If you read the visa word and came over, take note this is not a credit card hawking post. Just a simple rant! Now that we have that out of the way, lets begin.
For the upcoming oneworld MegaDo, I signed on for the optional segment across the pond in London. A few days ago, while flipping through my passport, I realised my UK visa had expired and I needed a new sticker. Usually, since I travel often on work, I count on the office to pay for my visa expenses, but this being a personal trip, I started to read the rules. Here is what came up at the section for visa charges:
Now here is my problem. This is plainly the most expensive visa I have every applied for. I am a limited globetrotter. I’ve been to only some 15-20 countries in my few years of travel. Maybe I’ll do a 100 by the time I retire from travelling. When I queued up to get my visa for the USA last year, they gave me a 10 year multiple entry B1/B2 for about 6000 Rs (150$) approximately. When I applied for this one, I got a 6 months visa for the same amount of money. If I really wanted to save myself the hassle and get a 5 year long visa, lets say, it’d hit me by 800$ at least. I think i pay 30$ including agent fees for a Singapore Visa. You can’t even pay the UK High Commission via a card, its cold cash.
They really got to explain to me why don’t they love tourists/business visitors to come in especially when they could do with some more of my money being spent in the Harrods store or Madame Tussauds rather than going to the exchequer via these fees. What gives?
There is no end to the nickel and diming they do though. In spite of these high fees, they charge me a good INR 250 (5$) to courier my passport back locally. VFS, their handling agent in India (www.vfs-in-uk.com) is responsible for this, and I’d imagine they earn a cool $4.5 of the $5. And who says it takes INR 100 ($2) to send me 3 text messages on the update of my application when you buy them for less than 1 cent using a bulk SMS gateway! I paid for the courier (it’d cost me the same to pick it up on a cab ride, and the time separately), but I passed the texting service.
You got to turn up in person to submit documents and give your fingerprints, but what beats me is the commercial nature of the whole centre. Again, a VFS property, it was plastered with Kingfisher Airlines posters promoting their UK flights. I’ve never seen that in a Visa Application Centre before, except the UK one! And then, once you’re done, you’re hawked telephone simcards, visit UK packages and more. And inspite of filling up a form where I said do not call me, I got at least 3 telemarketing calls asking me about when I was going and if I needed something. Dudes, if you’re reading this, please note, I like doing my own research on my trips. Never ever bother me again.
All right now, your turn. Tell me the most expensive visa you paid for? So that I look out when my next trip to that country materialises!