- Posted July 30, 2013 by
Planning to travel to India soon? Forget about it!
I became a naturalized citizen in March 2013 and for reasons I will never understand, India does not allow dual-citizenship and therefore I had to relinquish my Indian citizenship and subsequently proceed to apply for a visa to travel to my own country. I am aware of the PIO/OIC card options for “ex-Indians”, but I am planning to travel to India in November and did not want to risk not having my passport in time for that if I apply for one of the other card options. In addition to myself, my husband and in-laws also plan on visiting India (for the very first time) with me.
When I sent out my papers to apply for renunciation of my Indian citizenship, Travisa was the company that was handling it. I had no issues whatsoever and the process was handled well and completed in a timely manner. When I was ready to send out our passports in July to apply for a tourist visa, I found out that the Indian government has handed the contract over to BLS International for these services starting July 1st. I sent out a packet with mine and my husband’s passports along with the application form and money orders. My in-laws sent out their packet too around the same time, this was over 3 weeks ago. So far mine and my husband’s visa status on BLS shows up as being under progress and as for my in-law’s, there is absolutely no record whatsoever of their passports. They sent it out using FedEx and we have confirmation from FedEx that the packet was delivered and signed for at the same address where we sent ours. I have since called and emailed both BLS-Houston and the Indian Consulate in Houston (which is the jurisdiction under which Colorado falls), with a barely credible response and absolutely no help with the situation. BLS phone lines have voicemail boxes that are full, email ID’s that are yet to yield me a response. I looked up various forums online and discovered that their ineptitude extends so far beyond my situation that it is scary to think that we are all sending our passports and money orders to a company that could very well be run by shysters. My husband is unable to plan any international business trips as his passport is not with him for almost a month now with no end in sight. My in-laws have no idea what happened to their passports and the money they sent as neither BLS nor the consulate have been able to help with tracing it.
I’m writing to USA's premier news agency in the hope that you can help bring more attention to this pathetic state of affairs at this agency. This is such a disgrace to India and her government, especially since the issuing of visas isn’t a new venture and one that, I’m sad to admit, was well handled by a non-Indian company (Travisa), prior to July.