While we were in Cambodia we decided to travel to India which meant we would need an Indian tourist visa. It was a bit difficult to find up to date information on getting a visa so here’s a blog post all about how we obtained our Indian visa in Phnom Penh.
The information in this post was accurate at the time of writing but check out the visa section on the Indian embassy website for opening times, requirements etc. See below for the link.
Stage 1: Fill in the online form
Go to www.indembassyphnompenh.org to read about the visa and click on the link http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa. TIP: if possible use Internet Explorer. If you don’t two of the sections won’t appear on the form (point of exit and address of hotel in India). Don’t worry, we checked at the Embassy and it’s ok to fill these sections in by hand.
On the form you need to give two reference addresses – one in India and another in Cambodia, including telephone numbers. We hadn’t booked anything by that point (and in fact the Indian visa website tells you not to book anything until you get your visa but anyway…). So we just gave the details for a hotel we found on the internet. For our Cambodian reference we gave our hotel name.
You also need to add point of exit but if you’re not sure where this will be don’t worry and just pick any city. We gave Mumbai but in the end we departed India from Delhi and it didn’t matter.
Once you’ve submitted the form online you’ll get to pick a date to hand in the form at the Embassy. We submitted ours at about 5pm and our appointment was scheduled for 2 days time. So if you want to have an appointment for the next day maybe submit the form earlier than 5pm. Or the day before.
Stage 2: Prepare for the visit to the Embassy.
You will need to take:
- Passport photo. You only need one but probably best to take two just in case. If you don’t have the right size with you you’ll have to get them done in Phnom Penh – you usually get about 10 at a time so no problem. The size is larger than the standard passport photo and we found a place on street 93 just north of the junction with Samdach Preah Sihanouk Blvd. It was on the right hand side. You can also ask tuk tuk drivers near the embassy to take you to a photo shop. Our photos cost about $3 for two of us and they were ready within a few hours.
- Visa form with photo attached (if you haven’t got any glue there was some at the Embassy when we went).
- Photocopy of your passport and a photocopy of your Cambodian visa
- Visa fee. TIP: take the exact money as the Embassy probably won’t have change. The fee as of February 2012 was $57 for a UK or French citizen and I think it’s the same for most Europeans and Americans. The fee consists of a $40 visa fee then an additional $15 fee because we weren’t Cambodians and another $2 admin fee. The Indian Embassy site didn’t mention how much the visa costs but there is a poster on the wall inside the Embassy outlining fees and who needs to pay them.
Stage 3: Go to the Embassy to apply for your visa.
The Embassy is open from 9 – 11am for visa applications. Your printed form will have your appointment time written on the side but if you want to go when it opens I don’t think it matters. We went earlier and it was ok. When you get to the Embassy you’ll need to check-in with the security guards at the entrance. Don’t turn up earlier than the opening time and expect to be able to sign-in – they turned us away until it opened. You need to enter your details into the signing-in book but if there are more than one of you just one person needs to do it. They need your name, passport number and address in Phnom Penh with tel number. TIP: take a pen with you to the Embassy as there weren’t any available.
Go through to the Embassy (it looks like a house and the visa section is right in front of you). Take one of the forms that non-Cambodians need to fill in – should be in a box to the right of the window. It asks for the same information that’s on your visa form (name, passport number etc).
Join the queue! When we were there there were about 10 people waiting in line. When you get to the front hand the visa official your passport, forms, fee. It took him about 5 mins to process the form. He then hands you a receipt that includes the date you can pick up your passport.
We went to hand our forms in on Wednesday and our pick-up date was the following Monday, so 3 days. I’d advise you get your visa application in asap! When we went there were people in the queue who had been trying to submit their form for 2 days but the system was down so they were told to come back next day.
Stage 4: Pick up your visa and passport.
The Embassy opens between 4 and 5pm for visa pick-up. Sign in again with security. If there are two of you it might not be necessary for both of you to go – I went to collect my passport and my partner’s too and it wasn’t a problem.
Go to the visa window and hand over your receipt. If your application was successful you should get your passport back complete with visa!
TIP: your visa will be valid from that date, not when you arrive in India. We asked for a one month visa but as far as i know you can get anything up to a 6 month visa.
That’s it! A bit of a hassle and lots of paperwork, but hopefully this advice will help you avoid some of the problems we faced. If there are any updates feel free to add them as a comment below. Happy travels!