February 19, 2007

Foreigner's Registration Office

I'm now an officially registered foreigner. After having heard innumerable horror stories about the bureaucracy in India, I have to say this was completely painless. I had the help of a relocation service (Ikan) and they took care of all the paperwork. The entire process took less than 1/2 hour. I walked next door (the FRO is next door to Embassy Icon) met the Ikan rep, and he walked me through the process. Two windows to submit paperwork at, three individuals whose signatures we needed to get with me there in person, that was it. I daresay it would have been much more painful without their help - my office mate said that it took him 18 months including a full day to pay a US$30 fine for registering late. The fine having to be paid at an obscure bank located 45 minutes away.

The waiting room for the office did meet all my expectations of what a scary bureaucratic office should look like though. Ancient metal seats, peeling paint, obscure notices on the wall, faceless people behind rows of windows... but it was fine.
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