OCI – Overseas Citizen of India follies

Overseas Citizen of India Card and the follies of the Indian embassy in NYC!

11/24/2014

After 4 years of hunting, I’m finally going to proceed to get my OCI card!

Yes fans, I finally found my long lost Naturalization certificate that the Indian Government wanted so desperately to see!

Whopee

8/2/2010: Here’s an update on my OCI situation.. I was of course rejected by the Indian Government in my application for the OCI card,  as I could not provide a Naturalization certificate.

BTW, this will cost me an additional $380 to be paid to the the homeland security team in the US. So my total cost for an OCI in the end will be about $810.

  • $275 (fee) + $175 (surrender certificate) + $380 (Replacement Naturalization certificate).

In addition, the $350 we had to pay to the Indian Government is gone.. with no hopes of getting that back.

My wife and kids are now approved for their OCI which they will get in the next few weeks.

I gotta tell you this whole experience has left me shaking my head in disbelief at the ineptitude of the Indian politicians that want our dollars, but make is to difficult for anyone to get an OCI. For the worlds largest democracy, this whole experience has left a bad taste in my craw..

Oh, I will get my OCI later than sooner, but after this I do hope I never have to deal the process that ties you up in knots when you are trying to do a good thing for both your family and yourself.

6/2/2010:

So today I found out that the Indian Government does have some level of common sense. The famous Mrs. Pushpa Kumar of the Indian Consulate of New York sent me an email saying the Indian government had rescinded the regulation on the requirement of the attestation rule.  Whoo, Whoo, Happy days..

I guess the hundreds and thousands of petitions that were submitted by frustrated people to the Indian government did have an impact. Unfortunately for me, I’m still out the $350 that I had to pay for a piece paper which enforced an regulation that never should have been enforced in the first place. So now they want us to resubmit our applications so they can continue to reconsider our application.  Let’s see how far we get this time when we resubmit our application. ..

Dear Sir/Madam,

A large number of OCI cards received from New Delhi have not been collected by the applicants. Applicants are requested to check the status of their application online: http://ociindia.nic.in/ociindia/OnlineOCIenquiry.jsp and if their documents are at the Consulate, they should arrange collection of their OCI card and ‘U’ visa. Detailed procedure is given at: http://indiacgny.org/php/showContent.php?linkid=177&partid=100&sub=sub6.

The documents required for the purpose are: (i) US passport in original; (ii) a print out of the online status which can be obtained by hooking on to the above mentioned site; (iii) return mailing charges of US$20 (if not already paid) by way of money order/bankers’ check (if the documents are required by mail). The OCI applicants who have valid Indian passports or whose passports have expired but not cancelled may kindly ensure that they also send their Indian passports so that these can be cancelled by the Consulate.

Due to a recent requirement of surrender certificate, some OCI applications were returned to the applicants with a request to furnish the surrender certificate with the application. This requirement has now been withdrawn. If your application was returned, you may wish to resubmit your application. Before sending the application, kindly ensure that it is complete in all respects (details may be seen on our website: www.indiacgny.org) and the application and supporting documents are in duplicate.


With regards,


Consulate General of India, New York

Here’s an update on the worldwide uproar on the strict enforcement of the surrender of Indian Passports as it relates to getting an OCI card;

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/05/28/2010-05-28_india_nationals_irate_over_new_rules_for_visas_and_passports.html

Basically, this new rule makes the people that want to visit India, unable to visit, due to the complex and bureaucratic enforcement of a rule that was never really enforced.. As they say in India.. Welcome!

Over the past month since my return from my vacation, my wife and I have been going through the process of getting our Overseas Citizen Of India Cards (OCI) for our family. Well let me tell you something, if you want to taste frustration in all its glory of dealing with the Indian government and it’s processes, you need to experience this process at least once in your life.

In the past (Only a few months ago!),  I  it was very easy to get the OCI card.  You filled out the necessary paper work, paid the $275 per person and within a few months voila you had the OCI card!

Well someone in the Indian government decided that hey, let’s make this as difficult as possible for ANYONE of Indian descent to get the OCI card. Well they succeeded!

