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Indian Passport/Visa services at BLS International "Services"

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  1. #11

    Considering there are so many Indians and nonIndians affected shouldn't there be some way to flag this or escalate this to some competent authority? Probably not because if there was a way I'm sure it would have been done.
    And there is no way for Mr Jaishankar to see this thread either because geoexpat is geo-restricted!
    Jokes aside this is India letting itself down by presenting its worst face to visitors because these guys handle visa processing too. Out of my past experiences of government offices in India I wondered for a moment if the clerk at the counter was hinting at wanting a 100 rupee bribe to move the file!

    GuitarNut likes this.

  2. #12

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    It has been this way for decades (!5+ years of BLS in HK??). Every Indian consul general has been / is aware of the reputational issues.

    Used to be bad and continues to be bad even at the Indian consulate for services which you need... form filling hell. At Least they don't push their own "value add".

    We only geo-restrict spam IP addresses ... so the chances are the GOI IP range is blocked.

    GuitarNut and TakerofMickeys like this.

  3. #13

    Join Date
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    A friend (in Singapore) without a permanent Indian address renewed his Passport in Mumbai just a month ago. So, perhaps it is doable.

    Quote Originally Posted by TakerofMickeys:
    Thank you. That is actually an interesting option. But would they issue one with a HK address? I don't have any proof of residence in India anymore.
    TakerofMickeys likes this.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by TakerofMickeys:
    I wondered for a moment if the clerk at the counter was hinting at wanting a 100 rupee bribe to move the file!
    Ha ha ha
    Sad, but true... that this is going to be several visitors' first brush with Indian bureaucracy.

    It starts with the flow of the registration process, really. In the case of passport renewals, a massive part of this process could have been automated, where the system assumes that all details are to be retained from the earlier document unless expressly stated.
    After you fill out the lengthy form rife with redundancies (PIN code, District, State etc!) at the Consulate's website, there ought to be a button that leads you to the appointment booking page at BLS's. At least one person I spoke to, and a couple of people I overheard, seemed to have been misled into thinking that the online application was complete just by filling out that form on the Consulate's website, and they would just have to walk in to BLS with the documents.

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    I really don't recall seeing explicit instructions about going to the BLS website and setting up an appointment. So, unless one is familiar with the process or informed about it by acquaintances, it is quite easy to be misled into believing that the BLS leg of the process is a walk-in.

    Secondly, the appointment page itself has an aspect of thoughtlessness, which proved to be my undoing on my first attempt. Right beside the field where you need to type in your email, there is a button that says 'SEND OTP'.

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    They REALLY should have made it impossible to progress with the form unless the OTP is supplied. It is very easy to miss that button, and fill out the rest of the form and hit 'Book Now' at the bottom of the page, and there lies the third pitfall: it just leads you back to the home page, WITHOUT letting you know that your appointment wasn't recorded.
    You look for some sort of confirmation in your mailbox or your phone messages, and you attribute your not receiving one immediately, to site traffic delays... or just plain tardiness, sloppiness or indifference that most Indians are used to. You just get on with your life under the impression that it's all done... until the clerk you've patiently waited in queue to see on the date of the appointment gleefully informs you that you don't have an appointment, with nary an attempt at helping you figure out what might have gone wrong. Even in the 45 minutes that I was there on my first tilt at the windmill, I gathered that there were a couple of others who had the same problem, so I'm sure this is no unusual occurrence for the clerk.
    She might even throw in a taunt or two to insult your intelligence, or suggest that you're trying to somehow pull a fast 'un, and she's caught you out and prevented you from defrauding the nation!

    On your subsequent visits, you will be stymied by other trivial sticking points - such as mismatching signatures like Shree said, or initials or middle-names, or minor variances in address format in your supporting documents, completely redundant need for "attestations" and so on.
    The point is, they can always - and happily WILL - turn you away under some pretext or the other, with a callous and cavalier disregard for your time, your situation (urgent need to travel, a lapsing passport etc), or even basic human decency, if not work ethic. They cynically exploit the ambiguity in the requirements listed out in the Consulate's website and the complete and absolute lack of accountability or redress mechanisms to take out their own frustrations, and to experience a completely misplaced sense of power.

    Apart from these resentful power-trippers, I suppose it also boils down to whether these employees see themselves as facilitators who offer you solutions, or as gatekeepers.
    gunsnroses and TakerofMickeys like this.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by mangohkd:
    A friend (in Singapore) without a permanent Indian address renewed his Passport in Mumbai just a month ago. So, perhaps it is doable.
    Thank you. Maybe I'll explore this option. The thought of going back to BLS totally puts me off.

  6. #16

    @GuitarNut I feel your pain. Hope you are able to sort this out sooner than later.


  7. #17

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    Took me 3 stressful trips to BLS to get my work done this summer. Fortunately BLS wasn't very busy and was able to book appts quite easily. Completed that bloody form 3 times and the last visit, there was a still a minor mistake. Was told to redo the form and submit before 3pm. Rushed home and redid the damn thing.

    Also there was a Covid form which they sell you for $10. Plus another about satellite phone use. All very antiquated.

    Plus there's no price difference if you pick up or they courier your passport. Might as well have it couriered.


  8. #18

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    Was just pointed to the visa application faq on the BLS website
    .. clowns.

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    https://www.blsindia-hongkong.com/visa.php


  9. #19

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    Missus applied for e-visa online and got multiple entry 5 years one. Didn’t need to go to them. Phew.


  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by TakerofMickeys:
    Wow, I registered just to rant about that after Google pointed me to this thread. Starting from Quarry Bay, I took a taxi to the Wan Chai address and finding they had moved I had to take another taxi back to North Point. I waited over an hour before my number was called and the woman at this counter rejected my application on trivial grounds and said I'd have to redo the whole process yet again. So that's yet another day wasted for a basic consular service: I've already spent two days on this and will have to do one more at least.
    I spoke to three other people in the lift whose applications were rejected and they all said they didn't know what they did wrong and felt that they were all rejected for arbitrary and whimsical reasons despite carrying all documents listed on the website.
    I got mine at the consulate a few years back. Just the same. It's pathetic and really does not serve india well.

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