Updates from India, Day 15

28 May

Happy news from India!

Today at 12:45 p.m. we got the call that the twins’ passports were ready for pick-up. Ellen stayed with the kids while Matt and I trekked down to the U.S. Consulate in Bandra, about 25 minutes south of our hotel.

Completed passports are given out at the consulate only between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., so we showed up at 1:45 p.m. Before we could enter the consulate compound, a security guard at a station out front asked to see our passports, as well as the receipt from the payment for the babies’ passports.

We ended up having to wait outside for 15 minutes before we could go in, though, as the consulate workers were on lunch break until 2 p.m., and nobody was allowed inside until they were finished. After waiting outdoors (92 degrees and very humid–yum! ;)), they issued us visitor’s passes, and an escort took us into the compound.

julianne henry us american passport blueOnce inside, getting the passports was a fairly easy process. Matt was first in line, and after another 15-20 minute wait, we had the passports in our hands. The only problem? The consulate’s letter that accompanies the passports, part of the required paperwork to get the twins’ exit visas, had an error in it. (We are not, as it turns out, “Mr. and Mrs.” ;)) It took another 15-20 minutes to fix the error and have the letters reprinted, but then we were all set. Just under an hour after we’d arrived, we were back in our cab with the magical blue passport books in our hands.

And just like that, our kids became American citizens. 🙂

Two of the three big steps in getting home (obtaining the birth certificates and passports) are now complete.

Back at the hotel, Matt logged onto the FRRO website to get the third and final step rolling. On the site, he filled out the application for Henry and Julianne’s exit visas, and managed to snag a next-day appointment to present our case and our mountain of paperwork. There are a finite number of slots available each day, so we felt lucky landing two of them.

After finishing the online exit visa application, Matt printed the work he’d just finished (an FRRO requirement) and added it to the fearsome stack of paperwork for tomorrow’s appointment.

While Matt worked on the exit visa stuff, I went to the front desk at the hotel to request a special letter on hotel letterhead that states our full names, check-in and check-out dates, and our passport information, with duplicate copies. (It’s just another of the FRRO’s dozens of fun/bizzare/frustrating hoops to jump through.) I thought I’d have to carefully explain to the front desk about the letter I needed, but the manager was like, “Oh, no problem, we’ve done this before.” A few hours later, we had our hotel-signed letters, and added them to the stack.

So, alas, we now enter the final stages of the process of leaving India. We’ve been told it takes about four business days to get the exit visas, so hopefully we’ll have them by Monday.

Then, hopefully, we can fly back to the U.S. on Tuesday (June 4).

We’ve had a good time here, but we’re ready to be home. Not much longer now!


8 Responses to “Updates from India, Day 15”

  1. annie21livinginusa May 28, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    You have to have a lot of patience to deal with all these legalities…..looking forward to seeing more photo’s….i bet you are both looking forward to getting home and getting into a routine with the kido’s…

  2. Mandy May 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    So excited that you’re almost home! You’ve been great help as you’ve updated through out the process! I love seeing the pics of the twins, they are just so adorable!

  3. 2sdguys May 28, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Thanks for sharing so many details. I have taken notes for my own “to do” list. 😉 Exciting times!

  4. docrocki May 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Very happy things are going smoothly for you. Best of luck at FRRO office. We are hoping you guys have a happy homecoming next week.

  5. whiteb8917 May 28, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    Four days turn around ?

    I think that is just a guide line asking you to allow Four days for the Exit Visa’s (Exit Permit). Ours was completed on the same day, just a few hours wait. Perhaps things have changed since I did the FRRO game. Things change on a daily basis at the FRRO so it would not surprise me.

    • newdadsontheblock May 29, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

      Because we are considered a single parent surrogacy, they had to scan our documents and send them to Delhi to be processed. My contact at the FRRO called me tonight to let me know that she completed her end of the processing and that I would have to follow up on it’s progress through the Delhi FRRO. Either way, it should be done in a few days and ready to be picked up. The process really wasn’t that bad at all… but the building itself is disgusting.

      • whiteb8917 May 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

        Oh okay then, part of their new bureaucratic process no doubt. Like I said, FRRO changes on a daily basis. At least you do not have to fly to the FRRO in Delhi. Yes the building is an eye sore isn’t it but I suppose they have to work with what they are given. It is the older part of Mumbai. Any way the important thing is that the paperwork is progressing. from what I read you will have a crowd waiting for you on return 🙂

  6. Julia Pineda Reeves June 16, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Happy Father’s Day to both of you! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience and seeing the twins, and I have shared your excitement during the process. More videos of your precious, beautiful dolls, please!!!

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