|A Mental Hurdle overcome-ith|
One hurdle I remember mentally jumping a few years ago was understanding the visa process. This is my second time going through an application for a visa and I must say it has been smooth; wisdom and experience now grace me. But in the first application process, I spent about a month trying to figure out who let a credit card company run immigration and foreign travel. Could they have not chosen a different name? What trademark lawyer was asleep when this happened! There should have at least been an asterix beside the "A" indicating that you have in fact applied for a credit card, and not foreign entry permits. I guess we can thank them for making their name all capital letters, for that pardons the confusion. Anyways, having figured this visa-VISA distinction out the first time, I was completely happy with the whole process this time.
India visa cost: $145 including tax and processing.
Processing Time: Just over a week
Centre Used: http://in.vfsglobal.ca/ which has many locations. I used the one in Toronto. If I am not mistaken, this is a third party service to help out the http://www.cgitoronto.ca/
Total Time Spent: Wait time for submitting application, about an hour. Wait time for pick up a week later, about 10 minutes.
|My Front Walkway in France|
You always need to go in person to apply for a visa. One minute spent handling an objection in person saves 1 month of shipping and handling. Trust me. Needless to say, got the visa, made the trip, loved it, more stories about that if requested.
Now, the India visa process was fantastic. I give credite to VFS Global for running a pretty tight operation (no I didn't fill out the feedback form, but now sleep better at night knowing I gave this little shout out). My only hurdle was figuring out exactly which visa to apply to. Because my internship is 2.5 months, pays very little (relative to a North American wage) and done in a public school, I didn't see the perfect fit in any category. Business visa was more commerce related (Management or Technical Traineeships) and student visa was more study related, so I decided to call.
Told them I was doing an AIESEC internship, paid, for 2.5 months at a school. They said to apply as though it was a student visa. The visa clerk was not having it. She told me it didn't count as a school visa, didn't count at as business visa. I had the acceptance form from the school, and the Chandigarh AIESEC committee, but didn't have a copy of my acceptance note for the internship from AIESEC Laurier. She said if I brought back my signed acceptance, she would put it through. Now I am at the visa office, missing one sheet. I had an email of the acceptance letter. What to do?
If you can't come up with innovative solutions to unexpected problems, life will be tough for you. There was a public library nearby, a future shop and a car dealership. Which one to choose? I had about 30 minutes to print my note and get back to the visa consulate before they stopped accepting applications for the day. Well, I walked into future shop and went to the customer service desk.
Me: "I have a tricky problem and was hoping you could step up to the plate with a creative solution." (haha, those guys eat this up. So much better than the hundred "My tv is broken and I want a refund" comments they get everyday)
Customer Service Rep: "Go on...
Me: "Just got this new smart phone and haven't figured out how to print from my phone's email account"
Customer Service Rep: "Oh for sure, I'll bring you to our tech guys and they can help you sort this out"
2 minutes and a couple thank you's later, printed Acceptance Note. Boom.
To wrap things up, went back to the visa office and paid the $145 and waited a week. Technically, I paid for a 1 time entry visa, but the sticker on my passport indicates the name of the school I am working for and the duration of the internship. So I don't plan on getting deported and do plan to legally fulfill my internship duties.
The indian visa application is only one double sided page (unless you are from Pakistan), and some simple supporting documents. And that's my visa story.