My Experience with the Embassy of India in Manila

Are you a Filipino going to India?

Be warned. You may be in for a great deal of frustration.

I've been spending the past week arranging my visa for my Action Consultancy (AC) in India. (The AC is equivalent to AIM's industry internship for its MBA students; I'll blog more about this in future posts). The frustration has really been mounting because of the very confusing and Byzantine system of the Indian embassy here in the Philippines.

First point of frustration: the customer service. I initially called the embassy to clarify the requirements and procedures. The embassy has an automated answering system that has a selection where a caller can get an itemized list of requirements. That's all. No information of procedures, steps or guidelines. I selected the option to talk to a staff member and when I asked my query, she told me I'll find everything I need at the Indian Embassy website. If you look at the site, there are some information, but not the ones I'm looking for.

The second point of frustration is the "appointment system" instituted by the private subdivision where the office is located and the consulate. Here's my experience: I entered the area where there are several guard checkpoints and they inquired what's my business. I told them that I'm going to the Indian embassy to apply for a visa. They barred me from entering because I do not have an official appointment with the embassy. I told the security personnel to give me a minute to call the embassy to set up an appointment.

Immediately, I called the embassy on my mobile phone and was able to talk to a Visa Office staff. I asked to be scheduled for an appointment and to my surprise, she said the embassy DOES NOT schedule appointments. To my agitation, I asked the staff how could I apply if I couldn't even get in their office. The embassy officer told me that I had to PAY for a courier service to submit my requirements and visa payments. The courier fees add an additional 30% to the fees a person pays for the visa.

A few days later, I learned that after calling the embassy and visiting the site, I still had missed a requirement. I failed to add PhP200.00 for the courier fee for their end. I immediately remitted the amount but that translated to a total of two days delay in processing. There was nowhere in the website that there was a PhP200 fee, not even on the application form. So much for finding everything on the Indian embassy website.

I've already paid extra and suffered some delays because of the lack of updated information from ANY source. My classmates who are processing their visas or have had their visas processed before have gone through the same frustrating experience with the Indian embassy here in Manila. I'm sure the Indian embassy policies are grounded on control, but if they are going to subject visa applicants to a run-around, there has to be a balance between security and convenience.


pet said…
i don't want to comment about india, its embassy, nor its procedures lest i be accused of racism and discrimination. i've had my share of bad experiences with east asians.

i am curious though why AC in india is the "MBA student's industry internship." why AC? moreso, why india? as you mentioned in your post, you will discuss more about this topic in the future. can't wait ;-)
Hey! :D

I've made the little clarification in the post, but the AC is what AIM calls its internship for th MBA students.

Yeah, I'll chronicle my Indian adventure in future posts. Stay tuned! :D

As for the Indian embassy, it's really not about them, but it's really how they operate. It could have been the US embassy or the Singaporean embassy-- if they are not clear about information, then that means a lot of confusion for everyone.
Anonymous said…
Send this post to the Indian Ambassador there - he should be made aware of how red tape is destroying the image of the country abroad -
Anonymous said…

Thanks for showing concern and not commenting about India and still expressing what you wanted to say.

Well as far as administrative issues goes same is the case with AIM. I'm not even talking about the embassy I'm talking about the admission process hassles.

People do have good or bad experiences and even I could've commented a lot but reciprocating your considerate nature even I won't comment.
@ Anonymous (2):

Thanks for the feedback, but I guess people applying for a visa have to learn the current "procedure" somewhere. I'll be happy if this blog post will be that source until the embassy updates its website.
Anonymous said…

I respect your point of view and I understand your intention behind posting your experience.

But I wasn't too happy the way @Pet started his commnet. We as a developing world do have a lot of administrative loopholes which need to be corrected so that life is made easier and simpler for others. My intention was just to say it is true for every developing country be it east Asian, India, Phillipines or for that matter an African country. I was searching about AIM the other day and I got my hands on to an article posted somewhere by a student of French origin. He had similar things to say about Phillipines and he had stated that to get a student visa for Phillipines was not agood experience for him.

I'm quite sure these bad experiences may happen with a developed european country.

As a person I do believe if we want to make a better world we should try not to concentrate on the bad experiences but on much brighter sides which I'm sure will co exist.

Anyways I welcoem you to India and I'm sure you'll have much better experiences to share with your friends. By the way which company you are joining here?
Kumar said…
Regnard .. visa processes are a pain in the .. I have dealt with the Indian Embasy and its not fun even though I am an Indian. But since you are posting, you should ask your Indian class mates about the run around we had when coming to AIM. Most embassies are equally bad. The only embassy I have had no trouble with is Canada. Go figure...
Well hope it gets sorted soon! You should email the ambasador though.

