Monday, August 31, 2009

Going to US through a consultant on a H1B visa?


Thinking of going to US through a consultant on a H1B visa ? What are some of the things that you need to look for? Here is the list of guidelines/tips that I normally share with my friends. Hope you find this useful.

(Also read: Green Card vs. US Citizenship)

1) Money to sponsor H1B visa - Consultants shouldn't be charging you money to sponsor H1B visa. It is definitely illegal. If you are paying your consultant, then you are taking a risk.

2) Employment Bond/Contract - The consultant may insist you to sign a bond (i.e., He/She may ask you to stay with them for a finite period). An employer cannot legally force you to be in the same company for a specific period. When you violate the terms in the bond, the cost of fighting with you legally is also very high. The consultant has to pay a lawyer to take this to court. The money that he may get back from you will be very very less than what he paid for the lawyer. So, even if you signed a bond, you don't have to worry much. You can move away from the consultant at any time.

3) Salary - The salary structure varies drastically. Some consultants offer a fixed salary and some may offer a % of the pay that they get from the clients. It is always recommended to negotiate a fixed pay. However, you don't have to be hung up on fixed pay. Consultants normally charge their clients hefty amount per hour. So, % of the pay is also a good deal. Normally, folks stay with a consultant for a very short period (3 - 6 months). So, the actual salary doesn't really matter.

4) Medical Insurance - Check who should take care of the medical insurance. Typically, the consultant should take care of this. However, the consultants may insist that you take care of it. You should pay more attention to the medical insurance if you are going there with your family or if you have some existing medical conditions. Medical insurance cost is normally high in US.

5) Who gets you the job? - Consultants who have good contacts in the industry can get you placed fast. People working in the 'hot' technology areas/domains typically find jobs/clients on their own because there are ample opportunities. Consultants need not be relied upon. If the consultant has already placed people in reputed firms, he/she can leverage that relationship. (Note: You will need a confirmed offer letter from a client for visa interview. So, it is better if the consultant can get you a job before your visa interview. U.S embassy verifies the authenticity of the offer letter by contacting the client directly. So, don't try to cheat. You may end up in jail :))

6) Flight tickets - Flight tickets should also be legally paid by the consultant. However, the consultant may ask you to pay for it and get it reimbursed after you reach USA. It is absolutely fine if you have a written commitment.

7) Pay during the bench period - This is a tricky thing. Many consultants don't pay their employees in bench (i.e., when they are looking for a job/client). However, they are legally supposed to take care of ALL your expenses (or pay you) during your stay. Some consultants take care of your accommodation and give you a fixed pay for your expenses. You need to negotiate this in advance.

8) Premium Visa Processing - Check if the consultant would do a 'premium processing' of visa. Premium visa application processing will be over in just 2 weeks. So, if you want to speed-en up things, you can ask for this. (Note: Normally consultants don't do premium visa processing because it costs them more. They'll do it only if their clients insist on it).

9) Consultant's Office Location - Choose a consultant closer to your job location. For ex., silicon valley has lots of job opportunities in 'hot' domains. So, if you are working in such domains, you've to choose a consultant in silicon valley. Normally, consultants prefer you to work in their office during the bench period. (Note: Companies hiring contractors would not pay for flight tickets if you've to travel for interviews. Normally, companies hire local candidates for contracting positions. So, it is recommended if your consultant is closer to your job location)

10) Consultant's Professionalism - Check if the consultant is professional enough with all the dealings. This is very important. There are very few good stories that I've heard about consultants. They typically tend to be greedy (The reason being ... you stay with them only for a very short time & hence, they want to get maximum out of you).

