Consulate humor

Last week Turbanhead wrote about how exasperating it sometimes seems when trying to get your documents in order to travel abroad (in terms of dealing with the often clueless bureaucracy). NRI worldwide recently reported on a few anecdotes that suddenly don’t make Turbanhead’s ordeal seem so bad:

An American officer manning the counter asked her if she was a singer. She replied that she was — and was shocked when the gentleman asked, “How about singing a nice song for me?” Sonali landed on her feet, though, and joked that it would cost him.

He reiterated his seriousness, and ultimately, she had to hum a line or two. It was a “funny feeling”, but that was how she got her visa three years ago.

The story goes that none other than Asha Bhosle was about to be asked to prove she could sing, had an Indian staffer at the consulate not intervened and averted the faux pas! This incident could not, however, be independently confirmed.

That reminds me of those old cartoons where Yosemite Sam would shoot his guns at Bug Bunny’s feet until he danced. Michael Higgins tips us off to yet more consulate related humor on The Renegade of Junk blogsite:

Yesterday, I sent my Indian passport off to the Consulate to be renewed. The preliminary groundwork that needed to be completed for this purpose was, to say the least, a trying experience. In fact,in general, any activity requiring interaction with my fellow citizens of this country has become a trying experience.

The first step in my endeavour involved getting 4 passport sized photos. The Indian Consulate, in it’s infinite wisdom, has decided to stand apart from the rest of the world and maintain it’s unique identity by specifying a photo size of 3.5 cm X 3.5 cm (the regular passport photo size is 2 inch X 2 inch). The minute I came to know about this, I knew it spelt trouble. And, my apprehensions were confirmed. In the photo shop, my conversation with the teenaged girl behind the counter went like this:
Me : Hi, I need a passport sized photo, 3.5 cm X 3.5 cm.
Girl : Umm… we only do US passport size. You will have to cut it out yourself.
Me : Ok.

The girl then snapped my photo, got it printed and I asked her if I could measure it to see if was big enough for me to cut off a 3.5 X 3.5 section from it. She brought a ruler scale.

Girl : Wait .. this is a millimeter scale. Let me see if we have one with centimeters on it.
Me : Wait, we can use this one.
Girl : No, see, it says millimeter on it. Let me get another one.
Me (“serenity now, serenity now”) : No, wait, we can use this one, one centimeter is equal to 10 millimeters right?
Girl (confused) : What?
Me (trying to point out the millimeter bars using my fingernails) : See, this is ten millimeters, that is equal to one centimeter…..
Girl (warily) : Ookay….
Me : …… so 3.5 centimeters would be equal to this. (I show her on the scale with my fingers).
Girl (still not convinced) : Umm.


Read the rest…

43 thoughts on “Consulate humor

  1. I liked this part:

    Me : Er… this check does not have any amount written on it.

    Bill : Well, you have to write it yourself…

    Me : Are you sure?…

    Amy : No, we need to print it out, otherwise he could write any amount he wants to.

    Uh-oh .. did I just miss becoming a millionaire? I now regret asking Bill about the amount.
  2. The whole thing was awesome:

    Bill : Here you go. (no you don’t, I ain’t done with you yet) Me (Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel) : Am I all set? Bill : Amy is he all set? Amy : Bill, you did not enter this (unidentified thing) on the check. The light turns into a freight train. Amy stands with her hands on her hips looking frustrated. Bill (still clueless) : Can we enter it by hand? Amy : I don’t know I will check. (goes inside, presumably to kill a puppy)
  3. The millimeter incident reminds me of all the times I’ve tried to give a cashier $10.01 for $9.96 in charges, asking for a nickel back. The grating part is trying to convince the half-wit at the register that you’re not some grifter trying to scam some cash.

