Some countries will permit this but most do not. Contact Delhi Visa to verify whether or not this is possible. However, even if your destination country does allow visa issuance upon entry, Delhi Visa highly recommends procuring your visa prior to departure to prevent any possible delays or entry denials at the border.

Q: What type of visa do I need - business, tourist, transit or humanitarian?

A: A business visa is a visa issued to travelers who intend to visit a country for the purpose of commercial meetings, discussions, negotiations, and similar activities for a limited period of time. Business visas are usually insufficient for travelers who will undertake work or temporary work assignments in a country. Some countries will require special types of business visas depending on the type of business you are conducting, such as for technical work, training sessions or speaking engagements.

A tourist visa is a visa issued to travelers who intend to visit a country for the purpose of tourism or to visit family and friends for a limited period of time.

A transit visa is issued to travelers who must travel through certain countries in order to get to their ultimate destination. Staying on the airplane or remaining in the airport will not preclude you from having to get a transit visa.

A student visa is for foreign students to study in one of the county's academic institutions.

A humanitarian visa is granted to individuals who are traveling on behalf of relief organizations, and who cannot wait for the usual processing timeframe because of the nature of the emergency to which they are responding.

Misrepresenting the nature of a visit, especially during times of heightened security throughout the world, can compromise a traveler's safety, future visits to a country, and jeopardize a company's relationship with a foreign government. Most visas can be issued quickly and can prevent a number of travel related inconveniences. If in doubt about the type of visa needed, contact Delhi Visa's.

Q: What is a Schengen visa?

A: The Schengen visa gets its name from a small town in Luxembourg where a treaty was signed in 1995 to end internal border checkpoints and controls. The following European countries currently honor this visa: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. With a Schengen visa, you may enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen zone. It applies only to nationalities who would normally be required to obtain a visa prior to traveling to those countries. Travelers should apply for a visa for the country in which he/she intends to stay the longest (the main destination). If the traveler does not have a main destination, he/she should apply for a visa for the country which is the first point of entry.

Q: Visas for which countries are difficult to process?

A: Most developed nations, such as U.S.A., Canada, European countries and Australia have become stringent after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001. Besides these countries, nations that have strained diplomatic relations with the India tend to be the most challenging.

Q: To apply for a visa, how long must my passport be valid?

A: In order to get a visa, most countries require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months past your scheduled return to India. If you are getting a multiple entry visa, and your passport is set to expire soon, you might consider getting your passport renewed first, since most visas in your passport are no longer valid once your passport has expired.

Applying for Visa

Q: How do I determine if a visa is required, and if it is, how do I obtain processing requirements and forms?

A: If you are travelling abroad, other than to say Nepal or Bhutan, you require a visa for most countries. Visa services are available on all days (9:30 am to 6 pm IST) except, weekends and National holidays. You can also reach us through Delhi Visa's website (www.DelhiVisa.com). In some cases, there may be a charge for determining requirements; you will be informed in advance if there are any charges associated with your request.

Q: What is consular jurisdiction, and how does it affect my visa processing?

A: Consular jurisdiction is the geographic area for which a consulate has responsibility for issuing visas. Some consulates have strict enforcement of jurisdiction, some only enforce it for certain types of visas and others do not enforce jurisdiction or have any jurisdictional limits at all. Depending on what jurisdictional limits exist, Delhi Visa can sometimes direct you to another city, such as Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai, for faster or less complicated processing.

Q: What is the difference between visa validity vs duration?

A: Validity refers to the amount of time before a travel document expires. Duration refers to the maximum stay in a country that is permitted on a visa. A Brazilian multiple entry visa may have a validity of five years, however, the maximum duration of stay at any one time is 90 days.

Q: What is the proper format for the business cover letter that will accompany my visa application?

A: In general, business cover letters must be on company letterhead, must be signed by someone in authority other than the applicant, and must include the nature of the visit as well as a guarantee that the company will pay the applicant's expenses. Many countries often have additional requirements. We provide sample cover letters to our customers to get you started.

Q: Do I actually have to sign visa applications?

A: Yes. The applicant, through his/her signature, is acknowledging that all the information appearing on the application is true and correct.

Q: What is a visa confirmation or invitation?

