Sent in my ten year Indian visa application last week. I was peeved because last year Travisa, the Indian visa processing company, allowed payment online by credit card. This year it was money order only. Horrors! I had to actually go to my bank, which is only across the street from where I work but still a pain in the butt compared to doing it all online. To add insult to injury, the bank charges a $5 money order fee, which I will gladly pay to avoid going to the post office.
Returning to pounding things out on stone tablets seems like going in the wrong direction, but I am absolutely positive they must have several well-thought-out and logical reasons for doing so. Because bureaucracies are always not only logical but extremely efficient.
Sent it off, having proofread it carefully, I thought. Got an email back two days later saying I had made a mistake on it and that I needed to submit a new application within ten days, complete with a new processing fee. It was only another $13 Travisa service fee they required, not an additional $153 consular fee.
I was feeling pleased with myself that I had the foresight to scan the passport page last year with my photo & passport number on it and leave a copy in several places where I could easily find it. Because they have my passport right now, and I have to put my passport number on the form before I send the new one back. Two minutes later my smugness was replaced by nausea as I realized that the form also requires the number of the Indian visa that was granted to me last year, which I had no way of knowing I would ever need.
I stupidly didn’t make a copy of the application package before I sent it off. Fortunately, I was able to download a copy from the online application site because I had kept a copy of the application number. Hint: keep a copy of everything you send out for visa processing, and especially keep the online application number.
After printing out the application, I found not one, but two mistakes. Couldn’t correct the old application, had to start from scratch and do a new one, leaving more possibilities of error making. I proofread it until my eyes were bleeding.
By the time I got through, my bad proofreading had cost me $40: $13 for the new processing fee, $5 for the money order and $22 for the Fedex. That’ll teach me to be more careful next time, if not more anal retentive.
After several nail-biting days of not seeing any updates, which you can track online, I emailed for the status. Got an answer back in about an hour: the processing was proceeding. As of right now, my passport with its shiny new Indian visa is being Fedexed back to me.
It’ll be nice not to have to deal with it again for another ten years.