  4. Think about it this way: Isn’t it remarkable that America can take workers of this quality and still produce a world class economy? Well…hopefully not too many of this quality. We better not push our luck. :)

  5. hey now, i used to be a teller and bill sounds like me during my first week, i blame amy

    another fun experience is trying to get an indian visa if you’re born in sri lanka, my first experience with indian bureacracy, ugh

  6. another fun experience is trying to get an indian visa if you’re born in sri lanka

    Forget that, try getting an Indian visa if you were born in India. It took me a full day in line and my cousin, three days.

  7. Sorry Manish … but the 1-3 days, surely beats the 1-3 weeks that people who were “born” in Sri-Lanka have to go through.

    They totally oversee that you have a CDN, US, BRIT or US passport… and might have had for the last two decades. The flags go up when they see SL, and then their efficiency on time goes less too. Not only that they ignore the fact that they’ve subsequently granted you the visa years prior.

    ….

  8. It only took me a week, it took 4 trips and 2 meetings with an very bored bureaucrat that probably wanted to be assigned any place in the world but canada

    first they processed my stuff without questions, then they called me and said they noticed i was from sri lanka so i’d have to come back and do it again (with extra forms to confirm my non-terrorist status)

    then i went and met with mr grumpy from delhi and he said he’d approve it, but then the CG overruled him and cancelled it, then i met with grumps again and he said come back in a few days and it might be done, when i came back they gave me a 6 month multi-entry visa (i had asked for a single entry)

    i didnt ask questions, it was sort of funny actually, if i actually had responsibilities during the summer it might have been inconvenient

    the security concerns are understandable, anyway.

  9. The Indian consultate is a lil’ slice of Indian beaucracy in the heart of NYC. India Abroad did a piece about two months taking them to task. Oh boy, did the letters pour in with angry desis writing about their hellish experiences. The Consul General wrote a very unconvincing response back. Their jurisdiction is the entire Eastern seaboard. Imagine coming from another state to face them Word to the wise: Spend the extra ducats and get the ten year visa. So you don’t have to come back to the place for another decade. Or hire a courier to do it if you got the extra cash. Four f’n people serving the hundreds that show up in a room the size of my studio apartment. Why would you make it so difficult for tourists and businessman to visit your country. A couple of years ago they would only issue me a journalist’s visa (instead of tourist) because my application said I worked in a publishing company. Comical.

  10. Of all the cruel ironies:

    With my new US passport, I didn’t think I’d have any trouble going to Brazil. Traded my SL passport for a new hassle-free life of an American tourist, yeah?

    Joke was on me – the Brazillian embassy charges US passport holders a US$100 visa fee. To reciprocate the US$100 charge the US levies on Brazillian tourists. It’s stamped on all the paperwork that this is the reason why! Brazil lets everyone else (including Sri Lankan travellers, I assume) in for free.

    Just a few more months and I’d have saved a hundred bucks!

  11. The Indian Consulate, in itÂ’s infinite wisdom, has decided to stand apart from the rest of the world and maintain itÂ’s unique identity by specifying a photo size of 3.5 cm X 3.5 cm (the regular passport photo size is 2 inch X 2 inch).

    Humor or not, its the other way round.

    US in its infinite wisdom of standards of mile, farenheit, gallon, pound has a passport photo size of 2″ X 2″ (the regular photo size of most countries is 3.5 cm X 4.5 cm)

  12. “Forget that, try getting an Indian visa if you were born in India. It took me a full day in line and my cousin, three days”.

    Even if it was three years, it sure beats the INS.

  13. Even if it was three years, it sure beats the INS.

    Done that too. This was worse. With the INS you go home and wait a few years. With the India visa, you have to babysit it all day.

