Lilypie - Birth Tracker

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We have embarked on a life-long journey to become a family. In June 2013, we have brought home two beautiful babies. Our family is now complete and our marriage formally recognized by state and federal laws.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

FRRO and you -- some info about the process


Before I begin, I would like to recommend to you to get Poonam's help to make things easier for a modest fee. She does all the paperwork and will give you additional insight about the process. Her assistant, Jagjit, is also very helpful (and funny -- we hit it off). Here is her contact email: poonam@pagl.in

I have read many blogs about people's FRRO experience. However, just reading these stories doesn't really prepare you with reality. Indeed, the descriptions on where to go and what to do, whilst I tried to imagine and picture them in my mind, were still not enough. Hence, I decided to include a crude floor plan and explain the process some more so that people can really have an idea about it, what to expect or do, and where to go. The sequence of events may change for you as the counters may get different assignments each day, but hopefully, it will help you figure things out easily.

FRRO floor plan

Anyway, it was a real experience going to the FRRO, and a truly bureaucratic process at its worst in a third world country. If you think going to the DMV in America is bad, then you'll love it compared to FRRO. We didn't think that hiring a nurse sitter will be a real help or any more advantageous to get the exit visa quicker so my partner and his father went with me. One surprise I got was the kindness that one officer at the outside waiting area showed us. We arrived at FRRO's outside waiting area at 9.15AM (even though we aimed to be there at 9.00AM). On the left "Other Nationals" section (see floor plan), the sheet of paper on the front table had 20 names already, and I was 21. The police officer (in his late 50's I think and has white patches of skin possibly due to burn) approached everyone to make sure that the names are on the sheet. Having seen the babies, the officer asked if I have signed up, and told him "yes, I'm number 21". He replied "that's too long. I will put you first". So, at around 9.30AM and the clerk for the table came and started setting up the process, the officer called me and we all went in front to see the clerk on the front table. The other people waiting in front also stood up and started hounding the clerk with their passports, which was fair enough because they were there first. Luckily, the officer pointed out that I have babies in the cocoons and so the clerk took my passport first, and wrote #1 on the piece of paper with the day's date (this is your token). We were then told to go through the door inside the builiding towards the aircon room where the actual office is located (see floor plan).  We just made an effort to have my partner at the sidelines and not stand out once we were inside the aircon waiting area. His father and I carried the babies and sat with them on the same row (my partner sat in the next row behind his father). The place is chaotic and people will take your seat if you stand up and leave, because the room is not exactly big and there are more people than available chairs.

The token (piece of paper with number and the day's date) is important so don't lose it. The Reception desk will call your number and this is where you will give your application packet, and the person will ask you to write a handwritten affidavit that you "promise to take care of your baby" once you are back in your country. After about an hour of waiting, one of the guys from the In-Charge desk asked me to see him. Standing next to his desk, he asked me a few questions, e.g. about my visa status (which was Tourist), my "single" status, why I'm not married or if I'll get married, and who will take care of the babies. Since we were both standing next to his desk, I thought the questioning wasn't an actual "interview" as I was expecting to be in a room with a woman (which many bloggers have mentioned in the past). After I answered his questions, he walked out and told me to wait again. 

After about 2 more hours of waiting (I had to feed my girl, and then my boy during this period), my partner and his father talked about how I should ask someone what the heck is going on with my application. There was some trepidation to approach anyone as being pushy might piss them off and make us wait longer than needed. Anyway, I decided to approach the In-Charge guy who "interviewed" me as I was holding and feeding my boy in my arms, and asked him the status of my visa application. He spoke with another guy in Hindi, and all I understood was "surrogacy". About 15 min later the other guy handed my application to me, and I was told to go to Counter 2. Another 30 min later in Counter 2 and few more questions from the person as he examined the papers, I was then told to go pay the Cashier, and then go to Counter 1 to get the actual visa stamp on the passport and an Exit Permit printout. This is about 20 min before 1.30PM when I queued for Counter 2, and as expected I was told to come back at 2.00 PM because everyone goes to lunch break at 1.30PM. I went back to see the babies and ate a snack bar. Afterwards, I went in front of Counter 2 before everyone comes back from lunch. Another 10 min or so, he asked me to get the print out from the printer -- this is the Exit Permit where you will attach/paste the photo of your baby. The guy stamped the Exit Permit, and then told me to go bring the passports and the permits to the In-Charge desk again for a final signature. That was it! We were done in just under 5 hours (just before the next feeding).

As we walked out down the ramp, I looked for the officer who helped me in the beginning, and saw him sitting on one of the chairs in the waiting area, reading a book. I approached him, shook his hand, and thanked him again for the kindness he showed towards me and my twins. I was tempted to give him cash as a "thank you gift", but because I didn't think it was appropriate or that it's likely against the law, I decided not to do it. The last thing I want is to be accused of bribery! 

I hope that you encounter him in your visit. You'll recognize him easily based on the white skin patches he has on his arms and neck area. Please thank him again for me when you see him.

Good luck to you. Cheers!



 

11 comments:

  1. Congrats on surviving the FRRO. Nice work on the layout--did you do this in Visio, or just Excel? :)

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  2. Thank you! As someone getting ready for this process, I really appreciate your insight. You are Awesome with a capital A.

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    1. You are very welcome. Hopefully, it won't take long for you to get the visa.

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  3. Thanks for all the good imformation , could you be so kind and post how much was the fee's and a example of what you wrote for the letter they ask you too write . Thanks and good luck

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    1. Hi Raquel, I paid INR 3780 (1620+2160) per child -- I think INR 1620 was a fine for having a Tourist visa, and INR 2160 was the Exit visa fee. So the toral came to INR 7560.

      The letter is along the lines of "I, *name*, a citizen of *country* (passport #), do solemnly swear that I will take care of my child when we arrive in my home country". you then sign and date it.

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  4. I just saw your diagram and the memories ALL came rushing back!! Lol, it's defiantly an experiance. :)

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    1. lol... A real unforgetable experience indeed!

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  5. I am so glad you survived the FRRO! Your children are beautiful, I am so happy for you both. Our kids are 5 months now, & I've been staying at home with them, wonderful. When do you return home. Drop me a message when you have some time howierutledge@hotmail.com

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    1. Hi Howie, thanks very much. I'll email you with more details later. Nice pics on your blog btw. Your kids are lovely. Cheers!

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  6. We just applied for the Surrogacy Visas. Babies are due in September... I am so tempted to get the tourist visa but was afraid of any changes that may occur till then. The surrogacy visa is so painful, there so much papers involved!!

    Thanks for the FRRO insight. Have a safe flight back!!

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    1. Thanks very much. Congrats to you! September will be here by the time you know it. :) Cheers!

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