So I went to go get my visa for India today… what a mess!  Like any other consulate’s, the Indian consulate’s hours of operation are limited – you have to arrive between 9am and 11am to drop your visa application off, and then return (usually) later the same day around 4pm to pick up the visa. 

To drop your visa application off though, you have to wait in a queue until your assigned number is called – this may or may not happen before 11am.  Some people end up waiting hours to drop off and pick up their visa.

When I arrived at the consulate, I took the elevator up to the 4th floor and found my way to the visa application waiting room.  The room was super basic – in front, there was a desk with two toy-officials sitting behind it, some dispensers for numbered tickets on the wall to the left hand side of the desk, but ominously, the dispensers were empty and instead the ticket rolls were sitting in front of the officers, and to the right side of the room, was a large hall with seating and a number of application officers reviewing files.  Nearly everyone working in the place spoke Hindi and barely any English.

Luckily no one was waiting for a number ticket, but unluckily I was given E92 – the current person being spoken to by the application officers was D11 – over an hour wait at least!  Well, on the advice of my dental hygenist (a Scottish girl who visited India with her husband last year), I placed a $20 bill in my hand and asked the toy-official if there was a faster queue, or a way for someone who needed the visa urgently to get through faster – the guy looked at my $20 bill, looked around the room to see if anyone was watching, said something to me in Hindi – at this point, my heart is racing, sweat is poring down the side of my head, and I’m expecting to be escorted out of the hall with my visa denied – and then the toy-official proceeds to reach into his side pocket and pull out a ticket that he stashed away earlier – D15!!  I could not believe it!!  I had to wait 2 minutes and I was through!  The guy is blatantly scamming in front of everyone – who knows what other scams are going on in the place…

They then told me to come back in two days to pick up the visa.  I told them that I live over an hour away and that it would be easier me to pick it up the same day, and they kindly agreed!  wow…  I better brush up on my negotiating skills or I’m screwed in India…