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Sharell Cook

Changes in Indian Visa Outsourcing. Problems Ahead with BLS?

By April 16, 2013

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Yesterday, I wrote about the forthcoming closure of VFS India Passport & Visa Services in Bangkok, and the mystery of which organization would be responsible for visa processing in the future.

After getting feedback from readers and doing some research, it seems that major changes are underway in the outsourcing of Indian visa processing -- not just in Bangkok but worldwide.  According to this news report, the Indian government decided to stop issuing outsourcing contracts to foreign companies because of complaints,  particularly from people of Indian origin in the US, about service.

As the existing contracts of foreign outsourcing firms expire around the world, they're being replaced by an Indian company. So far, a company called BLS International Services Limited, based in Delhi, seems to be getting all the contracts. The company is now providing visa processing services in countries including Canada, China, and South Africa.

BLS was also awarded the contract in the US. However, the contract it was canceled not long after without reason, amidst reports that the Indian government was caught in a visa scandal. A new company has yet to be appointed, despite six months passing, and the contract of US-based service provider Travisa Outsourcing has been extended. (Note, it's now been announced that BLS  will be taking over processing of Indian visas in the US, effective from July 1, 2013. The company has again been awarded the contract).

What's interesting is that BLS is providing outsourced services at rates significantly lower than its foreign predecessors. In Canada, this is $7.40 per applicant, as opposed to the $20 being charged previously by VFS.  Yet, disappointingly, it seems that service standards have also plummeted along with the price.

This blog has declared the India visa system to be a mess in Canada. The author writes:

"On 28 February all the Indian visa offices run by VFS Global of India were closed by order of the Indian government. All staff were fired. The next day, Friday 01 March 2013 the Indian visa offices re-opened in different locations across Canada under new management - BLS India.

It was a rough start, to put it mildly.

Some BLS offices did not open to the public. People arrived to find CLOSED signs on doors.

The Indian government announced the new BLS telephone number, but actually listed the personal private home number of a Toronto resident who did not understand why people were yelling at him in Hindi....

As of last week BLS changed their rules and banned all agents and agencies from assisting with Indian visas..."

The comments at the bottom of this article reveal more problems. There are reports of phones remaining engaged, unanswered emails, unhelpful staff, misleading information on the website, and long delays.  (In short, all the issues you can expect to encounter at a typical Indian government office). People are wondering why VFS was replaced by BLS, which they claim couldn't possibly be any worse.

It's concerning to think that if BLS is taking over visa outsourcing contracts all over the world, these problems may soon become common everywhere when applying for an Indian visa.  Travisa and VFS may not have been perfect, but at least they'd managed to introduce some efficiency into the system.

What are your thoughts about the changes?

Note: Latest news reports indicate that BLS is to Cease Indian Visa Processing in the US.

More About Indian Visas:

Comments
April 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm
(1) Rajesh Mehta says:

I have recently had the worst nightmare of dealing with BLS International Inc. in canada.

I applied for my indian visa way in advance – a month before my travel date. (Their website claims my visa would be processed within 3-5 business days). I was desperate to visit my sick mother who is on the last stage of cancer and the doctors have pretty much said there isn’t much time left.

I waited for about 15 days for my passports to get back to me, after which I started to get worried about my visa. I called them and I am still quite outraged at this terrible service.

Customer Service – Negative points
I waited more than 1-2 hours on hold to speak to a representative, after which when I finally got hold of someone they were extremely rude, even more impatient to hang up on me and at the end they promised to call me back in “10 mins” and I kept waiting by the phone but no one called back.

I was told to send postage fees since I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia even though I had included prepaid canada post envelopes with my application. At this point I only had about 7 days left for my travel. To just get my visa back ASAP I decided to send them a $23 bank draft which was requested by Mr. Avleen Buttar. I spent $40 to courier the bank draft overnight. For the next 3 days no one answered my calls. Then, when I spoke to some other representative, I was asked to send $30 bank draft. My passport wasn’t still forwarded to the Indian Consulate.

Finally today, one day before my travel I wait here extremely pissed off due to this terrible service. I spent so much time and money and my sick mother awaits my visit but of course BLS India International Inc. doesn’t care.

Names of all the representative I spoke to so far:
Mr. Avleen Buttar
Ms. Shikha Kumar
Ms. Bhupinder
Ms. Neha
Mr. Bhavesh Patel
Ms. Violet
Mr. Edgar

I hope Indian Consulate takes matters into their hands and provides a better service for people looking to travel to India.

April 24, 2013 at 1:01 am
(2) goindia says:

I’m so sorry to hear of your horrible ordeal, Rajesh. Your mother’s sickness would’ve been traumatic enough without all this added to it. I hope you’ll end up getting to see her okay. It really is disgraceful service. :-( Something needs to be done about it. Thanks for sharing your experience.

April 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm
(3) shuham says:

im sorry for the loss.but we should give this new company some time and see how the services changes.After all they just started and every company has problems in starting

April 25, 2013 at 4:31 am
(4) goindia says:

Hi Shuham, how much time do you think they should be given to improve? They’ve been open for nearly two months now. I think that’s plenty of time for them to sort out any issues. However, it doesn’t seem like service is improving.

April 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm
(5) Gail says:

http://www.travelhotnews.com/reportages.php?sequence_no=42516

This link has some posts of some terrible issues cropping up in Canada with BLS here. I applied for my 4th India visa. March 25 received in Brampton office. I have a husband in India and we planned on some time together before I did permanent settle in India. Heartbreaking to cancel plans. I phone after many tries and on hold. Told different stories. A month later I have no clue where my passport is. Please read the link above. Stories are coming out on the distress BLS is creating in people. I well know why BLS got booted out of USA. India is losing more money then saving. I did paid extra when I sent my application in. I hope this gets big attention. It needs it. In the very least there should be two visa Indian companies to compete for these contracts. BLS has carte blanche and really does not care.

April 29, 2013 at 6:53 pm
(6) Gail says:

I would like to add further to my comments. BLS is getting a bad rap about these services. Of course people are upset too. India has a good basic idea according to me. I looked at the numbers Sharell provided. I am an accountant Sharell like you were.
In countries like Canada, USA, Australia etc the amount paid BLS or any other Indian company HAS to be raised. There won’t be issues about that from those countries. From 7.50 to 20.00 is not a big amount and certainly not worth exchanging for poor service.
BLS simply can not pay expenses in countries like the above. Neither can it possibly employ enough workers and have enough qualified workers. It is an impossible expectation.It isn’t a just matter of waiting for them to get their act together.
I well understand India’s aim to have an Indian based outsourcing company. This can work and even be model for other countries.. They just need to fine tune a few things.

April 30, 2013 at 3:28 am
(7) goindia says:

Hi Gail, thanks for your feedback and input. Yes, unfortunately, it does seem to be a case of “you get what you pay for”. Decent service just can’t be offered at such a low cost. It’s not feasible. The Indian government will need to wake up because there is going to be an uproar if this kind of bad service happens in every BLS office around the world when the company takes over outsourcing. People have been finding it difficult enough to deal with India’s ever changing visa requirements without this to content with. It will discourage people from visiting India, especially if they’re having to cancel trips and lose money because they can’t get their visas in time!

April 30, 2013 at 10:07 am
(8) Gail R says:

For me I will wait it out because I have a husband and in laws in India I love dearly. For many others as the stats Sharell provided with the links visas issued are going down. If this state of affairs continues it will lead to decreased visas to India especially in the business and tourism sectors. This will, of course have a very bad impact on India’s economy.
India is forecasted to be a top economy by 2020. This won’t happen if this situation is not fixed asap. Sharell you would have connections in the travel sector. They need to be informed of this matter and urged to voice their concerns. Blogs and comments are excellent however we need to get those that have a bigger voice then us speak! I noticed the website down too. I think this can be fixed fairly simply and fast. And while this service is unacceptable have some empathy for the workers at BLS too.

April 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm
(9) rav says:

hi there i applied for PIO card 8 weeks ago.now my PIO card is available but they lost my original canadian and cancelled passports and they donot know where those are. if anybody has this kind of experience please share and let me know how long they need to locate them. i am in great need of my documents as i am not able to go to work as i need my canadian passport to continue my job.
i donot know why the indian consulate arrange this kind of non responsible company to handle their so important services. they should cancell their contract and take the responsibility .they are disgracing their country. I donot know why there is no media and consulate general not taking any action against these notorious people runing this company.

April 30, 2013 at 11:39 pm
(10) Gail R says:

Hi Rav,
Report to Passport Canada lost passport and get a new one issued. Tell them what the problem is. You don’t know who has your Canadian passport and you do need to get on with life.There are laws here against holding passports for long times. Still no passport and Visa here either. Sent Mar 25th for processing.

May 3, 2013 at 9:46 am
(11) Chandu says:

Today I called the Indian Consulate and the nice lady there gave me the number of Consular officer to let him know about the problems.
Bipi Singh: 416-960-4668
Also, The lady on the phone mentioned that she didnt get any complaints about the BLS service. May be its time we talk to the Consulate directly and voice our concerns.

May 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm
(12) karen says:

I couriered my passport to the BLS Vancouver office on Friday last week, it was delivered to the office on Monday, I received a text on Tuesday from BLS, stating they had my passport. On weds I received an email with the tracking number and today on Friday I received my passport back by courier, visa in place. Thanks BLS, great job!

May 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm
(13) Santosh says:

I applied for my passport renewal at SF Indian consulate. Worst experience ever. Tracking email links does not work. VFS service worst and BLS corrupt. I do not know why I have that that much money for crap service for corruption. I hate to say but this the truth learn from Western managment or at least Dabbavalls in Mumbai for service excellence.

May 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm
(14) Gail R says:

Gail R
My passport with the visa now is being couriered. I do believe BLS is working through it’s growing pains. I spoke with knowledgable people in the last few days at BLS.Those of us caught in the growing pains spoke up and we were listened to.India…you rock!

May 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm
(15) ravi datt says:

thanks gail R,
you are lucky to have it back , i am trying to report it but they need to investigate it further i donot know how much time it takes and meanwhile just wait and loosing patience ,that’s bls fault and i have to suffer for that.
people be carefull do not submitt your original documents to that liers because if they lost them , they ask you to bring a letter from their employee that you submitt your original passport which they never issues,

May 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm
(16) Harshad says:

I sent renewal visa after 10 yrs to SanFrancisco USA office on 8th of May 2013 and Fedex shows it delivered on 10th May 2013.
Not yet received any email, tracking link shows “No record found”
and the helpline call # (866)-973-1533 no one picks up.
At leas VFS has very good and functional help desk.
I’m not sure what to do..
Can Indian Consulate officer of SanFrancisco look into this ?

I do not expect this kind of service at least in USA .. I know in India this behavior is tolerated but even in US ???
I would expect Indian Consulate to keep track of quality of it’s outsourcing services.

May 18, 2013 at 8:13 am
(17) Salaija says:

I just cannot understand how BLS were awarded this contract. They are pathetic and a disgrace to India. The staff are incompetent. For the same query each staff member will give you a different response. It is time that the government of India gives BLS the boot. The Brampton office smells and there is the constant parade of women staff preening and walking around. Nothing is done. My experience with dealing with BLS has been horrendous.

May 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm
(18) Siva says:

The link says contract to BLS in USA was terminated immediately.Not sure who is going to take over next.I’m awaiting to get my passport renewed.
http://goindia.about.com/b/2013/04/16/changes-in-indian-visa-outsourcing-problems-ahead.htm

May 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm
(19) Arif Tak says:

Applied for passport renewal mid april, contacted Indian consulate today, it seem new passport was send to BLS last week and so far they have not posted it, not sure how much time it takes to post a parcel and there website / Toll free number is CRAP, nothing works.

Tried my best to get a response from them via, phone , mail, feedback etc. NO ONE CARES, not sure why this attitude.

Indian consulate can ask us to pay $20 extra for better customer service, We will be glad to pay especially when it comes to essential document like Passport / Visa.

May 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm
(20) Raju says:

I applied for India passport renewal after 10 yrs to New york BLS on 13th of May 2013 and UPS shows it delivered on 15th May 2013.

But I don’t receive any confirmation from BLS. (NO SMS to my mobile or No Email received with confirmation).. Worst experience….

Helpline # (866)-973-1533 given in “http://www.blsindia-usa.com” never Rings.. NO use…

May 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm
(21) shaan says:

I have submitted Passport renewal application in VFS on 3rd May and still waiting to get the latest status from BLS. There is no phone number to reach them and no way to track application.

Is there any other way we can get status? Calling consulate?

May 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm
(22) Ari says:

It’s a nightmare !

I sent my passport renewal to BLS-NY USA on May 10th and it’s recieved by them on 14th, I see from my currier tracking #. But after that there is no status. The BLS number we got from website as well as from Consulate says it does not exist. NY Consulate no one wants to take my call. They hangs up or goes to voice mail. Boy I dont know what to do.

Has anyone have any suggestions. ?

May 23, 2013 at 11:22 am
(23) Mukesh says:

I am facing the similar issue. I sent my Passport for re-new and now don’t know about status. Their phone numbers are not working.

Please let me know the best way to contact them.

May 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm
(24) HSG says:

I applied for a business visa with VFS last year and it was a pleasure to deal with, their toll free customer service calls were also answered and my visa was promptly processed. I am planning to apply for a new business visa and the process is scaring me. the phone number listed for the new company BLS dont work, Toronto, Brampton Vancouver, I have also sent email but no responsses. What I cant understand is that when ever you see efficiencies, Indian seems to take a stance thats in the opposite by introducing red tape and bureaucracy.

May 31, 2013 at 10:15 am
(25) daniel says:

BLS canada is the worst service i ever seen in my Life.

my entire family has a positive attitude towards the indians and indian systmem

we wanted to visit india.

but how can i visit india? how can i get visa?
through BLS
hell,
i have sent them my applicaiton, money draft etc,
he got the money , thats all
no further step
its been 45 days , i have not heard anything from that.

in one word i can say

POOR and CRUEL

June 2, 2013 at 7:49 am
(26) Chinni says:

Like others here, I have spent hours and days just trying to get hold of someone on the phone at BLS, but no one would ever answer the calls.

So, I sent a few tweets to Ms. Nirupama Rao, Indian ambassador to the US about the same experiences with BLS as others have posted here about, and she responded back stating that she visited their office on 5/29/13 and emphasized that “they had to better” and that “they were sorting out the glitches”.

I honestly do not think she is aware of how bad (the word “bad” is probably an understatement) their services are.

June 3, 2013 at 8:04 am
(27) goindia says:
June 4, 2013 at 12:25 am
(28) naveen says:

Did anyone get their passports back from BLS International?

I want to have my passport re-issued after 10 years. I have tried several times reaching BLS via phone and mails. Didn’t get any response back.

Please let me know how can I reach the BLS folks

June 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm
(29) ravi patel says:

finally i got update on website, used my usps tracking number through which i send my passport to BLS San Francisco. My package was sent on 17 may and recieved on 21 MAY. But today it got updated and said following “Package with Airway Bill Number 95055101000331375**** has been received at BLS San Francisco Center on 01-06-2013″

June 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm
(30) Gail R says:

I just returned from my trip to India. The hotels had much less guests. I stayed in Colaba Mumbai which is a popular tourist area. Now in the USA and issues? Ouch

June 9, 2013 at 10:53 pm
(31) Parth says:

Hi
Before 2 weeks i have visited Brampton office for Passport renewal , i met Bhavesh Patel on Counter 12, he took my pic, also made photocopies of required documents, i finished my work in 1 hour , BLS has all the services… specially counter 12 is very helpful desk…my experience is very good with BLS Brampton office.

June 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm
(32) BrainOfA says:

My PP is up for renewal, and after reading the experiences/feedback here I’m afraid to go to BLS SF office, or mail the passport to them. The listed phones are useless. The website is from 20th century. The ‘Book an appointment’ link takes you to a form that doesn’t work… tried different browsers across various OSes. This is pulling an iframe, and doing things differently (all of no use!) perhaps based on your user agent.

I’m going to go there in person and see how it goes. Incredible India’s incompetence and corruption is now global!

June 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm
(33) goindia says:

Please do keep us updated with what happens, BrainOfA.

June 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm
(34) ravi patel says:

My passport status now shows processing at consulate general.
This happened after after lot other updates. Firstly it was updated that due to name difference from previous passport (in my father name i just added first and last name but no middle name) we are sending it back. After two days it went under process dont know why.

June 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm
(35) Madhumita Ray says:

I wish I knew all this before I applied for my Indian passport cancellation around 7 May. I need to apply for Visa immediately, one and half month, no light at the end of the tunnel. I am really depressed, nothing works with VLS.

June 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm
(36) KB says:

Does anyone know the difference between the status “processing at consulate general” and “under process”? My visa status changed and I’m wondering what it means.

June 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm
(37) Ashish says:

Hi,
After reading all the comments I feel goindia is trying to put a negative impact on the thoughts of everyone regarding Bls or any other emerging company for that matter. I had a great experience and got my visa within 4days of applying.
I feel comments section is a personal opinion and the site should not take sides according to the article they have written , the purpose of comments section is meaningless as goindia has made up its mind to hamper Bls reputation.
Hey but then it’s one mans opinion!

June 24, 2013 at 12:52 am
(38) goindia says:

Hi Ashish, the overwhelming number of negative experiences relayed independently by people in the comments section indicates serious issues at BLS. It’s got nothing to do with what I think. If you received your visa in four days, that’s a positive indication that progress seems to have been made in resolving those issues.

June 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm
(39) Anil Anand says:

I am appalled by the insensitive attitude of Indian Ambassador in US towards problems being faced by Indian Americans & other US nationals in getting services from BLS International.
My story is as under:I tried calling at the number provided by them a couple of times, but could not reach out. Just wanted to inform you that, BLS International received my wife’s reissued passport from CGINY on last 21/06/2013. We were told by BLS customer service that we would receive this by end of Monday(24/06/2013), but haven’t received yet..Already paid the delivery charges $30.00 along with the application. We need to receive the passport to file our visa extension ASAP as we will be out of legal status soon in USA.

Yesterday when we called, BLS cusomer service told us that we have to come down to BLS NY office to collect the passport, which means you ask a customer to physically collect the passport from your office, even after BLS received the delivery charges($30.00) from him. We completely fail to understand this. In that case, BLS will have to give me a refund of that delivery charges($30.00) but it simply refused.This is outright cheating & extortion. Before that, I again tried to talk to BLS customer service, now this time they could not even give me any specific info about what is going on with the passport….or…if the passport is lost from their office……

June 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm
(40) shubham says:

i think im going to agree with Ashish’s opinion that go india is indeed trying to take sides by writing this one sided article.I had a very good experience with BLS and i am actually proud that a indian company is providing me the service

June 28, 2013 at 2:48 am
(41) goindia says:

Hi Shubham, it would be great if you could elaborate and share your positive experience with us. What visa did you apply for and how long did it take you to get it?

June 30, 2013 at 12:14 pm
(42) shubham says:

Goindia im attaching this link.Here you will find reviews first hand given by people And if you see closely the reviews are getting better day by day and people have wonderful comments.All i want to say as an entrepreneur myself is you should let people be the judge and give a new company a chance .Heres the link – http://www.travelhotnews.com/reportages.php?sequence_no=42516

July 1, 2013 at 12:56 am
(43) goindia says:

Shubham, what do you think all the comments on this post (and the post in the link) are? People being the judge! That’s great news that service is apparently finally improving but it doesn’t eliminate the fact that many people experienced terrible service for months after BLS commenced operations. They weren’t just inconvenienced because of the incompetence — they lost money due to having to cancel flights and their passports were declared missing, amongst other issues! It’s unacceptable. As an entrepreneur, I’d expect you to have better regard for efficient business practices and customer service when dealing with sensitive documents and time frames.

By the way, I was hoping that you could elaborate and share YOUR personal experience with BLS, which you claim to have had, not the experiences of others (which are very vague and lacking in detail). It would give you more credibility.

July 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm
(44) BrainOfA says:

I was able to book an appointment online and submit the documents. The booking form worked correctly in browser (not Chrome) on Android phone. This was a purely serendipitous discovery while I was playing with the phone! As I said earlier, I had tried all the browsers on all the non-mobile platforms at my disposal, but with nary a success.

The place wasn’t crowded. I don’t know if it was because everyone there had an appointment, or if most applications come in via mail. Now I wait to see how quickly they issue me a new passport without making any mistakes.

It’s been over a month now that BLS is doing the job. Thus, I’d like to know of success/horror stories of passport renewals, especially at San Francisco office. Please share to keep others informed. Things weren’t this bad, actually mine went very smooth, when I had renewed my passport 10yrs ago when CGISF was handling the process. Now you’ve to perform mental calisthenics to understand the instructions written in ‘Inglish’ alone.

July 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm
(45) Abhinav says:

BLS international and i thought i was the only one facing issues with these guys. and surprisngly they have spread themeslves to the USA as well. They look like the most stupidest bunch of people, no responses from Helpline. Horrible Passport tracking on Website
I have sent my passport for reissue for the last 1 month it shows up as being sent to me and the passport has never arrived till date.
When i try to contact the helpline they tell me that they have raised an Escalation and backend team would get back to me with the details within 48 hours, now i have raised a Escalation against my exclation saying no one is giving me any response andd funny today there helpline number keeps on going i held the line form 30 mins before writing this comment today.
Is ANYONE FROM INDIAN CONSULATE hearing, What a mess outside INdia as well!!!!!!!!

July 3, 2013 at 10:48 pm
(46) Sandy says:

I sent my application for a tourist visa to the BLS New York office on Monday. I’ve been tracking my shipment and found out today that the zip code BLS provides on their website is incorrect. It’s not 10001, it’s 10016. Really?! So now my mail has to be forwarded to the correct address and I’m worried about my passport ending up in the right place. I’m frustrated already and my application hasn’t even arrived. I also tried contacting BLS today about their mailing address and none of the phone numbers are in service. Is this some kind of joke?

July 5, 2013 at 10:05 am
(47) Ellie says:

Hi All,
Hoping someone can help me – I am applying for an India tourist visa by mail to BLS and one of the “mandatory documents required for individual applicants” is a checklist that needs to be signed, but I can’t find the checklist this is referring to anywhere!!! I am able to find one checklist, but it is for applying to BLS Canada offices. Can I use the same checklist and just send it to the New York office? Or does anyone know which checklist I use?
I have attempted to contact BLS multiple times with no luck!
Thanks in advance for any help!

July 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm
(48) zakira says:

one month ago I have applied for tourist visa. On Monday I told Indian consulate that i have to attend my relative wedding on Friday in Canada. I need my passport back by Thursday. Indian consulate said that ” yes mam it is already mailed. You will sure get it”. Being this Thursday was a holiday, I was sure, I can get it by Friday after noon. When I called Friday, my passport was still in their possession. They told me I will get it on Monday.. Indian consulate lied to me saying that I should have told the urgency, where I was telling all along about it that I have to go to Canada. Today, I could not go with my family to attend this wedding. I am very sad. BLS is not handling properly. Causing every one trouble. They should not run this business. Also BLS kept me on hold for so long.. I have to call several times to get in touch with them. What kind of service are they running? I felt like I was in India dealing with these people.

July 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm
(49) Richa says:

Oh my God! It is a nightmare to deal with BLS! I emailed these guys about a simple inquiry a MONTH back, I got a response saying that they will get back to me within four business days, but I still haven’t heard back from them!!! I have tried calling them three times, have been on hold for more than an hour and a half on all three occasions! Have been on hold today for more than 2 hours today and am not even sure if anyone will be kind enough to answer or help me today! I am just so pissed!!

July 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm
(50) Krish says:

I have had the worst experience in life ever with BLS San Francisco.I have mailed my US passport to Travisa which was handling OCIs fairly nicely for the last step of passport match up on June 24 th and it was promptly sent to the consulate.After this it was transferred to the messy company called BLS international which has no clue of what is going on.The customer service is the worst I ever had and their web site does not work properly and does not return any results.They are unable to tell me any status and all they keep saying after 1 hr waits on the 1-888-683-7832 number if you are lucky enough to get thru is that the data is still getting updated even after 10 days of being operational.This is really bad and am not sure how they could get this contract .I have planned travel and I dont still have my US passport and I dont know what to do at this point other file a police complaint of a lost passport against BLS.

July 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm
(51) Joshi says:

Yes bsl is worst ever. Any document they want for application they just whole package
Plus indian ambecy require too many document long list.
They are sucks .

July 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm
(52) Jay says:

BLS SFO ==> Joke

July 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm
(53) Anjan says:

BLS Chicago is the worst. Nearly two weeks into their contract – no one picks up the phone ever, website indicates Easter time for California offices, website information is cut-paste from Travisa, no clear payment schedule if multiple applications are included.

A classic repeat of the incredible nonsense we suffer in India. Terrible service.

July 10, 2013 at 5:14 pm
(54) 124 says:

i applied tourist visa for my son, 10 ago fedex delivered the documents, i been calling since three days, they don’t know where the documents are ( passport too). they need one more week to find out . i booked the tickets to india for next week, i don’t know what to do. worst customer service in the world. india should pull the contract from them.

July 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm
(55) Rex says:

BLS SFO is not taking any phone calls. I sent the passport and I am getting a stupid status. TRAVISA was doing an excellent job and now BLS is screwing us big time. Neither the consulate at SFO nor the embassy in DC is reachable. Total frustration.

July 10, 2013 at 5:36 pm
(56) Rajan says:

Frustrated people should send messages through TWITTER to @NMenonRao @PMOIndia . Also vent your frustration to the media houses @sardesairajdeep

July 11, 2013 at 5:44 am
(57) Nazeem says:

I have sent my US passport for OCI match up to BLS DC office, not received any email from them and cannot track the status. As usual they don’t answer phone calls or reply to my emails. Summer is a bad time for transition, I am schedule to travel next week.

July 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm
(58) Shiva says:

BLS sent back my visa application stating that my passport number was wrong but when i checked the number was correct and also correct in my old visa. is this a bad joke? I am very dissapointed.

July 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm
(59) Anand says:

I have to join the chorus of complainers, because there is a lot to complain about. BLS may not even qualify as a company, from what I’ve seen thus far (and I’m early in the process, but already dismayed). Just a bunch of people who appear not to care one whit about doing their jobs competently. Why did the Indian government outsource visa processing services to such an outfit? And now that I think about it, why does the Indian government outsource visa processing services at all? Why can’t people employed in the embassies and consulates do this work, like the employees of embassies and consulates of virtually every other nation on earth? Is it too hard for them?

July 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm
(60) Simple Bhandari says:

BSL international suck at their services, we sent our application package a week ago in mail to their NY visa center. 1st of all they have wrong address or zip code where we should mail our postal visa application on their website. It’s been 1 week there is no trace of application or passports, forget the damn money orders. We called numerous time no one helped nor even answered any of our emails. Our tickets are booked next week, because of health reasons, we have to travel immediately still we gave 3 weeks to get visa, we are willing to pay expedite service charges but now we can’t even find our passports. My husband went to their NY office today knocking on door, because on their website there are no appointments available for a month. They told him we get 100′s of applications everyday we can’t tell if we received yours or not. WTF don’t you put an entry in a computer or somewhere, when people trust you with their passports you should be responsible to at least take a note of whose passport applications arrived what day. Very disappointed thinking of a legal action against them.

July 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm
(61) S. Bhandari says:

Dear sir,

Iam very disappointed in Bsl international customer service. We sent our applications a week ago to Bsl for Indian visa, 1st of all their address zip code is wrongly state on their website – per USPS. A week after we sent our applications obviously along with out original passports and money orders, now the package is untraceable. USPS says it was delivered to them. The reason we mailed in the applications was because Bsl didn’t have any appointments available till after my flight leaves for India. We have to travel ASAP to India becaus ek just lost my baby girl and have to see my family. My husband went in to Bsl Indian visa office today to inquire about our applications and passports, again disappointed he was told e can’t look into it now, because we get 100′s applications everyday. How could Bsl be so irresponsible with people’s passports. Shouldn’t they be maintaining some kind of entry on daily basis at least with some information that these packages arrived on these days. We need immediate attention on this matter or else I would be forced to imitate legal action. Our tickets are booked on July 22nd to India. We called the 888 ph no. listed n bsl website numerous times but their ph lines are busy and couple of times we got them they were not helpful, have been emailing everyday to bsl, but they have never once replied to my email. I would really appeciate it if someone can Kindly help and look into this matter

July 12, 2013 at 11:56 pm
(62) MQ says:

I applied for Indian Tourist visa on Jun 7, through travisa in New York. My case went to BLS later. Today (July 12) finally I got my visa and passport. I was very angry and frustrated. Here is my complaint email to the consulate:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am complaining my very frustrating experience during the Indian visa application with BLS. Maybe travisa also made some mistakes during the process.

