A10 US NEWS India Abroad January 10, 2014
Ever since Delhi-based BLS Inter- national took over as the service providerfor Indianpassports, visas
etc, October 1, 2012, harrowing tales of
poor service have surfaced.
The office conditions in New York,
where visas, Overseas Citizenship of
India, Person of Indian Origin and citizenship renunciation cards are serviced,
is best described by Dr Indru T
Khubchandani from Allentown,
Pennsylvania, in a letter to India Abroad.
‘In a dingy indescribable building,
‘So he walked up the stairs, to a mini-
mally furnished, minimally staffed, suite
with minimal signs, where he was asked
to come the next day. He returned the
next day only to see a sign ‘Closed for
Harish K, who went to the BLS office
in connection with his OCI Card appli-
cation, found it staffed with very young
people, probably recent college gradu-
“It is very difficult to get the right
information,” he said. “It is evident that
they have little training about the rules
of visas or OCI.”
New Jersey-based community activist
Pradip (Peter) Kothari said he could not
understand why it took 3 to 4 weeks to
get a visa to India. Earlier, it was done in
3 to 4 days.
Kothari added that India’s New York
consulate deserved to be blamed equally
ire over poor passport,
‘My application with all the documentation
and fee and a prepaid United Parcel Service
envelope were delivered to BLS, New York
November 26, 2013 at 12.33 pm.
The BLS Web site showed that they received
it December 4, 2013. The application was
then submitted to the New York consulate,
which returned it to BLS December 12, with
But there was no update on the BLS site till
December 15. Later the services provider said
they dispatched the passport December 17,
but UPS had no record.
When I managed to get through to them
over the phone, it was difficult to understand.
They do not show any signs of having been
trained properly and give unreliable, contradictory or scripted information.’
Dilip Das, retired GE International
executive, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
‘My husband Sajan, a lecturer in Princeton’s
Writing Program, and many others waited 3
hours in the cold to get inside the door, just to
pick up his visa.
It was his 4th attempt. He had been turned
away on three prior occasions after standing
outside in the cold for several hours each
Most of the people in this line didn’t even
get inside the BLS offices by 6 pm, when the
Anne Noyes Saini, editor, economics
department, Princeton University
‘I have traveled around the world to many
different countries, but never had such a horrifying experience in getting a visa. I started
the process in August, and finally received my
visa December 3, too late to attend a family
event in India.
The BLS Web site is not user friendly at all.
It is confusing and not easily accessible. Visa
forms do not have enough space to fill out
The requirements for getting a visa are
ambiguous and do not specify the so-called
At the bottom of the BLS order form, there
is a save button but it is not for saving the
document, it is for getting the tracking number which comes in your e-mail if you are
Since I did not want to save the order form,
I did not click the Save button, hence no
tracking number. Why don’t they say, ‘Click on
save button’ to get the tracking number?
No one contacts you if some information or
document is missing. They simply return all
the documents and you have to start the
whole process all over again. There is no help
button. No one answers the telephone or e-mails.’
Devika Malhotra, retired professor, Corona,
A long line of applicants outside the BLS
office in New York share their woes with
Norman Solovay, chairman, Indo-American
Global Chamber of Commerce, right.