{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Pakistani origin wanting to visit India... anyone know how difficult/easy the visa is to get? \n\nI’m a American citizen, born in Saudi. Last time I visited Pakistan was in 1998. Does this mean visiting India will be impossible for me?", "post_id": "60164b44b39af90024bdb4ef", "reply_count": 83, "vote_count": 7, "bowl_id": "58f8108c753e990016608a0b", "bowl_name": "Desi Consultants", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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Pakistani origin wanting to visit India... anyone know how difficult/easy the visa is to get?

I’m a American citizen, born in Saudi. Last time I visited Pakistan was in 1998. Does this mean visiting India will be impossible for me?

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Yes. But difficult. I’m Indian married to a Pakistani and can share what I know.

Even if you have a US passport the Indian visa form includes a question on whether your parents or grandparents were Pakistani. If yes, there are a couple of extra forms you need to fill. If you are a dual citizen, you have to apply on the Pakistani passport and go through that process.

The rest of this response assumes you have dual citizenship and are applying on a Pakistani passport

First off, you need a sponsorship letter from someone in India. Additionally a government official (gazetted officer) has to certify that sponsorship letter for it to be approved. The original has to be mailed from India and included in your application. Even with that our first application (before marriage) was rejected. Once we got married we applied again and it was approved. It was a very limited visa, restricting travel to only those specific places that we had listed on the application. You need to make sure you have a contact name and address of someone at every location you are planning to visit because the police will (and they did) go to their homes to verify that they know you and can vouch for you.

Once you have the visa and do travel, you can only enter through Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai. There is a special counter at the airport for Pakistani passport holders. You will be taken for some additional police verification from there at the airport itself (the process takes time because there are very few travelers and the officials aren’t familiar with the process. They were telling us they have to be super careful because Pakistani visitor entries are thoroughly audited). Important to note that here again you have to provide names and addresses of sponsors at each place you plan to visit (and be sure these people are available to come to the police station with you for the registration process described below)

Now once you get to the places/cities you have listed as visiting, within 24 hours you need to visit the FRRO office (a sort of major police station that deals with foreigner issues) to register your entry. As mentioned above, the listed sponsor for that specific place /city needs to be there in person with you with two forms of their ID and passport photos.

When you are getting ready to leave the place, in the 24 hours before your departure you need to go back to the FRRO office to get an exit certificate.

Finally, at the airport for your travel back, they will ask for that exit certificate.

This information was incredibly hard to find online, and we learned this through trial and error and a good dose of luck. It feels overwhelming and complicated because the guidance is very confusing. Hope this is helpful to you and others.

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Unfortunately don’t have details, just anecdotes. Hear a lot of stories both ways (successful and not).
I’d suggest trying your luck (and reading the general political situation a bit - eg I wouldn’t suggest applying around election time or if there have been recent border issues). I don’t believe you need to get the sponsorship letters etc that I described above if you don’t hold Pak citizenship, just fill out the 1-2 extra pages of forms on the visa application asking for details of your parents and grandparents. Good luck!

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It is difficult but not impossible. You will have two options given that you were born with a Pakistani passport and now have a US passport:

1) Apply on your Pakistani passport, as the Indian govt requires all Pakistani origin applicants to be reviewed and processed by the Foreign Ministry in Delhi. If your Pakistani passport is lost or expired, you’ll have to renew it. The visa application processing time takes about 4-6 months.

2) Apply on your US passport, but you will need to renounce your Pakistani citizenship. The process of renunciation is provided on the Pakistan embassy/consulate websites. From what I recall, even these applications need to be approved by Delhi. Processing times are expected to be 2-4 months.

The above is what the process is. You may howl and scream about it’s fairness or meanness, but it is what it is. Good luck!

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Eh. Not my place to speak to how another country controls it’s borders - just wanted to see the avenues.

Thanks for your response!

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Thanks everyone for the responses here.

Looks like visiting India won’t be in cards dealt to me in life.

Quite unfortunate - I hope things get better in my lifetime. Would love to visit some sites that my family used to have roots in, in Punjab, and of course see the beautiful sights.