Me and my fiance are going to have our wedding in India in August and our flight to India is on July 25th. So I started my visa application on Jun 07. On Jun 12 travisa received my application and gave me receipt.

Complain 1 (about travisa): Travisa did not process my application but held it for 6 days. On Jun 18, it was assigned for processing. (I also applied for Indian Tourist visa last year, it was processed on the delivery day. I don’t understand why it was so slow this time).

On Jun 19 my application was sent to the Indian Consulate. Then on Jun 26, Travisa received my passport with the visa.

July 12, 2013 at 11:57 pm
(63) MQ says:

Complain 2 (about travisa): On the tracking system from travisa, I saw the status was “Waiting for mail courier pick up and is likely to be mailed out tomorrow.” However, they did not mail it out. After two days, the status changed to “Your passport was transferred to the BLS International offices for pickup. You can collect your passport from theBLS International office.” If they did not plan to mail it out, then isn’t it dishonest to update the status as “to be mailed tomorrow?” Why did they hold my passport for 2 days and then transfer it to BLS?

After Jun 28, I knew that my passport was with BLS. BLS website said “all application from travisa will be available for tracking after July 5.” I understood that they were during transition time. So I waited patiently till July 5th.

July 12, 2013 at 11:59 pm
(64) MQ says:

Complain 3 (about BLS): On July 6th to July 12, I started tracking my application on BLS at least 10 times per day. Every time it showed “no record found”. There was no any notification on the website saying that the tracking system is not complete yet. So I was in panic that my document was missing during the transition. I used the tracking system for “Track applications submitted at travisa outsourcing” and put all the possible information. The result was always “No record found”. Even till today, I still cannot find any information through the tracking system in BLS.

If BLS is not ready, shouldn’t they put a notification on the website? Isn’t it dishonest to claim that they are ready but actually not? It cause so much panic and frustration.

July 13, 2013 at 12:01 am
(65) MQ says:

Complain 4 (about BLS): Since the tracking online was not working, I was panic that my passport was missing. At that time, there is not enough time for me to get new passport and visa, then my wedding might need to be postponed. All the flight ticket of my family member and friends might need to be cancelled. All the hotel, camera men reservation might also need to be cancelled. I was very worried. But I still try to reach BLS by email or by phone. I sent 3 emails, till today no one replied. I called at least 10 times per day, Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. I called the phone number on the website “8886837830″. 80% of time, it was something like “sorry, but the person you called cannot receive the call right now.” (I don’t remember exactly. But anyway it just could not get through). Then 20% of time it went through, then I was put on hold and listen to the voice record about the website or other things for about 10 minutes. Then I was told “Please leave your phone number and we will call you back”. I left my phone number, but obviously no one called me back, till today.

I emailed travisa and thank GOD travisa replied with a Fedex tracking number on July 10th. That made me feel a little bit better.

July 13, 2013 at 12:02 am
(66) MQ says:

Complain 5 (about BLS or travisa): Today (July 12), The Fedex tracking shows that my passport was delivered without any signature, and was left at front door. But I could not find it anywhere. First, I was very angry that the delivery does not require signature!! Passport is very important document, how can they use delivery such as “left at front door”? Second, instead of the mailing address I gave (which is my office address), they shipped it to my apartment address. (I did exactly the same as last year’s application. Last year it was shipped to my mailing address. So I don’t understand this time how it can be wrong). Third, they put the address wrong! So my passport was delivered to someone else instead of me! I was so desperate and frustrated when I could not find my package, because then it was actually missing. Till I called Fedex and asked them what was the exact address they delivered. Then I went to the “wrong address”. I saw my package there, lying on the floor, in the hallway, while anyone can easily take it away. I picked it up and found my passport inside. Luckily I got it at the end. After that, I double check my order form to see if it was my fault. (I have the habit to make backup copies before mailing out any application)But my address was all correct there. So it must be someone from BLS or travisa typed my address wrong.

July 13, 2013 at 12:04 am
(67) MQ says:

Last year my visa application was fast and I can track it all the time. This year it was a nightmare for me. I don’t like BLS at all! During transition time maybe both travisa and BLS do not care about applicant (Well, I think travisa is still better than BLS. Travisa always response to email or phone call very quickly).

I require: Even though I got my passport now, I am still very angry about BLS’ service. Till today, no notification online showing that there tracking system is not ready. Till today, no one call me back or email me back. I strongly require an apology from BLS as soon as they finish the transition work. ( I don’t require the apology right now because I don’t want to delay other applicant at this moment. ) If I still get no reply from BLS, I will try all my method to complain. To Indian Consolute, to BBB, and to all the possible online platform and forum, because I do deserve an explanation and an apology.

Please take any measurement to make things better.
An angry and frustrated applicant

July 13, 2013 at 6:44 am
(68) Reenie says:

This makes me wonder if I should apply for a 10 year visa before Travisa is done in the US… even though I’m not planning a trip at the moment.

July 14, 2013 at 12:05 am
(69) goindia says:

Hi Reenie, it’s too late. Travisa finished operations at the end of June. BLS has now taken over. If you don’t need to travel straight away, I’d wait to get your visa. Hopefully, things will improve after a few months.

July 13, 2013 at 6:57 am
(70) Rex says:

Finally OCI is in my hands.

July 13, 2013 at 10:32 am
(71) Jude says:

For anyone that has received a visa since BLS took over processing: How long was your visa at the Embassy before you received it. The BSL website says 7 to 9 business days. Is that accurate for anyone. And please, if anyone knows, our status just changed from Processing at the Embassy to underprocess. What does that mean? Are we getting close? Please respond with any imformation.

July 13, 2013 at 11:28 am
(72) Chris Chopp says:

Curious indeed…my partner applied for an India Visa (10 years) here in the US back in April. I helped him with the application, sent it in as instructed, and within a week his passport and visa were back in his hands. No issues, no hassles. Sorry to hear others have an a bad experience.

July 14, 2013 at 12:04 am
(73) goindia says:

Hi Chris, Travisa was still in operation in the US in April. BLS took over visa processing in the US in July, and that’s when all the problems have started to arise. (BLS started operations in Canada at the beginning of this year though, with similar problems).

July 13, 2013 at 6:57 pm
(74) Cynthia Singh says:

We had a great deal of trouble getting my husbands OCI and my PIO with Travesa. The requested the same documents repeatedly.

July 14, 2013 at 11:18 am
(75) Jay says:

Hello,

Please share, whether anyone received VISA applying after BLS took over the process since July 1st. Our application was delivered on July 5th, since then there is no any kind of status.

Jay

July 14, 2013 at 10:33 pm
(76) Jude says:

Does anyone know what it means if your status with BLS changes to underprocess on their website?

July 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm
(77) Uma says:

I have applied for PIO card on June 13th and my application reach Travisa on June 19th, 2013.

Travis sent my Application to Consulate, my application reached Indian Consulate General on June 20th, 2013, It is in process – pending approval from Government of India form June 25th, 2013.

No update from June 25th, 2013. BLS website tracking says – processing at Consulate General.

BLS numbers provided on website is not working. When i called Consulate it still says Contact Travisa.

I might have to travel to India for emergency. Can some on please send Chicago BLS number where some one take your call.

July 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm
(78) JV says:

Our Application for Visa was Delevered on July 8th according to USPS tracking. However since then have been unable to track the documents. And emails to BLS India-USA at the listed address i sbouncing back and as of this afternoon their phone lines appear to be disconnected. Wonder if the operation is up and running? Unable to contact Indian embassy as well. Have no clue what is happening.

July 15, 2013 at 3:29 pm
(79) lukan says:

I am facing issues similar to everyone. I have applied for a PIO card through BLS for my son. The only thing I know is that the application has reached BLS. There is a tracking for postal applications on their website.

The application tracking for PIO keeps returning no records found.
I have called them 3 times and these are the answers I have got (after holding for atleast 20 mins each time)
1. wait for 24-48 hrs status will be updated
2. I dont deal with PIO cards and only deal with passports
3. Was given the same 888 683 7830 number to call for PIO status.

I believe travisa was doing a pretty good job and the indian consulate had to screw it up. I am very sure there must have been some corrupt practices involved in BLS winning the contract

July 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm
(80) Gita says:

I think Government of India can afford a better service provider than BLS. They are the most incompetent group I have ever seen.

Just a shame!

July 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm
(81) RJ says:

Incredible India ! Sent in my US passport to BLS for matchup on July 1st, reached them on July 2nd but their tracking system shows a receipt data of July 8th. Now not sure what is going on with my application, not able to track or speak to anyone.

July 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm
(82) Sajan says:

San Francisco: I applied for India Visa for my child. Send documents by overnight courier on July 2nd. Got proof they received it on July 3rd. Their website showed status on July 6th as application accepted July 8th – 12th processing.
July 13th onwards – Dispatched via courier.
I still haven’t received it. I had included Express Mail envelope for overnight delivery for return. The number 8886837832 doesn’t work. I hope I get it by tomorrow.
Because I have an emergency.

July 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm
(83) Sajan says:

I received passport today. Woohoo!
Application send date – July 2. Passport in hand with visa – July 16
All is well when it ends well.
Good job BLS India
My only complaint now is they didn’t respond to telephone calls or emails.
I hope they get better at it.

July 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm
(84) Rex says:

@RJ I sent mine on 28th June (reached them on 1st) and I got my OCI back last Fri (July 12th). It is annoying that they don’t pickup the phone. Also their online status is bogus. Ignore the online status. But you will get it.

July 17, 2013 at 9:56 am
(85) RJ says:

@Rex Thanks for sharing your experience. Did you get any emails / updates from BLS during the process. I did not get any updates from their NY office. The online status changed today to OCI Card received – application pending. Not sure what that means, I had sent in the application 10 days ago.

July 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm
(86) D says:

I submitted my passport for renewal to BLS India USA at NY on Jun 10. Consulate sent new passport to BLS on Jul 3rd. Till now, I haven’t received my passport. Status is” Ready for Dispatch” since Jul 3rd. I called customer support atleast 15-20 times and standard answer that I get is “We will get back to you within 24hrs”. No response for emails. Left feedback but no use.

Tried to reach Consulate General at NY but no one answers the phone. I am thinking of complaining to the US government but don’t know where/how/whom I should complaint….Any advice!

July 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm
(87) AN& says:

We sent our daughter’ PIO application on July 1st to Washingtion DC BLS address mentioned in their website. After the packages being held at the FedEx office for more than a week due to incomplete address (taken from their website), nobody available to sign in the office at 10 A.M etc, it finally was delivered to BLS. Also we got a call from BLS asking for clarification of the documents that are sent and at the end of the conservation, we were told that they have everything to process the application. Today, our application was returned to us saying that the money order is missing. Thank god, at least the passport is back :P

They are doing a ridiculous job. They are dealing with important documents but looks like they are very careless. God only knows when they really “work” for the service money that we pay.

July 17, 2013 at 9:08 pm
(88) S.Arthur says:

I applied for a new passport on March and VFS forwarded it to the embassy fast and later BLS came into place. Since my passport was expired for more than 2 years, I gave them time to work on it as that’s what VFS told me when I called them regarding my passport. As my travel date was getting closer, I was worried and started calling these BLS people. I have been calling on all their numbers and no one picks up the phone. Nobody replies to my e-mail and this is just outrageous. I have to travel in a week to India and both my sisters are getting married there. I went all the way to New York just to tell them that I need my passport ASAP. The office is horrible, no air conditioning and the place stinks.The consul was plain rude. He started speaking to me in Hindi and I politely told him that I don’t understand Hindi. He kicked me out of his room!! Then a man came to help me with translating and the consul told me I should come collect it next week, but I dont know why he cant understand that Im travelling next week. How am i supposed to go collect it? Im pissed off right now. I dont know if I will ever get to see my sisters’ weddings. I hope it arrives soon

July 17, 2013 at 11:54 pm
(89) s says:

We sent our application package for PIO to BLS Washington DC by Fedex. They received it on 8th. For over a week there was no status update. For two days I went to their office to find out what was happening after various attempt to reach them by phone failed. They could not locate our package. It is a mess in their office.
When I came back today (17th) our package is back with a post it mentioning about the correct renunciation fee. I have sent them correct fees mentioned in their website(175). Looks like last week they decided to update their website with revised fee (182.40). Pathetic service. I have my plans for next month. Frustrated.

July 18, 2013 at 8:01 am
(90) S Basu says:

Appalling mismanagement at BLS International USA, NY:

Visa for my daughter was issued within 3days of receipt. Then BLS international sat on and the status kept saying “Ready to dispatch”. My father died and each time we called they kept saying it will be sent today and they kept doing that for 4 days. I even included a paid express mail envelope. I had to change ticket for my daughter and wife because of non-arrival of the visa and paid $1400 penalty. I sent another express mailed another Fed-ex envelope as they lost the previous one. And after all this they sent the visa by regular mail. The customer support has no information on whats going on at the dispatch/processing center. They are extremely inefficient and were repeatedly lying to us. Now I have to change the tickets for a second time and my family would miss the funeral. The Indian consulate in New York did not even bother to respond to my emails.

July 18, 2013 at 8:45 am
(91) goindia says:

S Basu, I’m so very saddened to hear that. It would be any family’s worst nightmare. :-(

July 18, 2013 at 11:59 am
(92) CADGuy says:

I am so sorry to hear that….this is really very sad. I can’t imagine the pain and waiting agony your family had to go through.

Captures the travesty of living far from your friends and family.

I pray all turns out well with you and your family.

CGI SFO responds to emails and phone calls. They also contact local BLS. I got a voice mail from SFO BLS assuring me that I will get the visa on time.

July 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm
(93) Ranjan Dhawan says:

I went to Brampton location, met reception guys and one gentleman near photocopier , I would to share my great experience of that gentleman , he gave me perfect details for PIO as well as OCI. Hats off that perfect man. I salute his customer service and speed of work. I suggest you , please see that man at counter 12 for your query, he is very polite.. I don’t have perfect word for him but just meet him when you visit Brampton location..

July 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm
(94) Mantis says:

SFO BLS office – BLS online tracking is a joke. CGI SFO claims that you should be able to track your status in 48 hrs of delivery. Try 48 days. Sent OCI application via mail and I am not able to track it online even after 15 days. Online FedEx tracking shows delivered but apparently BLS either has not opened the package or hasn’t bothered to key-in the tracking information. I am not sure what do I need to do. They very point of mailing my application was to avoid a trip to BLS, which I am afraid I will have to make now.

A friend of mine had been to the office on Geary St.. and was appalled at the way things were. There was a person giving a piece of paper with handwritten number. The funny part was that no-one was calling out the numbers. After having waited for 45 mins, my friend went to the counter and asked “whats the current number you are processing ?” to which the lady responded “Whats your number ?” My friend said its 121 and the lady at the counter immediately said ohh we are processing 121 now hahaha. They also wanted exact change and refused to give change for $20, my friend had to go the the next counter to ask if they had 2 $10′s and the person at the other counter was happy to give it to my friend. I mean how hard can it be for the lady at the counter to just check with her peer. My friends application was sent to the consulate 7 working days later.

Its all a mess. I wouldn’t mind paying a higher service fee for better service. I think the BLS guys should all go and get a Chinese visa from the Chinese consulate in SFO to get a feel of what efficiency is and how well you could manage operations by being systematic and streamlined.

July 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm
(95) SRaj says:

Does anyone have a working phone number for BLS? I keep getting the message that it is disconnected. I’m worried because I need to submit the visa application and have a question for them. I want to make sure before I drive all the way into DC to submit the forms. Their website is no help at all. I didn’t realize Travisa was no longer in the picture; at least I knew I could get answers with them.

July 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm
(96) Meghan says:

It seems like we all are having nightmare dealing with BLS. Why don’t we all send email to indian consulate officers and make them aware about it and ask them to take a strict action.

here is a detail of indian consulate offices in USA

http://www.indiacgny.org/php/showContact.php?linkid=196&parentid=0

I already sent an email to each one of them. I request everyone to send an email.

July 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm
(97) Meghan says:

Ha Ha Ha.
This is what i got back as a reply

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

cg@indiacgny.org
Mailbox quota exceeded

Now that explains a lot. Isn’t it?

July 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm
(98) RG says:

All – Like many others, I have sent my package to BLS New York with the wrong zip code. Can anyone who had done the same thing please let me know what did he/she do in this case?

Thank you!

July 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm
(99) RJ says:

@RG in my case Fedex corrected the zip code and delivered the package to BLS. I was intimated by Fedex about the incorrect zipcode and I requested them to correct the address and deliver the package.

July 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm
(100) SFBayGal says:

I have submitted my passport to BLS in San Francisco for 6 months India Visa on 8th July expecting the visa to be issued in 3-5 days. When I didn’t hear anything by 12th July so I walked into the BLS office only to find that the Indian Embassy has requested my citizenship copy and my last indian passport copy. I offered to bring it immediately and did so the next business day on 15th July. The BLS Manager said I don’t have to wait and that my visa will be ready same day. It has been 4 more days but the Manager AND IRONICALLY the INDIAN EMBASSY keep lying to me saying the System is down and that they are unable to print the visa stamps. I lost money is changing my tickets from 14th July to 17th and on 17th July I lost more money to cancel my tickets (4 passengers). If they had asked me to pay $20 to the previous agency I would have easily paid that to get quality service. On one side the Indian Corrupt Politicians have taken bribes (just google, it is all over) to award the contract to BLS and then they don’t even provide the service that customers are paying them and on top of that they harass us.

Who says India has grown from ermerging countries and is a leading country in the world. Nothing can happen good for this country unless the corrupt politicians are rooted out from the slime that the country is covered with.

July 18, 2013 at 8:11 pm
(101) Jack says:

Sharing my experience to make sure others wont fell into the trap as I did.

/ Promised processing time 3-5 business days are never met. Give yourself at least 15 days.
/ Once your passport is submitted , there is no way you can expedite the service or upgrade in case of emergency. You are at mercy of consulate officials whom of course doesn’t have any mercy.

I submitted son’s passport more than a week back. Since then my father-in-law’s (who is a cancer patient) health deteriorated.Tried to upgrade application to emergency category in vain. Booked ticket by giving couple of days buffer of the regular processing time but have to cancel it now.
Worse part no commitment on processing, and multiple versions of process from different agents.

July 18, 2013 at 10:31 pm
(102) CADGuy says:

Guys,! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

SFO CGI Servers are down.

Apparently, no visas are getting handed.

This is amazingly worrisome. My family is booked for Aug 1st and everything is blocked.

-CG ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

July 18, 2013 at 11:11 pm
(103) Overit says:

I just got the server down message too…. Is this real? They even said there’s no eta????

July 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm
(104) CADGuy says:

I was advised to go to a different consulate :(

My papers are stuck there :(

The Servers are down for a week now. Apalling!!!

CG

July 19, 2013 at 11:38 am
(105) SD says:

This service is disgraceful. None of the three phone numbers for the OCI/PIO/Renunciation work, the people who you can get in touch with on the VISA phone number won’t help and keep telling you the other numbers work. Earliest appointments to be booked are over three weeks away.

How embarassing for India to use this company to process applications for them. I used Travisa last year to much better success.

July 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm
(106) murali says:

BLS Sucks. I think indian government does not care about their people. What a holible service. Chicago office totally sucks. The phone number provided on website is not in service. Travisa is much better, at least they pick up the phone and provide status and help you with the process.

Thinking about why would some give it to such a worst service provider,I kind of think it could be another corruption scandal..

July 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm
(107) R says:

BLS-SFO:

The phone numbers don’t work. The website is not very useful to track the application status. Nobody responds to emails in time. How is one suppose to know the application status?

This is very stressful.

BLS: If you are reading this, please don’t make us suffer like this. Thanks.

July 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm
(108) CADGuy says:

Yohoo!!!!

SFO CGI is back online!!!

All dispatched…waiting for the fedex return label to show up on tracking.

CadGuy

July 19, 2013 at 6:36 pm
(109) Overit says:

Cad guy

When did you hear? I sent mine July 9th do u think its been dispatched?

July 19, 2013 at 6:47 pm
(110) R says:

Have read that the Application Reference Number is same as the one printed on the application form. Is it true?

Thanks.

July 19, 2013 at 10:43 pm
(111) Nora says:

a close friend and I have plans to travel in Sept, to visit an even older friend and her family who have moved back to India. We had been told repeatedly, by friends, family and Indian co-workers, how easy it is to get an Indian Visa and that we should wait till closer to our travel dates and that we would need an itinerary anyway.

We were not aware that Travisa is not handling this anymore. In fact, Travisa’s website isn’t at all explicit that you should not at all send them ANY India Visa Applications anymore at all! Applicants are actually still able to access all parts of the application process with no warnings of any kind – we completed our applications last weekend (July 13th) and mailed them to Travisa on Monday the 15th.

We even received all the usual processing emails and contact from our Travisa Agents – who have been FAR less than clear about the situation to us as well.

Now we are finding this out and Travisa has our Passports and we are stuck on a weekend so we can have no communication or way to sort out this huge blunder and mess! I really hope the refund our money and return our passpors overnight with the shipping we paid them to do so – just without our Visas so that we can re-apply through BLS! =(

A question if anyone could please make a recommendation:

When dealing with BLS New York, should we make an appointment and find a way to get down there? Are we more likely to get faster processing that way? Doing that would be a HUGE expense and problem for us, but if it would stop some stress and worry we would find a way.

Or, since we still have about 5 weeks – once we get out passports back hopefully – should we cross our fingers and try the mail service to the New york Office in the way we have with Travisa?

I could really use the help and guidance, I am so beside myself with worry right now and my friend has been crying for hours. =(

July 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm
(112) jay says:

CAD Guy,

Did you get the privilege to talk with someone at SFO BLS and found out the status? Our application reached the BLS office on July 5th. There is no status on it anywhere, the money order is not cashed, the FedEx return tracking has no status…

We all would appreciate if you can share how you find out that the passport with visa is dispatched back to you.

Jay

July 22, 2013 at 10:20 am
(113) Margaret says:

Thank you for writing this article.

I started my application process with Travisa. The information was clear and the staff was helpful. I had a delay with collecting my paperwork and had to wait until July 1st to submit with BLS. I really wish I could have submitted with Travisa because the website for BLS is confusing, the information isn’t as helpful and neither is the staff. I was missing a signature on one of my documents and no one notified me, luckily I tracked the application and saw the update. When I tried calling, it turns out the call center in India is down and none of the lines worked. No one has responded to my email either. I now have my fingers crossed that my visa will be granted in time for my trip.

I’m really happy this article has been written and I’m not the only one with problems. I hope this awareness will cause the Indian government to rethink this unfortunate arrangement.

July 22, 2013 at 10:44 am
(114) CADGuy says:

BLS Tracking is your best friend. I understand a human voice or email is better.

Email is your best friend too…,they (BLS, CGI) can get innundated…especially since their systems were down for almost a solid 8 days. So, email and telephone is slow. But, persist….stay on the phone.

Note, the Web reference number changes to another number.

Track via US passport if you have one (if you are wanting renunciation and visa like me). Else, just renunciation or passport renewal or visa is tracked by the passport number. Once you get the actual App Ref number, you can track via that one. If you are from IT, you can pull down Firefox REST Client and drive the PHP, it is a snap…status in 1 sec…the date control for birthday is horrible.

Good luck. It will come thru…I should have given it 2 months. But, I also wake up at the last minute and cause major chaos :(

July 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm
(115) Chandu says:

I mailed PIO applications for myself and wife on 7/15/13 via fedex to DC office. I couldn’t track the application or postal receipt.

I called customer service few times and it was not easy to reach them. The reps couldn’t locate the application using the tracking system (of course as they probably use the same tracking), which made me worried. I had the issue escalated, but haven’t gotten any response till this morning.

Since it has been a week, I called the call center again today and argued that they should have more access/information and me. I told them that there are 100s of complaints online and the old trvisa used to be very prompt about reporting status, which is usually with in a day of the receipt. Also, I told the rep, I don’t care about how long it takes, I just want to know if the application is received and is in process.

So, I got the issue re-escalated to level 1 (whatever it means) today and with in an hour (really?), I was able to track both the applications online.. This leads me to conclusion that, my packet was simply lying in shelf till now and opened only because I was complaining so much. Now, I need to see how long the processing takes..

Apparently call center is located somewhere in NY (Or India) and probably do not have much information than we have except for an ability to receive and process complaints. BLS should realize that they need to be prompt while dealing with important documents such as passport. Otherwise, whatever the commission they earn, will spent (many times over) answering calls and dealing with frustrated customers.

To compare, I applied for my kids PIO with trvisa last year and this year. They are were always prompt about status update (some times multiple updates in day) and got the passports back in 7-10days.

July 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm
(116) FrustratedBusinessTraveler says:

I’m struggling with the SF BLS office as well; I applied for a five-year business visa on July 3rd through CIBT. They submitted my paperwork to BLS on July 5th. Sounds good right?

Last week BLS told the service agency I was working with three times that my visa would be ready. We followed up Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I went into the third party agency.

While at their office I met a woman that was getting travel documents for her boss; she was the only person to receive a visa last Friday from BLS. She said she had gone into the office to follow up and waited in line for four hours and that it was the only reason it was released.

The BLS site shows that my application was submitted July 18th. I went in the office on Geary today and it was a disaster. They turned away anyone without an appointment or an immediate need.

People with appointments had to take a number – just as those without an appointment and immediate need did. Once at the service desk, all they could tell me is that my visa is “underprocess”. This evening I checked the status on their site and now it says it’s got missing/incorrect information. Incredible!

July 23, 2013 at 11:22 am
(117) pv1114 says:

I sent this complaint to all emails available for the NYC office:

THIS IS A FORMAL COMPLAINT AGAINST BLS INTERNATIONAL:

I would like to file a formal complaint regarding BLS International. I am not clear as to why this company was chosen to represent India to process Visas/passports in the United States of America. It has been a complete nightmare to deal with them.

To start of, all the links/email ids on their web page DO NOT work. Their Visa application tracker DOES NOT work. It took my husband and I HOURS to figure out all the information we needed to even apply for an Indian tourist visa–this is inexcusable–the process was much simpler when Travisa was handling this service. Theeir instructions on the BLS International web site are very poor, at best.

Since we are unable to track our applications online, we were left with no choice but to call them. The number has not worked for days-which was EXTREMELY frustrating. This morning, I was finally able to get through to someone (after spending what seemed like an eternity waiting on the line) on the phone no: 888.683.7830 and the person on the line was not helpful at all, in fact he was EXTREMELY rude.

He could only provide information for my husband and I . Apparently he had no way of tracking my daughters’ applications even though I provided him the application numbers.

He kept saying that the passports (for my husband & I ) were “ready to be picked up” even though we have sent them a prepaid Fedex package for return service.

We NEED to leave for India on the 1st of August and I am very upset that there is no information on my daughters’ visa/passports.

I think you need to be aware of the failure of this company to provide the service that they were hired for.

Surely we can do better than to hire incompetent people/companies to represent Indians in foreign countries.

July 23, 2013 at 11:36 am
(118) L.E. says:

I am really pissed at this service. I sent my documents and my husband’s To BLS New York on July 1st. I kept checking every day to make sure everything worked well, their system was working for me, until July 12th it said passports were already shipped using the Fedex prepaid overnight envelope we sent. It’s been more than a week and still no passports, I have checked Fedex tracking and they have no information of even picking them up, I have called HUNDRED of times and the toll free number 18886837830 always says “your call cannot be completed at this time”. Last friday (19th) after trying another hundred times I finally get someone on the phone only to tell me that “he couldn’t hear me well” and just hang up on me, this happens again 2 more times, you can only imagine the fury I felt every single time i dial that number. Until finally someone answer and told me the same thing I have read here, that they re-escalated my issue to “level 1″ and that I will get a call back from them in 2 days (meaning today the 23rd), they give me a “unique number” to use in case i call back I only needed to give them that number and they will know what my issue was. I didn’t wait for a call I knew was never going to happen. So I called yesterday before the offices closed someone answer after 30 tries and I gave him my “unique number” and oh surprise not only that number did’nt exist he also told me “he couldn’t hear me well” and just hang up on me AGAIN!! I call back, but it was late and by the time I got that phone to work again their offices were already closed.