(Treat these as just guidelines. I'm not responsible for the outcome of any decision that you may take based on this ;-))

Related post:

When is the right time to go to US?
Green Card vs. US Citizenship

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ganesha Chathurthi in India


We celebrated Ganesh Chathurthi in its entirety for the first time after several years. Now we realize, what we have been missing all these days in US. I went for a walk early in the morning just to get a hang of the festival. You can hear the devotional songs played at temples from 1/2 km away. Temples were decorated with flowers, artificial paper hangings and lamps. Temples were testing their operational efficiency by serving devotees non-stop since 6 am. There were new-born shops on the road-side selling Ganesh idols, flowers, garlands, fruits etc., You can see all kinds of Ganesh idols being sold - customized to each economic class (ranging from small to huge ones, plain to colored ones, simple to decorated ones). Mountains & mountains of clay was getting converted into Ganesh idols. Our folks' creativity doesn't end there. There were wonderful handmade small umbrellas made for God. The folks who were selling things at the road side and the folks who were buying them looked pious.

All TV channels were broadcasting movies of leading STARs. If any of the Ganesha celebrations do not excite you, the TV programs would definitely will. Of course, you have to be patient enough to watch the soaps.

At home, the ladies were busy with cleaning the 'pooja' room and preparing delicious food items to offer to Lord Ganesha. The God doesn't eat those food, but it is a feast for us :) I had full-fledged meals for lunch served on banyan leaf in a traditional way. There were lots of dishes prepared at home. Just tasting each of them filled my stomach. Listing the dishes here would water your mouth - so, I would defer that :)

It was indeed a memorable day. I'm looking forward to the Saraswathi Pooja & Diwali festivals - which are celebrated in a grand way in India.

Also read:

Diwali without sparks, but doesn't miss the mark

Saturday, August 22, 2009

10 things to know if you are thinking of Returning to India (R2I)

Are you thinking of returning back to India? Have you made up your mind or still contemplating? Well, I would like to share with you a few things that may influence your decision to return back to India.

1) Quality of life cannot be compared with what you get in US. Though there are lots of shopping malls, hi-fi cars and hep people in India, the quality of life still lags the westernized worlds. You still have to share the infrastructure & services with other folks. You cannot lead a life in India that is isolated. The money that you have will not make the road free from traffic; will not get you teachers who give individual attention to kids; will not give you pollution-free environment; will not stop people from pee-ing on the road sides. You have to prepare yourself to live in a world where things are 'different'.

2) You have to pay several visits to government offices to get things done. You may have to either bribe the government officers or may have to give money to some intermediaries who'll provide the service. Some e-governance initiatives are 'work-in-progress'. Hopefully, that will provide a corruption-free India.

3) Online services are picking up, but the quality of user experience is poor. There are lots of issues related to online services - the websites are busy/down most of the times, customer support representatives are not people friendly, web interfaces are not intuitive, online money transactions have some nitty/gritty issues etc., It will take some more time for these services to mature.

4) Your relatives & family friends may step on your nerves. Unlike US, which is a individualistic society, people around you in India are interested to give opinions on what you say/do. You are 'bound' by the society.

5) Cost of living has gone over the roof. I used to pay Rs.10 to go from my home to the Nungambakkam railway station. Today, I pay Rs.20. The cost of groceries, vegetables, fruits etc., have sky rocketed. At times, I wonder how the common or middle-class folks are able to even survive.

6) There is crowd everywhere. Traffic is really really bad. There is no lane discipline. You cannot maneuver through the roads without honking or without getting honked. Two wheelers have grown exponentially. There is lots of cars on the roads. But, infrastructure hasn't been developed proportionate to the traffic growth. You'll get squeezed in crowds/queues. Be it a theatre, park, beach or any public place - there will be crowd. You have to develop patience to stand/wait in long queues. You can be an exception only if you become a big shot in politics or movie.  (Also read: Self adjusting traffic - miracle on Indian Roads)

7) You may miss your friends/society in US. For example, most of my friends today are in US. I always had the luxury of contacting someone if there are any questions. Today, I have to figure out things on my own. Also, I don't have many people to hangout with. I run into either very junior folks or very senior folks.