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I’m disappointed that you’re throwing in the towel so soon. If something is important to you, then you put in the effort to make it happen. Seeing that you are in consulting, this is no different than a challenging work or client assignment. I always encourage friends on both sides of the border to visit their ancestral homes/lands as it is a part of their identity. Again, if your heritage matters to you, put in the time and effort to make the visit happen. Good luck!

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I would apply for the visa and find out. I’m an American citizen born in the US and tried to go to Pakistan a little while ago. My parents are US citizens but born in India and that was a sticking point. We had several phone conversations with the embassy about this, and they eventually said no. I also have family in Lahore, but that wasn’t going to cut it 🙁

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McK3 - not sure why they said that. I have many Indian friends and acquaintances who have visited Pakistan. As I posted earlier, the process for Pakistanis and Indians to visit the other’s respective countries is difficult but not impossible. Both governments make it painstakingly hard for people to visit, which I abhor but it is something both governments play politics with. The process is a lot easier for those who are born in the US and/or are US citizens. If you have family or friends in Pakistan, the process becomes easier as they would issue you an invitation that accompanies the visa application.

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My friend (Pakistani origin and American citizen) was asked to give up her Pakistani citizenship for India visa as she was a dual citizen

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Didn’t go to our common friend’s wedding in India

Impossible? No. But yes, it’s hard.

I know of someone in a similar situation who was asked to apply for a visa via their Pakistani passport, which took a looooong time. When he visited, he had to check in with an Indian police post every day as well.

likehelpful

Why are you holding on to your Pakistani passport/citizenship? Isn’t that like instantly winning cavity searches each time you travel anywhere?

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😆 funny. I’ve kept mine and haven’t gone through anything like that.

It depends on where you are going and who you are visiting. They have to vouch for you. And you can’t just go to any city, you have to provide the details of your visit, where you are staying, and check in at the local police everyday.
Not impossible but certainly hard.

helpful

My neighbors went thru this. 1st gen immigrants, dad born in Pakistan, mom in India. Both naturalized USC as kids. Their visa took about 2-3months. Eventually they got it. If ur ancestors were in military, then it’s a hard no.

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It takes 6 months, apply for the visa and see how it goes. Of course you’ll want to be super safe when there. As long as you have a strong circle of trusted friends, think you should be able to enjoy. I haven’t been but exactly the same situation as you (almost too same!).

Anyway good luck and update if and when this plan goes through.

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Thank you!

My parents have visited India a couple of times.

A number of my relatives who are Pakistani citizens based in Pakistan have also visited India.

My distant relatives in India have visited Pakistan many times.

It’s a painstaking process, but it is very much possible if you are willing to put up with the process. I hope to visit too, some day.

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I know a Pakistani married to an Indian. They wanted to go back and visit family in India for ages (live in US). There were so many hurdles. Eventually they paid some bribes, and everything happened smoothly.

Jo bhi kar lo, aik jaisay log hain dono taraf 🤑

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Sorry, why would it be impossible? I mean before COVID, Americans can travel to India.

Why don't you ask t1? For some reason he deleted all his comments, I wonder why

Don’t know if I can just enter as an American, and never mention my heritage.

I’m scared that getting caught will mean going to Indian jail however - this sounds horrible.

Do NOT do that. India has become very strict about screening Pakistani origin tourists because of David Headly. He was of Pakistani origin and used his visa free travel to plot a terrorist attack that killed 200 people in Mumbai.

Indian authorities take this very seriously now, if you are caught you will be jailed and at best you might be extradited to the US and banned from apply to enter again

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Do you still hold Pakistani citizenship?

Lol I wanna know what T1 smokes.

funny

Here’s an idea- consider changing your name?

Wao! That’s incredible!!!!

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why you want to take that risk? why you even want to visit India?

Why even bother responding .... 😀

Doesn’t matter if you hold an American citizenship . After 26/11 attack , Indian govt have stopped Visa on arrival for all Americans . During the port of entry it will not be a problem if you have a legitimate visa .

They’ll ask you about family back to like your granny, grandpa. Will suggest you don’t try to hide facts.

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