July 23, 2013 at 11:37 am
(119) L.E. says:

I call today again first thing in the morning and when Peter “Won”? (I dont know how to write his last name) was ready to tell me “he couldn’t hear me well” I told him not to dare to hang up on me and of course I told him everything I think of their agency and their “work” and that they better sent my valuable passports NOW!, he keep saying that the system said it was already shipped and told him it was not, and that my valuable documents are probably sitting on someone’s desk collecting dust. He promise he will call me back today. I know it is not going to happen, but I didn’t know what else to do so sadly I have to hang up.
I’m really worried sick about my passports I know they have not send them, because if FEDEX says they have no tracking info on it, I BELIEVE FEDEX a hundred times more than this joke of an agency’s system.
I have read that people want to take some legal actions, I’m not sure if it can be possible, but if so please count with me. This cannot be happening, not with our valuable passports. My trip is schedule for September, but I have lost all desire to go to India, I just want my passport and my husband’s passport back!! What else can we do? Please advice me, what can I do to get my passports back?
I have read all the reviews here, I feel sorry for all the ones who has sick family to visit or weddings that got ruin because of this bad agency, all the money lost in tickets, passports… can we do something to stop this bad service??

July 23, 2013 at 1:20 pm
(120) PJ says:

1. Sent in my US passport to BLS NY by Fedex for OCI matchup on July 1st 2013.
2. Fedex delivered the package on July 2nd 2013.
3. As per the BLS Postal tracking system they received my package on July 8th 2013. Appears like they opened the package after 4-5 working days.
4.From July 3rd to July 13th 2013 the status in their application tracking system had the following status “OCI card recevived by Consulate”.
5. On July 15th 2013 the status in their application tracking system changed to “OCI Card Arrived – Application Pending”, the status has not changed since then.

I got concerned about the status and tried calling BLS NY but could not get thru for 2 days and finally I was able to talk a a rep today who gave me the same status message – looks like they have no clue of what is going on. The rep told me that someone will get back to me with status with 24 to 48 hours. I hope that did not loose my US passport and my Indian passport that I had submitted earlier fior renunciation.

I am 100% sure that no one is going to call me – anyone in out there in the same situation ? we should get together as a group and voice our concerns to the Media and the Indian consulate. Any suggestions on how we could pull this off ?

July 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm
(121) CADGuy says:

The SF CGI – BLS System works. It is back in motion after the server delays.

The Consulate emails back, they call you and same is true of BLS. They called, and also emailed back.

I got back all my renunciations and visas in 2 days after the servers came back up.

-CadGuy

July 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm
(122) Anand says:

Problems ahead, the author here asked back in April? You bet! Look at this thread full of frustration and anger. If you can foresee a train wreck, the logical thing to do would be to try and stop it from happening. BLS is failing to carry out basic, fundamental tasks that your average teenager could handle. It appears a lot of people knew in advance that the Travisa-to-BLS changeover would spell disaster in terms of quality of service. Major, major failure on the part of the Indian government here.

July 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm
(123) L.E. says:

PJ I’m with you, Enough is enough! anyone who knows a lawyer or someone on the Media that could help us here? what our options are? their phone doesn’t even work!, they don’t answer my calls, and when they do they either hang up on me or give me no solution at all, I’m worried about my passports and at this point I think I will have to cancel my trip, how much is this going to cost me? I don’t know anything about laws but if someone here is willing to help then please count with me.

July 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm
(124) NIL says:

PJ and L.E, I am with you guys, another victim! I sent my original US passports (total four passport including my family) for OCI match up on 1st of July via FedEx. according to Fedex tracking the received my passport on 3rd July. I check the status everyday, not everyday almost every hour on their website. everytime same status “OCI card received, – application pending”.. I was planning to visit to India in August but it doesnt seem like i will be able to that. Good thing i havent book any tickets yet.. I am worried thay they dont lose my passport.. as an Indian, I hate to criticise Indian firm but they left me no choice..

July 23, 2013 at 3:17 pm
(125) PH says:

I have had the misfortune of having to deal with VFS Globally and I could completely understand why the govt. wanted to change the provider. I have my self complained against VFS multiple times. I have complained about them to the Dutch govt. and I also had trouble with VFS in London where they refused to accept my swiss visa application asking me to provide some crazy documents which the embassy did not think were required. They have the same pathetic service and arrogance the world over. Their customer service is non existent and their escalation management teams are just a bunch of liars. Looks like the new provider is no different. I wouldn’t be surprised if this were just VFS with a new face!

July 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm
(126) need PIO says:

Would raising a complaint with BBB about BLS help?
Do not know what door to knock on if both the consulate and BLS are least bothered esp while dealing with documents as sensitive as passports.

July 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm
(127) Fed Up says:

If Travisa was bad, the new one is worse. Finally managed to contact the NY office of BLS and got a guy who did not know anything. I was given blatantly wrong information and when I asked him about it he just hung up. Now I once again cannot reach them !

July 23, 2013 at 5:26 pm
(128) Question for CADGuy says:

HI CADGuy

I see you received a renunciation from BLS. I have a question and wouyld appreciate an answer. While applying for renunciation did you submit a form that had an application Id on it. I am not able to find any such form but the Renunciation Status search page at BLS asks for an application ID. To make it more confusing Travisa, used to have a form with a application Id and so I am not sure if there is a form missing on the BLS web site.

Thanks

July 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm
(129) Waiting4Visa says:

Hello CADGuy, when did you send your visa papers to bls? When were they sent to the Consulate?

July 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm
(130) SV says:

Never ending nightmare, sent visa application to SFO bls on july 2nd, delivered next day but their website said, received on 8th and got sent back to me due to incorrect document (although, I double checked all the documents before sending). Any how, I hoped to receive it back for next few days, frequently checking fedex site but nothing. then started calling every other day during my work lunch time to their so called call center (I guess, operating somewhere from India but claim to be in New York) with no honest answer. every time, they will tell me the same thing that my package was sent back without processing and will get back to me within 24 hrs with further info. which never happened. when I asked to talk to their supervisor or manager, they just hang up on me. sent numerous emails but no replies. finally today, I got a six word email reply from them that ” file is in processing at consulate” and status on their website shows that my application received on july 19th. God knows, when I’ll receive my passport back.
Total harassment!

July 23, 2013 at 10:53 pm
(131) L.E. says:

PJ, NIL, Fed Up, SV you are not alone guys, I looked up the BBB website and I’m filling a complain now in their website, I figured the more people complain the better. Here is the link:

https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started

When searching for the business just paste the website link and it will appears:

http://www.blsindia-usa.com/

I cannot just do nothing while waiting for them to do their work.
I have worked in a call center before and we were NOT allowed to hang up on costumers. It is not ethical or polite. I have no idea what kind of service BLS is. But I won’t tolerate more disrespect from them. As a costumer the least I deserve is someone to listen to me. They told me they were going to call me by the end of the day, of course no one call. I have checked FEDEX again and nothing. They haven’t send my passports yet. A simple task, to take the prepaid envelope containing my valuable documents and drop it off in any FEDEX box. Who knows in what desk my passports are collecting dust.

July 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm
(132) L.E. says:

PJ, NIL, Fed up, SV you are not alone guys. Thanks need PIO for the advice, my husband suggested to write a complain to BBB as well.
I have find the link for complains:
https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
to find the business just write down BLS website link http://www.blsindia-usa.com/
The Texas office is the only one that appears, but you can specify your BLS office in the complain section. I cannot believe that BLS has zero complains in the BBB website. I hope it helps, I really cannot stay just doing nothing while waiting to see if my passports ever get send back to me. If any of you guys get your passport back please let me know it will at least give me some hope.

July 24, 2013 at 1:10 am
(133) FrustratedBusinessTraveler says:

Update — today the consulate general refused my business visa on the basis that I hadn’t submitted articles of incorporation of my company’s wholly-owned subsidiary in India. I got this document to them in one hour (that was at `9AM) but still — 12 hours later, there is no change in my application status, it still says “incomplete/incorrect data”, despite the fact that the articles of incorporation aren’t even a required document.

Here’s my timeline
July 2 — submitted paperwork to 3rd party processor
July 5 — third party processor submitted check-ed paperwork to BLS
July 18 — BLS acknowledged receiving my documents
July 19 — BLS shows status as “under process”
July 22 — I visit BLS office to discover what “under process” means. I was asked several times while I was there if I was a US citizen by birth, and sort of nudged that I should have paid the expediting fee (which shouldn’t have been necessary when sending documents a month in advance)
July 22 PM (after I left) — my application status is now listed as “incomplete/incorrect data”
July 23 7:52 am — 3rd party processor calls and asks for articles of incorporation; I’m told that maybe, it will be ready the following day
July 24 — I am very depressed, I need to be on this trip with my coworkers, it’s very important to my company

July 27 11 am — I have a flight leaving the US and I need my passport

July 24, 2013 at 7:28 am
(134) PJ says:

Thank you L.E.,NIL, Fed up and SV.

I will register my complaint at the BBB today. In the meanwhile please send tweets to @sardesairajdeep @nytimes and @wsj and let them know about this issue along with a link to this article. Hopefully one of them will run this story so it will at least attract the attention of the officials in India. Please keep us updated.

July 25, 2013 at 12:51 am
(135) goindia says:

Hi PJ and others, I’ve just sent some tweets too, so hopefully it will help do something about this appalling situation. I’m @aboutIndia

July 24, 2013 at 8:31 am
(136) VK says:

I will not detail my horror story just yet, but a couple of questions.

1) Is there any indication that the Atlanta office actually exists?

2) Does anyone have a working email address for BLS that does not bounce back as undeliverable?

July 24, 2013 at 8:40 am
(137) Anand says:

The BLS office in New York is an impenetrable black hole, so far as I can tell. I called information (411) to see if I could get connected to the NY office via another number besides that ridiculous 888-683-7830 number which connects you to somebody sitting in Delhi or some other Indian city. The number I got was 212-725-7771. Called it and nobody picked up. Maybe somebody else can try and get through.

July 24, 2013 at 11:07 am
(138) L.E. says:

Thanks PJ for the twitter info, I will tweet too.
Anand thanks for the new number, I’ve been calling 10 times already, no luck.
I tried the 888… number I talked again with a guy who did nothing for me, all they keep repeating is the same thing I read in they website, no more help.
The system says my passports have been shipped already on Friday 12th but until today (24th) I have nothing, I have called Fedex but they have no info, the tracking number hasn’t been scanned, meaning they haven’t sent it yet!
I asked the guy where they are located, he said the call center is located in USA in NY but in a different building than the BLS head office.
I’m so frustrated, all he offered was a call back in the next 24 hours that we know will never happen.
FrustatedBussinesTraveler sorry to hear about your experience.
If only they will tell us “We are sorry we lose your passport” or “Sorry we wont be able to process your visa before your trip” at least we will know what to do next, find solutions instead of being in limbo.

July 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm
(139) Anand says:

If you have a Federal Express account (and if you don’t, make one, it’s free), you can arrange to have FedEx attempt a “calltag” procedure. Give FedEx the address where the item (your passport) needs to be picked up, give them a shipping address (your home), and then somebody from FedEx can generate a label and attempt to retrieve the item for you and mail it via ground transport (I don’t think calltag can be done with express overnight). Tell FedEx over the phone that “passport” should be written as a reference (they’ll ask you). I’m hoping FedEx can pull this off for me today.

July 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm
(140) AsiaSF says:

Since some of you have asked. If you have sent your OCI or renunciation application to BLS and haven’t heard anything, the way to track it online is by entering your US passport number with the other details. Your OCI application bard code ID will not work as a reference no.

Also, the reality is that BLS is taking 6-8 working days to open the mailed application and enter data into their systems. Judging by what I have seen with a couple of my acquaintances, this is true for all mailed applications, be it for visa, oci, pio or any other service. Expedited fee and times come into picture only after your package is opened and data entered into their system. Since there seems to be absolutely no recourse to what BLS is doing, its best to keep this in mind before applying for anything with BLS.

Looking at the positions open for hiring at BLS it appears that they started with only a few people and were completely unprepared. With the backlog building up everyday, I expect at least 2-3 months before they can get to a level of offering competent service.

July 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm
(141) Grievances Galore says:

We’ve reached a point where we don’t care if OCI matchups get done or not. WE JUST WANT OUR PASSPORTS BACK so we can travel to India. I don’t know what got into us, what a blunder that we mailed it out to this company during the transition period, and during the peak travel season! We will be happy to apply for OCI after a few months. For now, WE JUST WANT OUR PASSPORTS BACK.

July 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm
(142) L.E. says:

Thanks Anand for the info, I’m not sure if I can do that since my passports (according to BLS) have been shipped already using my prepaid Fedex envelope. I have the tracking number, I have been checking it every single hour for the past 12 days, and nothing there is not a single scan to show. They told me that the package may be still at the BLS offices collecting dust.
I’ve been sad all day today, not knowing what else to do. I understand you Grievances Galore, all I want is my and my husband’s passport back. I have lost any desire to go visit that country. All I want is for them to at least call me back as they promised.
I have decided to take a day off from work tomorow to go to their NY office and see if someone can help me.

July 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm
(143) PJ says:

@Grievances Galore, in my case just getting back the US passort without an OCI or Viisa stamp is not an option. What if I need to travel to India on an emergency and my US passport is still stuck with BLS ? Even if I get the US passport back without OCI I will have to go to the same morons again to get visa to travel to India. Simply said – we are all in a pathetic situation and there seems to be no end to our misery.

July 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm
(144) ROSHNI says:

DOES ANYBODY KNOW HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE BLS INDIA SERVICES IN USA. HOW CAN I LET THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT KNOW ABOUT. ITS A BIG PAIN WITH THE BLS.

July 24, 2013 at 6:45 pm
(145) Anand says:

Well, asking FedEx to do a “calltag” pickup at BLS in New York didn’t work. Apparently the driver went there, was asked for a “contact name” (i.e. somebody working on the visa application in question), and since neither I nor anybody on earth can tell you the name of a single staff member actually working at BLS, the driver couldn’t provide such a name, and so the BLS employees couldn’t retrieve the passport in question, even though the recipient address on the label generated by the FedEx employee was the same name as the visa applicant. This is Mission Impossible. The BLS New York office is a black hole.

I called the useless 888-683-7830 number, asked if the man could provide me with the same of even one staff member employed at BLS in New York, and he said he could not! He didn’t have those details, he said. So I still can’t provide FedEx with a legitimate contact name at this company. The only name I have is that of the security guard (first initial and last name) who signed the original package that was delivered. Anybody out there know the full name of a person who actually works at the BLS New York office?

July 24, 2013 at 7:08 pm
(146) RD says:

My wife and I have decided to take our complaints to the newspaper. Our issue is with BLS International in NY and the Indian emassy who are providing NO support. We have written to the NY Times and copied every email we could find on the Indian Embassy in NY webpage. I hope that some pressure can build to change things.

July 25, 2013 at 1:30 am
(147) L.E. says:

Dont forget to also fill a complain at the BBB website:
https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
When searching for the business just write the website link: http://www.blsindia-usa.com/
As I told you before I’m going to the NY office tomorrow I have no idea what is going to happen, or if I will be able to get my passports back. Wish me luck, I will keep you posted as soon as I get back.
Anand sorry to hear about it, I will try and get some names tomorrow.
RD count with me and my husband too, dont forget to send them this page link as well so they can read all our complains.

July 25, 2013 at 6:20 am
(148) PJ says:

@L.E. Good Luck ! Hopefully you will get back your passports today.

July 25, 2013 at 8:49 am
(149) Anand says:

Here is a toll free number offered by the US State Department to report lost or stolen US passports: 877-487-2778. This may sound extreme, but I’m close to concluding that a raid of some kind should be conducted on BLS offices in New York and elsewhere that are in possession of US passport and providing NO information on their status or whereabouts. I may call this number today. Please, somebody else go ahead and call if you are as concerned as I am.

July 25, 2013 at 9:50 am
(150) Anand says:

The 877 number I gave above wasn’t helpful. This is the number of the New York City police precinct that has jurisdiction over the BLS office location: 212-239-9811. I don’t know anything about the law or warrantless searches or anything like that, but perhaps a police officer could go to the office (13 East 37th Street, 6th Floor, between 5th and Madison) to make sure the operations are legitimate and passport handling is being done lawfully. People concerned enough should consider calling.

July 25, 2013 at 10:39 am
(151) Anonymous India says:

Thousands of people seeking to visit India are facing traumatic experience getting VISA/PIO/OCI service. The outsourcing agency selected by the embassy is grossly incompetent and so are the embassy processes & procedures. Fix your visa, pio & oci services.

Please support this petition and forward to your friends.

http://www.change.org/petitions/indian-embassy-washington-dc-fix-your-visa-pio-oci-services

July 25, 2013 at 11:16 am
(152) MPR says:

Typical Indian approach. Instead of fessing up this was a royal screw up and letting applicants know when they expect to fix this problem, they choose hide. Not answering the phones and not replying is not a good PR for both Indian embassy and BLS.

July 25, 2013 at 12:40 pm
(153) CallEmOut says:

The Indian Embassy NY branch and probably others branches have pages on Facebook. Some have links to the visa/OCI/PIO outsourcing news as well. Should we post our grievances on that page ?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Consulate-General-of-India-NY/206970816008847

July 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm
(154) David says:

I have been trying for days to communicate with these guys to get a visa.
I want to get an appointment for a visa but their website does not work.

Thier phones are often engaged and finally after getting through I waited for up to 2 hours before hanging up.

my next approach will be to go to their office and demand service without an oppointment.

I have paid for my travel but I will cancel if I do not get a visa soon.

July 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm
(155) Anand says:

Just spoke with a Federal Express employee who relayed this description of the BLS New York office from a FedEx driver who went there and was unable to pick up a passport: Total chaos, disorganized, literally hundreds of FedEx envelopes lying all over the place, huge numbers of workers swarming around but unable to locate anything.

Good luck to anybody who goes there in person.

July 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm
(156) suhana says:

from last friday , my daughter application status says- “dispatched by courier”. But I didnt get it yet, neither I can track it. Is anyone got their passport back .

July 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm
(157) A.P says:

Applied tourist visa at BLS New York Office on July 3rd
Changed the status to : “dispatched by courier” on July 22
I have not received it yet, neither can I track it.
Has anyone got their passport back?

July 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm
(158) L.E. says:

No luck. I just left the NY office. I talked with the manager he looked every where but was not able to find my passports. I feel defeated. The office is a joke. I saw hundred of envelopes and passports just lying there. They told me to wait. I do not know how long they want me ro wait. I went to Fedex after but they cannot help me either. My passports are just lost in limbo. I will have to cancel my trip. Let me know if any of you get your passports back.

July 25, 2013 at 4:36 pm
(159) Tim says:

Hi,
Went through all the comments. Mr. Ashish and Mr. Shubam. Please keep your thoughts about GoIndia to yourself. People who have been suffering is trying to share their pain through this forum.

I am having similar problems with my passport renewal and I can related to the pains of many others in this forum. So, with all due respect do NOT say a word to GoIndia. He/She is not taking any sides. We are just sharing our thoughts here.

July 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm
(160) PJ says:

@L.E. I am very sorry to hear about your experinece, we are all on the same boat – looks like the chances of BLS loosing / mis-handling our passports are very high. Did the folks at BLS atleast treat you with respect ? I don’t know how to react and what to say – what a mess we have gotten into.

July 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm
(161) Anand says:

At this point, frankly, the BLS office in New York should be raided, and all Federal Express envelopes containing the valuable documents of applicants should be seized and handed over to the nearest FedEx office. To go there in person as an applicant, with all of your reference information in hand, and to walk out with the location of your PASSPORT still a mystery, is inexcusable.

July 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm
(162) A.P. says:

I can finally track my passport via USPS. I will let you know after I receive my passport along with visa.

July 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm
(163) Hanna says:

Praise the Lord!

I and my husband to be will be traveling to India in August for our honeymoon. We had turned in our visa applications to Travisa, but they arrived hours too late, so we were required to send our packages to BLS in Chicago.

The package arrived, and the status was consistently updated, until it reached the “Ready for Dispatch” status. There it stopped for about a week.

My brother found a number for the passport department at BLS, and they transferred me to the visa department. After just a few rings, I got a hold of a lady there who spoke excellent English, and after putting me on hold for about 5 minutes, came back on and told me that she had personally put our applications in the mail.

About 24 hours later, the UPS tracking numbers show that they truly are on their way back to us! God is so good. Praise Jesus for how He works!

For those of you who would like to try that method, the number that works for the Chicago branch is:

312-583-9177

I sincerely hope that this helps some of you get your visas as well!

~Hanna

July 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm
(164) Anand says:

Hanna, glad to hear it worked out for you. BLS has departments? Really? Anybody have a number for the visa department at BLS New York? Would be great to know that.

July 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm
(165) L.E. says:

I got there around noon. There were a lot of people and a huge line for those who wanted to left their papers for their visa. It was almost impossible to get someone attention just to ask where to start. I finally told a girl about my problem and she told me I should ask for the manager and talk to him. I did it and I explained him my situation, he was helpful, he looked for my fedex envelope in front of me, there were TONS of envelopes but he couldnt find mine. I was there hopeless, without knowing what else to do next. At the end he told me he was going to investigate more and he was going to ask the guy who comes to collect the envelopes at the end of the day. He did call me back before 6pm but only to tell me that he have asked the guy and that he was going to try and track my envelope. that I have to wait and that he was going to call me back.
After this afternoon all I can say is that the 888 number is a waste of time, I don’t know how many times I called and they told me that they have send my complain to the NY office, well guess what? the NY office had no idea of my problem.
The NY office gives our valuable Fedex and UPS documents to a guy who comes to collect them at the end of the day, but this guy doesn’t scan them. He doesn’t work for either Fedex or UPS, he just take them to the closest drop-off box. So whatever happens during that time (from NY office to drop-off box) is a mystery. In the case of the USPS envelopes a USPS guy comes to collect them, which makes me believe that sending a prepaid USPS envelope is a wiser choice.

July 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm
(166) PM says:

Worst service BLS. Applied for PIO card jul1st. Application still pending, o have visited their office twice. NO response..

July 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm
(167) RD says:

Ok my wife sacrificed 1/2 a day at work calling continuously until she got through. Apparently they have my wife and my passport and are processing it. Thank goodness. However, there is NO record of our daughters passport or application. How can that be when ALL applications went in a SINGLE fedex envelope. At this point I have no choice I have to go into NY and fight with someone, anyone to at least get my kids passports back. Our flight is next Thursday and I am sick to my stomach that it has come down to this.

July 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm
(168) PJ says:

Please support this petition at change.org
http://www.change.org/petitions/indian-embassy-washington-dc-fix-your-visa-pio-oci-services#share
There are only 13 supporters for this petition so far,we can do much better. Please forward the link to your friends and relatives and get them to support this petition. Just complaining in forums will not help we all need to collectively take some action to stop this nonsense.

July 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm
(169) Anand says:

OK, I am pleased to write that my own ordeal will soon (knock on wood) have a happy ending (i.e. the FedEx return tracking number is working), but BLS deserves a heaping pile of criticism for its nonexistent customer service. Keeping possession of people’s passports, providing no information about what’s happened to them for a week or more, and only having a stupid 888 number that connects you to useless people is simply WRONG. Travisa never should have lost this business in the USA.

July 25, 2013 at 11:49 pm
(170) Kishore says:

I’m going to have to reschedule my In-laws, wife’s and daughter’s trip to India. I applied for my daughter’s PIO on July 2nd; BLS received it on 5-July. I called the NY Consulate and they informed that the PIO was issued on 9-July. There was no status update from BLS except that they received the application pn 5-July. And ofcourse the phones were down too. The status then showed “Dispatched by Courier” since the last 4 days. I was finally able to talk to a person today however she mentioned that she will need 48 hours to have this escalated and get a response. My flight would leave by then! She gave the tracking number of the UPS prepaid envelope that I had sent. The UPS customer service is confident that the package was never shipped else there would be some update.

I’m confused what my next step should be. If I spend another $1000 to reschedule all of their tickets (from 28-Jul to say, 10-Aug), will I receive the PIO by then? What if they lost my daughter’s passport in transit? Should I fly from Cincinnati to NY to just find out what the status is? Spend another $300 to no avail? I’m just frustrated and have no clue what to do next!!

July 26, 2013 at 1:20 am
(171) L.E. says:

Thanks PJ for your kind words and for the link I will support it. Anand AP glad to hear your problem was solved. Please let me know when u get your passports. How long was the waiting?
Kishore, I’m sorry to hear about your experience, I dont know what to say, in my case It’s been 2 weeks since they “shipped” (or at least it says that in their website) my and my husband’s passports. I have lost all hope. If you call the 888 number, they lied to you. No one is going to call you after 48 days and they won’t send your complain to the NY office. My case is very similar to yours. I was at the NY office today and came back home hopeless and terribly sad. They couldn’t find my passports and keep repeating they have ‘shipped’ already.

July 26, 2013 at 8:28 am
(172) Anand says:

L.E. the visa application was mailed to New York on July 5 with the wrong zip code (provided by BLS), so it didn’t reach the BLS office until July 9. By July 17, status was “Ready for Dispatch.” Then I waited interminably with no new information. Finally the FedEx return tracking number appeared in the system on July 25 (after I typed the tracking number into the online checking tool for about the 200th time), delivery scheduled for July 26. The timeline was much longer than what BLS advertised (7-9 business days). The major problem was the complete inability to find out anything after July 17. I hope things work out for you somehow.

July 26, 2013 at 10:07 am
(173) PJ says:

Called BLS again, they promised to escalate my issue again and promised me again that someone will call back within 48 hours. I know no one is going to call back – I will just wait until early next week and file a police complaint that BLS has lost my US and Indian passport.

July 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm
(174) A.N says:

I am waiting for my daughter passport from last one week. since 7/19/13. It say dispatched by courier. I sent a USPS paid return envelope. but no result. I don’t know, what to do. I was reading all comments above, even going to NY BLS office wont help.

July 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm
(175) need PIO says:

Oh god, I am worried- the status for my son’s pio application is dispatched by courier
Let me wait for a day or two and see what happens

July 26, 2013 at 5:04 pm
(176) Mohit says:

same situation here… BLS tracking says dispatched via courier.. but UPS tracking does not show anything…

Anand – when did the status for you change to Dispatched via Courier and how long after that were you able to track it?

July 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm
(177) RD says:

The nightmare continues. Went to BLS International in NYC and thanks to an Indian lady fighting with one of the employees I was able to go in at 3pm with her. I was told that indeed my wife and I visa’s were processed and I could pick them up at 4:30pm. The return Fedex envelope that I had was not going to be used because I incorrectly filled out BLS international on the From paperwork. I was supposed to do From myself To myself on the form. When I asked about my daughters application they found it with a note that it was not filled out correctly. They wanted my daughters signature under their picture NOT the parents as they are both above 5. Ok then so I asked the simple question why did they not contact us to say there is an issue on July 15th when they opened our paperwork. THEY TOLD ME THERE is NO PROCESS to CONTACT applicants if the application is not correct. NONE, ZIP, ZERO. If I did not show up today they would have let it just sit there in a corner and not told us anything. They said the best way is to make an appointment and show up with paperwork. Do NOT send in applications by mail. The chaos in the office and the inefficiency is unbelievable. Net, net I was given my kids applications to go home and have them sign below the picture and return on Monday to try again. I can’t take much more of this.

July 26, 2013 at 10:54 pm
(178) A.N says:

RD, after reading your comment I am more worried now. I did the same thing. I put their address on the” from” section in my return envelope. So it means my application must be lying on some corner too. now I have to go to NY and look for my application there. What a service we are getting. what a bad name they are giving to Indian. And I don’t understand what the Indian embassy doing, why don’t they take any action against them.

July 27, 2013 at 12:23 am
(179) Anand says:

Mohit–the online BLS status for the visa application NEVER changed from “Ready for Dispatch” to “Dispatched via Courier.” In fact, the current status for this visa application STILL says “Ready for Dispatch” even though the passport was successfully delivered via FedEx some 15 hours ago. In other words, the online status provided by BLS means NOTHING.

I’m not sure what finally persuaded BLS employees to finally retrieve and deliver the passport in question from the bottomless pit that is their New York office, but I can say I got very angry while speaking to one person at that 888-683-7830 number the day before it was sent. Twice I asked FedEx to attempt a “calltag” procedure and they couldn’t do it because BLS employees couldn’t locate the application before the FedEx driver gave up and left.

But perhaps the fact that a FedEx driver came by on back-to-back days looking for this one specific person’s envelope caught their attention and compelled them to finally locate the original application with return envelope and finally send the passport on its way.

Funny, when the FedEx tracking number finally started working on the night of 25 July, it showed that the envelope had been picked up in Jamaica, NY–that’s Queens. The BLS office is in Manhattan. What on earth was this return envelope with passport enclosed doing in another New York City borough? I have no idea. Just glad it finally got delivered.

