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simplygq

Visa India on for India

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Hi,

 

My next cruise is on celebrity constellation in Dec 2019. The cruise is going from Singapore to Dubia with stops in India and Sri Lanka. We applied for visa for India approx 6 weeks ago and received an email this week that our Visa application has been put on hold with no ETA on decision. I contacted Celebrity and they said they would allow us to board the ship however potential the port authority could turn us away. They also said they could not provide us this information in writing. 

 

I have already booked flights and quite a bit money to obtain the India visa with no promise of approvals. Does anyone have any feedback if we will be denied boarding? should I considering cancelling?

 

Thank you for your input!

GQ

 

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, simplygq said:

Hi,

 

My next cruise is on celebrity constellation in Dec 2019. The cruise is going from Singapore to Dubia with stops in India and Sri Lanka. We applied for visa for India approx 6 weeks ago and received an email this week that our Visa application has been put on hold with no ETA on decision. I contacted Celebrity and they said they would allow us to board the ship however potential the port authority could turn us away. They also said they could not provide us this information in writing. 

 

I have already booked flights and quite a bit money to obtain the India visa with no promise of approvals. Does anyone have any feedback if we will be denied boarding? should I considering cancelling?

 

Thank you for your input!

GQ

 

 

 

For Sri Lanka the transit ETA and also the 30 day ETA, (which you should will not need unless there for more than 48 hours), cannot be applied for until 3 months before your visit now (a recent change).  If you wait in hope of getting a visa on arrival it will cost more and will likely mean delays at the port.

 

I would have thought you also have plenty of time for the Indian visa, though I am not sure how early it can be applied for, or if you have unusual circumstances.  What nationality are you?  It is best to look up the requirements from your government website.  I am from the UK and many other countries have the similar requirements to us.

Edited by tring

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Posted (edited)

Not sure where you live?  For the UK, the Sri Lanka trip no longer needs a visa.  The application form online for the Indian visa is a bit of a pain, but it was turned around in 24 hours and approved.  Did you apply online or otherwise?

 

We're on Connie doing the reverse of your trip.

Edited by PatEv

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5 hours ago, tring said:

 

For Sri Lanka the transit ETA and also the 30 day ETA, (which you should will not need unless there for more than 48 hours), cannot be applied for until 3 months before your visit now (a recent change).  If you wait in hope of getting a visa on arrival it will cost more and will likely mean delays at the port.

 

I would have thought you also have plenty of time for the Indian visa, though I am not sure how early it can be applied for, or if you have unusual circumstances.  What nationality are you?  It is best to look up the requirements from your government website.  I am from the UK and many other countries have the similar requirements to us.

 

I am located in Canada. My wife, I and the kids are all born in Canada however my parents were born in Pakistan as a result I have to go through the India consulate. I applied 6 weeks and they said my case was only hold. They didn't give me an ETA. I am nervous that I will get denied or they will have me on hold at time of sailing. I was confused if I still be able to embark the ship?

 

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2 hours ago, PatEv said:

Not sure where you live?  For the UK, the Sri Lanka trip no longer needs a visa.  The application form online for the Indian visa is a bit of a pain, but it was turned around in 24 hours and approved.  Did you apply online or otherwise?

 

We're on Connie doing the reverse of your trip.

 

I am think I will be fine for Sri Lanka just nervous about India visa

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We did Dubai - Singapore on Connie in January. I think most of us on the roll call applied for Indian visas about 2 months out and though someone had a bit of a panic as her visa took 72 hrs to be approved, I don't think anyone else had any problems. You could always try e mailing the visa website and see if they have any info. (Not a stupid question...you did use the official site?).

Just a heads up...this might apply in Singapore too, but when we boarded in Dubai you must have at check in a copy of your passport (take 2 copies before you leave home, as Celeb will take your passport away too), 2 copies of the Indian visa and 1 copy of the Sri Lanka transit visa (though you say you don't need this anymore...its free; I'd probably get it anyway!). Several people had packed their visas etc, so that led to hold ups at check in. You will get a 'landing card' for India the night before your first Indian port. DO NOT LOSE IT!!!!! It MUST be stamped at each Indian port (India is far more officious than UK!). It will be checked at least twice and probably three times on each exit and each entry to the port, so be prepared for queues. Our worst one was Goa (about 30 mins as only 2 agents), best was Cochin(30 seconds as about 30 agents).

