Indian Immigration officials boarded the ship in Penang so that they could review all passenger and crew passports and visas prior to our day in Mumbai (the only stop in India for this cruise)
There are many inexplicable considerations for us all to contemplate –
First, every passenger on the ship had to have a Tourist Visa for India ($300 or so from a major Indian Embassy) whether or not you plan on setting foot on-shore at Mumbai. Two women without visas were first refused embarkation to our cruise; then got around the issue by disembarking in Penang and flying to Dubai where they will join us again.
Second, the officials organized a face-to-face contact with every passenger (~ 2500 of us) today to ensure that the right individual (cruise card) had the right passport (photo on passport vs photo on visa) and had filled out our India entry and departure forms.
So, this morning we lined up from 7.30am to attend to this formality outside the Vista Lounge within which the officials sat.
I wanted to share the process.
After four or five separate crew checks of the paperwork we arrived INDIVIDUALLY at the table.
Three Immigration officials sat at the table (Huey, Duey and Louis?) (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil?)
The first one took your papers and looked at the photos and the purported original. Asked a question or two. Passed the papers and you to the second officer
The second officer stamped the forms, separated them – those they keep and those they don’t and handed you on to the third
The third officer added the keepers to his pile and gave you back the passport and duplicates
You then walked 10 yards to the purser and gave him back your passport and his copy of the forms.
You have safely passed Indian Immigration and are not a risk for illegal immigration into the sub-continent!!!
Thought. Maybe with over 1 billion population this is an effective means of job security?
BTW I don’t even like Mumbai, it’s a depressing city that always makes me incredibly uncomfortable.