Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spain, Spain go away

And this is why, I won’t be visiting Spain.

Because it is not enough for the Spanish Consulate - or its outsourced arm in England, the VFS application Centre - that I have my husband’s employment contract to show them when applying for a visa. They want a letter from his employer addressed to the Spanish Consulate stating that he will rejoin the company at the end of the holiday. Never mind, that he is Australian and doesn’t even need a visa to enter Spain. I, his Indian wife, do – so he must get a letter.

It isn’t enough that we are married and I have my marriage certificate in original and photocopy to prove it. They want Sid to write a letter stating that he will financially support me through the holiday.

And this is what did it for me: It isn’t enough that I have a travel insurance which covers the medical expenses. They want me to go through the forty page document, find the clause that states that if I die in Spain while on holiday, the insurance will pay for the repatriation of the dead body, photocopy the page and give it to them. So the Spanish government doesn’t mind paying for the dead body of people with the right passports, they do in case of those with the wrong passports. I decided that even Antoni Gaudi isn’t worth all the trouble.


Leo M said...

Dude, the Spanish VFS in London is insane. I had a similarly idiotic experience with them before Christmas, so I feel your pain.

globalbabble said...

Yah... one of these days we should all - wrong passport holders - meet in a pub and trade stories of visa office tortures.

Gabo said...

believe me reading your post makes me feel sick. I am spanish and I have indian friends, Leo M -first comment- is one of them. He sent me a link to your post. I will let my friends in spain know about this.
The worst of it is that spanish people are not aware of stories like yours.

Girish Shahane said...

My visit to Spain involved the worst visa nightmare of my life. I was in England, and my girlfriend and sister were travelling from India, and getting the visa involved lots of document couriering and calls to various consulates and embassies and two trips from Bombay to Delhi.
At the end of it, the visa applications were rejected and, just as my sister turned away from the counter, one of the Indian staff, who had recognised her, put in a word with the Spaniards that swung things. She happened to be well known, otherwise all our efforts would've been for nought.
We did go to Spain, and it's a brilliant country; and we found that most every tourist shop along the Ramblas was run by Rajasthanis :)
Don't know if that's still the case.

globalbabble said...

Hi Gabo: I am sorry that the very first blog on mine that you read was this one. But, man, the documentation was crazy and completely pointless.

G: Well, I met some glorified paperpusher at the VFS centre who was ironically Indian. And he was adamant about following the paperwork to the last detail. I just gave up trying to reason with him.

richa said...

Well, not bad, India is not the only place where people end up annoyed about all the procedures they have to go through, specially the tourists.

globalbabble said...

Richa: Well, we must remember that India did inherit its red tape and labrynthine bureaucracy from England. But of course, we Indianised it by adding the element of some under-the-table paybacks.

Girish Shahane said...

I'm actually not sure about 'inheriting the bureaucracy from England' bit one hears so often. Some of the stuff you read in old pre-Raj travelogues sounds absurdly contemporary. But I'll leave that for a longer piece I'll write someday.

globalbabble said...

Hi G, i'll look forward to reading that blog :)