  14. visa’s, passport renewals are never easy.., I didnot want to mail my passport to get it renewed after ten years so thought it would be great to get my passport renewed in person. I had to struggle for 3 days to get my passport renewed in india. First day after standing in the queue for almost 6hrs, the lady tells me you are a NRI living in US last eight years ,I donot know how to handle your case,please stand in the other line tomorrow.I stood in that line after asking three different people working at the passport office that day and they all gave me wrong information. Next day same story, the guy at the counter told me to meet head of that passport office the following day as he didnot know how to handle my case since I didnot live in india last 8 yrs..finally third day after anothr 6hrs of waiting I met the head of that passport office to figure out how a NRI like me can renew my indian passport. Later I realised its easy to mail the passport to them and wait without a passport for a few days rather than go in person to get passport/visa’s renewed. same was the story to get a transit visa to see paris. Took me some 15 days to do paperwork for a one and half day stop over in paris..They ask you to book airline tickets, make hotel reservations,buy subway passes, arts museum tickets,get international health insurance, bank statements, employment verifications and all that even before issuing a travel visa..A guy ahead of me who went for a visa for him and his wife going on honeymoon did not get a visa for as his paper work was incomplete and all his reservations had to cancelled. Luckily my paper work was complete so I got the transit travel visa. Its very risky to book everything to get a visa and then not getting a visa, u loose so much money. And its a headache to spend 15 days on visa paperwork for a 2 day stopover trip ..

  15. The recommended practice if applying for a visa at the Indian consultate in Toronto is to send and receive the docs by mail. I made the mistake of applying for the POI card in person. It took up a good part of the day. But to be fair, they are really swamped. A silver lining though… My fiancee sent in her docs by mail and in a moment of lunacy I said our flight’s pretty close, we cant risk mailing delays. I’ll pick the docs up because I’ll be downtown that day. Well… didnt work. I forget why… long lines, bad queue management, gaps in proof of identity… whatever. Before we figured out how to get around it, the consulate sent the visa by mail – no extra charge. We were over a week late on the expected pick up date and they did it as a courtesy. I thought that was awful nice of them.

  16. I had good experience at SF Indian Consulate, though as someone mentioned the staff are severely shortstaffed to handle the load. What we can do as users is to go prepared with all the documents listed in the consulate website which is pretty well done with very detailed and minute instructions for majority of the services.

    But not all go prepared and I was once stuck behind an elderly Paaji from Yuba City who just did not get it and started an yelling match with the poor babu in the counter.

  17. A Brit Asian DJ friend of mine, used to annoyingly long delays when applying for visas to visit India, finally said once, when asked what the purpose of his visit was, “I’m going to do a remix for AR Rahman.” He said his visa appeared almost instantly.

    Contrarily, I heard from a Sony Asia guy that getting Brit Asian musicians of Pakistani or Bangladeshi descent over to play in India (on British Council gigs) was almost impossible, and usually required late-night begging phone calls to a well-placed gov’t in-law.

    Myself, my Indian visa was a unexpected triple bill — I had to pay once for the visa, once for being American, and once for being an American living in the UK.

  18. Whatever be it, unless you are of Pakistani, Bangaldeshi, or LTTE decent, your unlikely to get you Indian visa rejected. Compare to the loads of Indian applicants (legitimate and wealthy) who get their US or other Western country’s visa rejected. Plus Indian applicants have to produce a shit load more of documents, and apply months in advance (Somebody I know has a December 26th 2005 appointment at the US consulate in Chennai).

    Thats the burden of carrying an Indian passport. How about that for Social Injustice????

  19. I think that all embassy staff should be taken out somewhere and shot. I had to wait for EIGHT bloody hours to be interviewed for my UK visa (details over at the blog), which didn’t even include all the other bullshit I had to endure. Embassy = evil.

  20. “He reiterated his seriousness, and ultimately, she had to hum a line or two. It was a “funny feeling”, but that was how she got her visa three years ago.”

    You know, fellow Indians, isnt it just possible that the official was merely trying to verify what she had put down as her career? If so, wasnt he merely doing his job, even if in an unusual way?