Anything else you have questions about, feel free to ask.

 

Simon

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, PatEv said:

For the UK, the Sri Lanka trip no longer needs a visa. 

 

 

 

You have been given wrong information about Sri Lanka.  You do need a visa.  If you are there for less than 48 hours and are in transit (i.e. passing on to a different location from where you came), then you can use a transit visa, which is, and always was free.  If staying longer, the 30 day tourist visa has become free since the 1st August and remains free until the 31st January (this a a change brought in as part of a series of things to encourage tourism back after the bombings).  Details are on the FCO website:- https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka   though you will see from this link they say you can get a visa on arrival.  However, if you wait until you arrive in Sri Lanka, the visa will cost more and you will have to wait in what could be a long queue, hence suffer delays at immigration.  The normal way forward is to apply for an ETA online (either transit or tourist as needed) and that means your details have been accepted, so you will be automatically given a visa when you arrive in Sri Lanka.

 

Where have you been told that you do not need a visa?  There has been a problem on the Sri Lankan Trip Advisor forum recently as someone from The Netherlands seems to have been given wrong information that they do not need a visa and will not believe the truth.  The only thing I can think is that someone was told the visa is now free, so a wrong assumption may have been made that a visa was not needed - but that is definitely not the case.

Edited by tring

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, simplygq said:

 

I am located in Canada. My wife, I and the kids are all born in Canada however my parents were born in Pakistan as a result I have to go through the India consulate. I applied 6 weeks and they said my case was only hold. They didn't give me an ETA. I am nervous that I will get denied or they will have me on hold at time of sailing. I was confused if I still be able to embark the ship?

 

 

I can see why you are worried as I believe there are some problems with Indian visa's if you have Pakistan nationality or ancestry.  Hence all I can do is wish you good luck.

 

Regards Sri Lanka I have seen reports on the Sri Lankan Trip Advisor board from people with Pakistan Nationality and they have had to wait a lot longer for their Sri Lankan ETA to come through, and I am not sure if everyone gets them eventually, whilst for UK nationals and other western nationals, they come through within a couple of days. 

 

I suggest it may be worth you trying to get help from the Trip Advisor forums for the relevant countries you wish to visit (mainly India), though I am not sure you will be able to get help there.  Perhaps worth a try though. 

Edited by tring

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, sddsddean said:

1 copy of the Sri Lanka transit visa (though you say you don't need this anymore...its free; I'd probably get it anyway!).

 

Simon

 

The fact a visa is free does not mean a visa is not needed, you still need to apply for an ETA.  Please see my earlier post in reply to PatEv

 

I can understand a cruise company saying you must have a Sri Lankan ETA before travelling as it could cause a lot of problems with immigration if people do not have them.  Otherwise your advice seems very sound.

Edited by tring

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5 hours ago, sddsddean said:

We did Dubai - Singapore on Connie in January. I think most of us on the roll call applied for Indian visas about 2 months out and though someone had a bit of a panic as her visa took 72 hrs to be approved, I don't think anyone else had any problems. You could always try e mailing the visa website and see if they have any info. (Not a stupid question...you did use the official site?).

Just a heads up...this might apply in Singapore too, but when we boarded in Dubai you must have at check in a copy of your passport (take 2 copies before you leave home, as Celeb will take your passport away too), 2 copies of the Indian visa and 1 copy of the Sri Lanka transit visa (though you say you don't need this anymore...its free; I'd probably get it anyway!). Several people had packed their visas etc, so that led to hold ups at check in. You will get a 'landing card' for India the night before your first Indian port. DO NOT LOSE IT!!!!! It MUST be stamped at each Indian port (India is far more officious than UK!). It will be checked at least twice and probably three times on each exit and each entry to the port, so be prepared for queues. Our worst one was Goa (about 30 mins as only 2 agents), best was Cochin(30 seconds as about 30 agents).

