Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tourst Visas For Maximum Fun

From the Times:
"The Indian government recently announced that foreigners holding tourist visas, including ones with multiple entries, are now banned from re-entering the country within two months of their departure."
This worries me a bit. Not because the Indian government is banning re-entry outright but because of this:
"Re-entry may also be permitted in special cases, such as a death or illness in the family."
Oh that will end well. Officials at airports will demand proof of "death or illness in the family" and of course, travelers won't have any...

Tell you what, I'm getting my Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card *now*. Not that it will be of much use considering this new requirement:
"Under the new rules, visitors are also required to register within 14 days with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (F.R.R.O.) in India if they return within two months of departure."
What the hell is the F.R.R.O. and has anyone been to one? But naturally, a blogger has been there. Read and weep.


Falstaff said...

"Officials at airports will demand proof of "death or illness in the family" and of course, travelers won't have any..."

See, I was going the other way - the one group of people who will be able to produce proof of "death or illness in the family" will be those who are secretly plotting terror attacks and are using the tourist visa to slip in and out of the country.

Ah, the joys of bureaucracy.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

I see you have nothing better to do than surf the internet!

Recently at a meeting I was at, the organisers repeatedly announced that foreigners should contact the travel desk with their passport to check if everything was in order, since certain categories of visa holders need to register with the police otherwise they will not be allowed to leave the country. They also reiterated that it was not a joke: it had happened before. (Apparently tourist visas were OK.)

Obviously these are not purposeless entertainment for our officials: they are opportunities to increase the income of our officials. Here's another example that I learned of some time ago: if someone dies abroad, their body is sent to the cargo terminal in the Indian airport. Indian law, supposedly, requires that you produce the deceased's passport at the arrival terminal and have it stamped before collecting the coffin at the cargo terminal. British law requires that the passport travel with the body inside the (sealed) coffin. Irreconcilable differences there, unless you (a) pull strings or (b) pay up.

km said...

Falstaff: Or they will have the eternally-dying grandmother.

Rahul: I know that for a fact (about the registration business). It sucks. Big time. Joy, joy.

Tabula Rasa said...

whew! i had no idea about this -- we entered india twice in december, and i am *so* glad i got my little american registered as a pio beforehand.

and i have to highlight this line from the comments:
West Bengal FRRO offices have pretty good people who speak English and somewhat friendly.

km said...

TR: :D - yes, they won't offer you a drink if you drop in unannounced.

??! said...

Oddly enough, I am quite aware of the FRRO. Thanks be to an old friend in B'bay who, thanks to being a UK-passport holder, has to go and show his face and confirm his identity once every month (fortnight?) to the office located in (next to) the CID offices in the Rang Bhavan lane.

This despite having lived almost his entire life in India.