    I.e., while of course the visa/passport process is ridiculous, I wonder if we’re not reading too much into that particular incident. I know how defensive people are tho when asked to authenticate themselves in any way. But you know, not everyone is against us. Something Gandhi realized but for some reason most indian intellectual types today have a very hard time realizing. Am I wrong in observing that? Also – why is it that so many indian blogs reference the mutiny in their title in some way. This isnt being snarky; its an honest observation and from an honest bewilderment. I mean, the mutiny was done with over 150 years ago. The British left india over 50 years ago. Is the post-colonial stance towards the world the only stance indian intellectual types have? Again – I ask with total sincerity, as a fellow post-colonial Indian. I know this is a long way from the topic at hand, but these are the thoughts that came to me while reading this thread. ;)

  21. I work at embassies and consulates around the world– even in the Mumbai consulate.. I have seen officers asking for a person to perform the talent that they express that they have.. many people lie and say that they are singers or other types of performers just to get into the US… I don’t see anything wrong with an officer asking for someone to perform their talent. If someone has the talent, and is using this talent to get a visa, why should they be offended in showing it off, and proving that they are being honest?

  22. US in its infinite wisdom of standards of mile, farenheit, gallon, pound has a passport photo size of 2″ X 2″

    Some of us had to get advanced science degrees to work in an industry that still does everything in feet, pounds and psi (pounds per square inch), forget the conversion from milliseconds to feet. Don’t mock my fragile existence.

    If someone has the talent, and is using this talent to get a visa, why should they be offended in showing it off, and proving that they are being honest?

    How about a nice “To prove your qualifications, would you please sing a song for me?” instead of what amounts to “Sing, monkey, sing!”

    Are people asked to dance when they say dancing is their occupation? Are people asked to identify rocks or whip out the microscope when they say they are geologists and biologists?

    And a one and a two and a … snap *snap jazz hands!

    How about a musical called Embassy?

  23. Just got my Indian visa today – get this – I am British, but brown skinned as I was born in Sri Lanka! What happens at the London Indian consulate? Well, they see that I was born in Sri Lanka, claim that I must have dual nationality although I don’t, see that I have been ‘British’ for 18 years now, see that I travel very frequently, know that my trip to India is for 3 months, but as the date of visa issue is the date you go in, they give me a 3 month visa till Feb 13th, when I am due in Bangalore from 17th to the 20th! They refuse to change this, totally racist as I was born in Sri Lanka… but, get this! A colleague who is also coming later on and for a shorter time gave his passport to be stamped – he’s African, but born in UK, has lived less time than me in the UK, they give him a 6 month multiple entry visa, for the same price as my 3 month single entry!

    I have to now come back to UK and fly back to India if I ma to be in Bangalore for those 3 days from 17th to 20th! I cannot believe how racist they are, considering we are going as tourists (well, I am a journalist as well) and that we will be bringing income into their country! Sickening really! For them to presume that being born in Sri Lanka but being British means that somehow, one becomes an inferior person who is not good enough to stay in India for a few months! I am disgusted and appalled by this!

    Any ideas on whether I can renew my visa in India? Has anyone done this? Has anyone bribed their way through this? Perhaps if I had bribed the lady, she would have given me the 6 months I was due! She said it’s ‘government rules’, but on no-where on the Indian High Commission website does it say that being born in Sri Lanka but being British means being penalised needlessly!

    Their site is:

    http://www.hcilondon.net/

  24. Sorry to hear your experience has been a bad one (mine was rather smooth I must say, even though my former passport was Pakistanu, which they knew from my visa form). I would NOT recommend trying to bribe anyone at the consulate…

    In answer to your question, yes you CAN renew your visa from India. Although this can be a problem for Pakistani citizens, or people of Pakistani origin, it is routinely done for Sri Lankans, other non-Indians, etc.

  25. Geetha – I am sorry to hear abt your visa. Its bureaucracy like this that is detriment to the good will that they could otherwise possibly earn. The problem with the Indian govt. is that when it comes to Sri Lankans / ex-Sri Lankans, they are wary about the LTTE factor. I am not sure if Sri Lankans need a visa to visit India, but Indians don’t need one to visit Sri Lanka.

    Since you have some time before you travel, I would suggest that you write or call the Consular / Head of Consul. Use the fact that you are a journalist to your advantage. And do tell us, how it goes.

