Note: this is the experience of one American Peace Corps Volunteer, so if you are an expat from another country living in Ethiopia, it might be a little different. I’ve tried to address the differences here but it doesn’t hurt to call. The Consular General at the Embassy was SUPER helpful!
Before You Go
- Fill out the application form at http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/
*make sure to upload your scanned passport photo or you will be rejected!
- Print it out and sign the first AND second page
- Paste (with glue) your passport photo to the upper right of the first page in labeled space
- Get copies of the following:
- Red ID (or other resident ID if you have one)
- Yellow Card (including pages with yellow fever and OPV vaccines)
- Bank book
- Flight information (specifically return flight)
- Hotel information
- Form for foreigners living in Ethiopia (pick up at the Embassy and fill out ONLY if you don’t already have a resident ID, this does not apply to PCVs)
- Have 1720 birr exactly per application (no change to be had!)
- Bring these all to the Embassy (and don’t forget your passport)
Getting to the Embassy
It IS possible to get to the Indian Embassy by line taxis and really not that difficult. Take any line taxi to Arat Kilo and pick up a line taxi headed toward Meganegna. On the left you’ll pass a neighborhood that is below street level. Waraj after you pass the neighborhood on your right (on the left will be a tall white hotel) and turn right down the paved street. You’ll see a sign pointing down a diagonal road for the India Embassy. The Embassy is at the end of the road. Knock at the gate to be admitted!
Arriving at the Embassy
Once you arrive at the Embassy, you’ll drop all electronics off at the guard house, sign in and get a number (on your visitor pass). Leaving the guard house, you’ll walk toward the building. The consular section is the open door on the right. When you walk in, sit down and wait. The one consular officer will call numbers out (on your visitor pass). When your number is called, go up and hand over your application. The officer will then let you know what he needs to see next and ultimately ask you for the payment. He or she will hand you a sort of receipt that you must have to pick up your passport. Don’t lose it!
If you are number 35 and they are only calling 8 when you arrive, don’t fret. Many of the visitors are there for other reasons or just to pick up passports, so it will go quickly! My first experience was when they were on number 1 and I was 23. It wasn’t too bad.
I had to go to the Embassy twice since the first time the application wasn’t complete. The first time was on a Monday and I arrived exactly at 9:30 am and was given number 23. I wasn’t called until past 11 am and didn’t leave until almost 11:30 am. The second time I arrived at 9:55 am on a Wednesday and was given number 23. I was called by 10:10 am and out of there by 10:20 am with a successful application! Of course, your mileage may vary but it pays to go in the middle of the week if you can.
- You can arrive before 9:30 and get a number
- You are allowed to drop off and pick up for friends (just make sure they’ve signed all the forms!)
- You can pick up your passport after the number of days (3-5 later) that is written on your receipt. You collect your visa from the guard house between 4:30-5pm.
- If possible, don’t request a visa much more than a month in advance of travel. PCVs in the past have been able to get a visa more than a month in advance by explaining they don’t live near Addis and won’t be back beforehand. However the Embassy prefers to issue them less than a month in advance if that is feasible for you.
- It’s important to remember that your visa will likely only be valid for three months from the date of issue. You CANNOT get tourist visa extensions for India so plan accordingly!