Anything else you have questions about, feel free to ask.

 

Simon

Were people allowed to board if they didn't have Visa's? I'm would like to check out India but if I am not able to get the visa or denied I am okay staying on the ship those days. 

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48 minutes ago, tring said:

 

I can see why you are worried as I believe there are some problems with Indian visa's if you have Pakistan nationality or ancestry.  Hence all I can do is wish you good luck.

 

Regards Sri Lanka I have seen reports on the Sri Lankan Trip Advisor board from people with Pakistan Nationality and they have had to wait a lot longer for their Sri Lankan ETA to come through, and I am not sure if everyone gets them eventually, whilst for UK nationals and other western nationals, they come through within a couple of days. 

 

I suggest it may be worth you trying to get help from the Trip Advisor forums for the relevant countries you wish to visit (mainly India), though I am not sure you will be able to get help there.  Perhaps worth a try though. 

I probably apply for the Sri Lankan visa closer to the date just incase I have to cancel. If I change to another cruise I probably loose about 1300 in visa and changing flights.

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4 hours ago, simplygq said:

Were people allowed to board if they didn't have Visa's? I'm would like to check out India but if I am not able to get the visa or denied I am okay staying on the ship those days. 

There were a couple of people I met on board who couldn’t get India visas, so as you say, they had to stay on the ship.

 

Simon

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7 hours ago, tring said:

 

However, if you wait until you arrive in Sri Lanka, the visa will cost more and you will have to wait in what could be a long queue, hence suffer delays at immigration. 

 

Thanks for the correction.  You do need a visa but it is available on arrival.  I don't know about Sri Lanka exactly, but withi other Celebrity cruises, we've often being given the visa/landing card onboard the night before e.g. Israel.  Is the above information based upon experience?

 

As you say, no harm in pre-applying for the Sri Lankan visa if you wish. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, PatEv said:

 

Thanks for the correction.  You do need a visa but it is available on arrival.  I don't know about Sri Lanka exactly, but withi other Celebrity cruises, we've often being given the visa/landing card onboard the night before e.g. Israel.  Is the above information based upon experience?

 

As you say, no harm in pre-applying for the Sri Lankan visa if you wish. 

 

To clarify my position.  We had a tour/stay holiday in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago (self planned) and are doing the same next January, with our own flights booked, and board a cruise ship there on the 6th February (Fred Olsen's Boudicca) to Dubai.  Fred has let it be known that all passengers embarking or disembarking the vessel in Sri Lanka will need to be in possession of a 30 day tourist visa, though passengers getting straight on/off the ship from/to their flights they will be there for less than 48 hours and should be OK with a transit visa.  It is presumed Fred is covering his back in case of problems with the ship or his flights and it is not going down well as the charge for tourist visa's is due to be re introduced on 1st Feb.  The application is much the same for both visas from what I understand though.  It is understandable that Fred wants to make sure people have ETA's to prevent what could be large scale problems at the port or the airport when his flights land there.  As the ship will be docked there for 3 days in total (a day for each cruise + change over day), I assume the people staying on the ship for the next cruise cannot use transit visas anyway and obviously we will have to have tourist visas.

 

As we have planned our own Sri Lankan holidays and especially since the bombings at Easter, which caused a big hiccup for us as well as a lot of suffering by the local people, I have kept a close eye on the Trip Advisor forum regularly (daily since Easter apart from when we have been away).  Hence I am well aware of things like visa queries etc. and there is also a very good guide to the visa process linked to that forum which we have used in the past.  I have also gained a lot of very useful advice re many things Sri Lankan from the regular posters over a long time, especially a destination expert, ErikandSandya (a husband and wife,) who are particularly reliable.  I also recognise other reliable posters on the forum, though, of course, some details picked up from forums should be treated carefully as there are scammers out there or others who do not have the correct info.