Here’s some of the exasperating scenarios my wife and I faced:

  • After following the myriad of requirements for applying for a family of four, we submitted our application as per the on-line instructions using the completed  downloaded applications. Wow ain’t technology grand.  This was the easiest part (at least I thought so initially).
  • AFTER we submitted our application about a month ago, the Indian Government and it’s agency the Consulate General of India in NYC decided that they wanted to make things difficult and miserable for all applicants of Indian Descent (of course if you were born in the US, youwere spared the misery – at least this is  good news for my U.S. Born children!)
    • Without prior notification on May 7th, the Indian Gov’t changed the rules!
    • Now they wanted in addition to their original paperwork, they wanted US naturalized citizens (of which my wife and I am), to submit a “Surrender of Indian Citizenship Attestation Form” (SICA)which has to be notarized with an additional fee of $175 per person.
    • US Citizens have to submit a “COPY of their Naturalization Certificate“, their Indian Passport and a copy of their respective US Naturalization certificate.
      • For those who don’t know, copying a naturalization certificate is against United States Government and Immigration Rules! This rule is clearly stated on the naturalization certificate.


  • In order to  get our attention, we received  a cryptic email from the consulate general (initially I thought this was a phishing scam), saying you need to fill out the SICA in order for our application to be processed.
  • The email that I got from “Mrs. Pushpa Kumar” is sampled below.

Dear Applicant,

Please refer to your application(s) for the OCI status which has been received in the Consulate recently.

As you are aware, Consulate General of India, New York, receives a very large number of applications for OCI status. In order to deal with the heavy rush of applications in the past few months, we had constituted a task force and put in extra efforts to clear the applications. In fact, all OCI applications, which were received in the Consulate till April 30, 2010 and found to be complete, have been processed.

Meanwhile, the Consulate has received instructions from the Government of India that applicants for all services, including OCI/PIO applications (including those whose applications are under process or whose OCI documents have not yet been delivered) are required to submit a Surrender Certificate for cancellation of the Indian passport and renunciation of the Indian citizenship. Details are posted on our website: www.indiacgny.org. Kindly note that submission of Surrender Certificate is a mandatory requirement and the OCI/PIO applications can not be processed nor can OCI documents be issued without the aforementioned certificate. This is not applicable to the foreign-born children who never held Indian passports. However, their parents held the Indian citizenship in the past and they are advised to obtain the Surrender Certificate for future reference.

Kindly furnish the Surrender Certificate urgently so that further action on your OCI application/OCI documents can be taken by the Consulate.

We regret the inconvenience caused.

Assuring you of our best considerations.

With regards,

Consulate General of India, New York

  • Of course if you call the consulate in NYC or you reply to the cryptic email, you will not have no luck as the consulate does not believe in picking up the phone or replying to emails! The line that really made me snicker was  “Assuring you of our best considerations“.
  • When we originally applied in April, this rule was not in play, so post application we were the lucky recipients of this new ruling by the Indian Government!

We scanned the OCI site and it’s associated FAQ site and both pages contradicted each other on the NEW requirements to get the OCI ! The only consistency was the need for the Surrender certificate!

So we filled out the surrender form, got the bank check for the extra $350 and we figured we were on the right path! Wrong!

My wife Mady went to NYC to the consulate on her day off to expedite the revised process and what she saw there was total chaos.  Lines out the door, nasty information clerk who was yelling at, other people that were in the same boat we were in, and just general arguing and mini fights were breaking out on the huge lines (at least 75 deep), and overall it was just an unbelievable scene. Keep in mind, many of these people came from out of state so they could address this new rule.

If you have ever gone to the Indian Consulate in NYC, you can empathize with what I wrote about above.  Even though you are in NYC, you are on Indian Soil and as the natives say in India:  “This is India”. Basic consideration for customer service does not apply. Clerks can walk away from their station and “disappear” for extended periods, lunch time is lunch time, and of course the courtesy factor or lack therefore of

So Mady was (understandably) frustrated/exhausted/fed-up by mid-afternoon and came home without accomplishing her goal.

