As of March 16th 2015, postal applications will no longer be accepted for an Indian Visa and it will be obligatory for people to visit one of the 14 application centres across the UK, in order to submit biometric data such as fingerprint data and retina scans.
Visa applications play an incredibly important role within the tourism industry. Countries wishing to attract tourists from the UK must ensure that their procedures strike the right balance between ensuring border security and not putting travelers off their visit entirely. Unfortunately the Indian visa process has always been quite lengthy and time-consuming, and the additional measure of an in-person visit to the application centres is another step that may affect the popularity of India as an attractive tourist destination. ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, have written to the Indian High Commission to ask them to reconsider, but the outcome of this appeal is uncertain.
In terms of the repercussions for Charity Challenge participants, the application is, in all other senses, exactly the same. Once the normal online application is made, participants will then be asked to make an appointment with their nearest application centre in order to provide the biometric data (fingerprints and retina scans). We are updating our Indian visa application advice to reflect the change in process. This will affect anyone applying for a visa after March 2015.
For any questions about the new process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org