Would Using a Tourist Visa Too Much Cause Problems?

#1 Dec 17th, 2017, 14:48
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#1
Hey all,

I'm sorry if this is a rather goofy question.

I'm an American citizen with a 5-year, multiple-entry tourist visa. Since receiving my papers in 2013, I've visited India a good eight times. Most of my visits have ranged from between one and three months at a time.

This year, I've been in India for nearly four months and will be leaving around the five-month mark (greetings from Bastar!).

My visa expires in March of 2018. I was hoping to come back for a couple months in summer, to catch up with friends, learn a bit more Hindi, and catch up with somebody I've been dating.

However, I am a little worried that my frequent visits could pose a problem when I apply for a 10-year visa in March or April. Would the frequent trips be viewed with suspicion? I'm in my mid-twenties and still in university.

I've read some strange stories of people who have been issued Indian tourist visas in the past be rejected for no apparent reason. Seems like most of the time they were working with churches or missionary groups, though, either in India or in their home country.

Really sorry if this seems like a stupid question, but I'd be crushed if I couldn't get another visa.
#2 Dec 17th, 2017, 15:47
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#2
Another concern I have:

Two or three months ago, I was out with a female friend. She got extremely drunk. I had to take her back home with me, since she couldn't return to her PG.

Unfortunately, she wasn't able to make it up the stairs by herself. She passed out, started making noises, and upset the neighbors. A local drunk heard the commotion and, upon seeing a foreign man with an Indian woman, became violent. After breaking a window and trying to assault me, he called the police (on us).

Local sub-inspector and some other constables showed up. They were not informed about the altercation -- the drunkard apologized -- but took everyone's identification and recorded my passport and visa details. He asked me when I was leaving India. After taking my friend to the hospital (she'd passed out but woke back up), she told them she was fine, that we were friends, and she just wanted to go home with me rather than be dropped at her PG. They left me and the girl alone and I never heard back from there. However, my friends -- who were renting the flat -- were extorted for 2,000 Rs ("Why are you renting a place when your families live here? Why was there a drunk girl inside your flat? Is your name on the lease?")

Although me and my friend never heard from the police again, I'm still concerned that the contact could have been recorded. I don't think there's anything especially illegal about a foreigner and an Indian girl going to a bar and getting drunk together, but I am aware we weren't abiding by every cultural norm.

That's another concern for me. Would records of a foreigner having contact with police be passed to immigration services? We didn't break the law, there was no FIR lodged. But the fact that the police extorted my friends, who owned the flat, concerned me a lot.

Sorry for the weird questions and long explanations.

Everyone keeps telling me not to worry and that visa/passport info would have been collected no matter what (they also checked everyone else's Aadhaar cards) and that it was a matter of policy. But this is the first and only time I've ever had such a problem arise in India (or any foreign country).
#3 Dec 17th, 2017, 16:05
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I guess if the police are called to any incident involving a foreign citizen, they are going to cover their backs and record your name, etc, etc.
The fact that no action was taken makes this seem like a non issue to me. The opportunistic cash taken from your friends makes it less likely that there is an official report somewhere of their actions... All just my opinions of course.

The immigration officer has the last word, even if you have a visa. Try to have a good back story for your frequent tourist visits, if questioned.

No one can know what will happen untill you apply for the next visa... You can worry each day, or just try to hope for the best, it won't affect the outcome!

Ed.
#4 Dec 17th, 2017, 16:26
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#4
Thanks for the response!

I'll try to keep my anxiety under control. I've never had so many strange experiences in a single trip!

I don't think providing an explanation for my frequent visits would be any hassle. My first long-term relationship was with a Delhi girl. Made a lot of friends around the NCR and Mumbai. Keeping up with acquaintances and new friends is one of my main motivations for continuously returning.

At any rate, I've traveled extensively to other countries, too. It's not like I'm just in and out of India and India alone.

Guess I'll wait and see. Most of the "visa rejection" stories I've read online seem to involve folks who could have been read as potential missionaries (worked for a church, were going to church conference, etc), or had overstayed their visas.

Aside from frequent visits and that one encounter, I've never had any problems. I've only been asked once at immigration whether I was working in India, and it seemed they were asking the same thing to everyone. Every other time it's been in and out.
#5 Dec 18th, 2017, 11:52
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomePlaceFar View Post
I'm sorry if this is a rather goofy question.

I'm an American citizen with a 5-year, multiple-entry tourist visa. Since receiving my papers in 2013, I've visited India a good eight times.


My visa expires in March of 2018.


I am a little worried that my frequent visits could pose a problem when I apply for a 10-year visa in March or April. Would the frequent trips be viewed with suspicion? I'm in my mid-twenties and still in university.
You should not have any problems. However, being in a University and taking long trips mid semester to India might raise flags. Eons ago there was a perception that some of the Indian consulates in US were rather more vigilant than others... YMMV
#6 Dec 18th, 2017, 13:58
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#6

Would Using a Tourist Visa Too Much Cause Problems?