Ycerp said…
Regnard, three words:

"Nagtaka ka pa?!"
pet said…
whoooha! did i just hit a nerve?

the issue here is the indian embassy in manila, not the philippine embassy in india or anywhere else in the world. go and post your bad experiences, no one is stopping you.

i am reacting to regnard's bad experience with the indian embassy who happens to employ, i would like to assume, indian nationals.

as mentioned, i too have my share of bad experiences with east asians, particularly indians. so what's the problem with that? if people get offended by me sharing it, then that is really your problem.

so, regnard, go break a leg in india!

how long are you staying there for your internship? is AC the only company AIM students can go to? i'm really curious about that company.
@ pet:

I think it's normal for people to react defensively if something close to them is being criticized. A lot of people, even Filipinos react that way-- remember when Claire Danes slammed Manila for its untidiness? She even got a persona non grata from the city.
Thanks for the well wishes. I do hope I'll do good there. :D
@ Kumar:

Yeah, nice point. I would still have reacted the same way even if were the Canadian embassy that had those policies.
@ precy:

For the benefit of others:
"Nagtaka ka pa?!" = "You still wondered?!" or "You still got surprised?!"

I was optimistic, but I was not expecting to get though with it unscathed.
Anonymous said…
usually things like these have politics involved in it. The reason that visas are issued is also political in a sense. The way the indian embassy operates here for the filipino's is the exact same way the philppine embassy operates in india. Furthermore, usually countries without much diplomatic ties give their citizens trouble for trying to get visa's. Thus the "incompetence" that has been mentioned by regnard isnt really incompetence, rather a way for them to show that there isnt much diplomatic ties with the country to begin with. So ignorance to this issue really is why people get mad, and suddenly feel that the office is incompetent.
@ Anonymous (4):

Sorry, I have to call you out on this one: I did not call the process of getting the visa an "incompetence" of the embassy. Please read my post again.
John Wesley said…
If you ask me, I don't know what all this long thread of discussion is all about / for. Bottom line is straight forward and simple: (1) This chap had a difficult time at the Indian embassy.

Some of you folks talking about politics, getting defensive and saying how this is the same with AIM, the Philippines and all that jazz is just irrelevant. Still doesnt take away the fact that he had a lousy experience at an Indian Embassy, does it? You folks walk around with that thinking process and I can bet my good month's salary that you'll get creamed inside the AIM case rooms --- if you manage to get in, in the very first place.
@ Wesley:

Wow! That comment was as mean as a bitch-slap. :P

Like I've said before, the whole point of this post is for information and potentially improvement. If things stay the same, then more people will have probably worse experiences. :D
Ella said…
I've also run into some difficulty in applying for a visa with the Indian Embassy in Manila. I was curious as to how many people have written about it in their blogs, and I found yours through google. I'm quite frustrated with the whole process, but I've run out of ideas on getting around the application problems.

So, I guess I'll be sending my application through courier as well. My question for you is which courier service did you use and how long did the whole process take?

Your tips/comments based on your past experience would be very helpful. Thanks!

I used LBC's service... It took about 2 days, but I had to pay a LOT because of the expedited service.
vamshidhar thallapalli said…
INDIA is the most dirtiest,ignorant,piece of shit country in the world.

Ummm... I guess you're angry about something...
melissa said…
hi! i wasnt aware n mahirap pala pumunta s indian embassy sbi kc s website nila pumunta lang bet. 9-12 db? i am also going to apply for a visa, so i think i should know kung pano b magpa-courrier? can u pls help me w/ this? cnabi nyo lang b s LBC tapos alam n nila un procedure? also ano b un complete requirements para naman di n magdoble doble ang ibayad ko. ang alam ko lang kc return ticket, passport copy tsaka ung form. ipapadala ko rin b ung original passport ku? i need to do all this within two weeks kc nakaschedule n un flight ko... so pls help!!
KG said…
Well I think it is more of an issue between Dasma Management and the embassy. Dasma wants the embassy out and making it tough.

One easy way, ask your Indian friend to apply for you. They allow Indians to go.
elaiplane said…
Hi! I just read your post. I found it very helpful for me. I have been searching for post that talks about tourist application in Inida. Please let me know if the process still the same today. I want to apply it with in this week or next week. please let me know.
American Desi said…
I feel for you, and am sorry about your experiences. I'm an Indian who lives in the west, somewhere, and is married to a Filipina. I went to the Indian embassy in Manila for some paperwork. The Indian embassy officials were rude, and so were the Filipino clerks they employed. The embassy clowns couldn't even speak English properly.

The Indian embassy is also racist. They won't let Filipinos into their compound if they are not accompanied by Indians. How racist is that?! Not too long ago, we had the British raj with "No Indians and dogs allowed". Now, Indians are doing the same thing in other countries... filtering on basis of race.... very nice.

The Philippine embassies I've been to have been very nice to me. Indian embassies I've been to in US and Manila hire typical jokers that you see in govt organizations in India. Even the American embassies I've been to were nice to me.
Anonymous said…
I agree with you. I also went through that ..way back 2005. I don't know if you are familiar with the chinese looking lady in the front desk..she's so very rude and acting as if she's the ambassador. There are a lot of ways to deal with applicants, but the way she acted shows how dumb she is.

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