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Visa India


I am going to India at the end of May to shoot a story over a period of one week.

Now I am applying for a Visa. I wonder if it’s better to apply for a journalist Visa or is it okay to use a tourist one. Does it take longer to apply for a journalist Visa and can I apply if I don’t have a press card?

I’d be happy about any information!

by Alice Smeets at 2009-04-29 17:17:50 UTC Eupen , Belgium | Bookmark | | Report spam→

If you are employed by a media company, or if you list your occupation as journalist or photographer, India will make you get a journalist visa regardless of what you intend to do there, even if you are on holiday. If there is nothing in your application to make you look like a journalist, you can apply for the tourist visa.

J-visas are for three months, single-entry. Tourist visas are six months, multiple entry.

If you are working on a soft story (tourism, lifestyle) that does not involve the need to speak to government officials, you are probably fine with a tourist visa.

If you are working on something hard (military, terrorism, politics, communal matters, Naxalites, Kashmir), you should probably apply for a journalist visa because you will necessarily move among (and need the support of) officialdom — and you can’t do this as a tourist.

That said, if you are doing something on the sly and need to be low-profile and unofficial, then you have to weigh your options.

by [former member] | 29 Apr 2009 18:04 (ed. Apr 29 2009) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
preston is correct. if possible, go with a tourist visa. easier to get as well, in my experience. but if you need access, youll have to have a j-visa

by [former member] | 29 Apr 2009 18:04 | US- Mexico Border Areas, Mexico | | Report spam→
Thank you very much for your quick answer!
It’s more a cultural, lifestyle story, so I will go for the tourist visa.
Thanks again!!

by Alice Smeets | 29 Apr 2009 18:04 | Eupen, Belgium | | Report spam→
whatever you do, you should get your application in soon…they are known for their bureaucracy, and in the UK it has on occasions taken more than four weeks to get my passport back with visa…unless you are able to apply in person

by Ciara Leeming | 29 Apr 2009 19:04 | Manchester, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
BTW, the best deal for me has been a ten-year tourist visa, modestly more expensive than a short one. If you think you might need to go back in the next decade, spend the extra money for it. Then you’ll always have a visa to get there, and if you need to you can adjust your status once you are there.

Preston is right, though, about officialdom. If need them, you’d better have all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed.

by [former member] | 29 Apr 2009 20:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
indian embassy in Brussels requires 5 days to issue the tourist visa

by Antoine Jean-Marie | 29 Apr 2009 20:04 | Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
You best get the tourist visa, so many journos and photographers I know don’t have a j-visa. Its only 5 days in Brussels, and last time I even bargained a 7 day visa (what doesn’t exist)for the price of a transit visa. Weird!

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 30 Apr 2009 04:04 | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
Neal is right about the 10 year tourist visa — it’s an insane deal and was only about $40 more than the standard 3-month when I got mine.

by William Widmer | 30 Apr 2009 18:04 | San Francisco, CA, United States | | Report spam→
Hey Alice, I will also be in India at the end of may. I’ll be coming overland from nepal and was planning on just picking up a tourist visa at the border, i think it’s fairly straight forward…

by James Morgan | 01 May 2009 17:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
James, not possible. Gotta get Visa in KTM and it takes some time. Nothing straight forward here.

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 02 May 2009 02:05 | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
Thanks for the heads up on that Tom! Would have turned into a mission! Don’t suppose you know how easy it is to get a chinese visa and tibet entry permit from KTM as well cheers

by James Morgan | 02 May 2009 03:05 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Getting a visa is no problem, but don’t know if the border is open. Sometimes the Chinese close the border and then you can only fly in to Lhasa from Kathmandu. Ask any Chinese Embassy, they should know.

by Tom Van Cakenberghe | 03 May 2009 10:05 | Kathmandu, Nepal | | Report spam→
Alice, I quoted a three week turn around for a J-visa for India via the private UK department who issue the stamps and pressume it will be the same in Belgium. A J-visa is very much a belts and braces messure and is piece of mind should you be challenged on your business in country.

by Sean Walker | 03 May 2009 11:05 | Djibouti City, Djibouti | | Report spam→
get a tourist one. Mo,

by Mohammad Kheirkhah | 03 May 2009 20:05 | Tehran, Iran | | Report spam→
hi, thanks for all the information! I decided to go for the tourist Visa.
Now I’m filling out the form and they asked for 2 contact persons in India as well as their phonenumber and address. I don’t know anyone in India, so I wonder if anyone staying in India can help me out?
Thanks again!

by Alice Smeets | 04 May 2009 07:05 | Eupen, Belgium | | Report spam→
I don’t think that is mandatory (I can only remember filling in the name of one person).

