Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Indian High Commission Sucks!

See on Monday I applied for a 6-month visa to India. Yes, I currently have a valid visa, but since they wouldn't allow me to apply for a year (even though they say on their website that you can and if I were in the States I could get a 10-year visa) I need another so I'm covered for my entire trip. My current visa expires Oct. 8th and I will be traveling in India until Nov. 25. For this privilege I was charged another $70 (I swear it was $50 when I applied in the States) and a little trip through hell.

That's right, because apparently they have something against me and insist on calling me every time I apply. Last time it was because they took my money and application for a year and then decided they don't give out year visas (um, but you have a price for them and a box on the application).

So my problem this time is that I don't have a U.S. address. See my parents have once again moved -- last week. They now live in Tampa, FL. I've never lived in Tampa, FL and I haven't had a chance to change my credit card and bank addresses to this address, so I can't actually say that is my residence. I can't put their old address because no one lives there now, so if the High Commission actually checked up on this they would find an abandoned house (I don't know what they do with this information, but they charge you a fee for an international fax to send the page to the U.S., so I assume something is being checked).

Anyway, it just asks for your address, and as I have a resident visa for Sri Lanka I put my address here. I'm legit people, I have a work permit and everything, I'm completely and legally living and working here. But this is just too much for the High Commission to comprehend.

So I'm asking my guy on the phone what I should do. Should I put my parent's old address; should I put my sister's address; should I put my old address in DC? He doesn't listen to a word I say and we go back and force with this, I ask him various questions and he says, "o.k. miss. What is your address?"

"No, see, that is what I'm asking you. What address do I give you -- I live here, I don't have an official residence in the States."

"o.k. miss, what is your address?"

"Please, please listen to what I'm saying. I don't have an address in the States. My question is what address should I give you -- my parent's old address or my sister's address."
Mind you I've never lived in either house, but I do receive mail at both addresses on occasion.

One hour later, he finally said I should give him my sister's address. I did actually ask if it would be a problem that she has a different last name. He said it would be o.k.

I also tried to call the High Commission so that I could speak to someone who has a clue, but all five of their numbers are busy and have been for 30 minutes straight! Ugh.

I'm sure I'll get another call tomorrow. Oh and now the visa won't be ready until Monday and I'll be east. So then I had to try to figure out if it is o.k. to pick up the visa late.

"Is it o.k. if I collect the visa on July 18th -- next Friday?"

"You see miss, this is a new process and we don't have control over when the visa is ready. It will be ready on Monday."

"No, that is fine, I just want to know if there will be a problem if I pick it up later. On Friday the 18th."

"The visa won't be ready until Monday."

"Please listen to me...."
So nothing is for sure. I may be begging the consulate in Nepal to give me a visa. I get it is hard to get a visa to the U.S. and I understand a lot of this is just revenge. But seriously, there is little to no chance that I will stay in India past my visa (I have had two visas prior to this and always left, thank you). All I will be doing is spending money -- I will not be working in India. Just give me the damn visa already!

Then the travel agent calls to get my name so she can reserve my plane ticket. She hasn't actually shown me an itinerary, so I'm a little concerned that this ticket will not be what I'm looking for, but I faxed a copy of my passport all the same. When I tried to spell my name she couldn't understand me. The guy at the visa place also couldn't understand me when I spelled my sister's address. I had to spell the word 'Faith' (yes she lives on Faith Street, I'd appreciate no PK jokes about that thank you) about 10 times. I even did the little word association thing, but to no avail. People don't even try to understand me here. What would they do if I still spoke with a southern accent. I think they would believe I was speaking German or something.

Cross your fingers I get a visa. Meghan, how about we travel to Myanmar? I think getting a visa there might be easier.

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