A: Visa invitations /confirmations are documents approved by the Foreign Ministry of the country of travel which authorize a particular traveler to visit their country. Most often, they indicate specific information regarding the itinerary (dates of stay, name of hosting organization, cities of visit), as well as an official reference number and seal of approval. Required formats for invitations and confirmations vary per country. When requesting requirements through the internet, by phone or e-mail, please be sure to provide the following information:

  • Nationality of traveler
  • City and state of residency
  • Visa status in India if traveler is a non-Indian passport holder
  • Purpose of trip, length of stay
  • Departure date

Q: If a visa is required, do I need to send in my actual passport?

A: Yes. For most countries, a passport needs to be submitted so the visa may be stamped on one of the blank visa pages.

Q: I provided all of the required documentation to the consulate, adhering to Delhi Visa's instructions to the letter, and the consulate still came back to me with additional requirements. Why?

A: Delhi Visa does its very best to know exactly what consulates require in the way of document processing. Our liaisons work extremely hard to maintain good working relationships with consulate staff and to know when changes in requirements take place, as they often do. However, sometimes consulates will make changes and not communicate them immediately. Also, based on your specific visa application, a consulate may choose at any time to ask for additional documentation, which is beyond Delhi Visa's control.

Q: Can you guarantee that the consulate I have sent documentation to will grant my visa?

A: No, Delhi Visa cannot guarantee this. For a variety of reasons, any consulate can reject your application request at any time. The most common reasons that a visa would be rejected are: using pencil or red or green ink, incomplete forms, business cover letters that do not contain all of the required information, non-passport quality photos, passport not signed, passport with less than 6 months validity, using white out, using copied or traced signatures, invitation not properly filled out, U.S. visa and I-94 card (foreign passports) not included, and attaching copies when originals are required, among others.

Q: Our office keeps photocopies of visa applications on hand. Will this cause problems in processing?

A: Delhi Visa strongly discourages keeping photocopied visa applications on hand. Application forms change frequently, and old applications are often not accepted. In addition, an application accepted by the consulate in one city may not be the same application accepted by the consulate in another city. Also, some consulates will accept copies and some will only accept originals. We recommend you contact Delhi Visa for updated requirements whenever a visa is required.

Q: I live in New Delhi. My co-worker in Hyderabad got the exact same visa I did but she wasn't required to provide as much documentation. Why?

A: Just as requirements vary between different countries for visas, requirements can also vary from city to city for the same country. Brazil is a very good example of this. What the Brazilian consulate needs in Los Angeles may or may not be the same for what is needed in New York.

Q: Delhi Visa says my traveler needs to send in his original green card with his visa application. Is that really necessary?

A: We certainly understand a traveler's hesitation in sending in original documents. However, when consulates require the original documents there is no choice in the matter. Sending in copies in these instances will only delay processing. Delhi Visa takes every conceivable precaution to ensure that all documentation is well taken care of. It is always advisable to make a photocopy of any original document you may have to submit.

Q: What does it mean when a "personal appearance" is required to get a visa?

A: Some consulates require applicants to appear in person at the consulate when applying for a visa. This may be done just to verify the applicant's identity or a formal interview may be conducted. In these cases, third parties are not permitted to facilitate visa paperwork. However, some consulates that require personal appearances will allow third parties to pick up documents on behalf of the traveler once complete. Contact Delhi Visa for more information.

Q: Why must I have a full blank visa page in my passport when I need to get a visa? Why can't a visa be issued on a blank amendment page at the back of my passport?

A: Most visas are stamped or affixed in your passport on the pages specifically marked for visas, and some countries require that visa stamps be placed on those pages that do not contain any other stamps. Amendment pages at the back of Indian passports are typically designated for changes and endorsements to a passport, after initial issuance.

Q: I have never seen a visa. Do you verify it?

Visas vary from country to country. All travelers are responsible for verifying the accuracy of their visas. If you have any questions about your visa, please contact Delhi Visa immediately. Verify the following:

  1. Your name
  2. Your birth date
  3. Your passport number
  4. Date of issue (visa) *
  5. Date of expiration (visa) *
  6. Number of times this visa will let you enter this country
  7. Number of days you can stay in this country
  8. Dates of entry *
  9. Visa Type

* Please note that dates can be formatted as DD/MM/YY or MM/DD/YY.

