PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST WAS FIRST WRITTEN IN FEBRUARY 2010 AND SOME OF THE INFORMATION IS NOW OUT OF DATE - from 23rd November 2010 a new online application system was introduced – details are available at http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/. However, the information contained below may well still be of interest for those seeking to get to the Hayes office – for which the blog was originally intended!
After reading some of the horror stories online about applying for a visa to visit India, I embarked on the process, and thought some tips might be helpful for others – especially about actually getting to the Centre in Hayes!
- Yes, the online system is a bit clunky – and it crashed on me once without saving what I had done – which was a pain! But by automatically checking for completeness it did save time filling out the forms, perhaps incorrectly, and therefore having to redo them again.
- Before embarking on completing the forms online, do check you have all the information to hand – down to the level of detail required about the place of both parents’ birth! Unfortunately, there is not an easy to find guide to completing the visa form available in the drop-down menus! One solution is to print out a hard-copy form from those available, and then use this as a guide. The trouble is that not all of the questions asked are unambiguous!
- The automatic fee charging system did indeed seem to overcharge me – as least compared with the advertised fees for visas! Watch out for this!
- Make sure that you submit all of the relevant required documents, or have them with you (together with two photographs) when you go to the Centre.
- For those taking the application form to the Indian Visa Application Centre in Hayes, there are many comments on the Web about how difficult this is to find! It is actually very simple! The Centre is accessed on the south side of Uxbridge Road in Hayes, just by the Grand Union Canal. For those driving from the M4, take the A312 north to its junction with the A4020, and then turn east towards Southall. Don’t take the first right down Springfield Road, but watch out for the large Currys superstore just before the Fiat car showrooms. That is the best place to park! Walk a short distance (c. 100 yards) towards the canal, and turn right just beyond the Fiat garage. The entrance to the Application Centre is then through some large metal gates just after the car park behind the garage. This is just by the A4020 label next to the canal on this map!
- Once inside, you will receive a numbered ticket, and will then have to wait in the large seated waiting hall. There are around a dozen service desks, and so the queue moves relatively quickly. At 08.30 in the morning, I only had to wait about 25 minutes to be ‘processed’. Opening hours for submission of passports are 08.30-14.30 Monday to Friday; passport pickup (usually withing 2-3 working days) hours are 13.00-16.30 Monday to Friday.