I’m leaving on a jet plane!
If you missed initial blog for the beginning of this adventure read it here. I get this idea to go to India and am off on an adventure.
Ah! The Visa process…..
It was a process, but we made it!
Was I starting to worry? YES! The phone call I was waiting for finally arrived, “your passport has been returned from the Indian Consulate and is ready to be delivered to you.”
When travelling to India you need a valid visa, be it tourist, business or student. The student visa is submitted and then you wait. To be fair they did say it can take up to 10 days to process, mine took 9.
I’ve had many visas stamped into my passport over the years so was not intimidated by this process, just another item on the to do list.
How to work it?
Contacted the visa processing center in US, nope will take too long! I wasn’t going to jeopardize missing my niece’s wedding, regardless of how much I wanted this Indian experience.
Figure out how to do from UK, this will work. We arrived in Aberdeen from Iceland on Monday 12th June, there is still a lot of time to 5th July, my planned travel date to India, so I completed everything I needed for the application, made an appointment for Tuesday 13th June and drove down to Edinburgh for afternoon appointment, thinking we would drive back as soon as everything was submitted. Unfortunately, I had not completed the application form properly, small mistakes. I had an hour to complete all the missing details for the visa processing center to submit that day. There was no way that was going to happen, I needed to find somewhere I could access the internet, complete the new application, print off documents. The Leith library was in walking distance. I am now a proud member of the library. I got access to a computer and printer, found accommodation for us in Edinburgh for the night, completed the new application, double checked all the required documentation was in place. I made an appointment for the next morning, not too early because I needed information from Isha in India.
Any visa process means you need to stay flexible and not plan too much. An unplanned night in Edinburgh!
In a predicament, my catch 22.
At first appointment, on Tuesday, I was advised that I needed to show a receipt for course payment, but I was told by the Isha foundation that I should not pay any fees until I had the student visa. I was in a real Catch 22 scenario here and explained this to both parties. Isha reluctantly sent me through the payment details on the Wednesday morning, but advised not to make the payment until I had my visa.
I didn’t make the payment, but did go back to visa processing center ready for a delay if I needed to logon and make the payment. As payment needed to be a wire transfer I was very happy that this was not required. The gentleman who took my application went through my documents asked a couple of questions and accepted what I had included. No payment made at this point. Breathing a sigh of relief.
I left the Edinburgh office delighted the passport and documents have been submitted to the Indian Consulate on 14th June
As part of your application form you provide a UK address for present address, this is normally where the visa will ship to once it is away from consulate. I advised that I did not know where I would be and had to leave a UK mobile number. I gave my sister in laws number because I knew she would be chillin’ and bored the week of her daughter’s wedding (oops!)! Well in truth my Contacts were not correct and I meant to give Father of the Bride contact details, not Mother of the Bride. I was working all the scenarios, if it arrives on this day it should ship to X if it arrives on this day it should ship to Y, etc.
I was very optimistic visa would be stamped into my passport, I would have this back in plenty of time for me to be in Italy with my friend on 22nd June, 6 working days away. All is good. Flight tickets to Nice are booked. All is not good, passport did not arrive in time for me to make this flight. I was calling the processing center every day, but you get told it is with the consulate they have background checks to do and you never hear anything else on the status. Are there issues at the consulate? Is there something I can advise on very fast? You don’t get to talk to consulate, everything goes through the visa processing people. Keep on smiling, keep on smiling, it will all be good.
Day 9 of visa processing and the passport is on its way to me at sister in laws house. Not in my hand yet, but have you seen how much they charge for flights close to travel day, bloody shocking! I have travel all booked for Italy and then onward to India. I was assured at visa processing center it would be 24hour courier service. Email received from Visa Processing Center saying I should have my passport in 3-5 working days, WHAT! wait a minute panic moment. I dig out my receipt for payment and have paid for Urgent Courier Service, but you know how you start to doubt yourself and everything else. Happening big time at this point.
Following morning look at receipt again, online to track down package, yes it is going to arrive today. Ding Dong! My beautiful passport is now in my hands.
Sorry Scotland, but it is raining, there is a cold wind, summer so far fairly disappointing. BUT my extended stay has allowed me to catch up with more people than I thought I would manage to see and the sunshine in Italy is now calling.
5th July off to India. Should be an interesting flight too. Nice to Dubai to Mumbai to Coimbatore.
Till next time, thanks for reading.
Keep on being curious about life.