I need a visa to visit India, so I went and lined up at the Indian Consulate General an hour before it opened today. I waited and waited in the hot sun. Eventually I could go inside… there was a rush for places, with several people just barging through and acting as if they know the Consul General personally so they would not need to queue to be seen anyway.
I’ve seen all that before at many Indian government instituations, so that was no surprise, but when I presented my papers they asked for my residency card – the ID card I should have as a foreigner living in Brazil. I told them it’s being processed, it can take up to six months to get one, but you can see the stamp in my passport showing I have residency.
They wanted me to pay an extra R$15 because I did not have the card with me and because there is some ‘additional charge’ to process a visa for a non-Brazilian. When I argued that none of this information about extra charges is listed on their website – where all the fees are listed – they just said that not everything is on the website. When I remonstrated further that it was not acceptable to just create random fees the official said he won’t argue about it and walked off, waving his arms in the air.
The problem is, they don’t take cash. I had to go and find a branch of Santander to pay the money into their bank account, then return to the Consultate again.
I got back, waited to be seen, then I found that I had printed 2 copies of my India invitation later, rather than one from London and one from India… suddenly the entire morning was a complete waste of time because I misprinted one single sheet of paper. I had all the documents on a USB stick, but when I found a web cafe and took a look at the documents, I had in fact copied that same letter twice instead of the London one. Big mistake.