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US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

los angeles
Level Contributor
44 posts
1 review
US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

I'm a bit surprised no one in the US has posted about the challenges they've faced with getting a tourist visa to India lately. The Consulate has now required that everyone submit their visa application through an agency called CKGS (Cox & Kings Global Services), and it's making everything very VERY messy. People are experiencing terrible delays and even having to cancel their travel plans (losing thousands of dollars) due to this. My experience is as follows, and I'll update as I hear new info.

*Filled out the application process exactly stated on the CKGS website and sent my application materials to the CKGS San Francisco office on May 25th (overnight). According to FedEx, the materials we received by the CKGS office on May 28th at 9:30AM.

*There's a way to track your application on the CKGS website, but it requires that you have a "tracking number" or "web reference number" which I never saw or received.

*I emailed CKGS and received a canned response stating that they have a backlog of applications and I'll receive a tracking number by this week June 2-June 6.

* I never received an email or tracking number from CKGS up to today June 5th, and after reading about all of the frustrated people in similar situations online (see article at: nbcbayarea.com/news/local/New-Indian-Consula… ) I've been frantically calling the San Francisco office daily, and never was always put on hold with no answer...until this morning.

*Finally someone answered the phone today, and they were able to "track" my application, stating that it's now at the Consulate's office. They even gave me a tracking number which I am now able to "track" online through the CKGS website. According to them, the visa should be processed in about 1 week.

That's all the updates for now. I have my plane tickets booked to depart on July 7th, so I'm crossing my fingers. Hopes this helps! I'll keep people updated.

589 replies to this topic
New York
1 post
2 reviews
1. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

It's the same situation here in NYC. I submitted applications for myself and my mother on May 23, 2014 and have confirmed airline tickets for July 6, 2014. I spoke to someone on the phone on Monday June 2 (finally) and they said that I should be getting a tracking number by the end of the day Tuesday. No luck what so ever. I also emailed them and got some generic response that basic details have been entered into the system. I've made an appointment through the online system to see them tomorrow. They people who work at the NYC office have absolutely no respect for any one. It feels more like cattle herding.

Vermont
Level Contributor
3,882 posts
670 reviews
2. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

And Cox and Kings was the government's answer to all the troubles - and they were HUGE - with BLS visa outsourcing.

You can look all over the internet for discussions of BLS problems and now Cox and Kings. It's a shame this can't be easy.

Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
56 posts
61 reviews
3. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

The embassy clearly stated that they were changing outsourcing companies for Visa processing at the end of May. And you could expect delays it also states clearly on the website not to buy tickets until you get your visa back.Sorry for your woes.Fingers crossed

Alden, New York
3 posts
4. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

Prof_DSood,

I'm in the same position. No tracking # from CKGS. My flight leaves 6/13 but my app didn't get to CKGS until 6/4. I think I'm screwed. This is a business trip for a training class. If I don't make the flight, All will be cancelled and I'll never see India. Not all trips can be delayed, as in my training class.

Ridgefield...
Level Contributor
1 post
11 reviews
5. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

I have a similar issue in NYC. Submitted my application and it was received 05/29 -- but no information on tracking and the USANKxxxx returns nothing on the web site. Reading all the other comments, seems there are two options (both are bad!!):

(a) wait..... wait ... till one gets some acknowledgement and a tracking number. Seems this is at least 2 weeks, if not more.

(b) try to call till one gets hold of a live person and have them track the application and get a tracking number.

I did email and did not even get a canned response (yet).

Alden, New York
3 posts
6. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

I found out from my courier that ZERO visas got released from CKGS on 6/5/2014. So unless they work all weekend with extra staff, we're all completely screwed. What a horrible company CKGS is.

Newport Beach, CA
Level Contributor
328 posts
51 reviews
7. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

My daughter flies to India on Monday. This Tuesday night we decided to fly to San Francisco from our home in Southern California and visit CKGS ourselves to try to secure the visa. CKGS were terrible: they had security at the door that turned everyone away. We showed them statements on their website about when they would take walk-in appointments (necessary since we could neither secure an online appointment nor get anyone to answer the phone), and they just said that those statements weren't being honored right now. Luckily, we hung around and finally Cox and Kings announced that their systems were down and the Indian consulate was accepting applications at the consulate. Everyone raced to the Consulate to get in line. Amazingly, my daughter did receive her visa. I met people who had been working on this process since March. One doctor from Arizona said he was on his 4th visit to San Francisco to try to get his visa and that the process had cost him over $4000. A student lost his place in a study abroad program because he hadn't received his visa in time. He hoped that getting it would help him restore his study abroad status. One woman was there with a sick child. It was a really frustrating situation. I hope that everyone gets their visas. It did work out for us to go in person, but I think we were an exception.

Middlesbrough...
Level Contributor
1,136 posts
6 reviews
8. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

us brits too have constantly had probs with the indian visa system

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Cavelossim
Level Contributor
4,032 posts
20 reviews
9. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

Like many countries, the Indian enpbassies and high commissions throughout the world have realised that outsourcing the visa application process is cost effective. Until visa on arrival becomes a possibility, I am afraid it is just one of those things. Each country is perfectly entitled to set its owns rules and processes for visa applications and I think we must all remember that it is a privilege to be granted a tourist or business etc visa, not a right.

My home country, the United Kingdom, has a far more convoluted system in place for Indian nationals wishing to visit the UK on holiday or for a short work trip than the Indian Government has in place for UK citizens.

And, don't get me started about the ESTA scheme, immigration/arrivals bureaucracy and all that taking off your shoes nonsense in the United States. Oops, forgot the OP is in the United States lol.....

Happy travels.

Cape May, New Jersey
3 posts
10. Re: US Citizen - Tourist Visa for India - CKGS frustration

Applied early May for visa through Travisa NYC, which sent it first to BLS? but then said it was returned to Travisa by BLS, never processed, to be sent by Travisa to CKGS as per the May 21st switchover....... It finally got to CKGS on June 4th. So that part took a month! I don't know if Travisa makes it longer or actually expedites. Does anyone know that? Actually Im not even sure what Travisa is, or why I didnt apply directly. SO frustrating! Also, I would really like to know what the chances are of getting visa for June 30th trip to Ladakh for Kalachakra 2014. I realize no one has the answer to that, but does anyone have a strong opinion about how to gauge when I should give up and just cancel trip and get (partial) credit, so that I can make other plans?

Edited: 12:35 pm, June 07, 2014
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