Discrimination by the Indian High Consulate? Problems with India visa appli
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Oct 31, 2013 1:27 PM Last Post By: edwardseco
May 5, 2012 10:08 AM
Discrimination by the Indian High Consulate? Problems with India visa appliMyself and my girlfriend applied 4 weeks ago for a 6 month double entry tourist visa for India, via the VFS processing centre in Hayes. I am from a British Indian (Muslim) family and my girlfriend is white British, which to us is all but irrelevant. Seemingly to the Indian High Consulate though, this makes all the difference.
After a few annoying phone calls querying the need for dual entry and having to provide a detailed itinerary (despite being told NOT to book anything until the visa is received), my girlfriend received her visa. Hers took approx 10 working days to be returned. Mine however was not returned at the same time and I received a phone call later the same week requesting further info. I had to provide 3 months bank statements, a letter from my employer, a letter of invitation from my relatives in India as well as photo ID for the family member (my girlfriend had said we were planning to visit some relatives in Gujarat). They also wanted to know whether my grandparents had ever been nationals of Pakistan.
I replied by email with what info I could - my grandparents have never been Pakistani nationals; I can't provide a letter from my employer as I am not currently employed due to being on a year-long career break; we have decided not to visit the relatives in India due to not having time to make the necessary arrangements. I asked for a reply to my email to confirm what I should do next and whether any further info was needed, however no reply was received and I spent the next 2 weeks phoning both VFS and the High Consulate every day without being able to obtain any information whatsoever on the status of my application, or to talk to anyone in the department dealing with my visa.
I then sent a letter formally requesting an update on my application as by now our plans have been significantly set back and we wanted to know what was causing the hold up and if I could do anything to speed things up. The next day I received a text saying 'processed visa application couriered to you today'. We got excited and began packing. We almost booked flights but decided to wait until the visa was in my hands. Then the next day I received my passport and NO VISA! By way of an explanation they had enclosed a tiny slip of paper stating 'your case has been referred to competent authorities in India. The High Commission will contact you on receipt of instructions', with no signature or contact details.
We now have no idea what to think, expect or do. All we can imagine is that I am under suspicion, of who knows what, due to my Muslim heritage and the fact that I once visited Pakistan (this was for a wedding in 2005 - I have been to India on a tourist visa since then) as this was mentioned by VFS.
Has anyone experienced a similar situation and can maybe advise what to expect? I don't really fancy waiting around for another few weeks waiting for a response from India. I can't imagine the process will be quick. We are considering flying to Nepal (the reason for our dual entry) and applying again there, but this will of course mean paying the fee all over again, plus I might come across the same problem.
I hope someone can help. If not hopefully this info will be useful to someone else who might potentially find themself in the same sitiuation.
May 5, 2012 12:10 PM
1All stories have 2 sides. Rather doubt we'll get the other. It's a shame what religious intolerance will do, however.
referred to competent authorities in India.
it's pluralized, which is overstating what India is capable of. Mostly.
May 5, 2012 3:30 PM
2You are most likely correct in your suspicion that you have been singled out. Once your name i son the list you can expect scrutiny every time you apply for visa. And it not only happens in India but many places around the world. On nearly each one of my travels I have been singled out in a number of airports for extra thorough security checking including USA, India (where I was born) and Australia (where I have lived most of my life) and I have also been picked up for interrogation by Israeli Police in front of one of their shopping centres. I have been refused entry into Pakistan as a tourist at the border although I had a valid tourist visa from the High Commission in Australia. It is possibly because of my name and of my South Asian appearance that I may be on the list. It is the fact I have to accept. But I don't think I would call it discrimination or religious intolerance in these cases. Every country has a right to defend their citizens and visitors in whatever way they think is best.I'd rather have the checking done thoroughly than have myself blown off on a plane or in a shopping centre in a foreign land just because they did no checking if they remotely suspect anyone due to political correctness.
May 5, 2012 4:00 PM
May 5, 2012 9:50 PM
4Well the idea is not to volunteer too much information in visa applications. However I too agree that you are just unlucky to be checked thoroughly. I see no intolerance and and I am sure with patience it will work out and future visas will be easier. And you should be aware that Indian bureaucracy is quirky.
May 6, 2012 2:05 AM
5I suspect an Indian Muslim applying for a visa with his white girlfriend did make a difference.If you were not on a watch list... you are now.Sorry folks,years in India I have seen first hand the hateful thinking I sometimes see around me.
May 6, 2012 4:32 AM
6Well i felt the same (but no shame) when reading i could not enter Nagaland and Manipur without a marriage certificate. (I also read things changed, let's look at the bright side of life.)
The DVDs i get (in Switzerland: an open, neutral and modern country) from an Iranian site are checked thoroughly and custom charges are around 8 to 12 times the DVD price, i do feel watched since parcels are never opened if sent from America, India or China. For that price i hope custom officers took the time to watch the movies entirely, helps them open their minds to other cultures so i bet by paying these charges i contribute to the moral education of my own country officers. It's never too late...
I could give you many more examples: please do not make it a personal issue and do not back out. It's certainly nothing to do with you but something for the next ones.
May 6, 2012 5:02 AM
7in Switzerland: an open, neutral and modern country
Well, 1 out of 3 ain't bad.
May 6, 2012 6:58 AM
8Switzerland: an open country ?
Sure, wide open to ill-gotten wealth of criminals from all over the world !
May 6, 2012 7:16 AM
May 9, 2012 3:20 AM
10Managed to get a letter and and sent it off to them. Lets hope they come back to me soon with an answer and I can get to India. Really starting to get bored wasting time on my year off work in stuck in England.
May 9, 2012 6:51 AM
May 9, 2012 6:52 AM
12To Pirate @7: I didn't get which one of the three qualifiers you thought could be right. I can't see any.
To Ashrafs @11: I have filled a Schengen visa for a Nepalese and an Indian muslim where i read exactly the same requirements you were annoyed about. For the same purpose 2 of my Thai friends had to go through hassles you can hardly imagine.
I didn't find them very helpful in the Indian Consulate in Kathmandu. But if you chose that way be ready for another option.
Hoping the best for you. Good luck!
May 9, 2012 6:58 AM
May 9, 2012 10:43 AM
14Well i felt the same (but no shame) when reading i could not enter Nagaland and Manipur without a marriage certificate. (I also read things changed, let's look at the bright side of life.)
I was drunk then and I am now, but you are foolish.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$33.67 per night
Mumbai (Bombay)Book now
(5 star Hotel)
From US$193.64 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$43.77 per night