Securing an Indian Visa in The Hague
There’s a lot to think about when traveling for a year. As I’ve said before, I thought I had covered my bases fairly well. In the end I still think I’ve prepared fairly well however, daily, I’m reminded of things I could have, perhaps should have coordinated better. One of those things…securing visas.
As we sit in the Indian Visa Service Center in The Hague – the only place in the Netherlands for foreigners to secure a visa for India, I’m doubting our travel decisions. It’s not because we don’t want to explore India but rather that we should be going for more than the planned 3 weeks. After all, a visa to India is expensive and if we are granted one we will hopefully have 3 months…so, financially speaking we should be taking advantage and using all of our allotted time. We can return in the future, it’s true, but to do this we would have to secure an additional visa. This is one of those details I overlooked in planning. I did know we needed to obtain a visa, just like I knew we needed to get immunized against certain diseases. What I didn’t take into account was the expense of it all. As I’m sitting here I’m still not sure exactly how much we’ll have to pay. The information via Dutch website, translated, is really quite elusive.
What now seems prominent in my mind is the vast expense when dealing with a family of four. I have of course done this before in previous travels but always for only one person…so now for four, like everything, it seems so much more expensive…hence my thinking that we need to take advantage and stay for as long as possible-or not go at all.
This experience, hanging out in the non descript building, is just as I had warned my children: fairly bland governmental room, rows and rows of chairs, endless nationalities, not being able to understand anything around us and the waiting. And waiting. And waiting. We arrived 15 minutes after opening (a 6:45am departure was about as much as we could make this morning) and secured number 30 from the ticket machine as we walked through the door. One hour in they have gotten to number 18-not so bad by some accounts, not as bad as the forewarned – and perhaps threatened – 5 hours, sitting on the floor, no English, waaaittinggg. I had to set expectations to stave off the impatience.[This is where I’d like to insert a picture of my extremely well behaved international travelers but I fear picture taking may attract unwanted attention- after all, those visas are not yet in hand and it’s always a little dicey traveling with kids minus a second parent!] Stay tuned to find out how it goes…for now, we wait!