Ok, maybe not scary, but the application process for our India visa was definitely extremely intense. We’ve gotten a few of our visa’s already and typically, you fill out a pretty standard application, go to the consulate, wait in a long line, and then come back a week (or something) later to pick up your completed visa.
Not for India.
First of all, just the application itself is more detailed than any I’ve seen. You fill the entire thing out online and have to answer questions like “What countries have you traveled to in the past 10 years” (yes, 10 years!!!). You have to fill in information about your parents, a reference in the United States, a reference in India, your employer, and the list goes on. You even have to scan in your picture AND your signature into their system. Ok, so I planned to tackle the India visa app one morning thinking it would take me an hour, at most, to fill out both my application and also Daves. It took me an entire morning instead.
Then, India uses an outsourcing company called Travisa for their Visa apps. You have to make an appointment, show up within 10 minutes of your scheduled time, and then form a line outside the building while you’re waiting to be seen. Thank god I made our appointment for today, if it had been yesterday I would have been waiting in line in the pouring rain for half an hour or more!
Once they’re finally ready to bring you into the building, a security guard (bouncer) at the door asks to see all your documents. He then proceeds to arrange them in a different order than it states they MUST be arranged in the checklist packet they provide. Appointment confirmation sheet first, application second, and proof of address third (and the proof of address can only be an ID, an electric or gas bill, or your lease).
I finally got inside and the man working there went through both mine and Dave’s applications with a fine toothed comb. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until he told me that my application would most likely be denied because it said I was self employed, and the name of my company had the word “media” in it. He said that I might be granted a journalist visa (what!!?), which would cost me $160 and last for three months (as opposed to the tourist visa I was requesting, which costs $75 and lasts for 6 months). The man (who was actually very nice and helpful) told me that I should go to the computers in the back and completely re-do my application (remember how long it took me to do in the first place??). Well, I wasn’t sure really what I should do because I don’t have any other profession. He helped me through the process, and once my application was redone, I proceeded to another desk, where a gentleman went through all of my documents for a second time and finally took my payment.
The whole process was very stressful and now I am nervously awaiting the email which will let me know whether or not our apps have been accepted or denied. I feel the need to keep my fingers crossed for this one.