If police record things, they give themselves work. I doubt that there was ever any official record of your adventure.

... Just my humble assumption/opinion
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#7 Dec 18th, 2017, 14:03
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycank View Post You should not have any problems. However, being in a University and taking long trips mid semester to India might raise flags. Eons ago there was a perception that some of the Indian consulates in US were rather more vigilant than others... YMMV
Thanks, nycank.

I plan on including both my university and work information on the 'Additional Particulars' form necessary for the 10-year visa application.

Do you have any input on the situation outlined in the second post?

I've calmed down somewhat over the past several days. From the way it all panned out, there didn't seem to be any sort of legal consequence for anyone involved. While the flat-owner had to deal with extortion, I was never contacted by law enforcement again.

Since we didn't do anything illegal -- even if there was a record of what happened -- I don't think I have much to stress about?

Apologies for the long post. Writing it all down helps me sort it out, too. I have to assume if that situation was going to be an issue, it would have become one by now (that incident happened well over a month and a half ago).
#8 Dec 18th, 2017, 14:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post If police record things, they give themselves work. I doubt that there was ever any official record of your adventure.

... Just my humble assumption/opinion
Thank you for the reassurance.

The sub-inspector did hold onto my passport for sometime. I believe he was confiscating it in case there was any foul play, considering the condition of my female friend.

He didn't take my passport information until handing it back to me. That, too, seemed like something of an afterthought.

The more I think about the situation, the less worried I get.

Thank you all for the feedback so far.
#9 Dec 18th, 2017, 16:54
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#9
India has a notoriously slow legal system, so by the time any incident is reported on paper to making it through to a computer at immigration you will already be dead .

I wouldn't worry if it were me!

NB
"See the World, then see India - because the World is an anti-climax"
#10 Feb 3rd, 2018, 04:10
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#10
On the very remote chance anyone's interested:

I left India midway through January. Didn't have any issues on the way out. The immigration officer asked a handful of questions -- where I'd stayed during my trip and why I'd been in India for so long -- and then stamped me out.

My visa expires in March and I'd like to go back again for a month and a half in summer.

Still worried about getting a new visa, but I suppose I'll just have to try my luck. My friend's dad is a fairly high-ranking government officer, and she said I could use him as my application reference, lol -- hopefully that's worth something!
#11 Feb 4th, 2018, 21:15
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#11
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My friend's dad is a fairly high-ranking government officer, and she said I could use him as my application reference
There is no living evidence of the referees field on a tourist visa application ever having being used for anything. Probably they don't even look. But, on an application for something like OCI, this might carry some weight.
#12 Feb 4th, 2018, 21:21
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#12
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Originally Posted by SomePlaceFar View Post
Still worried about getting a new visa, but I suppose I'll just have to try my luck. My friend's dad is a fairly high-ranking government officer, and she said I could use him as my application reference, lol -- hopefully that's worth something!
Bad Advice.

Just apply - It is all online, send the application to the Cox & Kings Global Services center. If you are fortunate to live in one of the few cities where they have offices, just walk in and have the application handed personally.

You will get a 10 year visa. Good Luck !
#13 Feb 6th, 2018, 22:30
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post There is no living evidence of the referees field on a tourist visa application ever having being used for anything. Probably they don't even look. But, on an application for something like OCI, this might carry some weight.
Thanks -- she made the offer because I kept expressing my worry over getting approved.

With my five-year set to expire in March, the reality of how privileged I was to visit India without the worry of being turned back has set in. I can't imagine not being able to visit my friends there, and more than understand the embassy's right to say "no."

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycank View Post Bad Advice.

Just apply - It is all online, send the application to the Cox & Kings Global Services center. If you are fortunate to live in one of the few cities where they have offices, just walk in and have the application handed personally.

You will get a 10 year visa. Good Luck !
Do they forward the information to the consulate, or is it handled at Cox & Kings itself?

Quick question: do you think it'd be better to go to the C&K office in person? I don't live terribly far away and want to do everything in my power to ensure I get my 10-year visa.

Thanks again for the reassurance. I know I'm probably worrying too much, but the dumb "my friend got too drunk and fell down the stairs and the police came" incident made me vividly aware of visas being a privilege.

I'll probably apply in April or May.
#14 Feb 7th, 2018, 00:31
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#14
The general rule when applying for visas is, as in many other instances dealing with bureaucracies, don't stand out. Don't use a fancy reference. Don't show up in person. Don't make your application look any different than the zillion other applications being processed.
#15 Feb 7th, 2018, 00:43
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#15
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Originally Posted by SomePlaceFar View Post
Do they forward the information to the consulate, or is it handled at Cox & Kings itself?

Quick question: do you think it'd be better to go to the C&K office in person? I don't live terribly far away and want to do everything in my power to ensure I get my 10-year visa.
C&S are mere processors of completed applications, and do not have any consular role. Do not venture any more information than what is asked for in the online application form.

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