How to Apply for a Tourist Visa to India from South Africa

Indian commuters stop their vehicles and watch a wild elephant cross a highway as it tries to escape to a higher ground after flood waters submerged large swathes of Kaziranga National Park, a wildlife reserve in the northeastern Assam state, India, Monday, Aug.25, 2014. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT
Source: AP Photo/Press Trust of India

VISA application processes differ from country to country. Some countries are Visa-free, while others offer Visa-on-arrival or an e-Visa service. The more tedious Visa applications offered by most countries involve submission of paperwork, biometric scanning, and even an interview before a Visa is issued. Fortunately, the process of obtaining a Tourist Visa for India for South African nationals is relatively simple if you’ve got your ducks in a row.

The Tourist Visa is meant for travel that involves only recreation, tourism and occasional visits to friends and relatives.

India visa applications in South Africa are handled by BLS International – the authorised visa for India processing agent appointed by the Government of India in South Africa.

The following is a list of basic steps for South African nationals wishing to apply for a Visa for travel to India from South Africa.

Basic Steps


  1. Familiarize yourself with BLS requirements, processes and BLS International application centre locations.
  2. Complete the Indian Visa online application form.
  3. Pay the BLS fee via EFT. Save and print 2 copies of the proof of payment – you will need this later as a supporting document.
  4. Go to your nearest BLS International outlet to submit your passport, online application form (printed) and supporting documents. To find an application centre see:


Once you complete the Online India Visa Application, the following supporting documents should be submitted with your application

  1. Application form (signed in 2 places)
  2. Copy of RSA ID Document
  3. 2 x Visa Photos (size 5cm x 5cm, ask for American / India Visa photos at the photo lab)
  4. Return ticket/itinerary
  5. Proof of accommodation (either hotel reservation or signed invitation letter with Indian sponsor’s ID or passport document)
  6. Proof of residence in South Africa (e.g. utility bill Telkom, or Municipality)
  7. 3 Months bank statements reflecting a closing balance of at least R5000
  8. Proof of payment for Visa Processing fee
  9. Passport
  10. Copy of passport

Things to note:

  • The invitation letter must be signed by the local sponsor in India and submitted with a copy of the sponsor/host’s ID or Passport document.
  • Ensure that you obtain the correct photos for the application
  • Bank statements should be official bank statements i.e. the kind the bank emails or posts to you on a monthly basis and not an internet banking printout
  • BLS avails services for you to pay with cash or a debit/credit card at the centre. However, cash payments incur a 20% surcharge and credit/debit card payments incur a 10% surcharge.
  • They also offer an appointment service to avoid the queues at an additional cost of R200. This must be pre-arranged and paid telephonically. However, I found that when going early to the Cape Town branch the processing centre was pretty empty. It does tend to get busier later during the day. The basic Visa processing fee costs R48. There is no Visa issuance fee for South Africans, only the R48 processing fee, excluding extra services such as appointment or SMS notifications.
  • All copies of documents submitted should be self-attested with the words “True Copy of Original” and signed.
  • BLS does not require biometrics and they allow the application to be delivered by a third party if the application form is correctly signed in the two places and all supporting documents are attached.

The above information was verified with BLS at the initial time of posting. It is always a good idea to check the requirements before you apply with the Visa processing service provider or have a travel agent assist you.

BLS International Contact Details

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