July 27, 2013 at 4:42 am
(180) A.N says:

Anand, what is “calltag”. Can it will be possible to get the passport back by this. I am really frustrated now. My husband is in india & I am supposed to leave India next week, but i dont think it will be possible now. I sent them application in the 1st week of July. As i thought it would only take 1 week, as what bls website claimed. But now everyone know the reality. . Never heard anywhere in the world , that it took 1 month to get a simple visa. But if unprofessional company like BLS is there, certinaly it can happen. I am really going to file a complaint against them next week, if I didn’t get my daughter passport.

July 27, 2013 at 8:20 am
(181) Anand says:

A.N.–Calltag is a process by which a FedEx driver can go to a location you specify and do a pickup of an item that you also need to specify (e.g. a passport). The FedEx driver can generate a label with the pickup location and recipient address, which are both provided by you.

The catch is that somebody at the pickup location has to be aware of what’s happening. BLS employees appear clueless, so both times I had FedEx attempt a calltag, the driver was unable to leave with passport in hand. This despite the fact that the driver had a recipient address (i.e. the passport holder’s name and address) with him. FedEx employees I spoke to sounded shocked and amazed by how disorganized and chaotic the BLS office was.

What gets me is that the original return envelope was finally picked up in Jamaica, Queens. Why was it there? I’d really like to ask somebody at BLS how a return envelope containing somebody’s passport ended up 30 minutes away (by car) from their Manhattan office in another borough of the city, at a location where who knows what was happening. But they probably don’t know.

July 27, 2013 at 2:51 pm
(182) A.N says:

Anand, thank you for the help. But now I can track my shipment.Its really wired that everyone start tracking in night only. And you are absolutely correct, what these envelope doing at the other part of the city, they are such an important document how they can be so irresponsible. From last two days I emailed bls and the embassy people- visa@indiacgny.org. I don’t know this make them find my application or they just woke up from their sleep. People who didn’t get their envelope, can email them with their time line of their application , I gave them my tracking no for the return envelope too, so that they know I have proof of a return envelope, good luck to all of you.

July 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm
(183) A.P. says:

Finally got my passport back

it was stressful when I was not able to track my passport for two days. BLS said dispatched by currier but not able to track at USPS. At the end of the day I got my passport back with visa.

July 27, 2013 at 6:03 pm
(184) Grievances G. says:

Thank you for letting us all know about the Fedex calltag procedure. We will definitely try that.
Thanks also for suggestions for filing complaints at BBB and change.org

How about also filing a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at this link:
https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/FTC_Wizard.aspx?Lang=en

We got completely mislead because our personal experience with Travisa was great – the process was just so smooth with them.

The reason we promptly and fearlessly mailed out our passports to BLS International for OCI matchup at all was because our thinking went, “Hey, if Travisa was so good, BLS is probably either equally good or better!”

Now, just really hoping no emergency situation crops up for which we will need to travel to India over the next month. I guess I am being optimistic here to assume that our passports will show up by the end of next month at least?

July 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm
(185) L.E. says:

Anand, AN, AP despite the fact that I’m still stuck in this BLS nightmare, it makes me really happy to hear you finally got your passports back. Somehow it gives me and my husband hope that we may get our passports back.
One thing I want to point out. I read that your status said ““Dispatched via Courier.”
Our status changed on July 12th to:”SHIPPED: FEDEX EXPRESS”
I wonder why the different status?
I’ve been waiting for 2 weeks now. I called a thousand times , I went to NY office, and nothing they weren’t able to locate my passports.
I wonder if I should still hope. Please send me all your good vibes, only you know the nightmare I’m going through.

July 27, 2013 at 11:16 pm
(186) A.N says:

L.E, I think the people who have send their passport through USPS, the status is coming “Dispatched via Courier.” where as the FedEx one coming ”SHIPPED: FEDEX EXPRESS”. That what I figure out, what I got from above comments. L.E, I can understand your problem, I hope and pray that you guys get your passport soon. This is the link of NY embassy contact no. and emails,, i sent emails to the visa dept of embassy regarding my visa. Next day I was able to track my application. If this could help you.

http://www.indiacgny.org/php/showContact.php?linkid=196&parentid=0

July 28, 2013 at 8:53 pm
(187) paulbart says:

Hello -

I have read several threads (like this one) that gave me concern about applying for a tourist visa.

As it turns out, my experience with BLS in New York was mostly positive. I described my experience here, and thought others may find some of the info useful:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2336668

See my second post on that thread for direct links to application status tracking (at least this helped me – using Safari on a Mac was painful using their normal page (constantly needing to use “date selector” to select my birthdate)).

Good luck to everyone!

- Paul

July 29, 2013 at 10:02 am
(188) gg says:

Happy to hear about the positive experiences. That some of you are able to track status, and some are even getting their passports back with visa, is great news. We initiated the Fedex calltag procedure yesterday. Hoping for the best. Best wishes to all.

July 29, 2013 at 11:31 am
(189) L.E. says:

As I said, reading about your happy endings give me and my husband hope. I just emailed to the visa dept. I hope they can help. Please keep us in your prayers.

July 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm
(190) Rob B says:

Here is a great BLS story! My wife and I are going to India in a few months and we sent our applications into BLS New York together in one envelope. Thankfully, both passports are returned, but they put my wife’s picture on BOTH of our visas! So right now my visa picture is my wife, but all of the information is correct. I have no idea what to do!!

July 29, 2013 at 2:16 pm
(191) need PIO says:

I got my son’s PIO via UPS today. The tracking number started working Friday late night. The status on the BLS site changed to ‘dispatched via courier’ on Friday morning. But like somebody else has mentioned above the envelopes are dropped off by somebody at the Fedex/UPS drop boxes and are not picked up by a Fedex/UPS driver. I confirmed this on the phone.
All in all I am happy I got my son’s PIO card and passport. My advice to everyone is apply for visa/PIO/OCI well in advance of your travel date and do not book any tickets until you get your docs back in order from BLS.

My postal application reached them on the 8th of July. It was not opened until the 17th (I called them 4 times b/w 8th and 17th). However, since the 17th it looks like the application moved smoothly – I could see the updates on BLS site- processing at consulate, approved, ready for dispatch, dispatched etc

July 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm
(192) need PIO says:

I put the ‘BLS’ address in the from section of the return envelope. (UPS). I got the docs back in order. I think that is just an excuse they give

July 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm
(193) Vishal Bhatia says:

Nightmare with BLS. I sent my USA passport for visa, OCI and renunciation as I had to travel to India in next 3 weeks. It was received by BLS Chicago on July 15th by UPS overnight, No status updated till July 22nd. On July 25th status changed to “ready for collection” and I had sent 3 pre-paid UPS overnight envelopes to BLS. I called up 312-583-9177 and was told that my envelopes are lost (Friday evening at 6 PM) but was told that my passport is with BLS with visa. My wife flew in to Chicago to get my passport on Monday at 11:30 AM ($ 1100 ticket). She has been told that my passport is not tracable!
My mother is sick and so I have to re-apply US passport and visa and OCI.
1. She is told that customer service 888 number is located in India
2. The office of BLS is dis-organized and papers, passports scattered all over
3. It is in a deserted building without any proper sign boards

I am taking legal action and sending a legal court notice soon

Vishal

July 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm
(194) Kishore says:

Good to see that some of you received your passports. Lucky ones! I had to reschedule my tickets to India that already cost me $800. I called the 888 number and after 2 days they sent an e-mail with the same status as the one on their website – “dispatched via courier”. Nobody is picking up the call at the PIO phone number for the NY consulate. It gets more frustrating. Our (the parents’) I-94 expires on Aug-09 and hence we NEED to travel on that date and we’re still waiting for my daughter’s passport and PIO. I’m convinced that they have lost the prepaid UPS envelope along with the passport and the card. I can’t keep my hopes on BLS anymore. I’m going to apply for an emergency passport and appear at the BLS office for an emergency visa before my travel date. This is going to cost me an additional $700. Great job BLS..Keep up the sh*tty job that you are doing. I’m almost enraged that I want to go to the BLS office and hold up a banner all day…a banner that says you suck!! And then hold up the banner the next day at the NY consulate. Just don’t have the time and money to do it!

Vishal,
What kind of legal action are you pursuing? Let me know if you need a co-signor. BLS deserves punishment!

July 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm
(195) RD says:

Dropped off paperwork for my kids today with assurances that there visa will be ready at 6pm. Not only did I not get the visa but there is no comprehension from the employees that their process is broken. When I left the office in frustration at 7:15pm the NY PD was going in because people were so frustrated they called the police.
I can’t tell you how disruptive this is to my work and personal life. Will need to return tomorrow and hope that got smiles on me. I was looking forward to this trip but now………..

July 30, 2013 at 12:55 pm
(196) PJ says:

Please support this petition at change.org
http://www.change.org/petitions/indian-embassy-washington-dc-fix-your-visa-pio-oci-services#share
There are only 48 supporters for this petition so far,we can do much better. Please forward the link to your friends and relatives and get them to support this petition. Just complaining in forums will not help we all need to collectively take some action to stop this nonsense.

July 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm
(197) Sonali Jain says:

My experience with BLS has been great. The website had all the important and relevant information. It hardly took me time to fill out the details and complete the procedure. I was able to track my application at various entry levels. Their service is remarkably efficient for a new company. Keep up the hard work!

July 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm
(198) PJ says:

People who applied for OCI thru Travisa and sent in their passport for match up to BLS, please note that Travisa did not provide the prepaid FedEx envelope (for applicants who paid for getting back their passports) to BLS and I advise you guys to go to BLS in person and collect your passports. Bls tracking is broken and their call center reps are clueless. I was waiting till date (sent in my passport on July 2nd to NY) and finally walked into their office and got the passports back in 2 minutes. My tracking status at BLS still says ‘OCI card arrived-pending application, apparently my OCI was matched up on July 12th and sitting at BLS NY until this afternoon. Hope this helps !

July 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(199) Kishore says:

Sonali,
Do you work for BLS? LOL! Anyway, I hope it is true. I’m so bitter and frustrated now. There’s no info on the passport or the PIO card. My US visa expires on Aug-08 and my daughter still does not have a passport. All I can do is apply for a new emergency passport and deal with the “one & only” BLS again for an emergency visa. If more problems arise, there are only 2 options, either I stay here as an illegal resident or my daughter stays in India as an illegal resident! BLS – You guys are the worst! I have undergone so much stress and financial loss (for an average worker!) that I have lost hope.

Anyone had any luck with a UPS return envelope?

July 30, 2013 at 10:54 pm
(200) RD says:

Tuesday July 30th thank god that my third visit to BLS NY resulted in me getting my kids passports. Our flight is on August 1st so made it with a day to spare. However let me recap this ordeal.
July11th BLS received Fedex ONE enevelope with 2 adult and 2 kids applications.
July 22nd first attempts at calling and tracking applications. Very hard to contact the company. Sometime that week my wife gets through and is told that the kids visa is under process. NO OTHER information is communicated. Finally the phone and online tracker indicate that the adults passports are ready.
July 26th go in to pick up passports and find out about status of kids visa application as it reads under process. To my shock I was told that there is an error on the application and BLS has NO PROCESS to inform the family. I was just fortunate to come in and find out about the error – children over 5 need to sign below their picture NOT the parent. On Monday July 29th I resubmmitted the application in the morning with the expectation that I would get it the same day. That did NOT happen so today finally I got it. Some thoughts on why BLS International sucks.
1) Very, very poorly organized business.
2) Very poorly trained people
3) No effective way for ordinary people to force BLS to change
Good luck to everyone.

July 31, 2013 at 11:37 am
(201) PJ says:

@ L.E. Hope you got your passport back, waiting to hear the good news.

July 31, 2013 at 2:44 pm
(202) L.E. says:

@PJ thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts. Unfortunately there is still no news about my passports. I’m glad to hear you finally got yours back. I keep calling the manager everyday but still no luck finding my passports. This is a nightmare.

July 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm
(203) Anna says:

Absolute nightmare dealing with BLS international! Sent in my passport over two weeks ago and all my documents vanished without a trace. The office is like a black hole! Trying to get in touch with them via email or phone calls if futile. My trip to India is scheduled very soon. I simply cannot believe that an embassy service can be as incompetent as this. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

July 31, 2013 at 7:41 pm
(204) Ramanath says:

BLS service is absolute rubbish! We applied for passport renewal and they have been processed 10 days ago. BLS has happily kept it with them and hasnt dispatched it with the self-addressed, prepaid envelope, We have been calling them non-stop every day and each day the problem is being escalated with a estimated 24-48 hour resolution time. Just pathetic to think that BLS is responsible for such important documents.
Very sad to see some of the desperate situations people have gone through here.

I am trying to rope in leading Indian media and ask them to cover this story for us. Any other ideas, apart from signing petitions? Can we petition our local US senators to represent the issue to the Indian consulate? We should make BLS pay for this.

August 1, 2013 at 11:08 am
(205) PJ says:

Please don’t waste your time calling BLS customer service, it’s a total waste of time. They will promise to call back in 24-48 hours but no one will call you. Please go to their office in person if you need the passports immediately.

August 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm
(206) Suresh says:

I applied for my daughters Visa on 19th of July 2013 at Washington DC and still waiting for the passport to be dispatched.

I have no idea what is happening. Staff’s are pathetic. I went and applied in Person and very sad to say that the office space is horrible. Passports are lying over the floor and no one cares. The customer service is horrible. Can’t even leave the voice mail as it is full. The person who attends the phone calls doesn’t know how to respect people. BLS international is a Shame to Indian embassy and it needs to take a proper action against it.

August 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm
(207) R says:

BLS-SFO

PP reissue after 10 years: Start to finish 20 days; 07/15-08/05 (delivery date according to FedEx)

August 2, 2013 at 9:15 am
(208) Fez says:

I applied for a passport renewal to BLS-Chicago (postal). The application tracking says that it has been in “Processing at Consulate General” since 9th of July.
I have 2 questions:
1. Does anyone have an idea if the Application tracking is updated constantly?
2. I sent in a pre-paid envelope from USPS to them. I have it mail-forwarded to another address. Is there any risk with this?
Thanks a lot for anyone who can reply to me. If not, I really wish it works out for all of us.
Fez

August 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm
(209) peter says:

i sent visa application to bls 2 weeks back in express mail with express mail envelope for return i have sent email tried to call there is no response what a nightmare this system is worst service they dont answer phones

August 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm
(210) SAK says:
August 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm
(211) Jen says:

I had planned a trip to India in mid September, and figured seven weeks out was a decent time to start the visa process. After struggling with the website, and having no response by phone or email, I read of all these nightmares on several websites. I visited a local expedite service, and was told it’s probably wise to change my trip if I can do so at this point. So I did. I’ll enjoy Europe just fine.
I feel bad for anyone that has to travel quickly or is trying to visit family. Best of luck to you!

August 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm
(212) Rajesh Gomatam says:

BLS is the worst of the worst. BTW, I have signed-in for the petition.

I am my wife submitted our passports for matchup with BLS NY. No updates about the passport. The courier company and even BLS site indicates that they received A package with the tracking #. The status is still in ‘OCI card received – Applicaiton pending’. Called the BLS call center. They give each time contradicting opinion. No one knows where the passports are. I need to leave to India urgently due to family issue. Not sure if the Indian embassy cares for people. Not sure what to do? Anyone in the same situation? Please reply.

August 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm
(213) PJ says:

@Rajesh Gomatam – I was in the same situation (please see my previous posts ), call the NY indian embassy and ask for status of your OCI match up and if they say they have matched & sent passport over to BLS you should just go to BLS office in person and get the passports. No use calling BLS customer service. Hope this Helps.

August 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm
(214) Rajesh gomatam says:

Thanks PJ. As a matter of fact, I wrote to embassy and to my surprise, they responded back in 1 hour, indicating that they haven’t received the passports from bls. They have forwarded my details to bls for an update. ,hey said they will email once they receive the response from bls. Only God knows when bls would respond to them.

August 2, 2013 at 7:37 pm
(215) Jim says:

Well, the one good thing about BLS taking over for Travisa is the lower service fees. For the student visa I’m going to apply for, the fee is $4.70 for BLS vs. $60 for Travisa. Travisa’s fees always made me so mad. I always got my visa quickly, but they didn’t always seem like the most competent company. For example, there is nothing on their website now about them not processing visas for India. How would anyone know that there is a new company? With all the horror stories listed above, I’m going to give BLS plenty of time to process my visa. I used to give Travisa a week, but with BLS I’m planning three months. What else can we do but give extra time and keep our fingers crossed?

August 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm
(216) traveller says:

How do we contact the Indian consulate office @chicago to enquire on the application. It is almost 3 weeks since I dispatched my PIO application and I have a trip in 2 weeks. I am very worried looking at the forum.

My status says -processing at consulate for the last 2 weeks.
Any help /suggestion is greatly appreciated.

August 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm
(217) frustrated travelor says:

reading these posts makes me feel so disappointed. I wish I had read this earlier so I can spend my only 2 week vacation of the year in a different country.. I sent my visa on July 1 and I am still awaiting and its Aug 5. no one there seems to care and I hear people laughing and talking in the background while I voice my concern. There is no direct line and the supposed manager does not even have a phone number or an email address. I called over 15 times and when someone answered I was on hold for 25 mins while these people walk around the office to look for my file. when they couldn’t see my file they told me the rep who took it is off and they don’t know where she kept it. I asked to speak to a manager and the rep goes in a rude sarcastic tone “she wants a manager now” and when the manager comes on the line he was rude and said” what can I do for you” shouldn’t you already know why a customer is trying to escalate the situation and better handle the concern. he then tells me my phone is dying I don’t want you to think I hung up on you if it dies. Moron.. Get my freaking number and call me back if your phone dies.. I had to force him to get my number and he tells me he will call me once he is done with whatever he is working on at that time. A company like BLS must be sued for unethical and unlawful practices. This is beyond my belief how these people gained the contract .Travisa was by far the best servicer Indian consulate can get and they let them go. Anyone trying to travel to india better make sure they know people in higher authorities to get their visa. This company will soon collapse due to their practices or lack of. I will try my best to voice my concern to as higher of an authority as possible and I urge other travelers to india should do it too. BLS is the worst company ever in visa history.

August 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm
(218) L.E. says:

I can’t believe on August 6th one person (maybe more) took the time to write suspicious “good reviews” from 6:05 am to 6:50 am. C’mon we are smart enough to believe that 17 “happy costumers” woke up simultaneously in the morning just to write about their good experience. Don’t fool us please. You probably work at BLS and was told to try to fool people who read this website.

Moderator’s Note (goindia): Apologies for those comments. They have now been removed. I agree, unacceptable thing to do and very obvious that they were fake. Disappointing indeed. Anyone else thinking of doing this, don’t waste your time. Such comments will be deleted. Legitimate positive experiences are, however, welcome if written in detail.

August 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm
(219) hatespammers says:

The fact that the last 10 posts above were all ridiculously positive and made within a few minutes of each other and in the wee hours of the morning (USA time), clearly demonstrates the work of a spammer, possibly a BLS call center rep in India. Very sad.

August 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm
(220) S.K says:

An agency that stoops to this level (fake posts on a grievance forum) to fool customers who are already so stressed because of its incompetency should be thrashed left and right to bring it to its senses! Height of exasperation reached!

August 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm
(221) L.E. says:

Now i want to write an update about my visa. After living a nightmare thanks to BLS for a month (If you read my previous posts you know that my passport and my husband’s passport where lost in the limbo), today a miracle happened to me. I was ready to start getting new passports and change my trip to India to somewhere else in the world when I found my Fedex envelope with my passports and visas in my mailbox. The answer? BLS irresponsibly dropped my envelope off at USPS instead of at Fedex. It twas lost ONE MONTH before it get back at me. One month of
It cannot be possible that they don’t handle our valuable documents with care.
It is inexcusable that after taking a day off from work to go to BLS office in person I walked out feeling horrible with the location of my PASSPORTS still a mystery.
Please don’t waste your time calling BLS customer service (888… number), it’s a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME. They will promise to call back in 24-48 hours but no one will call you. They DON’T re-escalated your issue to “level 1″. In fact they DO NOT have any communication with the head office. If you go to the office they will have no idea that you called 100 times to the costumer service the day before.
It’s better if you contact (email) embassy first, they will contact you telling you the status of your visa.
Or you can call the manager of NY BLS office. His name is Nilesh, here is his direct number (cell phone) 509-550-9076 and his email nilesh@blsindia-usa.com.
A company like BLS must be sued for unethical and unlawful practices.
I am pleased to say that my nightmare with BLS is finally OVER.
I WILL NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH BLS AGAIN.
GOOD LUCK to everybody.

August 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm
(222) Rajesh says:

Here is my experience. Bottom line, if you had sent passports etc and no change in status etc, go directly to BLS and fight with these ass holes to get see your passports. DO NOT CALL THE CALL CENTER, ITS A WATE OF TIME. EVEN IF YOU DO SO DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU HEAR.I had sent my passports for OCI matchup more than 2 weeks ago. No status change on their site. The call center were telling lies and indicating that passports are at the consulate. Wrote to the consulate and received a response to from NY consulate that they haven’t received the passports and are going to inquire with BLS.
So I went to NY 3 hours of journey. I saw many people who are there with similar or other issues after driving 11 hours. They will shuttle you back and forth. I went at 9am, spoke to front desk bastard. He passed it on to another supervisor (an arrogant little Indian lady, malida…) . Thus lady showed-up after 1 hours…. (continuted)

August 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm
(223) Rajesh says:

I mentioned my issue that no one knows where our passports are and that I have a emergency situation to go to India ASAP. She mentioned that she will send it tomorrow nor today, without checking the stuff. I asked her what’s so special about tomorrow. She mentioned that they receive a lot of mails. I said I sent it # of weeks ago and it got also acknowledged on their site that they received A package. I said I wanted to see my passports and also showed the email from consulate that it is not there with them. She mentioned that she would get back. 1 hour passed. no response. There are # of people in the same shoes. To some they even refused to return their passports. Upong inquiry after 2 hours, this was the little ladys repsponse “don’t panic. Panicking id not going to get you no where”. I was really annoyed but I tried to control my temper and wait for some more time. In mean time, more people joined my same situation. (Continued)

August 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm
(224) Rajesh says:

I them after 5 hours just started arguing with her and told her in front of other white guys who were submitting passports that if they cannot trace passports that were sent weeks ago even after 5 hours, then they had lost our passports. Then she calmed down, went inside they dungeon and then call me in to meet the manager Nilesh. Even this guy searched for the package for 1/2 hour. At last he was able to retrieve it. I believe it was in the other corner of the building aloing with 100s of other unopened packages. THESE PEOPLE DON’T CARE. They have posters with sign “incredible India’. People were making fun of this phrase. I demanded that they hand over the passports and call the cosulate informing that I will be coming there to give my passports matchup done, which they did. After 6 hours of ordeal I got my OCI. BTW, THE CONSULATE PEOPLE WERE VERY NICE. iTS NOT ONLY FOR ME THEY ANSWERED NUMEROUS OTHER QUERIES FROM OTHER CUSTOMERS VERY NICELY.

Bottom-line, DON’T CALL THE CALL CENTER, jUST GO THERE TO THE REDICULUOUS BLS CENTER AND DEMAND YOUR STUFF. DON’T TAKE THEIR WORD AND MAKE SURE YOU SEE YOUR STUFF THAT YOU HAD SUBMITTED.

Hopefully, my ranting helps others. BTW, the email of Nilesh and phone # are correct.

Good luck!

August 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm
(225) Mohit says:

L.E. – I am happy that you have finally received your documents. :)

August 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm
(226) Traveller says:

How can we contact /email consulate to check on our application status. BLS site shows me a status of Processing at consulate, but i want to verify with consulate , My travel date is near and i am really worried..

Please help.

August 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm
(227) L.E. says:

@Traveller the consulate e-mail is visa@indiacgny.org
They will contact you and tell you the status of your documents. Give them your passport number and a time line of when do you send passports etc.
@Mohit Thank you.
Needless to say that after the way BLS treated me for a month I have lost any desire to visit India. I’m sure it is a beautiful country but BLS has ruined for me.
And the way they treat their costumers has nothing to do with them being a new agency, there is no excuses. It is about RESPECT and RESPONSIBILITY period.

August 6, 2013 at 6:13 pm
(228) SD says:

Rajesh,

I’m in a very similar situation, do you mind emailing me, so I can take my question offline? I set up a temp email below. Thanks.

sdemail4rajesh[at]yahoo.com

August 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm
(229) Rajesh says:

Sd I just sent you the email

August 7, 2013 at 10:52 am
(230) RP says:

Does anyoneknow if we really have to send “Prepaid Self Addressed Trackable Envelope”. I know with travisa you only have to send prepaid label. Based on all the comments I really want to make sure that I send eveything correctly.

LE good to hear that worst night mare is over for you. It is really sad to see so many disappointing reviews about BLS.

August 7, 2013 at 11:15 am
(231) L.E. says:

@RP thank you for you kind words. I would suggest you that if you can’t pick it up in person then send a USPS trackable self adressed envelope. The reason why i would use USPS instead of FEDEX or UPS is becuase that at BLS when envelopes are ready to be send to costumers the only courier that comes to pick up envelopes is USPS for the other 2 they send it with a random indian guy who doesn’t work for either UPS nor FEDEX. They do not scan those envelopes so once envelopes leave BLS with that guy whatever happens next is a mistery. That is how my FeDex envelope got lost for a month. with no one who knew what happened I still do not know how my FEDEX envelpe ended up in my mailbox. Good luck with your visa.

August 7, 2013 at 11:23 am
(232) RP says:

Thanks LE for prompt response. After reading all this comments I do not think that going/picking in person will do any better and I live 3.5 hrs from NY so, best option for me is to mail.

Thanks agian. Hope your trip to India is enjoyable if you decide to make one.

August 7, 2013 at 11:33 am
(233) ksingh says:

Similar story to share, so I will save the details. I was supposed to join a new job in Mumbai India last week. My company has given me another week extension. At some point they will loose their patience. I have left my previous job. We have sold our house and are staying in temporary housing with two little kids. I have been trying to contact BLS houston for weeks with no success. At this point, there is a good chance that I will be without a job, without a home, and with the entire family being extremely anxious.

August 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm
(234) fthott says:

A ray of hope for those who are waiting. (Well dealing with Indian govt/servicer one can’t really be optimistic)

Fedexed our 3 application w/ Renunciation on 07/23/13 to BLS NY. with Fedex prepaid return envelope
Fedex delivered the package 07/23/13.
No updates available on BLS website till 08/1/13
Called 201 205 2096 (got it from one of the posting.
The person (probably a call ceneter) couln’t update me on anything.
Lo and behold Status updated on am 8/2/13 to Under Process.
End of the day: Processing at Consulate.
On 08/05/13 Dispatched to Courier (c’mon this is too good to be true).
Tried to track with Fedex. No receipt of pkg.
08/06/13 3.pm Pkg received by Fedex.
Today, 8/7/13 Pkg arrived with 3 passports, new visas, & Renunciation.
We are fying 8/12/13. Looking back, not reading those posts would have been better for us.

August 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm
(235) Stanley Morgan says:

Thanks a lot to BLS guys!!
After following up for a month I was able to get my visa for my visit to India.
Your patient co-operation is highly appreciated.

August 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm
(236) SAK says:

Guys,

My Passport Lost these BLS (Creepy Guys) . I dont know what to do. Please help or share same experience

August 8, 2013 at 7:18 am
(237) James Matthew says:

BLS has tested my patience to the limit. I need my passports back soon. You guys are good for nothing. If you can’t process my application just return my passports and my important documents.

August 8, 2013 at 7:22 am
(238) Mandy says:

SAK my issue with BLS was the same. it was for more than 5-6 weeks. But finally I got the passport back.

These guys are very slow. I’m lucky that I got in touch with a helpful guy at BLS, who helped me to locate the passport.

I’m going to reconsider my decision to apply next time through BLS.

August 8, 2013 at 7:51 am
(239) sameera says:

similar story as we all are facing….missing passport.. i had submitted my passport renewal application in May 2013 to VFS.. after one month there was no status about my passport renewal , i have heard that services are transferred to BLS from VFS…. I just start tracking to BLS regarding my passport application.. but all vain..:(

NO RESPONSE NO STATUS.. than i decide to visit at BLS Centre.. after spending a day , i found that there is lot of gap in transferring the documents from VFS TO BLS….IN COMPLETE DOCUMENTS, MISSING PASSPORTS ETC.

finally , i got my application which was still pending after one month…with the help of BLS representaive i got my passport.

i think we should give some time to this new operation BLS.

