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.