But if you can get two names, well, why not? The fewer times you buck the Indian bureaucracy, the better off you are generally. The best approach is simply to dodge it.

by [former member] | 04 May 2009 12:05 (ed. May 4 2009) | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
You can leave the contact names blank.

by [former member] | 04 May 2009 13:05 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Good choice on going for a tourist visa, the last time I applied for a visa, it was tourist, but when they saw that my occupation was photographer, the visa was seriously delayed. I had to have a friend of the embassy fix it. So the next time I applied, I did not indicate I was a photographer and it was granted very quickly.

by Kalim A. Bhatti | 19 May 2009 00:05 | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States | | Report spam→
Interesting I applied for a 5 year tourist visa had wrote down photographer on the app and had no problems, a week and done, maybe it’s a Canada thing?

by Nayan Sthankiya | 24 May 2009 07:05 | Delhi, India | | Report spam→
It’s always better to apply for a tourist visa while visiting even for a journalistic purpose and that’s not only implacable for India but in the southern part of the hemisphere as well.
Suvendu Chatterjee

by Suvendu Chatterjee | 26 May 2009 16:05 | | Report spam→
Quick question. If I get a 10 year visa, but my passport only has about 4 or 5 more on it, is the visa still usable if I get a new passport? It will probably be in the next year or two, as its about as full, even with extra pages, as it can get now. I"m guessing the visa several more years validity in a old passport is no good right?

by Quinn Ryan Mattingly | 09 Jun 2009 10:06 | Changwon, Korea (South) | | Report spam→
No problem. Only you have to carry the old passport having the valid visa.Best if you can stich the old passport with the valid visa with the new one. The new one can also be applied in India even as in Delhi there is an embassy of South Korea as far my little knowledge says.

by Suvendu Chatterjee | 09 Jun 2009 13:06 | | Report spam→
You can have the visa transferred to your new passport by an Indian consulate. Or you can carry both passports. Don’t do any stitching of two passports or anything else that will make an immigration official suspect tampering or forgery.

by [former member] | 09 Jun 2009 13:06 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Great. Thanks so much for the info.

by Quinn Ryan Mattingly | 09 Jun 2009 14:06 | Changwon, Korea (South) | | Report spam→
So instead of photographer what did you all write down? I’m applying now and not sure how much (if any) digging they do..

by Allison Joyce | 08 Nov 2009 05:11 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
I feel today the Indian government has becpme quite strict and maintains a discreet surveillance on journos coming on tourist visa, it becomes difficult for them to apply and get again. But, if you are willing to take the risk and be discreet, then go ahead….and Suvendhu, things are changing fast with the Foreign Ministry in India…ask the hundreds of Photogs here on tourist visa, they are having a tough time converting their visa to ‘J’ visa.

by [former member] | 08 Nov 2009 07:11 | New Delhi, India | | Report spam→
I think most photographers also work as consultants, often to graphic endeavors or the like, and also know how to use Photoshop extensively to create graphic designs. So in my view you could use the occupational description of “consultant” or, in the cases of some people, “graphic artist,” and not make a misrepresentation.

by [former member] | 09 Nov 2009 22:11 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→

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Alice Smeets, Photojournalist Alice Smeets
Eupen , Belgium
Ciara Leeming, writer & photographer Ciara Leeming
writer & photographer
Manchester , United Kingdom ( MAN )
Antoine Jean-Marie, Antoine Jean-Marie
Brussels , Belgium
Tom Van Cakenberghe, Tom Van Cakenberghe
Kathmandu , Nepal
William Widmer, William Widmer
New Orleans , United States ( MSY )
James Morgan, Freelance Photographer James Morgan
Freelance Photographer
Thimpu , Bhutan
Sean Walker, Photographer Sean Walker
Manchester , United Kingdom ( MAN )
Mohammad Kheirkhah, Photographer Mohammad Kheirkhah
Sunnyvale , United States ( SFO )
Kalim A. Bhatti, Photojournalist Kalim A. Bhatti
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania , United States ( MDT )
Nayan Sthankiya, Visual Journalist Nayan Sthankiya
Visual Journalist
Saskatoon , Canada
Suvendu Chatterjee, Photographer/Photo Editor Suvendu Chatterjee
Photographer/Photo Editor
(Director,Drik India)
[undisclosed location].
Quinn Ryan Mattingly, Documentary Photographer Quinn Ryan Mattingly
Documentary Photographer
Changwon , Korea (South)
Allison Joyce, Photojournalist Allison Joyce
Dhaka , Bangladesh


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