KEEP IT UP GUYS….

August 8, 2013 at 11:39 am
(240) adam nash says:

I guess most of the people on this blog are fake. they are just writing non sense here. please think before you write. Myself being a us citizen had a tremendous experience with BLS. they are new in the business yet they are doing so much good work. I got my Indian visa with 12 days what more can one expect. how can we all forget the long waiting at the travisa office. They never answered our calls, took ages to process visa. I didn’t saw such harsh comments at that frame of time.

I request the co-ordinator of this blog to please do something about this fake comments. You can reach me at the email address mentioned above.

No matter what happens BLS, this old man is standing right there with you.

God bless America.

August 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm
(241) cynthia says:

hi.. i m in support of adam……peoples memory is very short..in one month they forget..how travisa tortures ..and start shouting…i m not supporting to BLS but should give some time to mange these services….

one of my friend is also suffering from same story ……after lot of phone calls and emails….one fine day she received a email from BLS regarding her OCI application status which was lost among travisa n BLS transformation……finally me n my friend is happy finally…..her application is in process….

thank to that email management team for replying to applicants

work hard have patience….BLS will over come …

August 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm
(242) Fez says:

I have posted once already (see 208). I received my Indian passport today. I had sent it in for “renewal after 10 years”.

here is my timeline:

1. July 3rd – Sent through USPS express mail with return express mail envelope.
2. July 5th – Reached BLS Chicago
3. July 9th – Was trackable in the BLS tracking website. I received no updates via email. It was in “processing in consulate general”. it stayed in this status for a very long time. I called BLS and they were not useful with the updates. I sent an email to the consulate on August 5th asking about my passport.
4. August 6th – Status changed to “ready for dispatch”
5. August 7th – Status changed to “dispatched vis couirer).
5. August 7th – USPS tracking was available.
6. August 8th – USPS delivered at 11:30 am.

So my total ordeal was from July 3rd to August 8th. I do wish BLS communicated clearly about the timelines. Their call center needs to be better equipped. But for a company that is new to this, they have done an above average job at all and I wish them luck. The initial hiccups are understandable.

Thanks

Fez

It can only get better from now.

August 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm
(243) Ashish says:

Applied for renunciation on 7/1/2013. Web site says Processing time 2-3 weeks.

- BLS received documents – Fedex tracking system says delivered on 7/3/2013.
- No update on BLS tracking system for two weeks
- 7/18 BLS status says “underprocess”.
- 7/24 status – “Processing at Consulate General”
- 7/31 status – “Ready for Dispatch”
- 8/6 status – “Dispatched via Courier”

I received my passports on 8/7. Rennunciation stamp says consulate general processed application on 7/23. What web site says about 2-3 weeks processing looks accurate only after they acknowledge the document. In my case, looks like documents was simply sitting on someone’s desk for 2 weeks. This could have been received 3 weeks back. I understand that they are new in this process, but people tend to get panic when they send there valuable documents and do not see any update for 2-3 weeks. I have called and send many email but there was no response. Someone will call back in 24-48 hrs that’s the standard response from BLS rep if you are lucky to talk to someone.
It is very painful for the applicant who has urgent need to visit India and they get frusted when they do not see any positive response.

BLS should improve the service and atleast update the status within 24-48 hrs when they receive documents so people don’t think that they are in limbo.

August 8, 2013 at 4:17 pm
(244) Chicago pio says:

Fez – how did you contact chicago consulate..I have a travel in 2 weeks and have not received the pio and passport.

It is been processing in consulate status for quite some time.

Thanks

August 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm
(245) Fez says:

@ Chicago pio

I sent them an email through the website http://www.indianconsulate.com/contacts/add?sub=Other

In about 24-48 hours a gentleman called me personally and told me that they have sent my passport to BLS.

My email was typed like this:

My passport number is XXXXXXXXX. I have submitted it for renewal about a month ago. The BLS tracking link says that it is in the status “Processing at Consulate General”. It has been in this status for a very long time (close to 4 weeks). I contacted BLS and they said that it is not in their control and that I Should contact the Consulate General.

Can someone please send me an update on this? I would like to know if you have all the info that you need to issue me a renewed passport. I would really appreciate any info.

Thanks

August 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm
(246) SAK says:

Guys,

Here is update,

I have sent my friend to check my passport with BLS guys and other docs. But He was told we are not able to locate it you have to come back tomorrow to talk with Manager, Somehow he couldn’t go, Today means 8th Aug I had to travel NYC office to deal with these people in person. I see Many people in the line for submitting their docs and some are waiting to resolve their matter like missing passport, not received docs by BLS, etc.

Here is my things:
I see a guy who is on job resolving issues and talked to him & simply he asked my passport details then he went on hunt job after around half an hour the lucky moment came he is holding my passport with PIO card. I thanked to him so much because of panic moments since last two weeks.
These people are working and even doing hard work but I believe the missing thing is customer response and no concrete information about their application and document.
Hope they will come up with fast response and better & clear customer communication.
Thanks

August 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm
(247) SAK says:

Guys,

After my experience and reading other friends comments:

I will strongly suggest to submit their application and Pick up documents after processing only and only IN PERSON.

Only that way I believe you will be on safe side.

Good Luck
Thanks!!

August 9, 2013 at 9:54 am
(248) Fez says:

Just a FYI…

I received my renewed passport yesterday. However, the passport tracking still says “dispatched via courier”.

August 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm
(249) Chicago Pio says:

@Fez thanks.

I received one of the pio cards today ( status – Ready to dipatch -> Dispatched by courier )

I have another kid whose status also changed the same time to Ready To dispatch but that has not been couriered yet..

Guess will have to wait and see..hopefully i dont have issues with this one…

August 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm
(250) Neha_76 says:

I sent a PIO application for a minor (1 year ) to BLS Newyork on 23rd of July. Postal tracking on BLS shows that BLS has received the application of July 24th. However, when i try to track the status of the application, it says ” NO RECORDS FOUND” . I called the helpline number couple of times and they said they will raise a ticket to be sent to the concerned parties to address this issue. No one called back nor the status on the website has changed. it still says ” NO RECORDS FOUND”. We are travelling on Aug 29th ( in 20 days ) and do not have a passport in hand. There are no appointments available to go in person to the NY Office. Can i just walk in . if i do, will they ask for some kind of documentation to let me in ?

August 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm
(251) Nora says:

I’m disgusted to see more fake emails from BLS staff appearing here, this time posting in names that sound American, or at least western. Yet, the English lacks grammar, dialect and spelling in key places that are a HUGE red-flag to any native US Citizen.

BLS, I know you’re reading this, as you learned something from the last time your posts were caught and taken down and didn’t repeat your mistakes. So learn this one too – if you’re going to post as an American, pay an actual American citizen to write your propaganda for you – if you can afford it. Your posts read like a bad Nigerian Phishing Scam.

Seriously, “God Bless America”? NO ONE talks like that in that context. Ever. Certainly not when talking about a foreign company processing visas to visit a foreign country – whether or not the post is a compliment or a complaint or even a call for patience.

These are not just matters of ‘Patience’ with a new company. People have been more than patient and then are pushed well beyond it. Some have not just lost thousands of dollars they will likely never see back. Some have lost actual family members they will never see again and missed saying goodbye to. Some may lose jobs.

Put yourself in their shoes, and then talk about ‘Patience’.

BLS is probably very lucky the irate and stressed people at more locations haven’t sued or had the police involved – though it seems to have done some good in NY, so maybe more customers should call them in in other cities. The events being complained about here are at the very least actionable in both ways.

August 9, 2013 at 10:38 pm
(252) Nora says:

BLS is not a new company, nor is their mishandling of documents new. This exact handover was tried in the summer of 2012, it turns out. There was a scandal with the mishandling of passports and offices were raided to retrieve them. The US forced the Indian Consulate to open the outsourcing contracts back up. There is more to this story but I urge others to find it, been a while since I read it.

So. It appears we all have been here before.

The fact is, BLS had AMPLE time to prepare for the influx of work and knew what kind of workload was about to be dumped on it and welcomed it – but apparently didn’t bother to prepare for it in advance to prevent the kind of insanity we see posted about here and now.

Not to prepare in advance – especially after this happened before – was either incredibly arrogant or incredibly incompetent, maybe both.

It’s far too late now to ask for “Patience”. The time to prepare was months ago. Don’t like what you read here? Here’s an idea: Instead of wasting your time and resources spreading lies, why not spend it on FIXING YOUR OPERATIONS?

Preferably before even more people get so pissed off that the Consulate is finally fed up with all the spam on their personal websites and facebook pages, and all the complaint emails letters and phone calls, and the various petitions being signed left and right, and pulls the sweet, exclusive contract out from under your collective @s$3s?

You want Patience and understanding? Try having some for these poor, needlessly stressed and abused customers.

GoIndia, I apologize for my rant. I am sick and tired of reading these people on every informational forum about this. They keep coming back. If you feel it is out of line or abusive, please moderate it out.
I do have some relevant information to post, which I will do in a separate post.

August 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm
(253) Nora says:

LE – I can’t tell you how happy I am to read your ending! I really hope your trip is easy, fun & everything this wasn’t..

The same to everyone else who have received their papers – I am so happy for you.

Thank you all for your experiences, & advice! You advised our own application, & how we prepared. Without this conversation we would still not have our visas (well, I’m a little premature, but supposedly they’re in the mail. We’ll see).

RD – I sympathize. We are 4-5 hours away & I have no time left to take from work if I want to go to India. When we were first told by Travisa that our best & likely only bet would be to go in person, my reaction was the same as yours – impossible.

But the fact is, it’s true. You will be VERY glad you did. It’s too easy to have one wrong item on your application which you will never be told about, while your papers & PP sink to the bottom of a pile in some back room. Then you will end up going anyway, but with less time & more stress. There’s also the bonus of getting your application into immediate processing instead of waiting on a shelf to be opened when someone gets around to it.

Neha – how are you tracking your application? The website says you can enter several types of ways to track, but really the only way is by using the Passport number. Also, don’t copy & paste the number. Type it by hand into a new webpage.

In NY there is a guard on the door who checks for appointments. But he is very nice and polite, and if you are in return he will listen. He let people up who already applied & had an issue with their applications, if they were calm and nice. He blocked people who were angry & those who tried to enter & file a new application with no appointment. It cannot hurt to try, it can only help. I think he will let you in.

I’ll post about our own experience, but I want our visas to arrive first, then I will have the full story. Thank you all again.

August 10, 2013 at 5:15 am
(254) leena says:

Nora .good home work ..have lot of time to waste..

August 10, 2013 at 6:05 am
(255) kaddy says:

I have tried so many times to contact BLS via phone and also did walk in there but that didn’t solve my problem, as they told me to collect all the documents and did every thing and now waiting for my passport after several attempts I mailed them and finally i got update on website, used my usps tracking number through which i send my passport to BLS San Francisco.

So i think these guys have started working to resolve people query.

August 10, 2013 at 6:07 am
(256) kaddy says:

waiting for my passport from last 2 weeks no response over the phone and finally i got update on website, used my usps tracking number through which i send my passport to BLS San Francisco.

Thank god these guys are working now.

August 10, 2013 at 11:12 pm
(257) Bravo says:

Joining the chorus of people dissatisfied with BLS Brampton’s service levels. There is one person giving post-it note tokens to everyone without asking for the service required. Apparently, post-it handwritten token numbers are not applicable for OCI applications. I saw people who waited for 2 hours, only to find that they were queing up in the wrong section and had to start all over again! Also, the person handing the coupons out is pretty rude and abusive and yells at everyone. The Indian High Commissioner must take a tour of these locations to find out the present service levels, before people take matters into their own hands.

August 11, 2013 at 5:52 am
(258) goindia says:

Not sure if this will help anyone, but a friend of mine recently had a positive experience getting her Indian visa at the BLS San Francisco office. http://angelasbangalore.com/blogs/indian-visa-shuffle-in-the-usa-tips-on-how-to-apply-via-bls-international.html#comment-3440

August 11, 2013 at 11:34 am
(259) neevedita says:

ya…i think these guys are improving their working day by day. my mom n law got her visa with in 10 days.

THANKS BLS

August 12, 2013 at 12:42 am
(260) goindia says:

Hi Neevedita, could you please tell us which BLS office this was from. For future reference, anyone posting feedback about their experience, please make sure you mention the office you were dealing with. Otherwise, your comment may not be published. It’s not particularly helpful just to say you got the visa and service was good, without being specific about it. What’s more, it makes the comment look fake.

August 12, 2013 at 3:52 pm
(261) Nervous says:

We’re waiting for our visas to be sent back to us in the prepaid next-day envelopes from the New York office. The website said they were “Dispatched via Courier” on Friday yet our tracking numbers are still not activated according to the USPS website. The USPS would not let 3 days go by without scanning an ExpressMail package which leads me to believe that our envelopes have not been sent out by BLS at all, but are instead just sitting there and who knows where they are or when or if we will get them. This has already been a month-long process, we travel in 3 weeks and are so tired of feeling frustrated, stressed and uncertain.

August 13, 2013 at 3:53 am
(262) Rattan says:

This is for all the users. For all queries / complaints / feedback related to BLS USA services, please send an email at online@blsindia-usa.com

August 13, 2013 at 6:19 am
(263) Shankar says:

Finally I am back in India. Feels so good to be with the family. Thank you all who helped me with my doubts regarding visa application. Especially Faizan. You’ve got a great knowledge in this field.

Thanks BLS for getting it done on time. I understand that you don’t control it completely, still thanks a lot for making it possible for me to come home on such a short notice.

August 13, 2013 at 6:29 am
(264) nitin says:

After 2 months i got an update regarding my OCI application from BLS NewYork Office.

Thanks BLS

August 13, 2013 at 8:50 am
(265) Travisa/BLS Intnl Transition Question says:

@PJ, thanks for your post where you mention that Travisa may not have provided BLS International with a return envelope to send folks their passports after OCI matchup. I now understand the reason why we have not received our passports.

We thought that the fee we paid Travisa and BLS International covered the Fedex return envelope. I am sure it will be difficult for many of us to travel to the BLS International offices to pick up our passports. Could BLS International and Travisa, please, find a way to mail out our passports through Fedex or UPS or USPS after OCI Matchup?

August 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm
(266) No longer Nervous says:

Our passports with visas arrived today – our tracking numbers were never scanned for whatever reason, but they must have left New York yesterday.

So the whole process has taken a month but the actual time between going in person to New York and having our visas arrive was just over a week. We’re so relieved. I must recommend that people go in person if possible. I would have made a mistake on my application if I had not brought it in person.

When you go, just be patient and be prepared to wait for a while, and be nice to the staff (always a good idea). I found the staff to be polite and accommodating. And do your research first! Make sure you understand what documents you need to have and make sure to have them with you. Bring extra copies of everything.

I hope all this means the BLS is getting its act together and people won’t have so many problems.

August 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm
(267) chicago pio says:

did anyone have an experience where the website showed a tracking number but the same could not be tracked from fedex site ?

I am really nervous since the number is not showing up for tracking..

August 14, 2013 at 11:21 am
(268) chicago pio says:

Finally received the pio…

Tips to other people

1. Double check all documentation
2. send paid return envelope
3. after sending call within 2 days and check with bls visa office.

7/17 – sent 2 pio applications
7/18 – received at bls chicago
7/23 – mailed /called office to check ( This should have been earlier )
7/24 – status became processing at consulate – till this there was no status in bls site

8/8 – status became ready to dispatch for both
8/9 – dispatched by courier for just 1 pio
8/10 – received 1 pio

8/12 – called bls visa to check on other pio
Return envelope lost in bls office, this is the only glitch that happened. but they took down address and told that the fedex will be sent out same day..

but this got delayed, and it was actually sent only 8/13 which caused lot of worry because you have a tracking number which does not work.

8/13 evening – tracking number was active
8/14 pio delivered.

My opinion – BLS visa processing is not that bad..Reading this forum really got me worried. I am thinking the first couple of weeks it might have been bad, but it is getting better..And with right kind of followup things get done smoothly.

August 14, 2013 at 11:23 am
(269) Nora says:

@Chicago PIO: Your FedEx Tracking Number for your envelope and your BLS Tracking number aren’t the same thing. Your FedEx number will be the number of the pre-paid FedEx Domestic Waybill, and will only show on the FedEx site once FedEx receives and scans your package. You should have taken the top copy of that waybill or gotten a copy of the tracking number on your receipt when you paid for the envelope. =) Hope that helps.

August 14, 2013 at 11:28 am
(270) Nora says:

We got our Visas yesterday morning! =) So, I am back to post our experience exactly, in the hopes that it can help others while BLS is still getting themselves together – and make no mistake, they DO appear to be getting things under control. =) I’m very glad for that and for the good experience we had.

I am going to make this exhaustive and specific, so it may be tl;dr and will likely be a few posts due to character restriction. Still, I hope it’s useful.

To recap: We were applying for a 6 month Tourist Visa, through the NYC Mission. We started our application process on July 13th. We had done a lot of reading and decided to go through Travisa – we didn’t understand that Travisa and other outsourcing companies could no longer do any kind of processing at all, and their website absolutely did not indicate that either – it still doesn’t and it should.

Eventually our Travisa Agent told us this directly, though it took her a week of emails with us to do so, and she also recommended that the best thing we could do in order to get a Visa in our timeframe was to make an appointment at BLS and then go to NYC to apply in person. This was shocking, as the whole point of sending in our applications via mail was because we couldn’t go to NYC – it’s between 4 & 5 hours one way for us and we didn’t really have the extra time to take off of work. Still, these facts didn’t change the situation. Stuck with no options, if we wanted to go to India and not lose a ton of money already invested in this trip, we would have to find a way to get to NY – and from everything we were hearing and reading online, that still was no guarantee we would get them on time for our flight.

Travisa got our papers and Passports back to us using the next day shipping money we gave them and we had them back in hand on July 23rd. The next available appointment with BLS was Monday August 5th, so we made the appointment and started working out what we would need and how we would get there.

August 14, 2013 at 11:31 am
(271) Nora says:

We did a LOT of study and downloaded examples of the Visa Application Form for reference when we filled out ours. We made sure we had multiple copies of everything as there have been varying reports of expectations at different offices where people have needed more copies than they brought or extra stuff they didn’t know they needed. This is what we brought with us:

• 4 copies of a 2X2 Passport Specification Photo – we took them ourselves and printed them on our own printer at highest photo quality on this exact paper:
http://www.staples.com/HP-Advanced-Photo-Paper-5-inch-x-7-inch-Glossy-60-Pack/product-nr_655692

We cut it down ourselves too – not easy when you have no borders to work with because your background must absolutely be completely white. Finish must be Glossy, Paper should be thin. We used 66 lb (or 10.5 ml thick) glossy and had no problems. One of these photos MUST be pasted onto the box at the top right of the application, and then you need to sign under it.

• 2 Copies of the Visa Application Form, filled out exactly to the different examples we found online. One of the copies must have one of your photos pasted onto the indicated spot in advance, and you MUST sign under it, and also must sign on the bottom of the second page, where indicated.
Note that is appears that if you have a child over the age of 5 applying, that child must be the person to sign in both places on the application. Only children under the age of 5 are considered too young to sign, and in those cases the parent may sign.

• 2 Copies of the Applicant Checklist, available from BLS here (it’s kind of buried on their site): http://passport.blsindia-usa.com/pptchecklist/BLSUSPassportChecklist.pdf

August 14, 2013 at 11:36 am
(272) Nora says:

• 2 Copies in color and high resolution of our Drivers Licenses – with our current address on the license. That meant my friend had to get a new license early, since hers didn’t have her current address on it after a recent move. When in doubt, always use a driver’s license or State ID if possible – according to others BLS doesn’t actually accept all of the forms of address verification they state on their website. We didn’t get the copies notarized but we thought about it after some of what we read. Turns out we didn’t need to.

• 2 Copies of an invitation letter from the friend we are going to visit (yes, not a requirement, but we figured it could only help – and they did take it).

• 2 Copies of our flight itinerary – this was extra helpful because it meant we could apply together on the same work ticket. We each still paid for our separate processing fees, but we were processed at the same time, together. You need to provide proof of traveling together for them to allow that, and as far as I can tell the only proof they accept is all parties involved being on the same flight itinerary.

• 1 Pre-paid, self-addressed, next-day, trackable USPS Envelope for each of us – one for her and one for me. We put our own home address on both the “From” and the “To” sections.

August 14, 2013 at 11:37 am
(273) Nora says:

Experience in NY:
We got into Manhattan at about 7:30 and relaxed at a nearby Starbucks until BLS opened. We hoped to get in before our appointment – at 11:30 & 11:40 respectively. However, BLS had put a guard on the front door. He checks your appointment slip and lets you in only when it’s close to your appointment time. If you are there to fix an issue or pick up documents and are polite and nice to him, he may also let you up during the regular application hours – he was a very nice and cheery guy. Do note that he is not in any way trained to answer your questions about the application process for any kind of processing through BLS, your questions need to be asked upstairs.

We went up at 11. The building is a very old tenement building that’s been converted to offices, narrow and not with any real signage to indicate that it is the BLS Offices. There is a very old-style elevator with an elevator Operator – please remember to tip the guy in the box on the floor next to him, that’s kind of a customary nicety in the US, especially when they’re not paid well as I’m sure this guy isn’t. He’s also very nice. The BLS applicant offices are on the 6th floor.

August 14, 2013 at 11:38 am
(274) Nora says:

The Office is small – 3 rooms at most. One of those is where your Passports and Paperwork goes once you apply, and is behind a closed door. The room you empty out of the elevator into has a shelf with computers opposite you (only one of them worked when we were there), supposedly to let people have some free online access for 15 minutes each while they were there. In a corner across the room was a counter-top enclosure with two people, who were trying to check applications and documents while also being constantly harried with questions and appeals from people who were trying to get everything from fixing errors on their applications, to picking up delayed passports, or asking for expedited special considerations for extreme circumstances or just because they were sue to travel in the next couple of days. These two gentlemen were amazingly calm and polite the entire time we were there, despite the just barely held in check chaos around them.

There was no indication of what we should do first or where to go. We looked around and someone told us, “The line is back there, you need to wait in this line first”. Bless that young lady, it was very nice of her to tell us. We went to the other room and got into the end of the line. It was really long for the space, but only took about 40 minutes to get to the front – which was about when our appointments were supposed to be anyway.

August 14, 2013 at 11:38 am
(275) Nora says:

One of the men at the counter checked through all the paperwork we handed him. He was, once again, very nice and polite though he was working fast. He caught a mistake on our application that we were surprised at – the exaples we had looked at said we could put “N/A – Other” as Religion if we are not religious – something that is probably more common in North America. The Gentleman checking our documents claimed the consulate wouldn’t accept that and we absolutely had to declare a religion, even though neither of us have one. We were allowed to write it in, thank goodness. Without that check, if we had mailed in our applications like that we would probably still be sitting around wondering what was going on with our applications.

He pulled out what we needed for the application: 1 Copy of the application, with the photo we pasted onto it (yes, you must do that in advance), and signed in both places. 1 Copy of our driver’s license. 1 Copy of our invitation letter. 1 Copy of our itinerary. They did not want the other photos, the checklist (even thought the website says they want it), or any other the duplicates of anything. I would suggest bringing everything anyway, in case things change, as they often seem to do.

He handed everything back to us and gave us a number, and asked us to go back to the other room to wait. They were only a few numbers away from ours when we sat down. We only waited another 30 to 40 minutes or so. Our number was called, we went to the indicated desk and gave the person there our applications, gave her the fees in cash, and then gave her our envelopes for return of our passports – one for each of us. And we were done.

August 14, 2013 at 11:40 am
(276) Nora says:

All in all, the office was not the complete chaos that has been reported by others, but was also not really organized and nothing was clearly indicated – people relied on other applicants for any relevant information or instructions. The program BLS in NY is using for issuing ticket number to each applicant after checking documents, and then calling them to numbered desks, deplayed on top of the big-screen behind the desks that it was under trial and would need to be purchased and registered in 3 days – with a countdown clock. So, the place appeared very much to me to be in a kind of transition state between some form of start-up chaos and an ordered system, which they will hopefully continue to develop.

In all, it was very similar to going to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for anything they process – not sure about other states, but it’s not a terrible system and it keeps things moving. Like I said, I hope they continue to develop it, it’s effective for this type of operation. They do need to get some working signage though, and they need more space. The appointments appear to help keep the crowds down. As we waited, the line would get smaller and smaller, then 12 O’clock came and the line filled in again. It was shrinking again by the time we left around 12:30. So that would be the point of those appointments – especially in such a small space.

The biggest thing they need to work on right away though is the bathrooms. Supposedly there are two – one was closed as “Out Of Order”. The plumbing seems to be as old as the building – at least it smelled like it. It has to be an old gravity exchange system. Seriously, this has to be a health-hazard. Yuck.

August 14, 2013 at 11:41 am
(277) Nora says:

Okay, so that’s the visit to the office in NYC and my impressions of it. Now, here’s the processing timeline for a Tourist Visa, submitted in person and paid for by cash, then shipped back to us by USPS express, through BLS:

• Applied Monday August 5th in person at BLS, about 12:20 ish.

• Tuesday the 6th, status reads “Under Process at Consulate”.

• Wednesday the 7th, checked at 1:30 PM, status reads “Ready for Dispatch”

• Friday the 9th, status changes to “Dispatched Via Courier” (this is apparently the code they use for USPS shipments – there is supposedly a different one for FedEx and one for UPS. Note that only the USPS comes to pick up packages and mailings themselves, BLS uses a person who may or may not be an employee to drop FedEx and UPS to their respected closest drop boxes to the BLS office. Thus, USPS seems to be preferred.)

• Tuesday August 13th, 9:30 AM, both visas and passports are delivered together by the USPS in their envelopes!

The one thing that was making us bite our nails was that we were never able to track our packages after BLS marked them as “Dispatched”. We used Next Day and Trackable packages, but it appears that the USPS never scanned them into the system – so we were never able to track them. But this was in no way BLS’s fault, it was all on the US Postal Service for not doing what we paid them for. Oh well, we got them. =)

August 14, 2013 at 11:42 am
(278) Nora says:

The final turn-around time from the 5th was exactly 3 business days to be ready, 5 business days to receipt through postal service. Had we lived closer to NY, we could have picked them up at the offices sooner. Not bad at all, and because of the in-person visit, we never had to wonder or worry about when they would open the package – they are definitely still backlogged – or if there was an error on the application we didn’t notice.

In the end, I still think that we might have gotten the visas back in time had we mailed them in, but I also think that making sure we did by going in person was more than worth the trip. And since right now BLS is asking people to please come in person if at all possible because of their back-log, I would recommend that for best results people should try and do that for the time being, if they can find a way. That goes for any office in any US city.

Finally, I have seen a lot about how BLS is a “new” company just starting out and there should be patience. I said once that this is not true and this is not a new situation. I still assert that BLS knew what was coming at it well in advance because it’s been handling these change-overs world-wide for at least a year and has been in business for at least 3 years. Regardless of how well they are pulling things together now, they should have planned ahead in advance to avoid this. I’m supporting that statement here (though there are a lot more articles about this if one chooses to dig):

See the press release dates: http://www.blsinternational.com/press-releases.html

And these articles:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/Drop-in-Indian-visas-from-us-by-one-third-in-past-one-year/Article1-949669.aspx

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/indian-embassy-in-us-cancels-bls-intls-visa-outsourcing-contract/article4027650.ece

August 14, 2013 at 12:57 pm
(279) chicago pio says:

@nora –

I am referring to fedex tracking only.
Reason why it was given to me by bls was that they had lost the return envelope that I had sent them.
So BLS themselves got a new Fedex ground overnight to send the documents.

August 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm
(280) neha76 says:

Hi,
PIO Application reached BLS NY office – July 23rd

from July 24th – August 11th , status on the website – :No records found ”

on August 12th – Status changed to “processing at consulate general”

We are travelling on the 29th of August to India. with hardly 9 business days , does anyone know if going in person to BLS office / consulate would help expedite the process ? any feedback on this would be appreciated.

August 15, 2013 at 7:28 pm
(281) Travisa/BLS Intnl Transition Question says:

@neha76 even I have a similar question about our passports after OCI matchup. Does it make sense to go all the way to BLS International offices?

Thanks to @PJ’s post (post number 198), now I at least know that Travisa may not have given BLS International the prepaid Fedex envelope. I am pretty sure the OCI fee we paid Travisa was supposed to cover Fedex return envelope.

Travisa and BLS Intnl should be working together on mailing out passports after the OCI matchup.