8) Your time in India is not valuable. You have to wait wherever you go. When people tell you that they'll be at some place by 8 am, they show up only at 9 am. If you are punctual, you'll be punished.

9) Majority of the places are not clean/hygienic. If you are too used to the westernized world, you'll notice this right off the bat. Dust/dirt has become part of our everyday life. Kids will notice it more than you - because they were born/brought up in US. In public places, you may run into folks who stink. Street sides are still used as rest rooms. Pet animals (dog/cat etc.,) roam on the roads. Animal wastes can be seen everywhere.

10) Work environment or working culture hasn't changed much. People still work for 12 - 14 hours (out of which only 7 or 8 hours are productive). Bosses continue to breathe behind your neck. There is no work/life balance. If you try to strike a balance, people look at you differently.

In the interest of your family/kids and your future, you should be making a very conscious decision. I have seen several folks returning to India in good spirits, but rushing back to US in a year's time. Hopefully, you don't land in a similar situation.

[Note: These 10 points are based on my own personal experiences. There may be folks who might not have faced these issues]

Related Posts:

Returning to India - 25 things to do
Goods in US market - lots of options & cheaper price

NO NO Samy - Kandasamy

[Kandasamy movie review]

It is nearly 2 years since I went to a theatre to watch a movie. The last movie that I saw in theatre was Sivaji (2007). An office friend was selling Kandasamy movie tickets for a fund raiser (Aruwe, Social Welfare Organization). The show timing was 8:30 am, saturday morning. I thought 8.30 am is very early to watch a movie - but then, I decided to try it. I was surprised when I visited the theatre (Abirami Multiplex) at around 8.15 am. It was fully crowded with girls & boys (mostly IT folks, I guess). We had great expectations when entering the theatre.

I liked the concept. But, the screenplay writer didn't do a good job. I think they tried to convey 'too much' in 3 hours. Pieces of the movie was well done & I admire the super-hero costume of Kandasamy. The intro sequence didn't create the 'punch'. By the time the intro is over, audience should be curiously expecting what is going to happen. But, the stage setting wasn't done very well.

Vikram has really done well in the movie & this movie will help him to maintain his brand. He has proved again that he can trim his body to fit the role. He looks very smart.

Shreya wasn't utilized properly in the movie. Her costumes are catchy. But, such costumes will only be good for photos & not for movies. The choice for Shreya's background voice also wasn't very good.

This movie doesn't require a separate comedy piece. However, they tried to insert the comedy track with Vadivelu. It didn't make the mark.

I liked all the songs before going to the movie. In fact, I liked the teasers of song sequence from Youtube. But, none of the songs in the movie 'fit the flow'. I was eagerly waiting when the songs would end.

There was a 30 minutes segment in Mexico. That could've been avoided. It was dragging the movie as well as it was a bit confusing.

In movies like this, the director should create a feeling of 'connection' in the audience. But, from beginning to end audience couldn't relate themselves to the storyline. One thing that stands out very well, is the amount of money that they spent for the movie. I know the crew would've put in a lot of hard work too. But, they failed to think from an audience' point. They've tried to do their best by keeping the sequences very realistic. However, that doesn't add much value.

I personally felt that it is a waste of my 4 hours watching this movie (3 hrs movie + 1 hr commute/wait).

Overall, I would say NO NO to Kandasamy. Sorry Vikram !! Good luck next time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

10 reasons to return back to India



Once upon a time, you had a strong desire to return back to India. You told your friends "I will definitely return back to India after earning some money". You cruised through the years, at 200mph. Today, you are asking yourself - "Why should I return back to India?".

It is about 7 months since my family landed in India. I thought of sharing the wonderful things that we enjoy here in India. Hopefully, you'll like some of these.

