Yes, two posts in one day. I actually just found this on another blog (http://www.jonngem.blogspot.com/ thanks!) and it's info they found from The Christmas Eve Boys about how to make your exit process faster and smoother if you're a US citizen. I LOVE that there are specifics here and felt like I wanted to repost it even if it was only for my own selfish resons - I don't want to have to search for it later when there's more on my mind! Hopefully, others can use the information too!
[W]e did not used a lawyer to process the passport and exit visa. If you're up for the challenge and want to save money, you can do it yourself. I'm not going to lie, the Exit visa was pretty stressful but if you follow our tips, it should make it less stressful.
New Delhi Passport and Exit Visa processing:
Following tips are from Christmas Eve Boys, we followed every tips they provided and it was very helpful. It helped the process go quicker. Per Christmas Eve Boys posting:
- Email Nancy Hamilton at the US Embassy in advance and introduce yourself firstname.lastname@example.org. She told us that so few people do this, she is learning about the process herself, and it really helps if she connects with you in advance. She is super nice. She is the Consular officer who approved our file yesterday and I had been in touch with her in advance so this was great. You can also call her direct line 11 2419 8000 ext 4306. We called her after the birth and she arranged for our DNA testing to happen at the same time as our appointment for obtaining the CRBA's and the Passports. This means only one trip to the embassy with the baby(ies). The DNA collection is a simple mouth swab - 2 samples taken from each individual. The babies didn't even cry. This happened in a room right next door to ACS. We also ordered the DNA kits from the US shipped to the Consulate in advance so when we arrived at our appointment, the kits were there waiting.
- Forms to take for Consular interview - only take originals - no need to take a bunch of copies. If using an egg donor, the birth certificate should say 'surrogate' under 'mother' - nothing more. (Gemma's comment: With my doctor, we had an option to put my name on the birth certificate or just put "Surrogate". Our birth certificate states my name. we had no issues with that. )
- Original birth certificates. (Gemma's comment: ask your doctor to provide more than 1 copy. We got 3 sets. It does not cost that much.)
- When using an egg donor, the US citizen father has to prove 5 years of US residency. Instead of taking all my tax returns, I took my previous passport and 5 years of social security earnings statements. (Gemma's comment: Make sure to have 5 years of US residency)
- Get all your medical reports, ultrasounds, etc. from your doctor and bring it with you - take that as it is. (Gemma's comment: Dr. B provided all the medical records and we brought it to us. Also ask from your doctor a document stating the release of the babies and that surrogate stating that it is not her baby (ies). Make sure it is signed by both parties. FRRO asked for this letter.)
- Two passport photos of each child. (Gemma's comment: you will need a total of 6 - 2 x 2 photos. 2 - passport, 2 DNA, 2 FRRO)
- Original copies of surrogacy contracts.
- Print your confirmation of your appointment at the embassy - you will need to show this outside the embassy to get in.
- If you take your cell phone, they will ask you to walk down the way to a different entrance and 'check it' - they will give you a number to claim it at exit. You cannot take any type of electronics into the embassy.
- Forms to take for DNA collection.
- 2 passport photos of the US citizen parent(s).
- 2 passport photos of each child.
- Copy of US citizen parent passport photo page and copy of Indian visa page.
- 1 copy of each birth certificate.
- A bank draft (cashier's check) for Rs 1600 for each test kit ( 1 bank draft for each babies and parent). Also, we couldn't find a bank that would issue these because we didn't have an account. Fortunately our landlord arranged them for us. For Rs 300 (about $7 USD) someone came to the house and returned with them in about 2 hours. Someone will call you, in advance of your appointment, to confirm the date and time of your DNA collection and will give you the details for the payee on these bank drafts. (Gemma's comment: we stayed at the same place, and they also helped us with the bank draft. We stayed with Vy Lodging at their Bed and Breakfast rather than the apartment. I didn't want to deal with cooking and Laundry)
- A thermos with hot water for making up bottles.
- Two bottles for each baby (we were there until 1pm). (Gemma's comment: we fed the babies before we left. We had appt. at 9 am, the appt. wasn't packed at all. Bring the Playtex drop ins)
- Change of clothes - there is a changing table in the restrooms outside of ACS.
Abed tips for a smoother faster process:
Order the DNA kits from the US in advance so the DNA kits arrive at the Consulate so when you arrive for your appointment, the kits are ready. If you contact Nancy from the US Embassy ahead of time, she will tell the DNA labs they work with. Arrange in advance with the DNA lab for expediting the DNA results. There is a fee for this.
Once the swabbing for DNA is done and been sent to lab, call lab to let them know it is in transit and then follow up in the next 2 days to inquire on the result. Also have them email the results to US consular.
Ministry of Home Affairs Office (MHA):
Once you receive your emergency passport, go directly to the MHA office. You do not need to bring the babies with you when you pick up the passport or go to the MHA office.
When you fill out the application for the exit visa, DO NOT PUT a date of when you want the exit visa. But, if you are asked to put a date, enter a few weeks out and give yourself plenty of time as this is the date when the exit visa expired, not the date it begins i.e. you must exit before or on this date. Once the application has been process, MHA office will give you a sealed envelope that only the FRO office can open. DO NOT OPEN THE ENVELOPE.
If your Surrogate clinic is outside Mumbai or New Delhi location for exit Visa processing, we recommend that you get a hotel from either location when you start your processing. Because if you decide to just make a day trip, and you enter your India address outside of Mumbai or New Delhi, they will make you use a the local FRO (Foreigner Registration office) where you are residing in India. Otherwise you will end up traveling back and forth. Our recommendation is to go to New Delhi for processing. We were ask to provide this at FRO and another IP you just recently went through the process that I know, the MHA asked for this letter. The contract is not what they are looking for.
Lastly, it important that you have a letter of release from the surrogate stating that the babies are not her children. See example below:
The MHA office or FRO might ask for it. If you don't have it, the process will be delayed. The Surrogacy contract will not be suitable for the MHA or the FRO, they will need the separate document. Make sure you get this from the doctors office. (one of the IP's I meet in India, was sent back to Ahmadabad to get the letter. Her process was delayed 2 weeks).
Foreign Registry Office:
Go there as early as possible. Pick up the paperwork and fill out. It gets crazy busy there. The people that works there seem to have little patience, so be as nice as possible when talking with them. I hate to say this but I think they have more patient with women. (Just saying) We saw a man that got kicked out of the office, because he didn't understand the process. The man that worked there lost his patience and kick him out. My husband got yelled at and was sent away. I was waiting in the car with the kids, then finally when I went inside with the babies, and I started to have a friendly conversation with one of the top guys. After having this 20 minute conversation, we were immediately called for our turn. He told me that he loved new babies, and specially twins babies. He actually called his daughter and told her about us. Anyway, whatever works...right?
They will ask to see the baby or babies before they issue the exit visa and also they will ask for the letter of release from the surrogate, so make sure to have this with you.
Hope this helps for those who is up for the challenge of getting your Exit Visa without a Lawyer.