Well that went to shit fast. I was impressed at how quickly India was incorporated into the GOES system…a mere 6 days after signing off on it. Now, its pretty apparent that great speed and the Indian bureaucracy definitely do not go hand in hand.
Today (a full 6 days after India was listed on the GOES website and applications were taken in and of course payment charged) new instructions were actually put up on the application site with the process detailed out. And the news is not good on that front.
The sheer stupidity of it all….After completion of step ‘1’ applicants need to submit the requisite information, along with the applicable fee of ₹500, in the Passport Seva portal, www.passportindia.gov.in for their background check in India. In addition to this, all Indian applicants must schedule an in-person interview at the respective Passport Seva Kendra/Passport Seva Laghu Kendra (PSK/PSLK) office as per their residential jurisdiction in India (as per the address furnished online). During the interview, Indian citizens will have their fingerprints and photo captured and complete other formalities. A visit to the PSK/PSLK is based on prior appointment only. If the applicant is not presently living in India, it is recommended that they apply for Global Entry prior to their next trip to India so that the appointment at the PSK/PSLK office can be completed during their visit.
This is beyond stupid on so many levels. For one thing….Global Entry benefits folks who actually live in the US more than those living in India. I can’t imagine folks in India shelling out Rs 6500 for the occasional trip to the US to expedite immigration (unless they are frequent travelers). GE is a lot more beneficial to folks living in the US and having frequent trips out of the country and hence shelling out the $100 to expedite immigration. The idiot that thought having a verification service requiring a physical appointment in India probably doesn’t have a passport to begin with.
Supposedly the Indian ambassador to the US has signed up for the process as well so I am hoping eventually some common sense on the process will prevail but at this point I am not holding out much hope based on the above instructions having been put up on the CBP site.