Q: Does Delhi Visa process visa requests for any nationality? What is the normal processing time for a visa for a non-Indian citizen?

A: Delhi Visa handles visa requests for all nationalities. The turn-around time depends on a number of factors and criteria. Some foreign nationals are considered easier to process by many consulates, while others can be more challenging. For example, Western European nationals who require a visa for entry to Brazil are easier to process than someone who holds a Pakistani passport. Many consulates must obtain approval from their home government prior to issuing a visa for citizens of certain countries. If a referral to the home government is required, processing can take considerably longer.

Other Services

Q: Can Delhi Visa help with authenticating and legalising documents for use abroad?

A: Yes. Official documents that are produced in the India usually are not valid in other countries until they have been authenticated by the Indian Government and legalised by the consulate of the destination country. If the country has signed the Hague Convention on Documents, then an abbreviated legalisation process called an "apostille" can be used. Delhi Visa can handle this entire process for you. Documents that may need to be legalised include: company bylaws and articles of incorporation, patent and trademark applications, powers of attorney, sales contracts, distribution and licensing agreements, court orders, adoption papers, marriage certificates, etc. Contact us for processing information.

Q: I want to drive when I travel abroad. Will my Indian driver's license be valid?

A: In some countries a Indian driver's license is valid, however, Delhi Visa strongly recommends that your traveler obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). IDP's are often required when renting a car, even when it is not required when driving private automobiles. In some cases it must be shown to the rental agency. In other cases, it is only necessary in the event of an accident or traffic violation. Still in other countries, foreigners are restricted from driving altogether.

Q: Should I get any shots or take any other health precautions for my trip?

A: Depending on the country and the specific region of the country you are visiting, the purpose of your visit, and the duration of your stay, certain vaccinations and other precautions against disease may be appropriate. Contact your family physician for specific recommendations regarding health concerns. And take travel insurance.

Final Questions

Q: What are the benefits of using Delhi Visa as opposed to going directly to the consulate?

A: Getting a visa can be a complicated affair and Delhi Visa has the expertise to know precisely what is required to get you the document you need. Visiting a consulate or government agency often means standing in long lines or having to deal with limited hours of operation. In addition, many travelers do not live or work close enough to make a personal visit practical. Many consulates require cash payment, which can make expense reporting difficult. Delhi Visa accepts all major credit cards and provides a detailed receipt for all visa-related fees. In addition, we maintain close relationships with government employees and consular staff, enabling us to process last minute requests that individual travelers might not be able to accomplish on their own.

Q: What are Delhi Visa's fee components?

A: The cost of Delhi Visa services is comprised of five major components:

  • government/document issuance fees,
  • Delhi Visa base service fees,
  • rush surcharges,
  • delivery charges, and
  • foreign national surcharges.

Government/document issuance outlays refer to foreign consular fees or Indian Passport fees. Delhi Visa service fees refer to the professional service fee incurred for each document-processing request. The amount of the service fee depends on the individual rate agreement your company has negotiated with Delhi Visa. Rush fees can be incurred depending on the amount of time given to Delhi Visa to process your document. Delivery fees will vary depending on the particular shipping arrangements you have made with Delhi Visa and on the amount of time given between the processing of your document and your traveler's departure date. Foreign national surcharges are added for all travelers who are non-Indian citizens. A research fee for providing forms and requirements will be charged for all travelers residing outside the India.

Q: When does Delhi Visa apply "rush" and "emergency" fee surcharges for visa processing?

A: The "rush" surcharge applies when Delhi Visa is given 1-2 weeks for processing after receipt of complete application materials. The "emergency" surcharge applies when Delhi Visa is given 1 week or less for processing after receipt of complete application materials.

Q: How do I pay for Delhi Visa services?

A: You can pay for Delhi Visa services by cash, cheque, demand draft or credit card. We accept MasterCard, and Visa. However, please note that until a document is completely processed, the cost is only an estimate. Additional fees can be incurred and additional payment would then be required before the documents are released.

Q: What are Delhi Visa's hours of operation?

A: Delhi Visa's processing offices are open from 9:30 am to 6:00, Monday through Friday.

Q: Can I refer travelers directly to Delhi Visa or do they have to go through our agency or travel department?

A: You may refer travelers directly to Delhi Visa for document processing or questions.