August 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm
(282) Nora says:

@Chicago PIO – My apologies, I misread your post. It sounds like you’re all set now though, you posted again just before the start of my experience description. I hope that’s the case and your worries are over. =)

@Neha76 – It can’t hurt if you are able to make the trip without too much trouble. But, contact them first and find out your status. Why make the trip if you then get there and find out there’s little you can do while it’s at the Consulate?

There is a gentleman who has posted in the Trackit forum – where I have seen you as well (hi again =) ) and asked people having problems to please get in touch with him at his email: rattanw@blsinternational.com

He has also posted in this thread above. Some have dismissed him as a scammer, but some trustworthy people – including a friend of this blog’s writer – have stated that he is legitimate. Get in touch with him and see if he can help you find where your documents are and maybe speed them or help you retrieve them faster.

Best of luck to you, I hope you get them in time – I think you will. Let us know what happens, too, I will be crossing my fingers for you.

August 15, 2013 at 9:47 pm
(283) Neha76 says:

@Nora, Yes i contacted “Rattaw” and got an immediate response from him. He said that they will get back to me by monday with an update. at this point, he is my only hope !!! but its true at a time where most people are lost in not knowing whether they will receive passport/ visa’s on time. with only 9 business days left with our departure , we are kinda of worried. lets see what happens. so far, “Rattaw” has been a saving grace……I will keep you posted.

August 16, 2013 at 11:21 am
(284) Travisa/BLSI Transition Question says:

A little bit of good news today. We contacted the Indian Consulate at one of their OCI contact numbers, and they informed us that our OCI matchup was completed and sent to BLS International a month back!

Fervently hope BLS International is able to mail us back our passports as soon as possible.

August 16, 2013 at 11:33 am
(285) Neha76 says:

@ Travisa/BLSI Transition Question – thats great news !. from where did you get the OCI contact # at the consulate ? Would like to see if there is one for PIO to check the status.

August 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm
(286) Travisa/BLSI Transition Q. says:

@Neha76, I found contact info for New York consulate (both email and phone) at:
http://www.indiacgny.org/php/showContact.php?linkid=196&parentid=0
PIO: Tel. No. (212) 774 0666
E-mail: ocistatus@indiacgny.org
OCI: Tel. Nos: (212) 774 0613 & (212) 774 0396
E-mail: ocistatus@indiacgny.org

August 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm
(287) Dimple says:

The absolute worst nightmare I have had in all of my travels and I have traveled to 23 countries. My Visa application arrived in the Atlanta office of BLS on July 23, today is August 17 and online status says no record found. I have called multiple times to BLS and the person answering on the other side has kept telling me give us 48 hours and well get back but no one replies back. The BLS telephone number goes to a call center in India and this shady business is all handled via internet to the offices at established locations. As far as I know my passport may be lost and sold on the black market as no BLS associate can even tell me that they have the document in their hand. Im reporting to the FBI of BLS activity, who know they maybe making copies of illegal passports. BLS a very shady, unorganized entity. My last travel to India if I may get there. I contemplating getting a new Passport this week and reporting BSL lost/stole my brand new USA passport.

August 19, 2013 at 12:17 am
(288) Neha76 says:

@ Travisa/BLSI Transition Q – I did not have luck , either with the e-mail address or the phone #’s. Noone picks up the phone, it just goes to voicemail and have not gotten any response from the e-mail address listed !

August 19, 2013 at 3:14 am
(289) Hopeless says:

My wife and I applied for an indian visa from China almost one month ago. Im canadian and she’s Chinese. Our visas are apparently processing at the embassy and it’s impossible to even get in touch with their visa officer. Nobody else at the embassy apparently can help about this. It’s been a horrendous ordeal. My lease ran our with my landlord and hotels in china won’t accept foreigners without your passport. Can’t even get on a plane to head home without it. Terrible terrible situation. Stuck at her parents home and all but homeless.

I was surprised to see this problem is actually happening all over the world. The people at the visa application center have been very nice but have no power to even call to find out about our passports. Have tried canceling and still no passports. No idea what to do…. Any advice? Tried calling the canadian embassy here and they said to keep waiting… Totally broken system. I don’t evening to go to India anymore.

August 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm
(290) BLS is BULLSHIT says:

After getting in touch with Customer service and also experiencing how soon they reply back to customer’s email, I will say that BLS is a very unorganized company. Why Indian embassy outsource to companies like BLS even though it knows its bad record ?

BLS is BULLSHIT. It should not be in business. Their website does not indicate clearly what documents those IDIOTS want. They waste people’s time by not updating application status online ontime and then simply send back the application without any reason. I request Indian embassy to terminate contract with BLS and go with a highly organized and customer centric outsourcing company.

BLS — please do not waste people’s precious time.

August 20, 2013 at 9:17 am
(291) Travisa/BLSITransitionQ says:

More good news to report. Our passports have arrived in the mail after OCI matchup! We got the contact info for BLS NY manager, Nilesh, from post 221 by @L.E. on this forum. We were able to email him an airbill for return envelope. Thanks to Nilesh at BLS New York, and to the person I spoke with at the Indian Consulate. Many thanks to this goindia forum!

August 20, 2013 at 9:40 am
(292) neha76 says:

@ Travisa/BLSITransitionQ – congrats !

Noone picks up the phone # at the consulate, it just goes to voicemail and have not gotten any response from the e-mail address listed ! There are only 6 business days left with our departure and no clue as to whether we would be able to go to India or not.

August 20, 2013 at 11:31 am
(293) Sasi says:

I have sent my US passport for OCI matchup to Washington DC BLS office. My passport arrived there on Aug 12th. BLS Status page still shows as “OCI Card Arrived – Pending Application”. Status still not updated since then. GOI OCI status site shows status as “Document received At WASHINGTON On 08-AUG-2013″. This status also hasn’t change after submitting my passport for OCI matchup. I confirmed with BLS that my passport has arrived in their office on Aug 12th.

OCI status in the BLS and GOI website is showing as below for me. Can someone tell me what are all the other subsequent possible statuses that you would see after these statuses:
1. “OCI Card Arrived – Pending Application” in the BLS website.
2. “Document received At WASHINGTON On 08-AUG-2013″ in the GOI OCI Status website.

Your response would greatly help. I am planning to visit India in 2 weeks for my brother’s marriage.

GOI Status OCI Timeline:
==========================
Date Of Acknowledgment 25-JUN-2013
Registration Status at Mission WASHINGTON
Documents Printing Status PROCESSED On 01-AUG-2013
Dispatched From MOIA (OCI) NEW DELHI On 02-AUG-2013
Document received At WASHINGTON On 08-AUG-2013

August 22, 2013 at 10:07 am
(294) ann says:

BLS is total crap.Its more than a month since i sent my application.
Their status check shows it is dispatched via courier and whenever i call they say the same thing, it was dispatched 17 days ago and they give my prepaid tracking number. I keep checking in fedex, they do not have that tracking number active.
For the past 2 weeks i have been calling every day(waiting 30 mins each time) and raising a query .
Every time they say the same, they are working on the query and will get back in 24-48 hours.
Nothing has happened..
I am terrified they have lost my passport, they have no clue where my passport is..
This is a nightmare

August 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm
(295) Ashish says:

Read review #243.

Applied for VISA on 8/7/2013. Web site says Processing time 7-9 working days.

- BLS received documents – Fedex tracking system says delivered on 8/8/2013.
- No update on BLS tracking system until 8/12/2013. Status says no records found!
- 8/13 BLS status says “underprocess”.
- 8/16 Status @2PM – “Processing at Consulate General”
- 8/19 Status @11AM – ready for Dispatch
- 8/19 @3PM “Dispatched via Courier” – received automated email
- 8/22 @7PM Fed-EX delivered package. Verified VISA stamp detail and all looks accurate.
It took exactly 7 working days for BLS + 3 working days for Fed-EX. So,BLS did delivered it on time. Reading other reviews I might be lucky to be processed on time.My second experience with BLS is much better and faster than previous one. I could have applied Renunciation & VISA together but since this is new transistion I was not sure about the accuracy of work & timeline @BLS So, I applied renunciation and 10 yr VISA seprately. VISA processing timeline met what says on BLS web site. I guess BLS will resume smooth processing once it settles out old workload of Travisa

August 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm
(296) Ashish says:

My advice to everyone
- Do not get panic if you do not see any status for 3-4 working days.I think status will get updated in a week unless package is lost.
- Once you see the status update, don’t start calling or emaling them if next status is delayed. Be patient unless extreme emergency.
- Apply well in advance before your travel date. I am traveling in November. Give them atleast the exact processing time + one extra week since this is new transistion.
- Make sure application from is filled out correctly. I checked my form and document few times before sending.
- Make sure you write down category(VISA/Renunciation/OCI/PIO) you are applying for on the package and highlight it. This will help them sorting hundreads of application much faster.
- Once you receive your passport immediately make copy of passport and BLS receipt incase if you find something wrong and you have to send it back for re-processing.

Ann – LE#221 above has same experience as you. Unfortunately, Fed-EX package was dropped at USPS by BLS and it was delivered in her mail box after one month. I hope that has not happened in your case. You can call BLS and find out what USPS location they normally drop their package and call that USPS location and ask if they have any Fed-EX package lying in some corner. You can contact rattanw@blsinternational.com from above post#Nora…Hope that works for you. Good Luck!!!

August 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm
(297) Bookwriter says:

We planned and have now canceled our trip to India. Our total loss will be about 1000.00 with overnight delivery fees, airline penalties (Delta sent us an email upon booking linking us to a visa service that told me it has stopped doing India visas), other costs. I’m a fairly experienced international traveler, but this has been the most stressful experience i can remember having in several decades of travel. Finally said to hell with it. My sanity is more important.

August 24, 2013 at 8:53 am
(298) sunil says:

This BLS owners they have big time connections with the ministers in India. They are the biggest THIEF OF INDIA. They are charging illegal amount of money from people to get visa done for Indian citizens. They are giving hard time to US citizens to process their visas. They have their own people standing near the BLS centers who are guiding people to go to a different visa service which is again owned by the same people to get the visa done in 24 hours for extra $200.00. They got this outsourcing contract for $4.70 but now they are stealing money left and right.
They are charging $250.00 penalty from Indian citizens for renunciation instead of $25.00 or in some cases $175.00. The rest of the money is going into their pocket.
Why does a outsourcing company have to open a separate visa service company and they send people who are lined outside the outsourcing office to go to these THUGS owned by the same company. They opened the visa service company in the same building and Indian Consulate is keeping its mouth shut. Whats going on is the Indian Consulate is involved in this corruption too ?

August 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm
(299) Sasi says:

I have sent my US passport for OCI matchup to the BLS Washington office about 3 weeks back. BLS office had later sent my

passport to the Indian Embassy Washington for the matchup process. Since then, my passport is with the Embassy pending

issuance of OCI sticker in my US passport. After the OCI matchup process is over, BLS is suppose to return my passport and

OCI back to me through UPS service. I have an emergency situation now, and because of it want to go to India as soon as

possible. I cannot wait for BLS to mail the passport to me, this would take at least another 1 to 2 week more. Is there any

way that I can visit the Washington Embassy or/and the BLS Washington Office in person and then collect my passport and OCI.

Does the Embassy or the BLS office permit to collect the passport in person who have opted to use the return shipping

service? Should I go to the Embassy or to the BLS office? Do I need appointment or walk-in is accepted?

Anyone who has done this, please respond. I need to visit India as soon as possible after getting my OCI.

August 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm
(300) Hari says:

All you have to do is go to YELP and look at the nightmare stories on BLS, mine included. There is no one to talk to in the US, absolutely NO US NUMBERS, and the call center in India has no more information than you or I. Good luck people.

August 26, 2013 at 4:59 pm
(301) ganesh says:

Horrible service… customer service never answer calls.

tracking system is poor not sure how these companies are running their show in US without any proper support. i have applied PIO for my son 1 month back no update till know.

no response in phone, no reply to email.. i have my planned trip to india not sure when i will get my son PIO else i need to cancel my travel

August 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm
(302) Vikram says:

Here in New York, renewing my Indian passport with BLS has been an absolute nightmare. (Aug 2013). I don’t even know where to begin.

They are completely unhelpful, their website says contradictory things regarding the documents you need, and there are incredibly long delays. There is no transparency, or efficiency in the system. It was stunning how much work was being done by hand, requiring their people to hand-write things into a paper notebook (a notebook that looks like it was shipped from India, btw).

When you arrive at the BLS passport office in NY, there is no guidance as to what the process is, there are a bunch of tired looking people sitting and waiting and begging and pleading just trying to get things sorted out. It is a dirty and dark office, and feels like a ‘fly-by-night’ operation. It’s the kind of place that makes you worry that you will never see your passport again.

BLS makes our country look bad, and will seriously make NRIs here in the US consider leaving Indian citizenship and acquiring foreign citizenship as quickly as possible. Worse from comments above it sounds like it is discouraging much needed tourists from visiting India.

We need to find a central way to coordinate the outrage and get the message across to the Consulates about the terrible experience. I encourage you all to write to your local consulate general — send a letter expressing your feelings, and hopefully our voices will be heard.

August 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm
(303) Christina says:

Hi, I run study abroad programs in India and we have just successfully processed 20+ visas through BLS in the month of August. BLS is getting better, but still has significant issues. Here are some bullet points of advice based on my experiences:

1. If you don’t read any other tips, read this one: YOU MUST WALK-IN you application (at any BLS office) for efficient/safe results. We processed passports in NYC, Chicago and Houston in 3-5 days via walk-in. We simply hired other people do the walk-ins in the case that our applicant didn’t leave near by. MAIL-IN applications, across the board for us, caused delays and confusion. We had two “lost” passports (at the NY office) as well, BUT, we paid people to WALK-IN and sit at the BLS Offices and demand that they find the passport. In both cases, the passports were (reluctantly) found and processed within 3-5 days. So walk your passport in. Or pay someone to do. Or work with an agency that can do it for you (CIBT.com has been very helpful to us). If your application has gone missing: get someone to walk-in, showing a receipt of your FedEx confirmation of arrival, to inquire personally about your status, and you will get an answer.

2. You CAN schedule a walk-in appointment on the “Day Of.” So don’t stress if you can only get an appointment for 2-weeks away. What you do is go to the “make an appointment” page (for the best availability, visit the page at 12am) and instead of clicking on a day in the calendar, look at the very bottom of the calendar and click the button that says, “today.” NOT OBVIOUS. I know. Also, you can walk in without an appointment. We had people do this in NY and Houston without problems. Just show up early, and get in line. Show up early even if you have an appointment. And show up early to pick up you passport (as they will shut the office regardless of how long you were in line).

(Continued….)

August 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm
(304) Christina says:

Continued from last post:

3. Avoid mail-in applications. But if you do mail it in, expect the following: 1. 15 DAYS PROCESSING TIME (we experienced this in SFO, Georgia and NY). 2. NO CUSTOMER SERVICE. We had people on the phone line 24hours a day with no one answering. Help Desk was also useless. Even if you talk to someone, expect them to be elusive and without answers. If they promise to call you back, don’t count on it. They never did with us. Not the help desk or the people we talked to when we finally broke through their phone system. 3. IF YOU HAVE AN ERROR ON YOUR APPLICATION, BLS WILL HAVE NO WAY TO GET THAT MESSAGE TO YOU. Their communication and customer service systems are still completely broken. I suspect this is the cause of most lost applications: a tiny error that the BLS office is unable to communicate to the applicant, and the applicant is unable to correct. It’s for THIS reason that walk-in applications work – the BLS agent can, on the spot, identify mistakes and walk you through them. In over 50% of our applications there were tiny mistakes (perceived by BLS anyway; their demands shift from agent to agent). It’s nearly impossible to fill out an application perfectly, so walk it in or use an agency like CIBT, Travisa, etc. as they will make sure your application is without errors (and have people in each city that can walk-in and inquire in regards to your passport need be).

August 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm
(305) Christina says:

(continued…)

4. Overall, the NY BLS office is the one catching up to speed faster than others – with walk-ins turned over in 2-4 days. The Houston office is still very behind and disorganized; I would advise only walk-ins at Houston. There are rumors of “heaps” of unprocessed mail-in applications at their office. The Georgia office DOES exist, and actually was our most efficient at processing our mail-in applications (albeit with wrong expiration dates). The San Francisco office turned around mail applications in 15 days and walk-ins in 3-5.

Good luck friends. I’ve lost a lot of sleep over the last month and I hope that these tips will help you out. A little extra time and money to get you to your local BLS office is going to save you a lot of stress in the long run. So embrace your most patient and persistent self – and pretend you’re in India!

August 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm
(306) Christina says:

And one more insight from a different institution:

“….I can provide some unofficial insights from other professionals in the field. Several institutions have run into the same problem. It is our understanding that BLS is monitoring departure dates as they process applications. Most institutions are receiving their visas in time for departure, but they are cutting it very, very close (as little as 48-72 hours before departure).”

August 28, 2013 at 1:57 pm
(307) ann says:

i got my passport at last. This is the reason they give for keeping my passport without shipping( The Status will say courried, but that doesn’t guarantee they shipped it out).
My fedex return lablel had credit card information in it instead of account number and they said that fedex does not accept it that way. I personally went to fedex and asked and they said that’s not true.
The BLS official said he had some 50 passports like that sitting in their office.
So if you used fedex and put their credit card info in the return label, your passport i don’t think is going to be shipped out to you.
There is no point talking to the customer service. I spent 30 mins in phone everyday 2 weeks.
Go there in person.

August 30, 2013 at 8:31 pm
(308) Ravinder says:

I am very frustrated. BLS is the worst service provider. Now I think BLS is more like a scam. They took my passport on 13th August and told me that I will get passport back with visa in 3-4 days. It has been already been 17 days and no update. I finally called Representative and could connect after half hour of holding but still no use they say that passport is with Indian Consulate. I want to sue them in court for mental trauma which we have to undergo due to their lack of responsibility and false promises.
If anyone else interested in dragging them to court, please write. We will hire a lawyer and teach them a lesson by letting them pay a heavy penalty.

September 1, 2013 at 9:46 am
(309) Jim says:

Just thought I’d give my experiences getting a 6-month tourist visa for my trip to India. I was pretty worried about it, having read the experiences of others here, but was lucky enough to get my passport back within about 12 days! This was back in the end of July/beginning of August, using the SFO branch of BIS. My girlfriend got her passport and visa safely as well. We leave for India in 2 days. Truly hope to see all of you there!

September 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm
(310) Par says:

I have sent a PIO application for my daughter to BLS New York. BLS website says they <i>”received”<i> the application on July 31. Since then there is no update on it. i tried to contact help desk via email and called them several times so far. All they say is <i>someone will call you back<i> but no one calls back anybody. I think that is general answer helpdesk gives to every one who calls.

Couple of days ago a help desk guy said he created an “emergency” ticket to trace my application and someone will get back to me in 2-3 hours. Its been two days now yet nobody has called me. Helpdesk is not helping at all in my case. I have travel plans for Sept 23 and I am really nervous now, is there is no way to contact BLS office in New York?

It has been a very stressful experience so far. Advice to anyone who is sending application to BLS – give your self a lot of time and pray.

September 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm
(311) Ashish says:

Hi, on the PIO order form, there are two blanks for Waybill number – the second is clearly for the prepaid return envelope – but what is the first for? BLS doesn’t allow you to save the form until that number has been entered. What number is this – am I supposed to get a waybill number from fedex/USPS before I prepare the packet, and then enter this number in, save the form and then print the shipping lable that BLS sends? Their instructions are badly written, or non-existent! Any help from other PIO applicants would be much appreciated!

September 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm
(312) Rizzu says:

Same question as Ashish’s and one another. To whom should the cashier’s cheque be addressed to? Any help is greatly appreciated.

September 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm
(313) naresh says:

After reading these comments. …I want are we are suffering too.

Our son passport who is just 9 year s is at the mercy of BSL.

I tried many times no success. Even no one responds at indian high comission in Toronto.

We were expecting VFS service this reminds of a pure indian govt. Department where nothing moves on time. People are arrogant and cruel same babus we left many many years ago. They are back in the form of BSL.

ny years ago

September 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm
(314) sachin says:

From August 2013, BLS Order Form is mandatory for new PIO application form. On this form there are 2 fields for Airway Bill No.
If prepaid delivery is selected as Yes, then these 2 fields are required.

Do we need to enter delivery label and Return Envelope Airway Bill Number in these fields ?
I addition I have following qns:
Do we need to print a Return Envelope Shippign label and send it alogn with applciation form ?
Do we need to Notarize aprents signature on PIO form in case of Minor applicant. There is no place / indication on applciation form for Notary to stamp and sign ?

please advice / suggest if I udnerstand correctly.

September 6, 2013 at 4:07 pm
(315) Sachin says:

To Rizzu…..

Cashier’s check or money roder Payble to “BLS Internantional USA”

Its listed under Requirement for Documents for PIO .

September 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm
(316) Sachin says:

Additioanl informaiton at follwoign URL:
http://www.visa.blsindia-usa.com/order_form_knowmore.php

September 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm
(317) Raj D Patil says:

I had been to TraVisa for my daughter PIO and also for my wife VISA. Service was very good and their system updates were remarkable. After two years, I go today(Sept 6,2013) to BLS -Washington DC center. Location is situated in a crapy neighbour place and officers working inside do not have any customer service training at all. I suggest to all furture applicants to do your paper work well one month in advance. All foreigners coming inside were puzzled to understand the system. If this is the status of Indian service in Washington DC, what will be in Africa, Asia and other developing countries. Looks like all officers working here have some kind of connection with Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi. We as Indians can’t bet western countries in Customer Service. I have been to French, Dutch and German Embassy earlier for VISA and there customer support was wonderfull. Govt Employees of India needs a year of training to understand what a customer service means. Please bear with patience with BLS service. God Help us !!!!!

September 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm
(318) ExIndian says:

Here is my horror story with BLS NY
I sent my mint new US passport and Indian passport for PIO / Renunciation via UPS on 16th July 2013.
UPS reports delivered on 17th July 2013.
On 26th July the status changed to Under Process.
On 5th August status changed to Processing at consulate.
On 8th August the status changed to Incomplete / Incorrect data “us passport is required to submit” (i kid you not this is verbatim).
Since then I have been running from pillar to post as to where did my passport go.
In the meantime I left multiple messages to the consulate.
On 3rd September a lady called me from the consulate (she didn’t give her name even after my asking for it) and told me that she had personally returned my applications (both of them) since my original US passport was missing.
Now both BLS and CGI NY don’t return my call.
My trace with USPS tells me that they cashed the money orders on 2nd August.
So now I have lost $555.40 as well as my US passport to these guys.
Current status says that I need to send them $24.95 for shipping which is bollocks since I already sent them not one but 2 prepaid return labels with envelops (UPS).
I have signed the petition above and also lodged a complaint with BBB and FTC.
If anyone plans to sue them please count me in. I can be reached at
BLSSucks@hotmail.com

September 9, 2013 at 11:27 am
(319) Krishna says:

Based on all the comments here and elsewhere, was fearing the worst.. but things went pretty smoothly (except for the intial status updates).. This was for a Passport renewal after 10 years, done with BLS NY:

Application Sent: via Fedex: August 6th
Fedex Delivered: August 7th
Aug 7th – Aug 20th: No emails, Postal Application Tracking would not return any results with the Fedex tracking number or Order number and Application Tracking would say ‘No records found’
Aug 21st: Application Tracking returned results saying ‘Application Received Aug 20th’ and Status as ‘Sent to Consulate for processing’
Sep 5th: Status changed to ‘Ready for Dispatch’
Sep 5th (evening): Fedex Picked up
Sep 9th: Passport delivered.

September 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm
(320) w says:

Is anybody else having trouble submitting the BLS Order Form? It seems to be completely broken. I’m trying to get a tourist visa. Every time I submit it, the response is “ERROR Kindly provide all required information !!!”

The NY office is totally worthless, doesn’t not understand their own website, and are forwarding me to three helpline numbers that say the numbers have been disconnected.

I think I may have to skip my trip to India

September 11, 2013 at 11:13 am
(321) tango2 says:

My passport has been in the hands of BLS NyYfor 3 weeks and a day now. The website status has been READY FOR COLLECTION now for 5 days despite a prepaid trackable USPS envelope being enclosed.
Customer service has only referred me to an email address for further help and they have not replied.

I am concerned that my passport has been put in the pick up in person category alas there seems no way to actually find this out.
Flight leaves in 9 days.

Anyone have a suggestion?

September 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm
(322) RAJ says:

As MR RAJESH METHA has a problem i have same problem with OCI card .From last 5 weeks i am calling every single day same detail like Rajesh Metha . I already send prepaid envelop from UPS & printed not hand written . They told me yesterday send us other envelop. My question is money is coming from trees. Their total system sucks. This is INDIAN base company that means INDIAN staff is working All desi working with american name but there acc… is desi. travisa was working good so why this indian gov replace . why bsl pay more money . And about scams EVERY SINGLE DAY THEIR IS AAA BIIIG SCAM IN INDIA . SHAME ON THE COMPANY CHIEF.I try to contact consulate general , from the office say for any complain send FAX , i send fax no respond. i don t know which language this beast understand….

September 13, 2013 at 1:31 pm
(323) tango2 says:

After one week of calls to the customer service line in which I was told “someone” would call back in 48 hours and no further information or help offered, though they took note of application reference number each time;(but then there was never a record of previous calls made!)
Finally I sent a friend in NYC to the office at the 4-6 pm public access time frame, and she was told the passport was in the office but they would absolutely not send it me, despite my friends’ assurances that there was a pre paid self addressed and trackable envelope in the application.
With a signed letter and authorization consent I have sent her, BSL says they will give the passport to my friend who will then pay again for an overnight courier with 3 days to spare before the flight.
Outrageous!

September 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm
(324) PIO for Minor says:

Hi All:

I am filling PIO for Minor. its listed under requirement 3.2 :
For Visa Application for a child (minor), the second page of the Application Form must be signed by both the parents and the same must be Notarized.

Is this applicable for PIO as well ?
There is no place to notarized and sign on page 2. How it can be done ? Applicaiton form is 3 page.

Please advice.

September 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm
(325) kobelco says:

When I first came to know about this new BLS International Services handling all passport renewal for the Indian consular services in the US, I had my reservations. When I came to this forum in early August, my reservations turned to cold sweat of impending calamity!

Anyway, I had to renew my passport, which had almost run its course of 10 years, and would expire on Sep 13, 2013. I sent in my application on Aug 6. BLS received it on Aug 8. They sent me an e-mail confirming that my application had been submitted to the consular general (in Chicago), on Aug 12. Since then I was following the status online. Till about September 3. When suddenly the online tracking system started to spit out “No records found”. I was a bit apprehensive and e-mailed them, asking if everything was ok. Received a reply within the same day that “it takes about 4 to 6 weeks to be process the application”, but no word on why suddenly the system cannot find my application! Anyway, I decided to wait till 6 weeks before taking any further action. That would have been Sep 20, the coming Friday. I received my new passport last Saturday, Sep 14! So within the stipulated 6 weeks!

If they can keep their word about their turn around and processing time, I have no complaints!

September 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm
(326) rajni says:

I read a lot of horror stories about BLS before submitting my passport for renewal and I was very scared to renew my passport. But I had no choice.

I submitted my application on July 23,2013 and the person in BLS – Toronto desk told that it will take 6 to 8 weeks for my passport to get delivered.

I waited for 6 weeks, and didnt get my passport. I called the helpdesk and they asked me to wait for a couple more days. And on September 12, 2013, my passport was available for pick up.

I was skeptical after 6 weeks, but they had delivered the passport within 8 weeks.

Their service had been very good, although their telephone reps and over the counter representatives could be more friendly.

September 17, 2013 at 11:09 am
(327) Nick says:

Hi Everyone,
I want to renew my passport and change my address in India. wanted to know when you sent in your application, what address was printed on your passport. Indian address or the US Address. I called them to ask about the required documents for change in Indian address and they told me that the US address was printed in the passport which is weird and that i can mention the change in the cover letter and put my new indian address in the other address category in the online form. What address should I put in the Main address column and the other address.
Thank you

September 21, 2013 at 3:09 am
(328) Sunny says:

BLS is most worst company I have ever had…friends i will share a different experience with you. BLS is not only bad service provider, it is also a very bad organization….One of my friend is an ex employee of BLS and he share his pathetic experience with BLS..this organization CEO Mr, Agarwal is the worst person ever seen. He runs his business as a factory and treat his employee as labour. NO facilities to his employee. It is not at alll a employee friendly organization. They do not given any compensation to his emplyee even theyu do overtime, The management is a blood sucking team. They only know business, not anything else. They terminate their employee without any notice. I prey to god that how MR. Agharwal and sons traet their employee, they should be treat by god with the same manner. THEY DESRVE NOTHING EXCEPT PAIN…..

