Going through a complex process

Endless Waiting

Going through a complex process

For many expatriates in the City, visiting the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), Shantinagar can be quite a nightmare. Although they say that the process has improved recently, they feel that much more can be done to ease the procedure. Some of the expatriates in the City share their experiences at FRRO with ‘Metrolife’.

Jeanne D’Arc Jabbour, an expatriate, who has been visiting the office for the last three years, says that although a lot of streamlining has been done, there is scope for improvement.

“Some of the problems we face here are very specific to India. For instance, even though we go with all the documents that are listed on the website, on reaching the office, we find that additional documents are required. This can really be problematic,” she says. Jeanne adds, “Instead of those with different requirements queuing up together, it would be better if the queue is segregated right at the start. That will help in reducing the waiting period.”

Viviana from Colombia talks about a similar issue. “My only complaint is that the wait is too long. We end up spending the entire day there. The process becomes difficult because of the numerous documents that are required, about some of which are told to us at the office,” she says.

According to Glen Bailie, who recently got his visa extended, the system has vastly improved from the last two-and-a-half-years. “I have visited the office six times in the last two-and-a-half years. Previously, there was lack of awareness about the documents that we had to submit. The process has been highly streamlined,” says Glen adding, “Although I always ensure that I take the day off when I go to FRRO, I was glad to note recently that the staff has become more friendly.”

Ema Trinidad, founder of ExpatLife India, says there are many who dread going to the FRRO. “They say it’s very slow and it’s hard to get things done and sometimes one even has to pay a bribe. However, from my experience, I find that the ones who get hassled are those who have questionable documents or who are late in filing their papers and have no basic understanding of how things are done in India. But a virtue that must be developed by expatriates is patience, because that is really required for anything one does in India ,” she explains.

She adds, “You cannot rely 100 per cent on all the information you read on the immigration website of India. They are not always updated. And the laws and the rules of the Indian government keep changing and they are not able to update the website on time. A month before the visa expiry date, the person must go to the FRRO and ask for a complete list of all the documentary requirements.”

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