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A sign of things to come?

Bureaucratic frustrations.


The English taught the Indians well when it comes to bureaucracy - shame they had to be such good pupils.

Four weeks ago we sent off both passports and visa applications after having battled endlessly with the online application forms. To say they were not user friendly is an understatement - any website that needs 17 pages of instructions on how to complete a two-page form obviously needs a little redesign. Unable to process our payments, we had to sign out and back in again just to pay for the privilege of another sticky label in our passports.

The process proudly claimed to be trackable on line, but every time we tried to see what stage the process was at, it came back as 'application not found'. Thanks to the Post Office tracking system, we knew the passports had been received and signed for, so we weren't overly worried.

Two weeks go by and we receive an email to say that I, as a Norwegian citizen living in the UK, need to pay an extra £10. I had half expected that, as I was unable to prove that I have been living in this country for the last 37 years - bank statements, mobile phone bills and pension letters are not acceptable proof, it has to be a utility bill. Unfortunately, all household bills are in David's name only. We provided them with a mobile number and details of when it would be convenient for them to call and collect the payment (any time) as requested.

After another week goes by without hearing anything from them I send off a chasing email, and within an hour they have phoned and taken the payment.

A few days later David gets a call to say his passport is ready, but he needs to pay for the postage. As we provided them with a stamped addressed envelope with enough postage to cover both passports, they agree to keep hold of David's passport until mine is ready. When that will be they don't know.

With just over a week to go, I am getting a little jittery and chase them again. Today I received my passport in the post, in the stamped addressed envelope we provided. Without David's passport!

I wonder if the embassy practises this kind of incompetence just to get us used to the way things are done in India?



Posted by Grete Howard 02:03 Archived in United Kingdom

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