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Getting the American Visa : Part 2

OK. So yesterday I went and picked up my passport from the VFS Center in Nehru Place. Apparently, the embassy has outsourced the collection of applications and passport delivery portion of the VISA application procedure to a private company VFS or 'Visa Facilitation Service'. When I told Dad the following details, he aptly described the quality of VFS's service as 'American Style, Indian maintenance'.
When you open their website (www.vfs-usa.co.in) with Internet Explorer (I currently use version 7), IE says, "There is a problem with this website's security certificate. The security certificate presented by this website has expired or is not yet valid." When you call the VFS center while they make you hold, a prerecorded message says "to track your passport status, you can also message US VISA [passport number] to 7333. Try doing so and you will receive an error message, 'this facility is not available'.

You can collect your passport between 2-4 pm from the VFS center the day they receive it from the embassy (which prints your visa on it and sends it to them). If you don't collect it that very day, they courier it to you. So basically, if you don't want to leave your precious passport in the hands of some courier company, you'll end up calling VFS quite frequently.

Also, VFS charges, at the time you apply for your visa, Rs. 281, for delivering your VISA. However, till a few days back, should you decide to pick up your VISA in person, instead of refunding the delivery charge, they charged a further 56 rupees!!! And we thought that the school bookshop wali aunty was the biggest looteri aunty there is!!

As I was saying, I went there yesterday. At the gate they give you a token and ask you to submit your mobile phone if you're carrying one (for security reasons i guess; but why they take away your phone and not check you for guns or knives beats me, as they do not use a metal detector, nor do they bother to frisk you). The center is basically a room about 24 by 24 feet with chairs lined in rows like a conference hall facing six counters. An electronic display board in one corner is supposed to display the token numbers (note the word 'supposed'). As you've probably figured out, it wasn't working. So, the girl from the counter screamed out the next token number. Unfortunately, she was sitting behind a completely glassed counter and we had to strain our ears hearing her. Fortunately, a guy was standing at the center of the room who would hear her and relay the number by shouting it out. Unfortunately he would disappear from time to time or start flirting with a co-worker, so we would have to strain our ears anyways. And when my token number came (no, I did not hear it called, I went and stood at the counter in advance), I picked up my passport, and well, left.

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