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Leisure Guess who going to be at Harmandir Sahib for Diwali 2013!! ...Need help with Visa app :)

Discussion in 'Business, Lifestyle & Leisure' started by Harkiran Kaur, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I am so happy beyond belief right now! Thanks to some back pay from the military I am travelling to India Oct 25th and return to Canada 15th Nov. That means I will be there for Diwali!!! :) SOOOOOO very excited! Staying with a friend in New Delhi and they will drive me to Amritsar and Chandigarh, and even Taj Mahal. I can't wait to get tons of pics!!!! And most of all can't wait to see Harmandir Sahib... especially at Diwali!!

    I already tentatively booked flights (which are actually half filled already even this early in the year.... I want guaranteed window seat the whole way so I can sleep against the window and for the view of course) So I had to book now...

    Anyway I am filling out the online Visa application and I am stuck on one box in the application. It says 'citizenship / national id #' I am not sure what to put there.

    I assume that citizenship would be someone who immigrated to another country and got a citizenship card or PR card. But National ID? Would that be my military ID or social insurance #? (social insurance # you are never supposed to give out) It does say put NA if not applicable... I am just not sure if it is applicable to me or not. Can anyone who has gone there recently on a tourist visa shed any light on this??

    Thanks!

    Also, there is a spot on the app asking if I have ever worked in security, military or police. Obviously since I am in the Canadian Navy, I had to put yes. It even asks rank and where I am posted. Why do they ask this?? Could I be denied the Visa since I am in the Canadian military?? Do they somehow look down on people who are in a foreign military or police force?
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Disclaimer

    SPN is not responsible for the accuracy of any information given in reply to the question posed in the thread.

    The question has legal implications. A correct answer will vary depending on the country issuing the VISA, and the type of VISA requested.


    p/s This is exciting news and please have a great time ... how could it be otherwise?
     
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    #2 spnadmin, Apr 26, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  4. Admin Singh

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    As far as the VISA requirements are concerned, the best place to ask for guidance would be the official website: http://in.vfsglobal.ca/ or even call there official number.

    And as far as your visit to India is concerned, it is an amazing news! All the best! and Have fun! and don't forget to share your photos with us! :cheerleaders:
     
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  5. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Aman Ji, today I called all 4 phone numbers for the Toronto Office, and several of the ones for Ottawa and Vancouver (even though Nova Scotia is processed by the Toronto Office) of the Consulate General India for Canada. Not a single number I called answered.... and no voice mail either. I think from what one of my friends said, I leave that box as NA since I was born in Canada and do not have a PR or citizenship card.... I hope... don't want the app returned for an error.

    Anyone able to shed some light on why they ask about military service?? I am a little worried about that.... if they look down on the fact that I am in the military... or even worse, in some countries just being a military member in a foreign country puts me at a higher risk for certain things... not that I think India is like that though.

    Got my plane tickets paid for... I have window seats the whole way both ways. Stopover in Toronto and Zurich. Two long flights in a row at about 8-9 hrs each is going to be a killer though! :( wish I could afford first class haha
     
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  6. Arvind

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    Congratulations :)

    This year, I had put my citizenship card # there for National ID.
     
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    #5 Arvind, Apr 26, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  7. Brother Onam

    Brother Onam United States
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    I'd go to Anandpur Sahib ten times before going to Agra once. ( But that's just me...)
     
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  8. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Indian Visa Application Questions...

    I'm not sure if anyone can help but I was wondering on the Indian Tourist Visa Application, there is a spot where it asks about military service / security force etc. Since I am in the Canadian Navy, I obviously had to answer that in the positive. I am wondering why they ask that though? Why is it even pertinent if I have military service and want to visit India as a tourist? My concern is that they somehow look down on this (though I don't know why), and might refuse me the visa? Will my military service in any way compromise my chances of being granted a tourist visa for India??