So today, Mady went back for the second time in two weeks, to the consulate in NYC  first thing in the morning, hoping to submit our application with our surrender notification.  She went through multiple gyrations, because of my missing naturalization certificate and the fact that the consulate insisted on having an Indian Passport of an Naturalized US citizen.. When we both were naturalized over 20 years ago, we both had surrendered our passport to the US government, as was the rules at that time!

What she told me she saw at the consulate was beyond belief. Crying infants, adults, and just chaos in general.

I have to hand it to Mady for her patience and diligence. She ran around uptown Manhattan trying to notarize mutiple  handwritten notes saying both of us were denouncing our Indian Citizen ship so we can continue the process to get the OCI card!

Her first effort with the hand written notorized note was rejected by the consulate for being “too sloppy”. So she had to rewrite the note and get it re-notorized. This of course meant, she had to go out and get the revised “neat” note notarized.

After spending all day in NYC at the consulate,  Mady was finally able to re-submit our forms for OCI consideration.

I have to give Mady a big thumbs up for being courageous enough to walk through the valley of stupidity that is so rampant in the Indian consulate. Now, I’m not usually this passionate about my views, but for any government agency to have customer facing people so rude and insensitive, there is something really wrong with this picture.

Like I said, it’s a good thing I was not there, otherwise, I’d have been arrested for being the cause of the riot that would have taken place. The level of incompetence is just beyond belief at this consulate. Doesn’t the consul general care about what is going on here?

Of course now the cost for this process has gone up to almost $400 for each of us! I guess, it’s priceless this experience (Similar to the American Express Commercial).

Let’s see what happens over the next few weeks.  If the stars align and our fortunes are lucky, we should not have any additional issues.

Yet, my gut instinct says that as I write this Ms. Pushpa Kumar has some more emails she would like to send to me!

Life’s Toughest 25 Questions Answered

Answers to the 25 most difficult answers in life!

My brother sent me this link and I thought it would be a great “Quick Hit” for everyone to say: hmmm…

Life’s 25 Toughest Questions – Answered

I gotta hand it to my brother:  because of him now I now now:why no matter where I go, the  slowest line  is always the one I’m standing on (#6)

DealMap – Deals by zipcode

Using your zipcode and google maps to find deals!

As many people know, Dad’s taxi  is always looking for a good deal and or a freebie.. Today I came across a site when I was reading my weekly email from Clark Howard that I really liked.

DealMap uses Google maps to put put pins on a map for deals in various categories for the zip code you key in. Once you key in your zip code, you will see a listing of deals in the area with pins on the deals.

Personally, I loved DealMap’s unique concept for finding deals in my local area! Next stop, Groupon (daily deals by city)

I’ve added both sites to my link section of my blog.. Hope you enjoy.

Netflix on Wii – Wow

watching my favorite movies on Wii!

A few days ago, I got my 2 month “Free” subscription to Netflix at the encouragement of my 11 yr old. She actually made a very strong argument.

For $8.95 you can set up a watch list and watch all your favorite TV shows on TV using the wii without actually recording on the DVR or going to Hulu. Just use the Netflix service to view the movies, shows you want to watch!

Today, we got the wii disk and started watching.. Now the problem is when do I actually get to watch the movies and shows I want to watch?

I guess I’ll have to go back to my laptop and watch the streaming movies there..

Check it out..

Mady Mo – New Blogger Beware!

Mady Mo is now a Wordpress Blogger!

So my wife joined the world of blogging this evening.. Yes, if you felt the 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Central New Jersey, it was due to this earth shattering event.

If  I sound humorous about this venture, I am because, Mady is one technophobe that I never thought would enter the blogging universe.

She of course created her blog as a private blog, so she can put her words out to the world, but NOBODY will ever hear these “pearls of wisdom”.