September 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm
(329) Richa says:

I feel somewhat better (and more concerned) after reading this article and the feedback/comments that I am not the only one suffering from the delayed BLS processing of my OCI application.

It has been 1.5 months since I first submitted the OCI application online. The website tracking says – NO RECORD FOUND.

My husband and children didn’t have any problem getting their OCI visas from Travisa and had good experience dealing with them.

September 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm
(330) Mr. Mun says:

This is the trail of email conversations with BLS about my daughter’s passport with OCI (still no response). I had applied for OCI for her in early June 2013. I have yet to receive her passport back even though the NY consulate said the passport with the OCI stamp was sent back to BLS:
Sent today 9/24/2013:
** EXTREMELY URGENT **
Please somebody get back to me with the status of “My daughter”‘s passport. It has been more than 2 weeks since the consulate issued the OCI on the passport and sent it to BLS. See all the email correspondences below.
It has been more than 10 days since BLS contacted us that the passport was ready to ship back to us. To-date “WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE PASSPORT”. Please send me the tracking# for the passport if you have indeed mailed it – or use the “PREPAID LABEL” I had already emailed to you on September 16th.
Note that my daughter has been without passport for more than a month now (because of BCI) – and it has a put a lot of strain on her overseas travel plans.
On September 19th Cindy wrote that she would look into this. There is no response since then. You guys just do not understand the importance of a person’s passport.
PLEASE GET BACK TO ME TODAY!
Regards, Mr. Mun

—–Original Message—–
Subject: Re: UPS Return Label for “My daughter” OCI# AXXXXXX (Request# 99999)
YES, i called UPS and they have no record of pick up of the item from your location based on the tracking# of the “Prepaid Label” (Tracking# 1ZY227928491631501) I sent you on Monday for “NEXT DAY AIR” delivery.
Either you are lying – you did not send the passport yet, or you sent it to the wrong address – or give me a proof of UPS pickup and tracking# you sent it via, as you mention in your email yesterday.
This is getting beyond ridiculous dealing with your organization.
I am sending you this email early in the morning so you can take some action, locate the passport and PLEASE mail it today. No more excuses please.
Mr. Mun

September 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm
(331) lata says:

BLS EXPERIENCE IS THE WORST I HAVE HAD ALL MY LIFE. OBVIOUSLY, THEY ARE CHARGING LESS MONEY BECAUSE THEY ARE USELESS.

I HAVE SENT MY APPLICATION AND MONEY ORDER….DON’T KNOW WHERE IT HAS GONE…..

I have sent my OCI application more than 7 weeks back. I have a postal confirmation status that BLS has received it.

I tried to do an online status as they say I can. But i kepp getting the message ‘no file found’.

I have tried calling and sent email to BLS to tell me what is going on. I gave them my file reference number that they generated online when i first filed the application and sent along as they asked it be sent.

They keep responding saying i need to give them my passport number and my DOB in the email. I have told them I cannot divulge that information in an email since it can be hacked so they need to call me because I can’t reach their phone line, EVER.

I repeatedly explained to them why i am not comfortable emailing information on internet….that it’s not secure…..However, their response never changes. They don’t read the email and keep telling me the same thing…..that I need to send them my DOB and my passport and do not call me…..

I have had a chain of email with them with the same response… only from different name on their so called Help Desk. It is ridiculous. These people should be fired. It is a mess. Whatever time i have tried to call their phone line, whether morning evening, even after 6 and 7 pm….they have the same message going…that they have a big queue waiting and that we should try calling later……i am sure they are not working 24 hours….so the messaging is there since they are lazy people sitting there with no responsibility towards people like me who are

October 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm
(332) R.lalani says:

Mr. Mun
I have same experience just like you. I think this norm from them they said passport is mailed back but there is no record for pick up by FedEx I emailed Ekta soni but no reply. There must be away to fight with this people Indian consulate know about this problem but they are doing nothing . Do I need to explain you why ? Lets fight and take some legal action about this company. If everyone has problem then we have to do something. Please advice how we can take legal complain in USA not in Indian consulate. It’s time to wake up.
Thanks

October 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm
(333) John says:

I applied for an Indian visa. It took a few days to figure out what to do. Sent it on 9/3. They returned it on 9/11 for a missing signature on the first page. I corrected this and returned it the same day. It is 10/3 and I haven’t received my passport back. Will I ever get it back? Who knows? Certainly not the people on the phone. They are totally useless.

October 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm
(334) Raj says:

I sent my son’s passport to get the visa with return envelope and address on it. But I forgot to put the postage on the return envelope.

BLS got the package on 9/16 and it says Dispatched by courier from that day till now, i never got the package.

How can they do that mistake?????? They don’t have any system or anything to track it. So annoying ppl working there. Don’t even pick up the call.

I am going to bombard consulate of india and everyone involved in this business with the emails.

This is just ridiculous.

October 9, 2013 at 10:19 am
(335) Ritvik says:

I am wondering if anyone ever got their job done at BLS? I have submitted my Indian Passport for renewal there, and have not received it yet. And.. it has been over 2 months now! I am facing all the same problems like helpline not being answered, rude and unhelpful replies when it is answered etc. And now I am fearing my passport has been lost.. I have read tons of review on the Internet, and not a single one is good. I really would like to know if anyone got their passport renewed from BLS-USA and how long did it take..

October 11, 2013 at 2:09 am
(336) SPRao says:

Yes, I got my renewal passport yesterday morning by FedEx.

I live in Salt Lake City. So, I had to send my application by Post
The processing center is San Francisco.

The processing time in SFO for passport renewal is 2 to 3 weeks.
I assume this is after they receive the applicaiton and update the status on the website as received.

Also, on the website, they mentioned that it will take 7 to 10 days for the status to appear.

Continued…

October 11, 2013 at 2:10 am
(337) SPRao says:

My passport was expiring on 09/01

08/27 – I initially sent my application.
09/03 – I got a call in the evening from FedEx SFO area, asking for the expiration date on my credit card, mentioning that I have packet being returned.
I was surprised and later thought probably it is the renewed passport.
09/04 – My passport application was returned with a note that I need to noratize the attached documents.
Now, there are different ways of notarizing a document. Some notaries will not stamp on document that do not have our signatures hand-written.
DL and Green card have our signatures but those are IDs and signature is a print. So I sent the general acknowledgement that they gave.

Anyway, I got the documents finally notarized and sent back to them again with the FedEx Next Day Air return shipping Envelop attached with it

Continued…

October 11, 2013 at 2:10 am
(338) SPRao says:

I took almost one week time to send these as I had to wait for one of my documents.

09/10 – I re-submitted application by FedEx Next day.
09/12 – It reached BLS on morning as per FedEx tracking.
09/19 – This is exactly after one week after they received it.The status is still ‘no records found’.
I called in the afternoon. an hour before they close. I got the response in the second attempt after around 10 to 15 mins wait.
Note: They close at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. So, there is no point in calling after hours and crying
and jumping around that they did not reply or respond etc..
Yes, I agree that their telephone response system and their staff attending the calls need to be more professional in their approach.
I don’t remember the lady’s name, but first she told that they have not yet received it because she could not find any records.
Then I said I re-submitted it and told that it reached as per the FedEx tracking.
She then asked for the tracking number of the mail I sent and then she told that they have received it, and asked me to check back for the status after 7 to 8 ‘working’ days.
09/20 – Status updated on the website that the application is received.
There was holiday in between and if I count the working days, it was going easily to the beginning of October.
10/03 – counting the two holidays (Janmashtami and Labour day), It is exactly 8 days after the receipt note on the status.
The status appears as – Processing at Consulate General
10/08 – The status changes as Dispatched via Courier.
10/09 – I received the new passport and the old passport in the morning.
I had sent a FedEx next day air return shipping envelope.

October 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm
(339) Randeep S Arora says:

I wanted to share my experience with BLS India and their reporting system as well. While I am totally understand the intentions of the consulate the communications and reporting are very poor. The status for my application is showing up as “getting processed at the consulate” for the last 15 days and all they report back is: “we have no control over the consulate and it can take up to 6 weeks and ten days more!” I have submitted the application on 9/13 even though I took an appointment for later on 9/26 and have just been waiting for an update that I can make sense of! Anyone I speak to have no idea, nor are able to convey a possible completion time, nothing!! The processing is slow, there is no proper response and at best very basic reporting. I just hope this positive step and attempt by the consulate is not derailed by the incompetency of the agency or the lack of operational procedures and support.

October 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm
(340) tepark says:

I’m having the same problem as “w,” I keep getting the same error message when trying to submit BLS’s online order form…can anyone help?

October 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm
(341) Sammy says:

I have been calling BLS a few times inquiring about the passport service and its been a terrible experience to get any correct information from any of the agents who answer the phone.
I submitted my passport for renewal and its been a nightmarish expereince to go the Canada office of BLS.

Sadly to say its one of the worst service company I have dealt with. The people who work there are rude and unprofessional. It seems like you are in India and people have no value for your time or money. how long does it take to stamp a passport? Why does it take months to do validate information which is in Canda.

I have my fingers crossed and hope that I reecive my passport before my travel dates. Will keep you posted with any progress……

October 16, 2013 at 10:23 pm
(342) Srikanth says:

I really don’t understand the airway bill number when generating the order form.
I have to include order form with the application, how can I get Airway tracking number ?
Please help

I put some fake and it generates order form and shipping label.
and to my surprise they show passport number on the shipping label..

October 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm
(343) Srikanth says:

I believe asking Airway Bill no when we choose postal is a but in the form.
This one should be true for only if you choose Pre-Paid Delivery
I am putting some garbage 1234 and it generated order form and mailing address slip

What bothers me more they print passport number on the mailing slip

Any one who successfully generated order form please share what you put in the Airway Bill No.:

October 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm
(344) Sweta says:

I sent a prepaid FEDEX envelop to return my OCI and US passport but they are not listening to my e-mail requests for weeks in Atlanta Office.
BLS phone is totally useless as no one answers.
Their service fee is very less and that is why there are less number of lower paid people.
BLS should be thrown out of USA since they create hardship to US Citizens. They never review complains and looks do not want to improve at the cost of applicants.
I curse BLS

October 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm
(345) done with BLS says:

we are currently going through the worst nightmare with BLS folks. Cant believe that this company is so unprofessional and no one has inside there has a clue what is happening.

We had sent our OCI and renunciation papers a month back, and fedex says it has been delivered to NY office on sept. 20th. It’s been a month now that we don’t have any updates on their tracking site.

One of the comment was “BLS is a huge company and i am just an agent here, I apologize on behalf of BLS. We have so many applications and do not have an idea of where your application is”.

Is Indian embassy going through any of these things happening outside? Are they reading the complaints and frustruation from the people? Can they do something about this?

BLS policy is that if we escalate, we will get a call within 2 business days. Inspite of escalation, and no response within 2 days, called them back again and the BLS agent just disconnected my call with no response.

October 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm
(346) Sam says:

These are guys are horrible!!!! Canadians shouldn’t go to India and these people in India will realize how much trouble the BLS has causing and hopefully will kick them out FOREVER!!!!

October 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm
(347) srikanth says:

Just spoke with BLS, If you are choosing postal option for sending in OCI application, go to fedex.. obtain two pre-paid envelopes one from you to them and other from them to you ,
and then fill the to and for tracking numbers and then generate your order form.

October 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm
(348) ruchi says:

I dont understand why do they return the entire package incase of a missing document! Its such a waste of time and money. They returned my packet using the overnight shipping envelope I had sent. What a waste of money. They could have instead just sent a letter stating the additional document they require.

October 23, 2013 at 11:39 am
(349) Roy says:

@ Ruchi, you should be thankful to God that you received your package for missing documents. In my case since Sept 21 the BLS website shows my application has been sent to me on 09-21-2013.I never received my package yet so today I sent all the missing documents with a cover letter.No idea what’s going to happen!! Afraid if they lost my original Indian passport & application!! they are expert to rob you and cash out the money before touching any other document, because the money is nonrefundable. I called BLS helpline 1-855- 436-0725 several times and received different answers each time.Every time I called customer service rep said “Your application has been sent back to you” and everytime the floor supervisor said “It has been sent yesterday”.When I called last week of september and first two weeks of october I got the same answer that “Your application has been sent back to you yesterday”. complete SCAM run by Indian Govt.Call centers are in India in fish market like noise when you ask for help.Typical INDIAN FRAUD in USA soil.Feel bad for being a part of disgusting third world system.BLS International is incompetent to process the visas.I’ll fight to see the end.Filthy Rats from India…..

October 23, 2013 at 11:54 am
(350) Roy says:

@Ruchi, you are lucky that you received your package back.I was told by BLS phone rep as well as by the website that my package has been sent on Sept 21,2013 for missing documents.I still didn’t receive any package and sent all the missing documents to local BLS office followed by the intruction I received from BLS helpdesk in email. Finger crossed!! Scared if they loose my package & original indian passport!! Well , they didn’t forget to cash out the money first before touching any other document. Because it’s nonrefundable. filthy rats from india…

October 24, 2013 at 9:14 am
(351) Ritu says:

From my horrible experience with BLS International service I’m determined that the owner of BLS International is either Sonia Gandhi’s close friend or from her family. This is the reason this worst company got the contract for outsourcing Indian Govt work. I also want to mention about those lier phone representatives who r sitting in the villages of India never been in USA greet the customer like “Hi my name is Stephine,how can I help u today” ,”Hi my name is james,how can I help u today” .Those rep’s actual names may be Shanti / Rajesh who are not eligible to do the job they are doing.

October 24, 2013 at 9:36 am
(352) Ab says:

This company is a total disaster, but what I find most intriguing is that BLS has managed to hire incompetent staff all across North America, I mean this is just genius how do they find such slackers to work in every BLS office.
My dad sent his “Entry Visa” documents to atlanta, after 3 weeks the whole package returns back with a note “money order not sufficient amount”. They don’t even know the cost of visa processing. ” 1 year Entry visa” is $147.70 and “1 year tourist visa is $157.70″ . We had applied for “entry visa” with money order amount of $147.70 and they returned the whole package back asking us for “$157.70″.
Now we send them whole thing back with 5 year entry visa fee and there is no update till date.
My mom also applied for 1 year entry visa, and this time what they did was incredibly stupid. They shipped out documents the next day they received her documents. The ups called us and told us that all the documents are missing. We have been trying to contact bls to know what happened and after hundreds of emails we have not got any reply back. Yesterday we checked the status on bls website and it shows that documents are processing at the consulate. So wait!! What did they ship back to me? Turns out that they shipped out “EMPTY” return envelope.
Once we get the visa I’m gonna visit Delhi and egg bls office.

October 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm
(353) WomanfromIndia says:

I sent my old passport for renewal after it got expired on Oct 2, 2013. On Oct 24th, I see an update on the BLS website that the new passport was dispatched via Carrier (I had give a self stamped USPS Overnight delivery envelope). Today is Oct 29th and I have not yet received my old and new passports. I had called USPS and they are stating they have not yet received any such package. BLS is stating their system says, the package has been given to the carrier. I do not know what to do. It seems the passport is lost in transition.

I have sent an email to Consulate asking what to do next. It is really scary.
Thanks

October 30, 2013 at 12:11 am
(354) Anonymous says:

I cant believe I am going through this. I am dealing with such a bad company. Is this a bad dream? I am not sure? What sins my ancestors committed for me to go through this crap? This is serious matter. if this company is operating in US Soil, there should be a way to protest involving US authorities. They are playing with everyone’s passport and many times losing them. This is a huge security threat.

October 30, 2013 at 9:54 am
(355) Robert says:

Ridiculous service! The brampton BLS office has to be the worst. The consulate has made a big mistake giving a grave responsibility to a company like this. This is bad for India because tourists like me have resorted to not travel to India ever again.

November 5, 2013 at 11:22 am
(356) Rizzu says:

Status says Dispatched Via Courier (on Nov1st) with correct Fedex number and all that, but no trace on fedex system for the past 4 days. Where should I bang my head against?

November 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm
(357) Rizzu says:

Got the passport finally. Tracking became active 5th late night, and as I had given a FedEx overnight priority envelope, I got it delivered before 10: AM on 6th morning.

I had called BLS customer care on 5th afternoon only to be told to wait for some more business days. Wonder why is that, I would assume when someone says dispatched on Nov 1st, it should have been dispatched on Nov 1st. Another weird thing is the document was tendered at Jamaica, NY. Didn’t know BLS had an office there and why would they not choose a drop box close to the office on west 30th.

But, after losing passport/visa on 20th August, its been hellish three months. But BLS process was “smooth”, only hiccup was they forgot to check whether I had affidavit for lost passport (which I didn’t). I had initially applied on Sept 17th in person, only to be told on 24th that my application is invalid. I went in person on 30th to hand it over the missing doc. The passport says it was issued on Oct 30th. So exactly 4 weeks after all the documents were found to be in order.

The person who processed my application the second time told that they are unbelievably backlogged in processing mail applications and its good that I came in person to update my app, even if its for one document.

This forum has been unbelievably helpful. Thanks everyone for sharing valuable inputs.

November 8, 2013 at 11:57 am
(358) Singh says:

Service is terrible. Their representatives have no clue of what they are doing. They dont know the procedures at all. Every single answer from first representative is totally different than the second representative. So much contradiction and they out you on hold for every single query.

God knows what Indian givernment is doing putting these bunch of amateurs in a call centre

November 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm
(359) OMG( OH MY GOD) HELP US says:

m fully frustrated with BLS service. from one week , BLS says our OCI application is returned due to one missing documentt in the Fedex label provided. till now not received. i called them, emailed them got same kind of answers it is returned

November 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm
(360) OMG( OH MY GOD) HELP US says:

hey guys read this news about BLS, is there any way tht we can report our problems as well( in case BLS is not hearing us)

http://www.indiawest.com/news/14121-bls-out-to-lunch–say-travelers-frustrated-with-new-visa-service.html

hey guys watch this video, may be this could suggest us a solution to express our problems, in case they r not listening us

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-wDnXln5_s

November 11, 2013 at 7:52 am
(361) sugy says:

i too am undergoing a nightmare trying to get the passport renewed by dealing with the unresponsive and irresponsible people at BLS in US.

passports been with them for renewal for the past 3 weeks and they keep asking repetetive questions as reply to my queries.

November 12, 2013 at 4:01 am
(362) Baba Das says:

Instead of complaining on this forum, please write to your respective Indian Consulates/ Embassies; otherwise irresponsible companies like BLS will never rectify. Thank you.

November 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm
(363) Anonymous says:

I have reached rock bottom, indian consulate issued visa and send us passport, indian passport and renunciation certificate to bls international. Bls international could not locate us passport, indian passport and renunciation certificate for last 1 week. The consulate had forwarded them the docs on 29th of October. Bls has lost the passports, yes they have LOST the passports. Bls has to do a simple task for only “handling” the passports and even in the most simplest task of the world they have failed to perform.

November 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm
(364) Raj says:

BLS Office has a very small space with no washroom facilities for the visitors. Most of the time, parking space is not available and visitors have to park far away on the street. Staff are not trained and unable to answer questions.
The day I went there, there were more than 50 people in the office, which can accommodate around 20 people at a time. It was very warm in summer, as the air conditioner was not turned on.
The service fee is very less and one can understand the quality of service expected from them.
Poor guys, they tend to make money in another ways. for every debit transactions, they charge 70 cents. They will insist that you pay through debit card and for a family of 4 , you have to pay them separately and turn up paying 0.70 x 4 . Cash is accepted, but you need to pay the exact amount of cash, as they don’t have any change.
People are ready to pay more, provided they provide quick and better services.

November 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm
(365) Raj says:

seems this company is owned or floated by an Indian politician or ex bureaucrat from the Indian Foreign Services. No details of Directors or officers of BLS are seen on their web site.

November 19, 2013 at 3:18 pm
(366) chetan says:

I am at loss as to what should we do. We have applied with BLS for Visa to visit India, and date of receipt on web is Oct. 4th, 2013. Web site says Passport is dispatched on 11-11-2013 by Federal Express. As of today no Passport. I have called BLS at least 10 times, they are of no help, and they cannot find out what has happened. They even opened a ticket (17417), and the Lady name Lauren! Told me today she will find out and call me in 2 hours. I called after 3 hours, the gentlemen tells me, someone will call in 1/2. Ha! Ha! This has been the story since 11-12-2013. Originally, my mother was sick and I booked ticket to go to India on Oct 28th. BLS had the application since Oct 4, yet they are telling me on Nov. 5 that “Need Proof of Address”!! They received everything and said “Passport Dispatched on 11-11-2013″. Heck, a friend of mine said, “Passport Dispatched on 11-11-1969!!”.

Once I asked this rude Agent in India ” Are you in India or USA?. “Oh very much in New York” so I asked him “How is the weather in NYC” He hung up on me!! It is obvious, India FORIEGN MINISTER was Bribed CRORE to get this contract!!

BLS has absolutely no regards to the flight of those who want to visit India, let alone, my mother passed away, and I am still sitting here!!

November 19, 2013 at 11:22 pm
(367) goindia says:

Oh my gosh, I’m so very sad to hear about this heartbreaking situation. :-( My condolences for the loss of your mother. What a nightmare experience you are going through. I’m sorry I can’t offer a solution. It is such a disgrace that this is happening.

November 21, 2013 at 2:19 am
(368) kirthan says:

I have applied for indian Police clearance on Oct 30,2013 and I have not received my application status yet , I have applied for UK police clearance on nov 14th 2013 and I received the certificate within one week.See the difference between Indian and UK gvt employees.

November 21, 2013 at 2:46 am
(369) goindia says:

Perhaps the Indian police are waiting for some “financial incentive” to get it done? :-(

November 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm
(370) BLS Positively Good says:

*goindia : First of all I had a very good experience with BLS in Canada and I am just asking how do you get so much time writing all these negative for BLS . Is is you working for some other company just to put a negitive image for BLS ?

November 25, 2013 at 12:43 am
(371) goindia says:

BLS Positively Good, clearly you are not used to the concept of blog commenting. I am the author of the original post, but the comments are made independently by customers of BLS who are sharing their (negative) experiences — not me!

November 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm
(372) Rakesh Desai says:

Hello,

I had seen this email chain before but I did not take it seriously until I had experienced BLS’s service in last 4 weeks. Absolute mess and no accountability on BLS side. We have applied for visa for a month now and it took them forever to first process the application. And then, now the visas are approved, the passports are sitting with them with “ready to dispatch” status for last 10 days!! They just can not dispatch with the overnight pre-paid envelop which I sent with the passport. When I call customer support, they have the same status access that we all have online. Useless customer support. Even I talked to almost 10 supervisors in last 10 days, and they kept promising me that they will ship the passport in 24 hours. Even one supervisor claimed that It was shipped !!! They still have our passports and it looks like I have to go fly to SF office myself to get the passports.

We already postponed our tickets once and it looks like we will have to postpone again !!

November 25, 2013 at 12:45 am
(373) goindia says:

Rakesh, sorry to hear you’ve had such an awful experience. Which office did you deal with? The New York one?

November 30, 2013 at 5:41 am
(374) Jennie says:

I have complete different experience with BLS. Applied for visa through BLS and I missed some documents, got call from centre for the pending documents and send the pending documents and they process my visa application smoothly.

I should really say that BLS is improving day by day. Thanks to their customer support team for a great job and continuous support.

November 30, 2013 at 3:32 pm
(375) Quasar says:

LOST OUR PASSPORTS !!!! WE HAVE TO TRAVEL AND NOW WE NEED TO GET NEW PASSPORTS AND SAME HORRIBLE VISA PROCESS AGAIN!!

DOES THESE GUYS EVEN HAVE SOME SHAME!!

INFACT DOES INDIAN EMBASSY(WHO GAVE THEM CONTRACT) HAVE SOME SHAME!!

TAKE SOME MORE MONEY, BUT DO IT RIGHT PLEASE!!

December 5, 2013 at 10:38 am
(376) PP says:

I made my renunciation application to BLS International on Oct 17….not rec’d the certificate yet!
Richard, the customer rep at BLS did not care and blamed it on the Consulate.
I have tried to reach out to the Embassy, Consulate and BLS and no one is able to help!!!! since they do not pick up phone.
MOST OF THE NUMBERS ON ALL THE ABOVE MENTIONED WEBSITES ARE INCORRECT!
Is there any one who takes accountability for this mess and when is India going to learn being effecient?

December 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm
(377) Ruth says:

These guys at BLS NEWYORK are absolutely disgusting. We had applied for our daughter’s PIO card 3 months back and it shows on the website that its been approved from almost a month. These guys are so irresponsible and lazy to post the docs back to me. I called hundreds of times just to ask them to post my documents back. After all these calls they tell that they lost the return envelope and they want me to send a new one. Even though I sent them a new return shipping label they are not processing the documents. I am so tensed since I will be leaving to India in a week. I scheduled a pickup from FEDEX and they sent the guy back who went there to pick up the package saying that they cannot get the package ready at that time. Now I have to travel to NY all the way to get my stuff back. Isn’t there anybody in the Corrupt Indian government who can understand what is going on and help us all out. I am just wondering if these guys are wagging their tongues for bribes just like they do back in India. Seriously these guys are sick!!!

December 11, 2013 at 3:37 am
(378) Anonymous in Colorado says:

Tips:
1. The BLS online application form for an Indian visa is AWFUL and can take a lot of time to get right. If you make a mistake, you have to fill out the entire form again. Do not send it in unless you have triple checked all of the information as being complete and correct. I accidentally sent our four applications in without realizing I’d put in “month/day/year” instead of “day/month/year” for my kids’ birthdates, and had to re-do everything. Including ….

2. If you have children, their forms must have their signature under their photo, AND both parents must sign the form before a notary. The form must be notarized.

3. Do NOT MAIL in the application form if you need the visa soon. Online reviews talk about BLS losing passports and applications or taking 5 wks. If you pay an agency to walk the application over (or walk it over yourself), it will take about ten business days, barring complications. We are using A. Briggs Passport and Visa Expeditors (abriggs.com). It cost us extra money, but three of our visas were ready in the ten days and are to arrive by courier tomorrow. It is $75 per person for a non-rush visa application with A. Briggs.

5. If you have any complicating factors, like being born in Pakistan, or being born a US citizen in India, be prepared to be asked for additional documentation, and for the process to take longer. Reviews indicate that applications with Pakistani family or birth take something like 6 weeks to get (and that’s probably walking it in to the BLS office). Reviews indicate that some people have been denied visas without explanation. We are waiting on a fourth visa application that was delayed because we were asked for additional documentation.

I’m thankful that we used an agency to walk the visa applications over, but am wishing that we had started the process months earlier, because we are still waiting on one of our visas.

December 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(379) JKG says:

If anyone initiates a class action suit against BLS, please post on this board so the rest of us can join. I will be traveling to the BLS NYC office to see if I can salvage the family vacation we had planned to India. According to the BLS website they have processed three of our visas but two are still pending, and we are due to leave in 3 days. Don’t bother calling the helpline…the last person I spoke with (and I have probably by now spoken to nearly everyone there) advised me to “call back in 7 to 10 working days, and then we can help you” even though I had just explained to him that we are due to leave in 3 working days. And don’t bother sending an e-mail, or even an “escalated” e-mail…no one will respond. Also don’t bother attaching careful explanations to your application fully explaining your time constraints and asking for a response if there might be a delay, because they will be ignored. This is simply the single worst customer service experience I have ever witnessed, and I used to be a consultant who worked on fixing bad service operations. This was going to be our big getaway to exotic India with all our kids, and now we’re trying to figure out how much we’re going to lose by having to cancel the entire trip. Bastards.

December 14, 2013 at 10:38 pm
(380) Viking says:

I left an earlier comment but it doesn’t seem to have posted. Just wanted to say that the torture continues. My family and I have a two week trip to India planned and are due to leave on Dec 18. According to the BLS website they’ve had three of our passports ready to go for about a week, but two others are still in process. The last helpline person I spoke with advised me to “call back in 7 working days, and then we can help you” even though I had just explained to him that we are due to leave in just three working days. So now I’m headed to NYC from Boston to see if I can coax the passports out of the BLS black hole and somehow salvage our trip. So angry and frustrated by this BLS display of utter incompetence. If anyone starts a class action suit against these buffoons, sign me up.