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1) You get lots of good help. We have good support system. There is abundant manpower. You can hire someone to do your household work at a reasonable price. I haven't done any grocery shopping since I landed in India. Vegetables/Groceries are sold/delivered at your door steps. My wife has got 2 helpers - one to keep the house clean & the other to help with the kitchen work.

2) There is elders to take care of the kids. I live with my parents. My daughter is enjoying their company (& vice versa). We don't have to look for a baby sitter when my wife & I go out. Moreover, we always get the feeling that the kids are in safe hands. My daughter is talking very maturedly, these days. She is picking up lots of good values from my parents. I'm glad that she is being mentored by folks who have got ~60 years of world experience.

3) The pay in India is really good. Of course, the pay scale cannot match what you can earn in US. However, it is more than enough to lead a luxurious life in India. (Also read: 10 Tips for Return to India (R2I) Salary Negotiation)

4) There is a REAL social life. Life is not very mechanical here. You get to meet friends/relatives quite often in weddings, engagements or other parties. Some one or the other visits you almost every day. It is indeed a stress reliever.

5) Things are VERY affordable. It would be hard to lead a 'luxurious' life in US. However, if you earn sufficient money in US, you can definitely lead a 'luxurious' life in India. The cost of living has definitely gone up. But, you'll feel the benefit of 1 USD = INR 45. 7 years back, I used to carry just Rs. 50 in my pocket. That seemed a lot to me. Today, I carry at least a few Rs. 500s with me. It seems very less ;-)

6) India has a very good public transport system. Man, I love it. Yes, the buses and trains are crowded. But, if you have to go somewhere they're AVAILABLE for you. There are lots of options including trains, buses, cabs, autos, & (my favorite) share autos. You can access them at your street corner. In fact, the auto owners/cab owners have become high tech. They all own a mobile phone. You can just give them a call and they'll be at your door in a few minutes.

7) There are lots of good RESTAURANTS. There is a wide range of dining options - starting from the road side trucks to revolving restaurants. Having been in US for quite sometime, it feels so good to taste authentic Indian food. In the last few months, my tummy has bulged like a balloon.

8) Education system is good & it is affordable. There are lots of good schools and colleges. The key differentiator is, they are very affordable. Also, the system is highly competitive, which I feel is good.

9) Quality of life has improved in India. I see lots of Honda Civics, Camrys & Accords on the road. I see 'hep' shopping malls & multi-plexes. I see more Chevvys on the Indian roads than what I saw in US. Many services are available online - Banking, Bus/Train/Flight tickets booking, Bill payments etc., There are  more number of public parks that are maintained well. Of course, you cannot compare with what you can get in US. At the same time, you are not settling for less in India.

10) Last, but not the least - There is a feeling of 'giving back' (You can call this as an "Emotional" reason). Be it for the society or for your parents.

My (& my wife's) parents are very happy that we are back. They feel more confident these days & I could see happiness on their face. They worked very hard & spent years in making our life successful. We can never pay them back in entirety. But, being with them during their old age is a small contribution that we can make. Let me share with you an incident. After my return, I had once visited the parents of my friend (My friend is in US). I could literally see tear on their eyes, when they said "I'm not sure if my son/daughter (masking the gender, intentionally) would return back. The more years pass by, it is getting more uncertain. But, you made a very good decision to return back! I'm happy for you and your parents". I couldn't control my tears as well. I didn't know how to console them.

Also, our government/society played a significant role in shaping us & our life. We are what we are because of our society and the contribution of our schools, colleges, teachers, and friends. Isn't it time for us to return that favor back? We are so lucky to have got the opportunity to travel across borders... to explore the unknowns and earn a lot of wealth/fame. Shouldn't we provide the same opportunity to others also? Shouldn't we train the folks in India to be competent? We have complained about the infrastructure, people and policies in India for several years. What are we doing to fix those issues? We are the 'cream' of India. Shouldn't we put your competency to best use in India?