  26. It’s their policy, anyone born in Sri Lanka has to fill out an extra form when applying for a VISA and it takes longer to process (one week more, in Canada)… a real pain in the ass.

  27. Thanks guys! Thing is that I was only born in Sri Lanka – I barely lived there for a few years (considering I was shipped to Denmark at age 2 and then to Africa at age 5, from where I moved to the UK) and have been in the UK for nearly 20 years with a British passport! That’s what bugs me! Also, I was allowed into India before, so they must know I’m not a terrorist! To top it off, considering I have been to Nigeria, Egypt, France, Belgium and Sri Lanka in the last year, they must realise I travel a lot! I fly on Sunday, so not enough time to sort this out with them and I had to make the Lord of the rings music premiere (by AR Rahman and a Finnish group) for 11am, so I couldn’t stay and kick up a fuss! They are under staffed and over-worked, all in the name of efficiency! Last time round, I had a much better experience, but I am in a rush to travel and how many days can I queue up from 7am in the morning to sort this!

    Will try in India for an extension, or flood the web with my views on their racism! Or both, perhaps! No, I wasn’t planning to bribe the woman, I was figuratively speaking saying that they are so corrupt, she was probably expecting me to bribe her to get a 6 month visa – something I would never do on principle! I am not going to miss the Art of living Silver Jubilee by just 3 days! It’s unjust really! All for a British citizen who has been educated abroad but happens to have a birth place of Sri Lanka – they claim I have dual citizenship, which I don’t! They have no right to treat me as a Sri Lankan, because I am British!

    Sadly, I have lost my voice to flu based laryngitis so couldn’t also speak up, but she was adamant to refuse the visa to me! It’s blatant racism! Disgusting really! ItÂ’s put a bitter taste on what should have been a trip of a lifetime! Being a journalist makes them delay the visa by another 3 days – time which I donÂ’t have, so I didnÂ’t even bother telling them that!

  28. Ananthan – I did fill out the form, I did everything, my quib is that they gave my friend 6 month multiple entry and me 3 month single, when I am actually planning to stay there till end of Feb, as opposed to end of Jan! It’s crazy, they are just trying to take revenge on Sri Lankans, but that’s the bad thing, I cannot really say I am Sri lankan, if anything, I identify more with Chennai than Jaffna! And, I have been there before!

  29. Just got my Indian visa today – get this – I am British, but brown skinned as I was born in Sri Lanka! What happens at the London Indian consulate? Well, they see that I was born in Sri Lanka, claim that I must have dual nationality although I don’t, see that I have been ‘British’ for 18 years now, see that I travel very frequently, know that my trip to India is for 3 months, but as the date of visa issue is the date you go in, they give me a 3 month visa till Feb 13th, when I am due in Bangalore from 17th to the 20th! They refuse to change this, totally racist as I was born in Sri Lanka… but, get this! A colleague who is also coming later on and for a shorter time gave his passport to be stamped – he’s African, but born in UK, has lived less time than me in the UK, they give him a 6 month multiple entry visa, for the same price as my 3 month single entry!

    Geetha – I looked over your two posts above – to summarize – you’re angry because the consulate person says you must hold citizenship (given that you were born in SL, this is not impossible and the official is within his/her bounds to hold the benefit of doubt).
    You then go on to discuss a compatriot who was born in the UK but has lived less time in the UK. (well… the consulate person doesnt know and could care less about how long your buddy’s been in the UK. he wasnt born in another country – makes the decision clearer for the consulate person)
    I didnt get a clear picture of how you justified your 3 day (17 to 20) trip in context of the 3 month trip later.
    Anyhow – I was surprised at your outburst of racism – incompetence or inefficiency, yes … and I’ve known some bureaucrats to become very obdurate when pushed … but racism seems a stretch.
    And frankly… I really didnt like you insinuating that you are better than sri lankans and britishers who happen to be africans

  30. Geetha, im no expert on any of this, but when I applied they asked me to specify which type of visa i wanted, did you ask for a 6 month multiple entry visa?

