US Consulate in Mumbai Still in the Stone Age: Part I

Applications will be accepted by carrier pigeons only. All fees to be paid in jowar, bajra, or cowdung cakes only

The above is my own byline. It stems from utter frustration.

I will be travelling home to Bombay in a week or so and one of the “compulsory” tasks I need to do is get my H1-B stamped again on my passport. And even before I venture to the consulate, the frustration at the whole exercise is in the red zone.

I know that the US Consulate outsources its whole administrative and logistical process to some company, and many would say that its the company to blame for the processes. But I would put the US Consulate. Just outsourcing a service does not make ” the end justifies the means” .

To make the appointment for my visa application I need to pay a fee. And this fee can only be paid in person at an HDFC bank. Why in heaven’s sake can one not pay this online via a credit card? Who thought up this stupid rule? When the whole world is going plastic online and there are weeks when I never do cash transactions here in the US, I find it baffling.

Someone has to think this out. A person sitting in the US needs to make an appointment. But the fees for that need to be paid in person at a bank in India, prior to even making the appointment. Yes my sister will do it and that’s not a problem. But what of people who cannot get someone to do it for them?

And the reason of online fraud cannot be used for not allowing credit card payments. They take the entire application online including the passport details etc but cannot assure of a simple credit card transaction. Screw that !

Hopefully for all practical reasons this may be my last need to get an H1-B, so I will end it at that.

If someone at VFS or the US Consulate reads this, please dont penalize me. I am just voicing my concerns as a citizen 🙂

UPDATED: Title updated because there is even more. Read Part II.


  1. gawker February 13, 2008

    By the way be prepared to face delays in getting the visa. Some people had to wait for a month. It’s some new procedure they put in. Which is why the next time I go to India, I’m using the AP to get back in.

  2. arZan February 13, 2008

    Ya, I heard about the delays. Two colleagues went back home….one to India and other to Germany. Both came back a week later than they were supposed to. Sucks.

    I wouldve used my AP but I havent got the I-140 approved so dont want to take the risk.

  3. umber desi February 13, 2008


    I was in Bombay for the last two weeks and I had to go to the consulate to stamp my visa as well. One note of caution, the consulate has been giving additional administrative processing required notices to approximately 200 people a day for no reason. I was one of the unlucky ones to be picked up that delayed my processing by a week. I lost money as I was scheduled to travel to Europe on my way back and had to cancel my tickets. For most part the process is easy and you can even pick up your passport the same day from the VFS office in Breach Candy.
    As for VFS, besides the rule, I think they are very helpful. VFS does the processing for many other countries including Canada, UK and the Schengen countries. Have a great time in India and good luck with your visa appointment.

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