So, on the 29th of May DH took our marriage certificate to the NRI/Home/Foreigner's office at Writer's Building here in Kolkata. He had written a letter to the Officer in Charge telling him that we needed the marriage certificate to be attested so we could get it apostiled at the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs). So, he submitted the letter along with 2 copies of our marriage certificate and was told to come back in 7 days. The NRI/Home/Foreigner's (N/H/F) office was to forward our file and request to the Marriage Registration office (MRO), where they would check our certificate against their duly registered copy. So...7 days later he went back to N/H/F and he got the file number.
The guy at the front desk gave him the file number, and told him to only go to the MRO after 7 days. DH nicely asked him why, and he was told that other's are coming in and getting their file number and right away going to the MRO and they are being told that they don't have the file and then they are returning to the N/H/F office and are complaining to their super's that they aren't doing their work. What really happens is that they post it to the MRO. Yes people, they MAIL it to a office that is within walking distance. Why, I have no clue.
So, DH waits the required 7 days and then goes to the MRO, where he is told that they have not received our file. They have received file numbers before and after ours, but not ours. So, DH then goes to the N/H/F office and asks what happened. He is told that our file was sent out the 31st, and then is sent to the Dispatch part of the office to see what happened. So, he goes, and they look through all their registers but do not find our file number anywhere in their records.
So, what happened you ask? Somewhere between their front desk and their dispatch office (a space of maybe 50 feet here people) our file was LOST. Yes, Lost.
So, DH goes back to the front desk and asks what he is supposed to do now. They give him their office copy and have him make a xerox of it...so he goes, and makes 5 copies. He returns to the N/H/F office, where they attest the copy of their original letter and he goes back to the MRO. Well, DH being DH, he goes to the bank first and deposits the Rs 1000 ($20USD) fee and gets the receipt. He goes back to the MRO and they are kind of miffed at him for already paying the fee because they tell you to come back in 3 days and submit the fee in case they can't find your certificate.
So, he gives the file and they tell him to come back in 7 days. At this point he asks if it possible for him to transport the file back to the N/H/F office since they lost our file last time, he is told no.
Fast forward 14 days, to yesterday. DH is sick and intending to go nowhere, but he has a hunch and so he goes to the MRO and finds out they have JUST finished our report that day. Well, lo and behold, they have him sign for the papers and give him their report (didn't they tell him no before? I'm seeing a pattern here...) and off he goes to the N/H/F office to get the officer to sign and stamp our marriage certificate. Well, our luck fades fast, as the officer who signs it is out of the office and we are told to come back in a day or two since he has taken leave.
So, now we are just waiting to go back to the N/H/F office to get our original marriage certificate signed and stamped and then we'll take it to MEA one morning and then pick it up in the evening, and then we'll make plans to head to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in Delhi to get my visa sorted out. This whole attestation is needed for the FRRO here in Kolkata, but not needed for the visa conversion, as far as I know.
*Phew* I'm so glad the waiting game is over people.
For those who need to go through it in Kolkata here is a simplified list
- 2 copies of Marriage Certificate
- Letter to Officer in Charge at NRI/Home/Foreigner's Office stating why you need it attested
- Rs 1000 demand draft from Reserve Bank (to be given to MRO)
Steps : (as it should be done, not as we did it...)
1. Give letter and copies of Marriage Certificate at NRI/Home/Foreigner's Office
2. Go back in 7 days and get the file number
3. Go to MRO 7 days after getting the file number
4. Return 3 days later to MRO and give them the demand draft
5. Return 7 days later (I suggest maybe give them 2 weeks instead...) to see if your report has been completed (at this point they should have sent it on to N/H/F office...)
6. Return to N/H/F office to find out status (probably wait a few days before going...)
7. Return and pick up stamped and signed Marriage Certificate
8. Drop off Marriage Certificate at MEA (I'm sorry I don't know the address or where it is...) in the morning with a Rs 50 postal draft (or something, I'm not sure, DH knows...) and then return and pick it up in the evening, they will have put a stamp (or glue a paper stamp on back, I'm not entirely sure which they do...) and then COMPLETE!!!