    Either way, try asking for a meeting with someone at the office. I had some trouble too but met with the deputy CG and found they were really flexible with things. Like i said above, i had only asked for a single entry visa but they gave me a 6 month multiple entry without my asking, so try asking for a meeting and say its urgent and all that stuff, maybe you’ll get lucky.

  31. dhaavak – I think you have misconstrued my points entirely! Please read my posts carefully, it is obvious that I am a British citizen; the only stipulation is that my birth place is Sri Lanka! I travel a lot and I needed 3 months in India, starting from 20th November till 28th Feb 2006! That’s all I needed! I wasn’t planning to live in India etc! I never said I was better than a Sri Lankan or an ‘African’ Britisher, I am saying that I too am technically a Britisher! I have the same rights as any British person, everywhere apart from the India High commission apparently! Please understand where I am coming from, the ‘African’ you think I am saying is better than me happens to be my fiancé!

    My point is that I was subjected to racism because I was born in Sri Lanka – I needed that visa for just 2 weeks more than they gave me, which was out of order, considering I am no Tamil tiger, just someone who does a lot of travel! It is not the fact that he was African, but the fact that he didn’t require a 6 month multiple visa – they stamped this 6 month visa for all the ‘white’ English people too! The fact is that I am going to be in India longer than these other people and on the website, it doesn’t stipulate that if born in Sri lankan, one is ostracised! Also, they never gave me the option of a 6 month visa!

    The fact that I had lost my voice, thus couldn’t speak to the lady, who was clearly not even interested in listening to me and that fact that they didn’t even give me the option, considering how many countries I have visas or stamps on my passport bugged me and the mere fact that I have lived in the UK for 18 years and the fact that I couldnÂ’t have 3 months to tour India – I have to cut my trip short by 2 vital weeks – the art of living celebration in Bangalore from 17-20th is extremely important to me!

    Ananthan – Sadly, time and illness is my issue, I have the flu, lost my voice, flying on 20th for a long trip away from UK, I just donÂ’t have the luxury of standing in the cold from 7am again and again to get this sorted! I was hoping that I can get an extension in India or simply cut my trip short – I have no choice! But if a British person is given 6 month multiple entry, with a British passport, I should have equal rights, as I am protected by the very rights of all those ‘whiteÂ’ and ‘blackÂ’ and ‘yellowÂ’ Britishers!

  32. dhaavak – would you say that my money in India and spending is going to be less than someone who goes for 1 week and is given a 6 month multiple entry? I think not – I will be there, contributing to their economy, but the very fact that I was born in Sri Lanka has meant that I loose out in all counts, including the crux of the trip from 17-20th! She also ‘smeared’ it in my face by saying, but I will give ‘him’, referring to me partner, the 6 months, but not you! Without the ability to talk, there was simply nothing I could do, as she made no attempts to even hear what I was asking for or explaining! What do you call all that please?

  33. dhaavak – no problem! I just feel sad that my birthplace makes me inferior in the eyes of the Indian embassy and that even though I am British and am treated as British all over the world, in India; I am seen as an LTTE or some kind of terrorist! The bad thing is that had I been born in Afghanistan, I would have been given 6 months multiple! All those people who were given it will not even use it or appreciate it; they are there for a weekÂ’s holiday only, whereas, for me, it is like a ‘Bharat DarshanÂ’, which I was planning on relishing all the way!

    It’s just been very upsetting for me really. Wish my voice would come back before I go, so that I can at least call them and see if they can help. It is sad for me to miss out on the Bangalore leg, especially the Art of living Silver jubilee, where 3 Million people from all over the world are attending! Have a look, it is set to be major – I did the 1st course and it is definitely a peace loving movement, even though I am not a follower of Swamis and stuff, they give out lovely vibes and the breathing techniques are scientifically proven! But I digress…

    http://www.artoflivingsilverjubilee.org/

    Good luck all with your embassy jaunts! :-) I will post after I follow up! Perhaps from Chennai itself! In the meantime, any tips from any of you in India will be greatly appreciated!

