US Consulate Still Stuck in the Stone Age

Applications will be accepted by carrier pigeons only. All fees to be paid in jowar, bajra, rice, barley, daal or cowdung cakes only.

The above is my own byline. It stems from utter frustration. I will be travelling home to Bombay in a week or so and one of the “compulsory” tasks I need to do this time around is get my H1-B stamped again on my passport.

And even before I venture to the consulate, the frustration at the whole exercise is in the red zone. I know that the US Consulate outsources its whole administrative and logistical process to some company, and many would say that its the company to blame for the processes. But I would put the US Consulate.

Just outsourcing a service does not make ” the end justifies the means” . To make the appointment for my visa application I need to pay a fee. And this fee can only be paid in person at an HDFC bank. Why in heaven’s sake can one not pay this online via a credit card? Who thought up this stupid rule? When the whole world is going plastic online and there are weeks when I never do cash transactions here in the US, I find it baffling. Someone has to think this out.

A person sitting in the US needs to make an appointment. But the fees for that need to be paid in person at a bank in India, prior to even making the appointment. Yes my sister will do it and that’s not a problem. But what of people who cannot get someone to do it for them? And the reason of online fraud cannot be used for not allowing credit card payments.

They take the entire application online including the passport details etc but cannot assure of a simple credit card transaction. Screw that ! Hopefully for all practical reasons this may be my last need to get an H1-B, so I will end it at that. If someone at VFS or the US Consulate reads this, please dont penalize me. I am just voicing my concerns as a citizen :)

4 Comments so far

  1. Scribble (unregistered) on February 14th, 2008 @ 12:04 am

    Hopefully for all practical reasons this may be my last need to get an H1-B, so I will end it at that.

    That, in a nutshell, is the reason why they don’t improve. All customers are essentially one-time customers–they will never provide any inducement to change.

  2. arZan (unregistered) on February 14th, 2008 @ 12:14 am

    Whoa Whao…..that’s some jumping to conclusions.

    This will be the sixth time i get a Visa from the US Consulate in the last 10 years.

    The only other time I have got it from somewhere else is recently from Nassau Bahamas. That experience was a breeze. Called a tel no. paid by CC got the appointment and paid the actual visa fee in cash/CC at the time of interview.

    Thats how it should be.

    The reason I said this would probably be the last time is because I am in line to get my green card approved and wont need a visa to enter the US.

  3. Radman (unregistered) on February 18th, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

    if you have an H1-B as you claim, then by definition you are not a citizen and not entitled to voice an opinion as a citizen. your name is now on our database of troublemakers and malcontents.

  4. arZan (unregistered) on February 18th, 2008 @ 11:22 pm

    RADMAN…..whew ! You have me really worried my friend.

    Just shows…stupid is what stupid writes. Take a walk

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