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North Carolina, United States
(Allie & Harris) Wife, teacher, patient, thinker, friend, worrier, planner, seeker. These are the hats I wear on a daily basis for the roles in my life. Harris and I've been married since 1999 and we have two fur babies of the feline sort. We have a pretty good life, all things considered. But, it's not complete. Seven years ago I received a diagnosis of PCOS, a condition which has taken a toll on both my body and soul. It will not beat me though and we will be parents.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FRRO Update...

Monday we piled into cars with two (fantastic!) Aussie couples and Carrie to head over to the FRRO.  We had prepared paperwork for the Registration and for the Exit Visa.  As there was some confusion of what we needed, we figured it was prudent to get everything together for both.

First stop was M-Block Market.  The Nikon camera shop does passport photos for just under $3 US per package of 4.  Harris and I picked up 8 total photos just in case we needed extras for some reason.  We did not have them stuck on the paperwork, but there were glue sticks at the FRRO we used to do this quickly when they told us we had to have them attached.  *If you can attach them ahead of time, it's less stressful.  Who knows when they'll stop letting people use their glue sticks?!*

The trip to FRRO was relatively short; maybe 30 minutes from M-Block in traffic.  We had been assigned a 1 o'clock appointment time.  However, as we all wanted to have everything for both visas, there was some delay and we were two hours late.  We arrived at 3:08 and decided to walk up to see if they'd let us in despite their last accepted time being 3:00.  The gov't official took Harris' passport, asked how many were in our party (7), wrote down that number, and pushed all of us thru without another look at anyone else's passports.  Oh, you do have to leave any *visible* water bottles outside.

Once inside the building you turn left down the first hallway and enter into a room that looks like an American DMV office from the 1980's.  No computers, no automation, no real visible filing or organization system of any kind anywhere in sight.  There's just a ton of desks forming a ring around the room with chairs in the middle where (if you're female with a male partner) you sit and wait.  Up front, there's a number board that changes rarely - so, when you hit anywhere close to your number hop up to the inquiry counter and ask if they can go ahead and look at your paperwork.  We were party number 159, but the boys jumped up front when the ticker hit 150.  They asked for the paperwork to be shuffled around and put in a certain order (I think this was a delay tactic, but it only took a couple of minutes), and then sent all three of the husbands to the back counter area.  Each was processed one at a time, with the correct wife having to stand and show that she was actually the person on the picture.  Eventually, at the fourth desk stop, the paperwork was registered and we got the printout we'd waited for.  This is now tucked away in our hotel safe and we'll take it with us to the airport. 

Even though it was my Day 14 and the last day I could register the visa, there was no penalty or fine.  I've heard different figures on how much that fine is, but since it wasn't posted anywhere, I suspect that this could vary as it is India and we all know that when it's not written down, the price is never firm.  We did have a few thousand rupees with us just to be on the safe side because I am NOT interested in going to Indian jail!  All tolled, the whole process took about 2 hours.  The room had lots of fans inside so it wasn't sweltering, despite the temps that day being over 100 degrees. 


1)  When traveling on a medical visa, you must go to the FRRO website and fill out the online form for the Registration of a Visa.

2)  FRRO wants the application page in triplicate so ask your hotel or the SCI clinic w/concierge team to make copies for you.

3)  Even if you're late, push thru to see if you can get into the FRRO. 

4)  If there's a man in your party, he's going to get a lot farther than you with the Indian officials.  Just sit and let him handle it as much as possible.

5)  Keep any bottle of water out of sight if you have them.

6)  Plan for a 2-3 hour trip for this process.  We went in the mid-afternoon when there was very little crowd.  I don't know if this is always the case, but it was when we tried it.

7)  Anyone without a passport is NOT allowed inside.  In hindsight, we'd have had the driver drop us off and then take Carrie back to the hotel.  She had to sit in the car for 2 hours in that heat.  NOT COOL!


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