Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Registering at the Foreigners Office

The first thing I recommend to anyone moving here is to step off the plane and immediately go to the nearest passport photo shop and get ten or 12 made. You'll need them for applying to everything, the sports club, ordering your wireless internet, applying for school, getting a bank account, and registering at the Foreigners Office.

You have 14 days to provide proof of address, proof of employment, etc, and each office requires their own set of paperwork. On my first attempt, I went with my colleague and he said to not expect it to be completed that day, that this would just be a visit to ensure we had everything we needed. He was right. We had everything listed online, but they had other ideas.

At my particular office, I was required to bring a copy of my passport showing the photo page, date of entry page and the visa page. Same for my son. Then the form from the internet was not accepted. They had their own form, one for each of us. They required 4 photos for me, 2 for the minor. I needed a letter from my company confirming employment, plus my contract, and a letter from me requesting permission to live peacefully in their city with my son. This meeting took 45 minutes.

At my second appreance, which I did with my son in tow just in case, we had everything, but I had to go over every piece of paper with two different people, then sign my name to every page again in front of a third person. I also had every original with me. If I hadn't none of the copies would have been accepted. I also brought a second copy of everything just in case - I was told that a different office in the city required 2 copies. This meeting took about twice as long as the first meeting, and I was finally told to come back on the 14th. They didn't explain why, but I'm assuming I'll get a booklet confirming our registration.

It was a little less painful than going to the Department of Motor Vehicles in the US, except everyone is speaking a different language. I never realized how lost you can feel as an immigrant. People are making decisions for you based on your presentation of your paperwork - and you have no idea how things are being interpreted. Luckily I have found that, here in Kolkata, a smile, having a sense of humour and being patient, goes a long way.

Hindi toro samaste hain! :-)


Anonymous said...

Good luck..


Anonymous said...

simply great

Christmas Tree Widget By 123greetings.com