November 18th, 2012
I pondered many titles for this post, but in the end decided simpler was better. You can decide for yourself what you would have called it.
A most excellent thing happened this week — I applied for a visa to India! The application disappeared via UPS (pro tip: not the same UPS I graduated from) on Tuesday, and I’m patiently waiting to get everything back.
It all seems fine in retrospect, but Tuesday was a hay-day. You may remember I had a post a few months back titled “24 Easy Steps” about the 24 steps that had to be followed in order to get a visa to India. The process has since changed so there are only about 9 steps, but they are still just as painful. It’s almost as painful as applying for a passport, except that it’s also more expensive.
For starters, I had to re-take my passport photo because US Passports allow corrective lenses (glasses) — Indian Visa applications do not. You tape or glue your photos to a 3-page application requesting information not just on you, but also on your parents, your schooling, the company you’re going to volunteer for (or work for, more typically), and one personal reference each for India and the US. They “strongly suggest” you pay them $37 each way for overnight shipping. The service fee is $60, the consular fee (for the Indian Consulate to look at your application and choose whether to stamp your visa or not) is $181.
I included a postage-paid return envelope in my application and paid $5 total for shipping. So there.
Here’s all the stuff I had to mail in:
For comparison, to acquire a visa to Guatemala, you show up.
Time to call some airlines.