Armed with a formidable artillery of paperwork I entered the somewhat unwelcoming gate of the FRO. There again sat a few guards, ready to receive me with no interest whatsoever. The first one started to go through my backpack. By the time he had gotten down to a separated camera lens, he had to inquire from his colleague if it was ok or not. The colleague replied, unsurprisingly, that not only was the lens not ok since photographing was prohibited, but also that it didn’t even matter because the whole backpack was, indeed, not ok.
No worries, I was prepared for this, picked out the plastic folder with all paperwork and handed the backpack to Bhushan, who had helpfully agreed to come along. A signature and two metal detectors later I was back in the disorderly office of the FRO. I gravitated towards the info desk and waited calmly until the man behind it agreed to acknowledge my existence. I presented my case and got directed to cubicle number 2, after which – if everything was ok and stamped – I should proceed to clerks at booths 4 or 5.
You might have figured this out already, but I never made it to booths 4 or 5. My tactic was to spam them with all kinds of documentation and paperwork, most of it necessary but not all, that in it’s volume alone would be so convincing that a closer inspection was not necessary. But the man in the cubicle wasn’t having it, he’d seen too much of this to let it pass.
What my application was still lacking was the verification certification (see list of necessary documents in FRO – Part 1), which I can get in exchange for a stamped C-form. I had the C-form, but that wasn’t good enough. It has to be handed in to the local police station, in Baner. Actually Baner doesn’t have a local police station, so I don’t even know which one I should go to.
Anyways, that doesn’t even matter, because here’s the kicker: I can’t do it. It has to be submitted by the landlord of the premises where I’m staying. And it has to be done within 24 hours of my arrival, but we’re way past that so let’s forget about that.
So now I have to wait for the landlord to do some paperwork on my behalf. Once I have that, I can get the verification of residence, which I need stamped somewhere else before including it in my growing arsenal of bureaucratic armament.
On the other hand, what I heard from the other expats who have been doing a few rounds at that same circus, you can be rejected even because of the tiniest of details, so I’m not really keeping my hopes up of ever passing. Let’s see if I can get it done before I should apply for an exit visa – since it has to be done at the same office, and it might raise some interesting questions if I haven’t registered by then. Better bring some money for tea, if you know what I mean.