Nous sommes tombés par hasard sur ce texte écrit par un américain à propos de la bureaucratie indienne et des problèmes de visa. Ce qui est assez remarquable, c'est que c'est tout simplement le récit détaillé de ce qui est réellement arrivé à quelqu'un qui a voulu aller deux fois, à quelques jours d'intervalle, en Inde.
Nous avons laissé le texte en anglais, car la V.O. c'est toujours meilleur... Sa lecture vaut le coup !
Since I was traveling to India, I had also planned to visit my friend Khan, who I had been corresponding with on the internet for 6 years. We’d become great friends, but had never met in person. Since I started chatting with him, Khan had moved from his native Pakistan to Abu Dhabi, and when I knew I was coming to India, we arranged to meet in Dubai.
As discussed in the previous post, I flew from Delhi to Dubai and had a great visit. There are a few things I left out of that post, however, and this post contains what Paul Harvey would have dramatically called ‘The Rest of the Story!’
I arrived in Dubai on January 9th. I’d been in Dubai for a little over a day when I realized that I was missing Dan badly and decided to return to Delhi to be with him. Truth be told, I was also missing India. I’m someone who craves order and neatness, but the chaos of India had gotten under my skin, and Dubai’s order felt artificial and plastic to me.
Emirates was very accommodating in changing my ticket, and I arrived at the airport on January 11th, ready to return to Delhi and Dan. At the check-in counter, the agent brought up my ticket and examined my passport. “Oh!” she said, “you have recently been to India?”
“Yes, I only came to Dubai for a couple of days.”
“Yes, according to this stamp you just left India a few days ago. This is a problem.” She pointed to some fine print on my visa. “This visa says you must wait two months between visits.”
Holy fuck. I had read the ’2 month’ clause, but thought it applied to people who maxed out the 6-month-per-visit allotment. We went to talk to a supervisor. She confirmed, firmly, that I would not be able to fly back to India for two months. Was there anyone that I could speak with in the airport? No.
Okay. I had checked out of my hotel, I had a flight back to the U.S. from Delhi on the 15th, and I could not return to India for two months. Adventure!
Khan was with me, and together we grabbed a taxi and went searching for the Indian Embassy. We got there at 8am just as they were opening. Khan, being Pakistani, could not easily enter, so I bid him good-bye, and he left with the taxi.
After talking with several people inside, I was told that I could apply for an ‘Emergency Re-Entry Visa’. I would need photocopies of my passport, as well as a print-out of my flight leaving India. I also needed to fill out a form asking for the visa. I needed to find an internet café and a copy machine.
I left the embassy and flagged down a taxi. I asked them to take me to an internet café, which were hard to find at 9am in the morning. We eventually found one that was open, and I was able to print out my British Air itinerary. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a copy machine. I paid them for the time and print-outs, and went walking down the street. A block away I came across a hotel. I went in and asked them if they could make passport copies for me. They were very nice, and did so at no charge.
I found a taxi and returned to the Embassy. An official there made me sit for 20 minutes before looking at my paperwork. He shuffled the papers, stapled them together, and then stamped and signed each page carefully. Then he sent me to a different window on a different floor to submit the paperwork.
I made my way to the new location. Behind the window was the same official who had signed and stamped my papers. “Yes?” he said, as though he had never seen me before. I handed the papers through the slot. “30 dirham” he requested. I had a Dh100 note, and handed it through the window. He looked like I had slapped a pile of my own feces on his desk. “No change!” he said. Where could I get change? “Try the Hall of Attestation” he suggested, “they deal with money.”
The Hall of Attestation was a small auditorium. Along one side were a number of men at desks, and in front of them were lines of chairs, many filled with waiting people. It wasn’t clear to me whether there was a queue, so I asked a security guard where I could get change. He led me to one of the desks. When I asked the man there for change, he first rolled his eyes and then handed me change for my Dh100.
I returned to the window and handed over my Dh30. The man behind the glass told me to come back the following day at 4pm. “Is there any way I could get it now?” I asked. “Tomorrow, 4pm” he said. “Is there any way to expedite the process?” I queried. “Tomorrow, at 4pm” he said much more slowly, as though I were retarded.
Okay, so I wasn’t going to be able to leave Dubai early. But on the positive side, if I had tried to return to Delhi on the 13th as I had originally planned, I would have been delayed even longer and would have missed my flight back to the United States.
I returned to the Consulate at 2pm the next day, January 12th. After being bounced from one office to the next, I was standing in front of the man who had my passport. “Is my re-entry visa ready, sir?” I asked. He picked it up from his desk and held it in front of me. “It will be ready at 4pm.” he said, and then went back to stamping papers. Seriously, these guys love stamps.