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When I thought of writing this blog, I came up with a very long list - as long as the roller coaster in New York-New York Casino. I've to literally force my fingers to stop typing after 10 points. My intention is not to force you to 'Return back to India'. I'm just providing you enough ammunition if you are contemplating whether to return back to India or not.

Related posts:

Returning to India
Returning back to India - 25 things to do

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Swine Flu - Spreading fast?


Is this 'Swine Flu' week in India? The first page of daily news papers is filled with news about 'swine flu'. It is so pathetic to see people of different ages die just within a week of diagnosis. Chennai witnessed its first swine flue death yesterday. Many schools announced holiday, today. The virus can spread fast in India and consume lots of lives. First of all, the concentration of people is very high. Crowded schools, buses, trains, and hospitals. It is easy for the virus to jump from one person to another. Secondly, our medical support system is very weak. By the time a person is diagnosed to be A(H1N1) positive, his/her condition becomes very critical. They are then moved to Government Hospital or another hospital for treatment, where they eventually die. I see the same pattern in all the swine-flu deaths. Government has stepped up its measures and trying to be very aggressive. Hopefully, this will improve the prevailing situation and prevent the 'swine flu' deaths.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I took the road less traveled by ...


"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference"

- Robert Frost

It was Oct, 2001. That was my first visit to US (& the first visit to any country outside India). US was recovering from the great tragedy of terrorist attacks. I went to US on a business trip and I stayed there for about 6 weeks. At the end of the trip, I told my friends "I don't want to come to US on a long term assignment. I don't think I would do that even in my dreams". Exactly 1 year since my visit to US, I got my H1B visa stamped and I was ready to go to US to work.

It was July, 2002. I decided to quit HCL Technologies because of the lack of proper recognition. My best friend was working in US, for a startup company. He told me that they have an opening in their company. I never dreamt about moving to US. So, I wasn't very excited about the opportunity. I thought about my options, for a while - "There were not many good companies in Chennai. If at all, I have to quit HCL, I have to find a job in Bangalore - which means, I have to stay away from my family. If I have to stay away from my home/family, why shouldn't I move to US?" It took me very less time to make the decision. In the following week, I attended interview over the phone and got selected. I don't think I had any relevant work experience but I showed lots of interest, enthusiasm and willingness to learn. I got an offer in August, 2002. I told my employer (HCL) right away that I'm quitting. I applied for my visa stamping.

2002 was a bad year to move to US. Only a handful of people would've gone to US on a H1B visa. Some of my friends (out of good intentions), told me that I'm making a wrong move. There were signs of war looming between Saddam & US. Economy was going through its worst period. The company that I got an offer from had hardly a few months of runway (Yes. They were about to run out of their funds). My dad was questioning me, "Why should I quit HCL & why should I go to US when I'm getting paid well in HCL". But, I blindly followed my intuitions. My best friend assured me, "Common buddy. We can manage it".

My future was completely dark - it looked as-if my future was covered by thick fog. I know that I was leaving the green pasture to explore the unknown lands. The curiosity got me excited. I know that there was still some 'cheese' left out to eat, in my current place. But, I started my journey to explore and find new 'cheese' mountains.

It is nearly 7 years since I made my decision to move to US. I now have answers to all the questions/unknowns that I had in 2002.

Did I make the right decision?

Yes, I did !

Did I get a better exposure?

Yes, I did !

Did I become a better person?

Yes, I did !

Had I known the answers to all these questions in 2002, the ride wouldn't have been joyful. The ride was joyful because there were unknowns & sudden twists/turns.

Now, I'm back in India cherishing my 7 years of memories/experiences. I've to continue my journey. Looking down, I see green pasture. Looking ahead, I see darkness covered by thick fog. Looking around, I see some lingering 'cheese'. But, I want to explore and find those hiding 'cheese' mountains. Am I making the right decision? Will I get a better exposure? Will I become a better person? Who knows... But, I'm sure the ride is going to be exciting. I'm looking forward to that.