  34. By the way, just to help out, here are some of the Q&A bits from the High Commission website:

    How long does it take to obtain a visa?

    • In person, normally British passport holders can get their visas on the same day.
    • Persons not residing in the UK, Journalist, persons holding Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan passports, British Travel Document holders of Sri Lankan origin and visitors to some restricted areas ? visas will take 3 ?5 working days.
    • Travel document holders, other than of Sri Lankan origin, voluntary work, research visas and certain other categories, clearance from India is mandatory hence issuance takes time. It is advisable that travel arrangements are made only after obtaining the visa.

    How do I obtain a visa?

    You can apply for a visa a. In person b. Through Post c. During visa surgeries

    i. Pakistan and Bangladesh nationals have to file their applications in specific forms. ii. Additional forms are required for Sri Lankan passport holders, British travel document holders of Sri Lankan origin and non UK passport holders (who have lived in UK for less than a year). iii. Restricted area forms If you wish to ascertain if any of the places you intend to visit falls in this category, please contact HCI London. iv. Transfer of visa form (meant for transfer of 5 year visas issued to persons of Indian origin only).

    How much does a visa cost?

    Visa Fees Up to 6 months single / multiple entries – ?30/- 6to12 months multiple entry – ?50/- More than 12 months – ?90/- Student visas more than 12 months – ?55/- US passports 6 months multiple entry – ?45/- More than 12 months – ?105/- Russian passports – ?60/- Romanian passports – ?35/- Japanese passports – ?6/- Pakistani passports – 50p Sri Lankan passports- 3 months, single entry – ?3/- double entry – ?6/- Business visas – ?8/-

    Transit visas – ?8/- Transfer of visas (only for XV / 5 years) – ?4/- Additional charges: Non UK residents – ?10/- Emergency fee – ?25/-

    Hope this help! :-)

  35. By the way, just to help out, here are some of the Q&A bits from the High Commission website:

    How long does it take to obtain a visa?

    • In person, normally British passport holders can get their visas on the same day.
    • Persons not residing in the UK, Journalist, persons holding Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan passports, British Travel Document holders of Sri Lankan origin and visitors to some restricted areas ? visas will take 3 ?5 working days.
    • Travel document holders, other than of Sri Lankan origin, voluntary work, research visas and certain other categories, clearance from India is mandatory hence issuance takes time. It is advisable that travel arrangements are made only after obtaining the visa.

    How do I obtain a visa?

    You can apply for a visa a. In person b. Through Post c. During visa surgeries

    i. Pakistan and Bangladesh nationals have to file their applications in specific forms. ii. Additional forms are required for Sri Lankan passport holders, British travel document holders of Sri Lankan origin and non UK passport holders (who have lived in UK for less than a year). iii. Restricted area forms If you wish to ascertain if any of the places you intend to visit falls in this category, please contact HCI London. iv. Transfer of visa form (meant for transfer of 5 year visas issued to persons of Indian origin only).

    How much does a visa cost?

    Visa Fees Up to 6 months single / multiple entries – ?30/- 6to12 months multiple entry – ?50/- More than 12 months – ?90/- Student visas more than 12 months – ?55/- US passports 6 months multiple entry – ?45/- More than 12 months – ?105/- Russian passports – ?60/- Romanian passports – ?35/- Japanese passports – ?6/- Pakistani passports – 50p Sri Lankan passports- 3 months, single entry – ?3/- double entry – ?6/- Business visas – ?8/-

    Transit visas – ?8/- Transfer of visas (only for XV / 5 years) – ?4/- Additional charges: Non UK residents – ?10/- Emergency fee – ?25/-

    Hope this helps! :-)

  36. Basically I was treated like a Sri Lankan passport holder, as opposed to a British passport holder! Sad eh! In any count, this discrimination must stop!

  37. 12 · cicatrix said

    Brazi

    Actually, the reciprocity fees is levied by US, IF the other country charges a visa fee. Not the other way around. e.i. Brazil charges because of US. My wife is Brazilian, and I know.