    Also, for anyone in Canada who has applied for an Indian Visa before, is BLS International Services Canada the authorized (official) place I am supposed to courier my passport and application to? On their website (http://www.blsindia-canada.com) it says they are the authorized visa and passport application centre, however I have found others on Google that claim to also have the same service... having said that, the other places I found all seem to use the paperwork from BLS (checklist etc.) Being from Nova Scotia, the BLS office I am supposed to send to is in Brampton Ontario. I just want to be sure they are the correct place to send the application and paperwork to, before I go couriering away my personal information and passport! I did try to phone them to speak to someone by voice, but I have always been on hold for extended periods and hung up before anyone answered. I did ask them in email about their credentials, and I did receive a response saying they were the ONLY authorized handlers of Indian Visas for Canada. I also tried to call the high commission of India for Canada directly as well.... again with no luck in actually getting someone to answer!! I have to send this paperwork soon.

    Thanks for any info...
     
  9. spnadmin

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  10. Tejwant Singh

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    Akasha ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    This must be divine, both literally and spiritually for you. Diwalli at Harmander Sahib is beautiful. The morning time when the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is taken to Darbar Sahib is the moment that has no words in any language. It is a true personal experience. I wish you all the luck. Please share with us your pics.

    Now as far as your visa is concerned, Indian Consulate/Embassy is full of bureaucracy. If I were you, I would either go to the consulate office if that is close by myself or consult an Indian lawyer, pay him/her few dollars to have this done smoothly. Some only do this and have connections inside.

    Now, akasha is not the limit of my glee for this trip for you which puts the saying," Be careful what you wish for" in its true perspective. You got what you wished for. Just be careful!

    Enjoy your journey.:)

    Tejwant Singh
     
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    #9 Tejwant Singh, May 30, 2013
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
  11. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    Only if you are a native of Pakistan or China.
     
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  12. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Akasha ji

    i like the lawyer idea. Something I found on the Internet from the web site of the Consulate General of Toronto http://www.cgitoronto.ca/ The Toronto consulate covers Toronto, Brampton and Winnipeg.

    According to the India Consulate General:

    The BLS is the official site for processing. If other online processing centers are using the same form, that suggests that they are passing your form to BLS, not directly to the consulate, acting as a middle-man. You may as well deal directly with BLS. It might even be cheaper.

    Further into the web site, the procedure for obtaining the visa application is:

    Visa applicants are required to visit http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/ and submit on-line Visa form. Take a print out of the form submitted on line and send it to one of the offices of BLS International Services Canada Inc.. along with all other required documents. Incomplete applications will not be processed.

    That seems to be the drill.

    It also means the consulate expects to deal with 2 copies, one online and one hard copy that is processed through BLS

    Looking further into the matter, the consulate will not accept hand-delivered applications and passports for tourist visas. "The Consulate does not accept any applications directly, except for Emergency Visa, Emergency Passport (Tatkaal), and Attestation. "

    Further instructions are at this consulate link http://www.cgitoronto.ca/Visa/visageninfo1.html

    You can submit and collect your materials in person once they are processed and approved, at the BLS Services International Canada in Brampton : 10 Gillingham Drive , Unit 201 , ON, L6X5A5

    You can also collect your visa and other materials at the Consulate. You just can't submit them to the consulate.

    So.... after you fill out the online application, the next step is to mail it or hand deliver it to the Brampton Office of BLS.
     
  13. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    spnadmin ji, thanks so much! I guess I was just looking for confirmation that BLS is the correct handlers of the visa apps. SInce I am not close to any of the 3 offices I have to do this by courier so obviously a little aprehensive sending my passport away.

    I have all the info filled out as per the BLS checklist and all the supporting documents. So I just need to to send it off now and cross my fingers!
     
  14. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    You are welcome! Sometimes the answer depends on having the right light bulb flash when searching on Google.

    Frankly I think this is the most barnacle encrusted way to get a visa ever. I feed bad about that. lol I think I will check how it works the other way around, India to Canada, and India to US while I am at it lol and do a barnacle count.