Also read:

Stages of immigrant life in USA
Back from a short business trip to US

Thinking of Homeopathy treatment - Check this out


What did I learn this weekend? Well, there are hospitals that are ready to milk you like a cow. Don't become a prey. I want to share with you my experience at Dr. Batra's Homeopathy Clinic in Kilpauk, Chennai.

In the last 7 months since my wife landed in India, she has had stomach pain/upset
4 or 5 times. A visit to a local physician solves the problem most of the times. The doctors suspected that she may have excess acidity and suggested to do an endoscopy test. My wife was scared to take an endoscopy test. So, she wanted to take homeopathy treatment. After some googling, I took my wife to Dr. Batra's homeopathy clinic in Kilpauk, Chennai. It was a descent clinic. The reception had two young men in full formals (including tie, nicely polished shoes etc.,) buried into their computers. The whole hospital was airconditioned and it was chill like an early morning in Ooty. We were given an application form. There was something that said "Type of plan" and I asked "What that means". The receptionist said, the doctor will suggest it and we don't have to worry about it now. We filled the form and waited for some time.

We were then called to see the doctor. We knocked the door and entered the doctor's office. The doctor was a charming young female in her late 20s. She asked a series of questions methodologically to diagonise the problem. I think she was trying to relate the symptoms to a 'common problem/disease'. But, she couldn't do that successfully. We told her that the doctors we visited suspected that it could be due to acidity. She said, "I'll put you on a 1 year 'plan'. I'll suggest some medication and see how your body reacts to it. If there are improvements, we can continue the course or else I'll suggest additional tests & appropriate medicine". She asked us to go and meet the receptionist. We went to the lobby and met the receptionist.

The receptionist asked us to pay Rs.8600 for a one year plan. My eyeballs popped out. It works out to be ~ Rs.720 for every visit. He wanted me to pay the whole Rs.8600 in advance. I just pinched myself to find out if this is dream or real. I told him that I don't have enough cash right now. He said "Sir! You can pay by Credit Card also. You can also give us 3 cheques, 2 of them post dated". I told him I don't have Credit Card or cheque with me right now. He said, "Sir! I can send someone to your home with you. You can give the money to him". In frustration, I told him "Look! I've reservations in paying the full amount right away. I'm OK with paying Rs.720 every visit. But, I don't want to pay the full amount now". I told him that I'll come back after checking with other homeopathy clinics.

It was an interesting experience. This is the first of its kind, to me. I have heard people saying that hospitals care more about the money than the patients. But, this weekend I saw it happening in front of my eyes. I should've done proper background checks before visiting this kind of hospital. May be they provide outstanding treatment to their patients - but, this hospital is not for me/my family.

Also read:  

Chikungunya - Deadly !

Find doctors and hospital ratings and reviews 

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The need for more money never ends


Years ago, we were small kids. Our needs were very simple. All that we had wanted is something to eat and something to play with. Our parents did a good job of taking care of all our needs. Occasionally, we used to get some pocket money. Even 5 Rupees is a lot. But, we always liked things that cannot be bought with just 5 Rupees. At times, we do some household work to get more pocket money to quench our desires.

Time went on ... we grew up, and did our schooling. Our pocket money grew with us to 50 Rupees. But, our needs continued to outgrow the money that we had. We then went to college. Our parents started giving Rs.500 as pocket money. Our needs didn't give up the race. They continued to outgrow the money that we had. Even things like a simple college tour costs a few thousand Rupees and we had to borrow money from our friends. We used to think "When I get a job and start to work, I'll earn a handful and I should be able to enjoy all that I'm missing today".

Time went on ... we completed your college studies and landed in a job. We started earning lots of money. Now we think, "Oh! I cannot be using this public transportation. It is always crowded and doesn't come on time. I definitely need a 2 wheeler". Our monthly salary isn't enough to buy a 2 wheeler. So, we apply for a loan to buy the 2 wheeler.

