It’s that time of the year when the rains are still coming down (thank goodness because we really need it) and when a trip (or two, or three) to the FRO’s office is needed!
So, this time I needed to go to the FRO’s office to file for a X (Entry) Visa extension. This is part of the process for me because I am married to an Indian Citizen and had to wait the required 1 year after marriage in order to apply for a PIO. Unfortunately for me, that also meant that my 1 year X Visa is also coming up for expiration one month after our 1 year wedding anniversary so we are in a tight squeeze.
After searching and scanning and reading and researching and calling and getting the run around, I found out quite a lot.
1) There is NO one official site on the internet that lists exactly the forms that you need to bring for your location.
2) Every location in India has different rules and forms.
3) I can’t apply for my PIO in Pune and they suggest I do not apply in Mumbai as it’s faster to just take a vacation up to New Delhi and apply for the PIO directly with the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs). I feel, after everything I’ve gone through, that this is a wise decision. FYI: I could also apply in Mumbai but they would just send it to New Delhi anyway and then who knows how long it would take to start processing. So, we’re off to Delhi in October. VACA! Woot!
While I was in the FRO’s Office, I snagged an extra copy of the Application for the Visa Extension Form. I attached that form at a post I made over at India Mike and you can view that here. It lists every single document you need in order to extend your visa as long as you are in India on a visa that allows either extension or conversion. This would be a B or E visa or an X visa, a long-term visa or a Tourist Visa to an X visa but only with extreme circumstances and the documents to back it up.
I also attached the PDF’s of forms commonly needed by the PUNE FRO for Foreigner Registration and Foreigner Visa Extension and if you scroll to the bottom of the post you’ll find them. Click here for the India Mike post.
Also please note that most Visa extensions have to be approved in New Delhi.
I did find, however, one site in particular that was very helpful and had more data than most websites. Here is what the Pune Airport lists and I must admit it was a pretty comprehensive list, even though it wasn’t complete.
For the convenience of the foreigners, however, the FRROs/CIO/FROs are empowered to make extensions / conversions for certain types of Visas without referring the same to MHA. The details of such powers vested with FRROs etc. are: –
In case of foreigners of Indian origin/foreigner married to Indian citizen/foreigner staying in India for more than 20 years, extension can be given on entry Visa by FRROs for a period of 5 years however this is at the discretion of the FRRO and only the FRRO offices can do this, not the FRO. The difference is that the FRRO are also the locations that you can apply for PIO or CIO cards. FRO is only for registration and applying for the extension which they then send to Delhi as well as background checks.
FRRO can condone overstay only up to 3 months, after charging overstay fees of US $ 40 equivalent. Cases of overstay exceeding 3 months are decided by MHA.
FRRO can convert the category of the visa from Tourism to Entry visa in case of foreigners of Indian origin and grant extension up to 5 years with multiple entry facility. For other foreign nationals, only MHA is empowered to convert the category of the visa.
1 Rs. 1860/- (US$ 40) All kinds of visa other than transit and student visas valid up to to 6 months (multiple entry)
2 Rs. 3025/- (US$ 65) All kinds of visa other than transit and student visas valid for over 6 months and up to 1 year (multiple entry)
3 Rs. 6050/- (US$ 130) All kinds of visa other than transit and student visas valid for over 1 year and up to 5 years (multiple entry)
4 Rs. 470/- (US$10) Transit visa (valid for 15 days-single/double entry)
5 Rs. 3490/- (US$ 75) Student visa (valid for the duration of the course or for a period of five years, whichever is less-multiple entry)
6 Rs. 1395/- (US$ 30) Overstay or Late Registration Charges
Experience at the PUNE FRO:
Bear and I originally went on Monday morning at 10:30 am. From 10:30 to 12:30 is for Visa Extensions. From 2:30 to 5pm is for Foreigner Registration. Because the FRO is always packed for the 2:30 to 5pm time, lots of us lovely Foreigners try to cheat by going to the 10:30 time slot and either begging or making a nuisance of themselves in order to get registered at a time when it’s less crowded. I’m happy to announce that those people got tossed out on their tushies (aka ASS). It was awesome.