 

Points mentioned recently on that forum is that the official site for applying for ETA's has some problems.  It still says there is a charge for the tourist visa, but when the application is completed, money is not requested and visa's come through without charge.  Also there is strange wording on the transit visa as it says you cannot enter the country, which is thought to be a bad translation (or just careless wording).  It seems that if in the country for less than 48 hours (and travelling on to a different place from where you came), the Sri Lankan authorities consider you to be in transit and not having entered the country, even though you are physically there - yes weird..........

 

I suggest you click through from the FCO site to apply for an ETA to make sure you are on the correct site as there are other sites out there, (like there are with all visa applications), which will charge you, or even ones were the visa never turns up anyway.  The application is easy and far better than having problems on arrival or perhaps even being denied boarding of a ship/plane.  As previously mentioned, the visa's can only be applied for 3 months before travel. 

 

Happy travels and enjoy Sri Lanka, it is a wonderful country,

 

Barbara

Edited by tring

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Posted (edited)

This gets more interesting.......the Sri Lankan High Commission site indeed gives the below advice

 

Passport holders of the above countries who are visiting Sri Lanka for a short period from 01.08.2019 to 31.01.2020 are required to apply for ETA and obtain pre approval before the journey to avoid unnecessary delays at the port of entry.

 

But more interestingly, the waiver applies to Thailand and the members of the European Union.  Will the UK's status change if we go through Brexit before we travel?

 

I'm agreeing with Barbara that the best approach would be to aply for the ETA sooner rather than later to avoid queue and any potential Brexit consequences.

 

https://srilankahc.uk/implementing-free-tourist-visa-scheme-for-selected-countries/

 

Update - when you go to apply online, it lists the UK as being separate from the EU in a specific list, so perhaps the Brexit concerns are unfounded.

 

Edited by PatEv

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17 hours ago, tring said:

 

To clarify my position.  We had a tour/stay holiday in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago (self planned) and are doing the same next January, with our own flights booked, and board a cruise ship there on the 6th February (Fred Olsen's Boudicca) to Dubai.  Fred has let it be known that all passengers embarking or disembarking the vessel in Sri Lanka will need to be in possession of a 30 day tourist visa, though passengers getting straight on/off the ship from/to their flights they will be there for less than 48 hours and should be OK with a transit visa.  It is presumed Fred is covering his back in case of problems with the ship or his flights and it is not going down well as the charge for tourist visa's is due to be re introduced on 1st Feb.  The application is much the same for both visas from what I understand though.  It is understandable that Fred wants to make sure people have ETA's to prevent what could be large scale problems at the port or the airport when his flights land there.  As the ship will be docked there for 3 days in total (a day for each cruise + change over day), I assume the people staying on the ship for the next cruise cannot use transit visas anyway and obviously we will have to have tourist visas.

 

As we have planned our own Sri Lankan holidays and especially since the bombings at Easter, which caused a big hiccup for us as well as a lot of suffering by the local people, I have kept a close eye on the Trip Advisor forum regularly (daily since Easter apart from when we have been away).  Hence I am well aware of things like visa queries etc. and there is also a very good guide to the visa process linked to that forum which we have used in the past.  I have also gained a lot of very useful advice re many things Sri Lankan from the regular posters over a long time, especially a destination expert, ErikandSandya (a husband and wife,) who are particularly reliable.  I also recognise other reliable posters on the forum, though, of course, some details picked up from forums should be treated carefully as there are scammers out there or others who do not have the correct info.

 

Points mentioned recently on that forum is that the official site for applying for ETA's has some problems.  It still says there is a charge for the tourist visa, but when the application is completed, money is not requested and visa's come through without charge.  Also there is strange wording on the transit visa as it says you cannot enter the country, which is thought to be a bad translation (or just careless wording).  It seems that if in the country for less than 48 hours (and travelling on to a different place from where you came), the Sri Lankan authorities consider you to be in transit and not having entered the country, even though you are physically there - yes weird..........

 

I suggest you click through from the FCO site to apply for an ETA to make sure you are on the correct site as there are other sites out there, (like there are with all visa applications), which will charge you, or even ones were the visa never turns up anyway.  The application is easy and far better than having problems on arrival or perhaps even being denied boarding of a ship/plane.  As previously mentioned, the visa's can only be applied for 3 months before travel. 