I do congratulate MM on her venture into the blogsphere universe, but to be really heard, she should at least invite me to her private world.. on the other hand, I’d rather stay on my own planet.. This of course is related to the famous book: “Men are Mars, Women are from Venus”.  As a matter of fact, in my house, it’s a known fact that 2 planets that are so far apart, should never collide… 🙂

I do wish her luck in her blogging venture, perhaps now, she will be able to document all those brilliant ideas that she’s constantly having…

Dad…

IndoLinks Page Updated

Updated page for the Global Indian! Indolinks are freshly pressed!

Finally had a chance to update the IndoLinks page. I cleaned up the page and added some new links to Desi Hits and other sites.

Looking for some input from my readers on new sites.

Coming soon a few days on Bharatbeat is a complete redesign which includes:

  • Site of the Day
  • Blog of the day

Bharatbeat is the heart and soul of the global Indian.

Twitter and Facebook Links Created

Created a new section for really useful Facebook and Twitter links!

Take a look at the links to the right.. I added a whole bunch of Twitter and Facebook links!.. enjoy..

iPad 3G reviews – FYI

iPad 3G review from Mashable and iLounge..

I know as a tech junkie, I’m dying to go out there and buy the new Apple 3G iPad.. but I’m still waiting my next fix the version of the iPhone scheduled to be released by Apple in June..

Here’s a quick hit fix if you want to get the details on the iPad 3G:

iPad Reviews:

If you are looking for a review of the new iPad 3G here are a few sites which give you a wealth of review related information. Mashable gives you
“The Good, Bad, and the Ugly”, and iLounge gives you a detailed review on the 3G model.. So have you gone out and bought the iPad 3G. Tell us
we’d like to know.

Enjoy..

Teenage Profiling in NJ – License Plate tags

Teenage Profiling on the road is alive and well in NJ in 2010!

An update to my post on Teenager’s and profiling:

This week my teen daughter passed her road test and the topic of profiling was a daily conversation in our house.  Believe it or not, I found myself on the side of having these tags! Now you’ll wonder what changed my position over a week?

  1. Having these tags actually,  makes teenager’s drive MORE carefully, due the psychology of having these tags on your car. My daughter had and extensive conversation with her girlfriend and she even admitted that having these tags made her drive more cautiously so she wouldn’t break as many rules of the road that she was breaking!
  2. These tags are providing a sense of responsibilty to teens. They know that they are responsible for their actions when they drive and they are being watched. Perhaps this is an exaggeration of the fact, but I know my daughter is taking her “provisional license” with a sense of new found responsibility since she knows that she will be profiled when she is out on the road!
  3. From the feedback that I received from my daughter, the teens in her high school absolutely hate the tags! The feel that these tags are invading their privacy when they are driving.. Well let me tell you something, teens don’t have any privacy when they drive, if they cut me off or tailgate me.

I was in the DMV the past weekend to get a duplicate for my lost registration card. It was a madhouse. Since yesterday was May 2nd,  a new law had just gone into effect in NJ. Teenagers need to have these red tags on the plates of each car they drive. A pair of these tags cost $4.

Update: These tags are NOT magnetic and will fall off your plates within a day or two.. They sure would not stick on my car.. we decided to put them in the glove compartment in case we were stopped by the local authorities of Middletown.

My first reaction to these tags:

  • With the amount of tags being purchased, I could only assume that the budget deficit could easily be solved in one day by the sale of these tags to parents of teenagers.

This impacts me directly as I have a teenager at home, who will be getting her drivers license in a few weeks.  P had purchased these tags from her driving school.

Results of these Tags for NJ Parents/Teenagers:

  • Letting everyone know that a teenager is driving.
  • Allowing the police in NJ to be on the look out for teenage drivers. This is what I call teenage profiling.
  • Guaranteed income increase for local townships in NJ, with increase in traffic violation ticket to not just teenager but to parents who have these tags on their cars!

I personally don’t agree with this legislation. as this is similar to racial profiling, but targeted towards teenagers and their parents.

As we all know, once a teenager gets his/her drivers license, the parent already pays for teenage driver rates for car insurance.

I don’t get it.. NJ already has the highest insurance rates in the United States. Adding these tags into the mix, just increases costs for the teenagers parents… I invite your thoughts on this topic!

Dad..