We’re finally in Koh Lanta after a fairly stressful final week in India. We were due to arrive here on the 11th of November, but thanks to a load of bureaucratic crap (and rude embassy staff – don’t get me started…), we only just arrived yesterday. So I thought I’d share my experience in the hope that other Indians don’t have to face the headaches that I did.
I applied for a visa to two countries: Thailand and Cyprus. Being an Indian national, I am only allowed to freely enter 53 countries out of 196 countries in the world. Not freely per se but that is the number of countries where Indians can get an on arrival visa. The list of these countries can be found here.
The Cypriot visa is what caused me most of the hassle. I used a travel agent, which was my first mistake. They had no idea what they were doing, and kept requesting further documentation instead of telling me what I needed right from the start. Hence, the massive delays and changes to our travel plans.
This post will give you an idea of what you need to apply for a visa to these two countries. I’ll start with the easy one: Thailand.
When applying for a Thai Visa
- Indians get a 15-day on arrival visa to Thailand. This means that as long as you have a valid hotel booking, a couple of passport size photographs, 1000 Thai baht and, most importantly, a valid passport, you can stay in the country for 15 days. This visa cannot be extended unless you have some serious illness and can’t manage to go to the airport. Here’s the link for some more information.
- If you want to stay for more than 15 days, you need to go for the second option, which is to apply for the visa while you are in India via VFS Global. It’s a pretty straightforward process and the visa is easy to get. You pay the same amount of money that you would pay for the on-arrival but you get to spend 15 days more in Thailand. Here’s the link to the VFS page.
Now comes the difficult one: the Cypriot visa.
When applying for a Cypriot Visa
- The only way an Indian can obtain a Cypriot visa is via the Cypriot embassy in the country they’re residing in. Since I no longer live in the UAE, I had to apply for the visa in India at the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus in New Delhi (location map).
- The embassy staff are rude and impolite. Please read all visa application requirements before you head there to submit your application. Find the list of requirements here.
- If getting sponsored by a citizen of Cyprus, Indians need a letter of invitation certified by the mayor of the sponsor’s village/town along with a bank guarantee letter of 855EUR with the application. This bank guarantee needs to be approved by the Bureau of Immigration in Nicosia before submission to the embassy in New Delhi, and must be obtained by the person who is sponsoring you.
- Sponsor’s passport and Cypriot ID copies are a must.
- Please do not book your tickets before you get your visa. The visa validity is completely up to the certifying officer in the embassy.
- You will need to fill the application form which can be a little hard to find on the embassy’s website.
- One last thing: submit your application at least 10 days before your date of departure as the embassy does not entertain any last minute applications.
- The visa takes 4-5 workings days to be processed. This is including the day you apply for the visa.
In the end, the wait and the torture are worth it. Both Thailand and Cyprus are beautiful countries and you will have an awesome time traveling there.
I have only one word of advice: do not trust an agent or the embassy. It’s better if you do the work yourself. Get your documents ready and make the application a priority from your end. Call the embassy before you make the trip there just to double check the requirements.
Do you have any visa woes to share with us?