Anyway, so we go on Monday, are greeted by a kitten meowing loudly for food right inside the door to the FRO and upon going to the receptionist counter we find out that there is an actual FORM that lists everything that we need!!! GASP!!!! So I asked why it wasn’t available on the FRO website and they said it was and I said no it wasn’t and they said it was and I said no it wasn’t and that the form I filled out is even an old one compared to what they wanted me to fill out. He looked at my already filled out form and asked where I got it and I said “The PUNE FRO website” and he said no you didn’t and I said yes I did and so then he went into a cabin to check and came back out and said that would be fixed in a week and sorry for the inconvenience. ::sigh::
So, because we didn’t have that form which had the list of requirements on the back, we didn’t know that we needed his actual bank statement showing three months of pay (proving that he can support me) and we didn’t know we needed a folder and two envelopes. Which they had there…..but would not give to us. We had to leave and go and buy those suckers. Also, Bear’s bank that his wage is deposited into was no where nearby. But Bear still left and tried to find an ATM that he could get a statement from (hahahahah) and a stationery shop (hahahahah), while I stayed in the FRO’s to fill out the NEW form.
At one point I had a question so I got up leaving my helmet and jacket and empty book bag on my chair and walked three steps to the reception ‘counter’ to stand in line and ask my quick question. There was one lady arguing with the guy ahead of me. Apparently she was a royal Princess in her home country and deserved not to do some sort of paperwork and then I lost the rest when I was distracted by two large guys pushing my stuff off the chair and onto the floor in order to sit together as the seat next to mine was empty. I couldn’t get out of line because I was next and people were already pushing me from behind to go God knows where since I was against the counter anyway. So instead I raised my voice ( I used to be a Cheerer for High School so I gots me some lungs ok?) and said “Excuse me sir, that’s my stuff” with a smile. He looked at me, looked at the stuff, smiled and continued his talk with his buddy. So I said more loudly and kind of bitchy, “EXCUSE YOU THAT IS MY CHAIR AND MY THINGS!” and the guy looked at me and I said “PICK MY STUFF UP AND GET OUT OF MY CHAIR”. By this time everyone is looking at him and his buddy and they aren’t looking very friendly either. So my stuff got picked up and put back and they moved to another part of the room…in the back. Meanwhile, Princess has moved off and I step up to ask my question when another very tall gentleman who was German by the sound of him stepped in front of me, nearly taking out my eye with his paperwork and started talking to the guy behind the counter. So I put my hand up to protect my eye, pushed on the gentlemen’s arm and said “Excuse me sir, but it was my turn” to which he said “I only have a question” and turned to start speaking again. I pushed on his arm and when he turned around I said “Yes but we ALL have a question and that is why we are IN LINE TO ASK IT”. And then I smiled a real big bitchy smile. While the people behind me started saying things like “YEAH” and “Move it!” and “!*#@%&!”. So he went to the back of the line. I asked my question, got my answer and was finished in 1 minute flat. ::sigh::
Then Bear came back empty-handed and I said, that’s it. I’ve had it. Let’s go. So, we went. 🙂
We went back on Friday with all my paperwork in hand and all of Bear’s proof of keeping me a kept woman and after having it scanned in by the same guy who scanned my documents for registration, we went and waited in the X Visa Extension line. Ten minutes later he had taken all my paperwork (which was neatly put into the folder by me after he sniffed and told me to do so and then ignored me until I did). They do NOT give you a receipt of your paperwork or that you have applied for the extension. That’s it. He did tell us that in two days we would be contacted by our local police for a visit to confirm our married living existence and that 15-20 days after that visit we should come back to the FRO’s office to pick up my X Visa Extension which would be for 1 year. Not 5. Pune FRO does not apply for the 5 year extension because they are not a FRRO. You would need to get that from Delhi.
So we left. THAT visit only took us about 45 minutes.
On Sunday we got a call from our local police asking us if we would be home for a visit and that he could be there in 15 minutes. We said yes. We were so shocked that it was actually happening and that they were coming without us harassing someone, that we just stood there with a funny grin on our faces going “Wow, cool”. And in 20 minutes he came (he got a little lost, we do live in a newly developing area and it’s easy to do). He was nice. Really pleasant and super nice. He spoke only a little English but even that was very clear. Bear answered most of the questions except the one he asked me about whether I am involved in Politics or Journalism. HAHAHAHAH. I wanted to say “Depends on if you count my political rantings on my public blog” but decided that I like living with my husband and not being shuttled out of the country so I said “Nope”.
I offered him chai which he accepted. He finished up in 45 minutes, thanked me for the chai, thanked my husband for the good conversation (they got off topic a few times) and left. No bribes. Nothing.
So I have to say, that even though the Pune Police and Government is still a little behind in making it known to the general public about the laws and rules for its people, they still are fairly organized and polite. It was the foreigners that appeared in the FRO’s office that I found rude and disgusting and made the trip stressful.