Tuesday, 3 November 2015

An Indian Mission in Lisbon

To tell the story right I have to start from the beginning. All the way back to when I started the trip planning the waypoint route of travelling the world. Where should I go and when would I reach there. India was a possibility but there was hurdles.

I considered very hard how to get to India. With my work being in construction especially in Singapore, I work with loads of Indian community of various status. Heck my boss is an Indian from India. 2nd round travelling and this time friends and family knew that I was serious when I said I was taking a year off. From all my Indian colleague in work the saying was unanimous ….

India was one of the few countries that I had to apply for Visa. India visa expires six months after approval so I was stuck. Plan to visit India was at the end of my 1 year trip where I could cruise along on a low budget if I somehow burn it all along the way. I decided to fly to Kathmandu instead where they give Visa on arrival for a fee.
Midway of my journey and I was now within that six months window and I decided to try and get that Indian visa since the idea has been bugging me for a while now. Lisbon had an Indian Mission, or consulate where I could get a Visa and the next nearest place would be London. No harm trying I thought since I was going to Lisbon anyway.

Prior to arriving in Lisbon a few days earlier I had send in some enquiry through the email provided online. They told me to just apply and fill in someone’s name for reference in India and a sponsor in Portugal. They also told me to print out proof of money that I have to travel India. I filled out the online application form and actually put NA for the reference people in India and Portugal and it went in online.
In Lisbon I went to the embassy but have no idea if they would turn me down for I had no reference in India and definitely no sponsor in Portugal. Took my queue number and went in for the wait. I was there early, 9 am and numbered within the single digits. Waiting about I saw other attachment that was held by people around waiting to apply their visa … the application form specified 2 inch by 2 inch photograph but I only had the 2 inch by 1 inch photograph …. Paranoia ran through my mind the whole 2 hours that I waited in line.

Interview for an Indian Visa
Joana the officer did not ask much of proof. I just passed her the application form and viola it was being processed quietly. Two question was asked which was expected.

Are you a resident of Portugal?
No ….. and I explained that I was backpacking and hence could not apply from my home country

When are you going in India
I fly into Kathmandu on 25 July I explained and would take either a bus or train to India from there

That was all Joana asked of me. The carefully prepared and printed out proof of finance was held in my hand and never shown to her. Proof of flight ticket was not shown either. In fact she did not even asked if I have a plane ticket in and out of India nor did she ask where I would be staying in India. I guess a backpacker charm was understood that we poor backpackers can never make up our minds
67 Euro I paid for the Visa and she told me to return 2 weeks later. Shit. ….. after a slight begging I got her to agree to a week later. Now I am stuck in Lisbon …. Having 8 days to burn before retrieving my passport and able to leave Portugal. I am in a dilemma to figure out which country do I skip in Europe while I wait for my passport to be returned.

A week later I got my passport back without any troubles with the beautiful sticker of an Indian Visa.

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