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Those who know me know that when it comes to planning a trip, I like to do everything myself. The planning, the logistics, and the papers. I have never been a fan of packaged tours. So, when the thought of a small holiday to Singapore crossed my mind, the first question that popped up in my mind was about the VISA.
Blame it on the size of our country or the other obvious things but when it comes to applying for a visa, you realize the Indian passport is not one of the most welcome documents. However, the arrival card for Indians is pretty straightforward. Let me share my experience of applying for a Singapore VISA in Bangalore.
How to apply for a Singapore Tourist VISA in Bangalore?
After some basic research, I found that, unlike a lot of other countries that have registered agencies like VFS for VISA processing, there was no registered visa agency for Singapore in Bangalore. It was a good thing and a bad one for me. Good because I have always found agencies like VFS more crowded and so you can’t drop in, drop your passport and leave. And it was a slightly bad thing for me because I was not sure which agency to go for. Also, no two travel agencies were charging the same visa fee. Some time back there used to be some way of applying on your own online but that is a thing of the past now.
Documents required for Singapore Tourist VISA for Indians
Once I had finalized the agency, the next thing was to figure out the documents that were required. I knew that because I was applying to the Chennai consulate (residents of South India are supposed to apply to the Chennai consulate) and because my passport was issued in Assam, I will have to furnish more than the regular set of documents. The question however was, what (or what all)? The agency too was not very sure about it and had to follow up with me for more documents after I had submitted my application. Below is the list of documents required for a Singapore tourist VISA in Bangalore (and Chennai).
- Air-tickets. Arrival. (I had to submit my Malaysia VISA as I was entering from Melaka).
- Departing air-tickets.
- Hotel booking for the entire period of your stay.
- Two copies of 3.5cm X 4.5cm passport-sized photos (Matte finish)
- Properly filled and signed the Singapore Tourist VISA application form.
- Passport with a minimum of 6 months’ validity.
- HR Letter on company letterhead mentioning my local address. (You don’t need this if your passport has been issued in South India)
Validity and Fee of Singapore Tourist VISA
It took around five working days for the VISA to come to my hands. Fair enough for the amount I had paid. Unlike a conventional VISA which is stuck in your passport by the passport issuing authority, Singapore issues eVisas for tourists. The validity for the multiple-entry visa of just a month (Malaysia VISA has a validity of 1 year.) .
The fee I paid was Rs. 2,750/- (which is around S$54). The official VISA fee as printed on the VISA is S$30 and the rest is charged by the agency for their services.
Given the fact that Singapore has a very strong Indian connection and also because it sees a continuous flow of a significant number of tourists, wouldn’t it make more sense to have a VISA on Arrival for Indians or at least an ETA, just like Sri Lanka has?
As per Abhishek, a reader of this blog, there have been some additional requirements for Singapore VISA for Indians. Quoting his update as follows:
Passports issued in South India also need HR Letter and Company Leave letters as mandatory documents for Singapore tourist visa. Basically now its mandatory for any passport applying from anywhere in India. I confirmed with Trawellday and other agencies in Bangalore and Chennai.
How have been your experiences in applying for the Indian Passport?