    And under the circumstances, I would not like sending my passport off by mail and trusting that I would get it back on simple faith ..... I don't know about that ............ :grinningkudi: That's why the "lawyer" idea sounds good to my ears.
     
    #13 spnadmin, May 30, 2013
    Last edited: May 30, 2013
  15. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    LAkasha ji

    Your predicament has hung around in my mind for more than a day. I do not remember anything like it when I traveled abroad. Always the visa stamp was entered into my passport at arrival in the foreign country's air terminal, after a quick interview with an immigration officer. I thought, Well maybe after 911 things had changed. I only traveled within the US after that for business reasons.

    I took a look at visa requirements for citizens of the US and Canada traveling as tourists to France, Italy and Germany. There is no visa in hand requirement for tourist visits up to 90 days. You are still stamped at the airport. As a security precaution, these countries do require you to apply online using an application form which you Submit online. But there is none of this sending a copy of the form along with your passport, and other credentials, to a consulate. Italy and Germany have clear tabs on their web sites that define this to cut down on having to read a lot of information. France however was France. The same rules apply but the web pages are written in French. Americans are notoriously illiterate when it comes to foreign languages; so I have no idea how the average person figures it out. I can read French and found this to be ironic and funny.

    Maybe someone can explain why India has so many steps and collects all that paper. It makes the country less accessible to tourism than need be.

    It would be interesting to look at other countries. The US operates just like India. It even uses the same BLS service you posted earlier. If you want to visit the US as a tourist, then you must go through the rigamarole.
     
    #14 spnadmin, May 31, 2013
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  16. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Spnadmin Ji,

    Canadians can however go to the USA without a Visa at all... we can just go across border with our passport. They don't even stamp it. I have done so on MANY occassions flying down to meet the submarine in port for example. Up until 9/11 we didn't even need passports, just a valid photo ID was sufficient. I do imagine that the USA is strict on immigration though with so many people trying each and every day to sneak in illegally. They make it difficult for the rest.

    As to why India requires everyone to have a Visa on arrival is beyond me. There are a few countries listed that CAN obtain one on arrival, and I am guessing those countries sre the ones that maybe don't have a consular for India in their country. I cant remember all of them but New Zeland was on that list.

    Anyway it wasn't really that difficult to get the paperwork done. Its 2 pages for the Visa app. Then BLS makes you fill out a checklist to make sure you have the appropriate attachments (a copy of drivers license for address verification, your passport, a pasport photo for the visa app, the money order for the fee, return address for courier (they wont mail your passport in regular post). I used to think however that certain countries going to India would not require Visas... like all the British colonies etc. including Canada. I was wrong :(
     
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  17. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    You know there was a time when you did not even need a passport to travel from Canada to the US and vice versa. Nor to any of the Caribbean islands. Nor to Mexico. The times have changed.
     
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  18. linzer

    linzer Mexico
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    Maybe someone can explain why India has so many steps and collects all that paper.

    Just wait until you get there. You have to fill out forms at every hotel you go to asking where you've been and where your going next, also the take a copy of your passport as well and exit forms for when you leave.
    They adore bureaucracy. I thought Mexico was bad but India wins hands down.
    By the way I highly recommend going to Agra . No photo or video does justice
    the Taj Mahal. Fatapur Sikri is amazing and as well is Agra fort. Say what you will about the Mughals, they were incredible architects.
    For travel advise sites I recommend Virtual Tourist. My wife likes Trip Advisor ( beacause they have a spanish language version) I think it should be called whiney people that should stay home.
    If you plan on travelling by train there is a site called Cleartrip that is easy to use and their service charge is minimal. We went four years ago and the Indian railways site was almost imposible to use. It might be better now. Also we flew to Varanassi on a national Airline called Spice jet . the service was very good and very cheap.
    Buen Viaje!!!
     
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  19. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I am not staying at hotels so that won't be an issue :) I am staying with the family of friends I have here...
     
  20. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    It was delivered today!!! I got the VISA!!! :) yippie! Now all I have to do is get my butt on the plane on Oct 25th!
     
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