It was new year’s eve when I got a message from a friend saying that he will be flying to Bangalore on January 10th and asking if it would be possible for us to meet up. Below are the steps I had to consider and take before I was able to say something like “Of course, I’ll see you soon!” with some smiley at the end.
Travellers with Philippine passport are eligible to use India’s e-Tourist Visa (eTV) facility. Application should be made using this website https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
The list of countries/territories eligible for eTV plus the application guideline and other useful information are also available on the said site.
I completed the eTV application at around nine in the morning of January 1, 2016. At the end of the application process, a part of the message displayed stated that the “application will take 72 hours for processing”. The same message I got at the end of the online application was sent to the email I provided. I received the result of my visa application via email at 8:46PM of the same day – just 12 hours of processing!
The approved arrival dates I got were from the date of application (Jan. 1, 2016) plus 34 days (Feb. 4, 2016). The visa is valid for single entry through 16 designated airports and for 30 days of stay from the date of arrival in India. You can check the site provided for the list of valid airports for entry.
The visa fee varies for each covered country/territory (00, 25, 48, or 60 USD ) and will be subject to 2.5% bank charges. For Philippine nationals, it is 48 USD . I was charged 49.20 USD (48 USD visa fee + 1.05 USD Processing Fee + 0.15 USD Service Tax).
Flying to India
There is no direct flight from Manila to Bangalore (and, I think, to anywhere else in India). I used Wego and Skyscanner to check-out the cheapest airline options. I ended up booking roundtrip ticket from Air Asia. I only had about one week lead time and the roundtrip ticket transiting in Kuala Lumpur without any checked baggage was around 21K PHP.
The smallest checked-in baggage option for Air Asia is 20kg which costs 800 PHP for each leg of the trip. Availing that would have cost me 3,200 PHP – which is too much for me considering that my main carry-on bag is just 8kg max.