 

Happy travels and enjoy Sri Lanka, it is a wonderful country,

 

Barbara

Hi Barbara,

 

Did you have an experience or hear about folks not having visa and not being allowed on board the ship? I am nervous going half way across the world to find out I cant board?

 

Thank you

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22 hours ago, sddsddean said:

There were a couple of people I met on board who couldn’t get India visas, so as you say, they had to stay on the ship.

 

Simon

This makes me feel better. I called celebrity if they could give me something in writing they promises I will be able to board but they refused. Like I said in previous post just neverous going across the world to find out that we  cant board.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, simplygq said:

Hi Barbara,

 

Did you have an experience or hear about folks not having visa and not being allowed on board the ship? I am nervous going half way across the world to find out I cant board?

 

Thank you

 

As I mentioned it is the stated position of our cruise company that people who are embarking or disembarking in Sri Lanka must have a Sri Lankan ETA for a 30 day entry, rather than just a transit visa.  Regards India we have it in writing that we have to have an Indian visa.  The vast majority of their passengers are from the UK and will have UK passports, so should be able to get Indian visa's, but people from other countries are advised to sort out the visa requirements by contacting their countries official base.

 

I have had land hols in both India and Sri Lanka, but have not cruised that part of the world as yet but have done other fly cruises when other paperwork is required.  The normal process with British based cruise lines (e.g. P&O, Fred Olsen) is that when people fly out on their flights they have staff to check possession of any visa's etc. needed.  Otherwise they would be checked at embarkation.  I have no knowledge of anyone who did  not have them though.

 

What matters to you though is the policy used by Celebrity, so you need to contact them and, I suggest you get that info. in writing - sending an email will mean an email reply, which is writing.  It may also be a good idea to post a question on the general Celebrity board (not a roll call) so you may be able to get past experience reported.  Could also be worthwhile mentioning your Pakistani parents as that may just be a bit different from other nationalities who have just not got their visa's in time.  Someone on this thread has said people were allowed to stay on the ship though, so looks hopeful for you.

 

 

Edited by tring

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We sailed from Singapore to Dubai via Sri Lanka and India on Royal Caribbean.  There were multiple people without Indian visas. They were allowed to board but couldnt go ashore in India.  But as a previous poster suggests, it would be best to email the cruise company for their advice

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18 hours ago, suekay said:

We sailed from Singapore to Dubai via Sri Lanka and India on Royal Caribbean.  There were multiple people without Indian visas. They were allowed to board but couldnt go ashore in India.  But as a previous poster suggests, it would be best to email the cruise company for their advice

 

Thanks for your input. When was this sailing?

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20 minutes ago, simplygq said:

 

Thanks for your input. When was this sailing?

Checking my passport I see it was 2015. How time flies!

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On 8/28/2019 at 3:07 PM, PatEv said:

Not sure where you live?  For the UK, the Sri Lanka trip no longer needs a visa.  The application form online for the Indian visa is a bit of a pain, but it was turned around in 24 hours and approved.  Did you apply online or otherwise?

 

We're on Connie doing the reverse of your trip.

Hi can you tell me on the visa form for India it asked for two reference one for India and one for uk do you have to fill this in as uk is ok but people cruising may not know anyone in India m

( me) hope you can help me with this 

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We're doing a tour from Mumbai and put the name of the tour company down........

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On 8/28/2019 at 6:03 PM, simplygq said:

 

I am think I will be fine for Sri Lanka just nervous about India visa

 

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Hi lm on the January 2020 cruise Singapore to Dubai and from England.Have just sent a query about applying for an Indian visa and apparently I’m a little too early. 3 months or less is usually the time you apply. I was told if I applied now it would be put on hold until nearer the time. So that is probably what is happening to yours. Ive decided to pay a bit more as the Indian government website looked a bit daunting. Im doing it through a company called Visa Genie at a total cost of £67 which I didn’t think was too bad. The Sri Lanka visa which is free at the moment is quite easy to do. I did one two years ago.

Not sure about the Oman?

 

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