Time went on ... we got married and had kids. Our needs started exploding all of a sudden. We want to buy a car now, to travel with the family. We want to buy a home now, to live comfortably. But, our salary isn't enough to buy all of those. We apply for loans to meet our new desires.

Life goes on... but, our needs never end. Irrespective of whatever lump sum that we earn, we always get into debt. We may think, "Well! My boss or my company CEO should have lots of money. He shouldn't be having the money problems that I have". But, the reality is "They're also in debt. Their debt will be bigger than yours - proportionate to what they earn".

Everyone is on a leaking boat like yours. The moment you fix one hole, the other one pops out. We end up spending most of the time in our life, fixing those leaks. One fine day, our journey will end and we have to step out of the leaking boat. Until then, OUR NEEDS NEVER END and so is the NEED FOR MORE MONEY.

Also read:  

How much money do you need to R2I?
US to India Money Transfer Strategies

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Extending stay of PIO card holder


Finally, we were able to register my daughter's PIO card. She can legally stay in this country for another two years (i.e., Her US passport expires in 2 years). First of all, if your kid has a PIO card, he/she can legally stay in India for 6 months. You can/should do the registration within the first 30 days after the expiry of 6 months. You need the following list of documents to register your kid's PIO card (i.e., to extend his/her legal stay in India):

1) Application Form
2) Passport Size Photograph with white background - 2
3) Request letter from Parent/Guaridan for extension
4) Copy of Photo Page, Passport Validity Page, Arrival date page of Passport
5) PIO Card Copy
6) Address Proof: Letter from House Owner/Lease agreement copy & copy of Electricity Bill or card/Tele.Bill/Ration Card

Some things to note regarding address proof:

1) The Bureau of Immigration Services need only the documents mentioned under item (6)

2) It is very much recommended to have more than one address proof for PIO registration.

3) Minors may not have any of the above mentioned address proof documents. It is OK to show the address proof for the parent(s).

4) Parent's passport cannot be used for address proof.

5) If you are renting a house and if the Electricity Bill or card is not on your name (but on the house owner's name), you can still produce that as a legal address proof (along with the letter from the house owner).

Additional details that might help
  • You can download the PDF version of the "Registration Form" from the Form Download section of the Indian Immigration website. The website also provides contact information for the FRRO offices (under Contact Addresses section). You can call them and find out the office timings (Note: The FRRO office works from 9 am - 5 pm. However, the PIO Registration desk may be closed earlier than that. So, it is recommended to call your nearest FRRO office to find out their working hours).
  • As far as the requisition letter is concerned, you can just write a simple letter (no specific format is required). Address it to the FRRO and say the reason why you or your son/daughter need to extend their stay. Then, just sign at the bottom. That should do. I prepared a hand written letter and they accepted that.
We submitted the documents in person (the kid need not accompany). You don't have to pay anything for PIO registration (Hey! It is free). The queue wasn't very long (unlike the Passport queue which is as long as a train :)). I'm not sure if you can just mail the documents to your Regional Passport office. Please call and check with them.

The whole registration process can be completed within a week's time. You have to go in person to get the PIO registration proof + also to get the registration details attested in the Passport & PIO card.

(Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is current as of Aug 2009. There are chances that the Indian government could've changed the rules/requirements. Please visit the immigration website for current information)

Recommended Reading:
The OCI Hooplah

Stages of Immigrant Life in USA

I got a weird idea today to document the different phases of an immigrant's life in USA. I gave it a shot with MS Powerpoint 2007. I definitely enjoyed doing this exercise. I hope you enjoy it, too.



Disclaimer: The information posted in this blog is purely based on what I saw, heard and experienced. Your individual outcome/situation may vary :)

Also read:

Guidelines to consider when getting a H1B visa through a consultant
When is the right time to go to US? 
Subway experience - How much can you change?
Green card vs. US Citizenship