December 16, 2013 at 9:19 am
(381) Ashley says:

BLS in Chicago has been awful. I sent in my application two months ago and submitted several escalation emails and nothing has happened. I now have to travel (4 hours) to Chicago and try and get this sorted out. I’m scheduled to leave on December 30th. This experience has been a NIGHTMARE!!! How do we start a class action lawsuit? Something needs to happen in order for them to change!!!

December 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm
(382) Dev says:

I don’t know how comment/feedback is going to help to improve the system. India related processing never comes without commotion that we all know. BLS software is buggy doesn’t work properly. (a) Once I got kicked out of web application, I entered right webid and still says “not found”. that is a bug. (b) After booking slot got the reference number and says email you the confirmation. 48 hours passed no email. India can deliver better software but not BLS international because they offer substandard service, and that’s why Indian Govt pick them.

December 16, 2013 at 11:32 pm
(383) Viking says:

Trip cancelled. BLS could do nothing to find and pull the passports from their process and get them to the consulate in time for us to make our flights, even though they’ve had the completed applications for two weeks, and they still have two days to do it.

A visit to BLS NY has to be experienced to be believed. The “bouncer” announces to the folks waiting outside before the doors open that he works for the worst company in the world, to let everyone know that he’s already heard every possible complaint and there’s nothing he can do about it. He asks for those who have appointments. Most of us do not because we’re here to resolve postal application problems. I explain to him that I mailed the applications. “You mailed them?” he asks…”worst mistake you ever made in your life!” The people close to me in line include a woman who has given up on getting an India visa but desperately needs her passport because she is due to fly that afternoon, another woman whose passport BLS maintains was dispatched to her weeks ago, though Fedex has no record of it, a student who submitted her application 6 weeks beforehand but whose status on the website has not changed in three weeks, and a fellow whose daughter is due to fly to India tomorrow but whose passport BLS can no longer track in its system, even though the helpline has consistently maintained that he would get it on time. The bouncer lets me upstairs to see if someone can help me. In the office there’s only room for about 20 people to wait in line, though there are perhaps 100 people outside. There is one woman who deals with each applicant in turn. She and the bouncer have the worst jobs in the place. They are clearly miserable…easily as miserable as the customers they are supposed to deal with, and the day has just started.

December 16, 2013 at 11:35 pm
(384) Viking says:

Pointers for new visa applicants: the best way to get a visa in a timely fashion is to apply in person at the BLS office. This will still take “3 to 5 business days”, but at least that’s a believable estimate. Based on everything I heard you should try to avoid applying by mail, unless you’re doing it, oh, 15 weeks ahead of your departure date, and you’re willing to make a trip to the regional office to eventually pick it up. The “7 to 10″ business days quoted for mail applications is a lie. BLS employees admitted that their current backlog means they aren’t even opening application packages until 10-12 days after they receive them. The mail process is essentially a black hole from which your passport may or may not emerge. The status changes on the website may or may not be true. The helpline will only tell you what you can already find out for yourself by tracking your application on the website. The call center clearly has no communication with the regional office, so anything you hear from them that either augments or differs from what the website says is a lie. This includes advice about how to apply, how long it will take, when you will receive your passport, etc…none of it is believable. Communication between BLS and the consulate is also very poor. BLS and the consulate point fingers at one another. One fellow I met today was told his daughter’s application had been sent to the consulate…when he went to the consulate he was told they had received nothing from BLS. BLS then said “the consulate always says that”. The degree of dysfunction is so severe you can’t even hope to sort it out by going in person. I met people today who had returned to BLS 6, 7 and 8 times to try to resolve problems. Men curse in line. Women weep. It is surreal.

December 17, 2013 at 9:02 am
(385) Viking says:

Just so everyone understands, the Indian government has, for some unknown reason, decided to place the travel documentation needs of one of the most populace nations on earth into the hands of a business modeled after a 5 yr. old’s lemonade stand. Any assumptions about professionalism or efficiency or service standards you may have developed by dealing with other visa services need to be discarded when dealing with BLS. After visiting the center I believe the “7-10 business days” is the amount of time it takes for BLS to obtain a visa from the consulate once it has opened your application package and finds an acceptable application. If they take 10 days to open your package after receiving it from you, that just gets added to the 7-10 days. If they misplace your passport or fail to get it into the correct return package after they receive it from the consulate, that just adds to the 7-10 days. If they open your application and decide there is a problem, they will send the entire application back to you and tell you to re-do it, and then the clock is reset and starts at zero once they decide to open your new application. You might expect that they use an interactive, placeholder system in which they would hold your application until a missing item is completed and then finish it once the item is provided. No. You might expect that information you provide the helpline about your application is transmitted to the regional center. No. You might expect that they provide an expedited option. No. There is no understanding of modern service process design anywhere in the BLS business model. Do not risk applying by mail, there are simply too many opportunities for problems to occur if you do.

December 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm
(386) Bidesh says:

I applied for a pio card
I was born in guyana and live in Canada
I have all documentation from the Indian archives and the guyana archives .the problem with bls is the desk clerks are the judge jury and executioner they refuse to hand in my application .
I have been there about 6 times and its always the same
They always say if you are from guyana you cannot be indian.
The staff are rude and never helpfully but I guess this is what bls stand for
B*ls**t

December 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm
(387) Jim says:

Bottom line…..you can still process your visa application through Travisa. It will cost you about $50 extra. But if you value your sanity, that is the cheapest $50 you will ever spend.

They will give your application personal attention (part of the $50 fee). And more importantly, they will get your visa processed.

You will (guaranteed) get lost in the black hole of BLS. I am sure they are good people, and are trying, but they DO NOT have the infrastructure in place to process visas efficiently.

December 20, 2013 at 4:01 am
(388) Raj says:

This place is a absolute nightmare. I submitted my application in with all the needed paperwork weeks ago and have no received it back yet. I have called and sent in tons of emails regarding my status and they never reply back. I’ve never gone through this much bull in the past regarding a visa. especially with how much I paid and was told it would be sent in within 3 to 5 business days here I am 3 weeks later. I would not recommend this place to anyone!

December 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm
(389) profc says:

The San Francisco office rejected the application of one of my students because they “only handle the West Coast.” She lives in Los Angeles and has a CA driver’s license. We sent the envelope from the college here in the south.

It took 7 business days for them to open the envelope and say that.

Three days later, they still don’t have the package in to fedex, which is just phenomenal. Fed Ex will bring supplies, and pickup every day, for free, especially for the volume these guys have. Put the thing in an envelope, put MY airbill on the front, and put it on the outgoing pile. Takes like two minutes.

The incredibly frustrating thing for me is that neither the consulates, nor the embassies, nor BLS itself seems to mind at all that they are causing problems and tension for so many people, and needlessly. This is not a difficult thing, opening mail and reading two page applications.

It now looks like I may not get visas for as many as 7 of 18 students. Because I only put in for the visas 33 days before our flight, my global studies guy says I put everything in late. Last May, I put in applications to travisa 2-3 weeks before my flight, and got everything back, no problem, in four days. This whole business is going to look like a total mess on my tenure file, and fine, nobody lives or dies over my tenure, but I’m terrified that this is going to be counting against me.

December 26, 2013 at 10:31 am
(390) Cookie says:

Has it been anyone else’s experience that processing with another agency takes almost as long as applying by mail? It seems BLS does not offer expedited services to 3rd party agencies. Our applications in New York and Washington DC have averaged about 2-3 weeks. Why are people who pay an agency to apply in their stead punished? Is this some misguided attempt to corner the visa processing market?

December 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm
(391) Balu says:

The BLS service is terrible and playing with the people who are in need of VISA’ s to India.
Can any one suggest how to go legally against this company.
I want this company work responsibly.
Advance thanks if any one respond to this comments.
Thanks
Balu

December 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm
(392) Rak says:

Indian visa, pio, oci and other services are still big mess. I am going through nightmare with BLS at this moment in getting visa for my son. If I had option , I would never think about going to motherland India because of these consulate service nightmare. It is just a hit and miss. The biggest surprise to me is that there are so so many complaints regarding Indian consulate services but nothing seems to bother Indian government. Hopefully upcoming PM Narendra Modi will take care of this nightmare.

December 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm
(393) MAVSK says:

The sheer stupidity and cruelty of these fools at the Consulate in Washington DC is incredible. They are evil. They are incompetent, rude, without any manners, and are the kind of pond scum that keep India a third world country. These incompetents should be all FIRED. Along with the idiot who is the ambassador who runs this ship of fools.

December 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm
(394) ALI says:

BLS want money under the table to expedite visa to India. NY Cosulate and the Indian Embassy is aware of the situation but they are not doing anything. Neither the NY Consulate nor the Indian Embassy in Washington ever picks up the phone. They do not respond to the e-mails nor the faxes. There’s no where to go. BLS has been sitting on my visa application along with my passport for over a month. If you are lucky enough to be connected to them, they will put you on-hold for 20-30 minutes and then disconnect.

January 6, 2014 at 11:20 am
(395) Ravi N says:

Very sad and depressing story here too. Need to travel to India due to several reasons. But I can not. Without renouncing the passport. I can not get the visa. However, no one at BLS is giving me the status of my application. What is the solution for this problem? Just keep calling?

What I would like to know is that….. if there is anyone out there who waited and actually got the Passport renounced eventually and got the documents back. If you anyone did, please post your message.

January 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm
(396) Rao says:

I doub’t this stupid BLS company paid some big time money to the congress party to secure this contract. What a shame;(

The BLS website page says “PROUD TO BE INDIAN COMPANY” my foot.
Such a pathetic service in the entire planet.

January 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm
(397) Paul says:

I have also had problems. A family trip to India to see my brother-in-law married. After waiting three weeks for them to do anything, finally they say they have sent it to us, but Fed Ex has no record of the pickup. I have been trying to call them for six days but no one responds at the call center or calls me back. Every phone number on their website except the call number is inactive; and even when you call the consulate the numbers they provide do not work. It’s a nightmare! I have no idea if we are going to go or not.

January 10, 2014 at 10:20 am
(398) goindia says:

Moderator’s Note: It has come to my attention that people are posting fake positive comments here AGAIN. A total of 20 positive comments were posted within the span of a few hours, some only minutes apart, using English names. It is clear that the people posting the comments were not native English speakers. In fact, the English used was INDIAN ENGLISH. Yes, there is a noticeable and defining difference. What’s more the comments were posted at odd hours, between 1 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) in the US. This is during the daytime in India. The writing of such obviously fake positive comments is appalling and will not be tolerated here. I have deleted the comments and will continue to delete any such future comments. I further suggest that anyone planning on writing fake positive comments should not waste their time. It only reflects poorly on BLS, and the comments will be removed anyway.

January 13, 2014 at 12:03 am
(399) Krishnamurthi says:

Any once please tel me – Till what time Passport could be submitted for reissue before the date of expiry?

In BLS site itself it is given as follows -
The passport can be submitted for re-issue up to one year before the date of expiry.

My passport is having validity lesser than 7 months now…When I approached BLS, representative in one counter told me that renewal cannot be done for passport having validity more than 6 months.

When I checked another counter, the second representative told it can be done with in 1 year of validity..

Finally they discussed each other told it cannot be done..

BLS customer care also confirms that renewal can be done with one year of passport expiry…

Can any one confirm?

January 13, 2014 at 6:23 pm
(400) Achagna says:

This is the worst service provider i have ever used. You can almost never get them by phone. To get them on phone you have to persist. After calling them for 3 consecutive business days without going to work myself i finally got through to one lady who informed me they are not the ones who did the website and so can’t do anything to correct it. I explained to her i have been trying to fill the order form without success. She said it was because i was requesting for a 3 months visa which they do not have. She asked me to enter the 6 months visa option and enter NA for the Airway Bill No.: but is still did not work. She asked me to drive to San Francisco without an appointment and i will still be attended to. Please can someone advice? About four months ago i had this same horrible experience with BLS and my passport was never returned to me. I had to make a new passport.

January 15, 2014 at 6:24 pm
(401) Paul says:

The Telegraph of New Delhi has an article on BLS: http://epaper.telegraphindia.com/paper/1-0-15@01@2014-1001.html

Among other things, it says that BLS will discontinue operations in July 2014. If BLS currently holds a passport of yours, you had better take whatever measures are necessary to get it back before then…I mean, if you think they are unresponsive now, just imagine what they’ll be like then.

January 16, 2014 at 12:03 am
(402) goindia says:

Very interesting indeed. Thanks so much for sharing this information, Paul. I’ll write a blog post about it to let everyone know.

January 16, 2014 at 3:42 am
(403) goindia says:
January 20, 2014 at 1:53 pm
(404) Gill says:

I applied for my visa at the Chicago TraVisa office in Dec. It has been over a month and no one there knows when I will get my passport back.

I email to Indian Embassy and they told me that the visa was issued last week but BLS has not handed over the passport to TraVisa.

The process is so malfunctioned as it is run with Indian mentality. When you call them, they have no communication skills and customer service is not in their blood.

I have a flight today which I’m most likely going to miss. I’m thinking of taking them to court for all the damages, just to teach them a lesson. Please let me know if you want to join me with this good cause so that others don’t go through what we are going through with them.

January 21, 2014 at 11:35 am
(405) goindia says:

This blog sums up many of the issues well: http://www.beyondmyfrontdoor.com/wp/india-visa-bls-international/

January 22, 2014 at 4:31 pm
(406) goofus says:

Seriously, India should encourage tourist to visit their country, not create a hell for everyone. Visa should be an easy task and most of other countries only require same day service… at the airport. The amount of information that I need to fill up in the application is more than I need to fill up for my US passport.

And the BLS service is a nightmare. Filled out their form five days ago and yet never received any confirmation email. Still no form to print out to bring along with my appointment. Call for three days and the line is either busy or went direct to voicemail. Email multiple times and no respond.

I’m sitting in the dark now and no idea did my application went through or still should show up to my appointment?

January 23, 2014 at 11:43 am
(407) MAHESH KUMAR SHEELA says:

Hi Krishnamurthi (Comment 399):

that is weired answer from BLS and by the way my passport is getting expired as well in Sept 2014. so with your case, seems that i can not renew/reissue as well? where are you now and the BLS location? i am in Canada. im really worried to get the reissue. please help

January 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm
(408) Yo Yo says:

Horrible!!!. Lost my peace of mind. Applied for a PIO and got it back on time. It had the last name misspelled. Verfied the copies of application and everthing was correctly typed in the application. Irritating customer service. Never picks phone. Never responds to escalations. Pathetic service. PIO card is improperly printed. Texts are not aligned with the lines. They are skewed. I am not expecting a great service. But bare minimum service should have been provided for the money you take. HELPLINE is HELPLESS.
Horrible!!! Horrible!!!! Horrible!!!

January 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm
(409) Dilip Venu says:

Having a horrible time getting through to the BLS-Chicago office. Called them two days in a row, no one picks up the phone. E. mail inquiries and Escalation (what a term?) inquiries are not replied. I wonder why they give these options to clients.

February 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm
(410) Jenny says:

BLS “cooks” their tracking system. I received notification that my passport/visa was dispatched back to me 4 days ago, when it didn’t show up in my carrier’s tracking system I called BLS, not easy either. They said it hasn’t gone out yet and when I began to ask more questions they put me on hold and never came back. Who knows when I’ll get it back…Absolutely horrible company.

February 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm
(411) Jenny says:

BLS has had my passport since Jan 22nd and both yesterday and today they told me that it went out in that day’s mail, although USPS tracking says it is still not found. Yesterday the guy put me on hold and never came back, today the girl just flat out hung up on me- after I told her about the guy yesterday and thanked her for helping me!

For my first trip to India I used Travisa and it was quick and painless. This time I used BLS since it was the “official” contractor and to save cash. Huge mistake. I’d gladly give up $50 to get my passport back now.

I was glad to see the tracking of the application online, but when I mentioned to both BLS representatives that it says “Your Passport has been dispatched on 30-01-2014 13:44.Please check the status on the Courier Company’s website post 48 hours” and “Application Dispatched to Applicant : 30-01-2014 , 13:44″ they couldn’t give me a reason for this. It is either that it pertains only to my application and not the passport, or that they just enter random information to make it appear to the Indian government that they’re doing their job in order to keep the contract. My guess is the latter.

I think BLS is working on-par with Indian service standards. It doesn’t surprise me that the consulates don’t care. BLS employees are there for whatever meager paycheck they’re drawing and have zero work ethic or integrity.

February 6, 2014 at 7:27 pm
(412) Ravi says:

I’m dealing with BLS San Francisco, its a nightmare. Does anyone know what is their contact number? the numbers listed on their website and on consulate general!!! are alkl worng. Infact one number (888) announces Lottery ticket as you call it. Its really nightmare to expedite to BLS or to Consulate with out any contact numbers. The feedback pages on both sites are a joke. I wish someone seriously looks at this issue. Whats going on?

February 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm
(413) Name says:

I had worst exp with SFO BLS, I tried to call and get the info on one of the matter, atlease the call got disonnected 5-7 times. The way they speak its not professional.

February 10, 2014 at 11:25 am
(414) ray says:

What a nightmare it was. Getting to call to a person on their given phone took three days and several hours and then they hang up phone on me. This is just pure extortion, no service.

Their main 888 number is a scam. I had to hang it up. It was talking about giving me $ 100 voucher for free.

What is going on? knock ! Knock ! knock !……. Anybody awake at Indian Embassy..

Hellooooooooo… Anybody there…. Hellooooooo

Hellooooooo

February 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm
(415) Connie says:

I’m travelling to India in April and have been trying to contact BLS in Toronto via email, and although I got the auto reply that I would get a ‘reply within 48 hours’, (I sent it twice, a week apart) I still haven’t heard a word in about two weeks…the phone number for the Brampton office ‘can’t be completed as dialed’. I was having an issue with the website while doing my online application-it was ‘broken’. After several tries over a couple of weeks time, I was able to print off my application, then I really didn’t know what the heck to do with it! Send it in with my passport? Can’t see it! So there’s this other company that will take your application et cetera and do the process with BLS for you….It will cost me about $270 when it’s all said and done-incuding couriers, but I suspect they might have better success with BLS? I sure hope so!
It sure isn’t much fun being left up in the air like this!

February 14, 2014 at 11:10 am
(416) Mark says:

The BLS NYC office is bad as well. The whole process is so frustrating. The website says the phones are temporarily down and it’s been weeks. You call other #s and there’s a recording to say call back later. There are also no expedited services. And if you want to make a change to an application, you have to start the whole process over again. Not fun only dealing with a website. The Indian government should be embarrassed about the experience visitors are getting. In contrast, did a Nepal visa, dropped it off one day and it was ready the next.

February 14, 2014 at 6:35 pm
(417) Gagan says:

BLS Montreal office is not accepting my wife’s “Renunciation of Indian Citizenship” application. The reason they gave is that her father came to Canada as a refugee. I do not see any kind of restriction for refugee’s family mentioned on “High Commission of India, Ottawa, Canada” website. Why they are not accepting the application ?

February 16, 2014 at 11:32 am
(418) Ram says:

I am sorry for everyones hellish experience with CRAZY BLS, IT HAS BEEN HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE FOR ME AS WELL. I SEND SEND THREE APPLICATION IN DECEMBER THEY KEPT SAYING I WAS MISSING PAPERS UNTIL DECEMBER 30TH FINALLY THEY SEND THE APPLICATION TO THE COUNSULATE THE THEY SAID THAT IT TAKES 60 BUSINESS DAYS FOR DELHI TO PROCESS THE APPLICATION, THEY SEND BACK ONLY TWO EMAILS SAYING THEY ARE READY FOR A MATCH UP WITH MY PASSPORT AND THERE IS NO ANSWER FOR THE THIRD ONE. WHO DO THEY SEND IT IN INDIA THE OCI FORMS TO BE CHECKED BY DAM POLITICS AND CORRUPTION OF INDIAN GOVERNMENT IS MAKING MY STRESS AND HEART PROBLEM WORSE. MAY BE I WILL PASS AWAY BEFORE THEY FIND THE THIRD APPLICATION AND APPROVE IT. ITS THE BEST HORRIBLE SERVICE I HAVE SEEN IN MY LIFE TIME I THINK THEY ARE DOING THIS ON PURPOSE SO THEY CAN STAY WORKING EVEN AFTER THEIR CONTRACT IS EXPIRED. IS THERE ANY ONE LISTINING PRESIDENT OF INDIA OR PRIMINISTER OR STATE OFFICIALS PLEASE IF YOU CARE ABOUT INDIA DO SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR TOURISIM PROBLEM OR INDIA WILL BE IN HELL.

February 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm
(419) Ravi Menon says:

I agree to Gail. The problem is they do not charge enough. VFS global used to charge 25 dollars per passport and hence service was excellent.The Indian Government does not care what is happening in Canada. However I must say that the Indian Consulate in Vancouver for example does a good job provided they get the documents. Delay is only from the BLS Office. It took 4 months and 3 weeks for me to get our OCI, The status on the website for BLS shows the documents are in transit from Consulate to BLS Office. They do not answer calls( it is only a call centre agent sitting in India). All they do if you get them on line is tell you excatly what you found on website. So what is the use. We need someone in the respective offices to talk to.

February 18, 2014 at 10:27 pm
(420) goindia says:

Ugh! Now here’s my personal experience. The BLS website in the US is terrible! I just visited it to try and get some information for a reader and had to give up. :-( So many links that I clicked on either went nowhere or to the wrong pages/irrelevant information. And the website is so disorganized and difficult to negotiate. I simply could not find the information I was looking for (documents that need to be provided for an Entry/X visa). I hate to think what the actual visa application process is like if the website is so poorly put together.

February 20, 2014 at 12:50 pm
(421) Maria says:

Hello,
I was very nervous during all the tourist visa process because of everything I had read on the Internet. I had no flexibility with my travel dates because I am going to a friends marriage. The BLS website and the information about how to get a visa is not very clear… But once we sent the documents, my experience with BLS Atlanta was really smooth and quick, in spite of all the snow days in between (the Consulate and BLS were closed for 4 working days due to weather conditions). My husband and I sent our passports and all the paperwork via FEDEX. BLS received them and passed them to the Consulate in less than two days. My husband’s American passport had his visa stamped just two days after, and my foreign passport only took 4 more days. The Consulate sent the passports back to BLS and the next day they were mailed back to us. In every step, the tracking was updated on the BLS website, so I didn’t even need to call or write. The whole process took two weeks (10 working days) and we are travelling in one week. I just want to share this experience for people who have to deal with BLS Atlanta: be confident, read everything they need, send all the forms and the paperwork (example: I sent more documents than they needed, but apparently it worked), check out the application throughout many times, and everything should be fine… I know how it feels to be letting your passports to the unknown and make travel arrangements without knowing if you’ll get a visa on time… so I hope I’m not an exception and I also hope that other BLS offices are improving! Courage and good luck to all! And thanks Goindia, this blog is very useful to prepare the trip.

February 21, 2014 at 12:54 am
(422) goindia says:

Hi Maria, I’ve heard quite a bit of positive feedback about the Atlanta office. I’m glad you had a good experience too.

February 21, 2014 at 3:10 pm
(423) S says:

I handed over the applications for mine and my wife’s passport renewal in the Atlanta BLS office on Jan 31. The previous day, even though the office was open, there were no staff in the passport renewal section. Understood due to the bad weather and the damage Atlanta has to see. I’m not a resident of Atlanta, so I travelled to drop off the application. I had to extend my stay there due to the weather conditions.

I included return FedEx envelopes for sending the passports back. As of yesterday Feb 20th, both mine and my wife’s application status online says, our passports has been collected by the applicant. FedEx status is not updated saying the envelopes have been picked up. Fingers crossed and a little nervous too. Not sure if I have to believe their status system.

February 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm
(424) S says:

Actually received the passports back today. It took a day or two for the Fedex status to say the package was received. In spite of BLS’s status saying the passports have been handed over to the applicants, it was mailed in the next day or two. It made me a little nervous reading the wrong status. But all is well.

February 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm
(425) worldtrip says:

I recommend Travisa for anyone considering getting an Indian visa, it’s worth the money and saves you plenty of headaches, they were very helful in helping me along the process, the most difficult thing was filling in my information on the Indian goverment website which is a requirement.

February 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm
(426) Raman says:

I recently went to the BLS International Services in Brampton on a Saturday to apply for my visa to go to India. I had to wait outside the office because it was crowded, and only a few people were allowed to enter at a time. It was so cold waiting outside, and then when you went inside it was even worse. We waited 2hours outside in the cold and 4 hours inside. When we arrived inside, they check your papers, and then make you sign the consent form if you have minors travelling with both parents, if both parents sign the application form and the minor is travelling with both parents, why is a Consent form needed? We are not told in the application procedure information that we need photocopies, we have to pay $1/- per page, and the guy takes it on his cell phone and sends it to the BLS people. They don’t have a photocopy. What a money making racket. We are forced to pay the Courier fees, even if we say we are coming to pick it up, they will not accept it.
It is totally the opposite than what the website states …..Book an appointment with comfort, that is not true, you book an appointment and you still have to wait.
The Toronto office is even worse than this, there are no washrooms. For so many people who are trying to go to INDIA there are just two employees….ridiculous. The staff are frustrated and rude, they will not let you use the washroom. BLS International Services are SCANDULOUS, there is Bribe and Corruption in India and that is how these people got the Contract. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHO WE MUST CONTACT TO MAKE A FORMAL COMPLAINT. THEY TAKE OUR MONEY AND DON’T OFFER SERVICES. CAN SOMEONE INVESTIGATE THIS :ALL BALLS INTERNATIONAL SERVICES provided to obtain INDIA VISAS

March 5, 2014 at 12:38 am
(427) Rami says:

The process is still ridiculous. It seems they updated it slightly. I wish I could have waited until they were gone but I need to travel soon. IF I EVER GET MY PASSPORT! I read the blog post you mentioned, wish I had read it before. I got some of the issues he had mentioned, and now that I know that tracking it in different methods gives different results..wow what a difference. Unbelievable these guys are this stupid though! Anyway, I also noticed that blog you mentioned had added a guide to filling out the visa application. Seems fairly useful, at least had I know I had to PRINT the airbill instead of hand write it, I wouldn’t now have to drive all the way across the state!
http://www.beyondmyfrontdoor.com/wp/indian-visa-process/
I’m going to try to call first thing in the morning. I hope it works. Although their website says they are having phone problems! Did it every work!?!?

March 5, 2014 at 11:08 pm
(428) Alex says:

I applied for an Indian business visa at the Brampton office. I was there at 8:30 a.m. and it took me 2 hours to submit my application (I was 11th in line).The office is primitive and falling apart. Very poor service. VLS was much better. I had 1-yr multiple entry Indian business visa a number each year for the past 3 years and had to renew my passport (Canadian) as no pages were left. Although I applied for 1 yr visa, they issued 6-month visa. Not sure why? Is it also to rake more money (this way every 6 months they can charge $213 and BLS also gets to charge their fee twice? Just wondering!!!

Prior to getting Indian visa I got my 1 yr Chinese business visa two weeks ago. BLS should learn from them. Chinese visa center is so efficient, well-organized, neat and clean. Very impressive. BLS…I wish that they get replaced by a better company. At least show some efficiency. Value other’s time.

March 8, 2014 at 12:29 am
(429) ZZ says:

In the US we need to file a class action lawsuit against BLS for committing fraud and playing with people’s emotions. They have an office in Houston where they do not reply to your emails or phone calls and keep asking for additional money to send your passport back to you after keeping it for over 45 days. These people are money hungry, rude people who should be brought to justice. After 45 days and over $500 spent and made me drive 400 miles round trip 3 times for something I could’ve sent and received in the mail, they gave me the passport back without a visa. They did not even provide a reason for rejecting the application for a visit visa to go attend a family event. This company is a money making scam!!

March 12, 2014 at 9:57 pm
(430) Raj says:

Please email your consulate general.
That is the only way this company will cease to exist.

They are playing with peoples emotions. It is a form of harassment.
People are losing lots of money on pre-booked vacations.

It is a disgrace/shameful.

If anyone starts a class action law against them please be assured that you will have my support financially.

March 15, 2014 at 4:12 pm
(431) xxx says:

I applied for OCI in November. I had many problems before appliying.
It was very difficult to communicate with them. If we get hold of them, they would not have proper answers. finally they called me and told me that my OCI is ready but they didn’t find my prepaid envelope. I told them I have sent it,but still they needed my credit card information to send my passport. Later they sent my passport with my original prepaid envelope. Why did they ask for my credit card information?
Now I received my passport along with someone else’s renounced passport and certificate!!!!!!!!!!!. What do I need to do now? This is really disgraceful.
Please suggest me what I need to do now with someone’s passport.my husband wants me to talk to lawyer before I inform BLS.
Please give me your feedback.

March 15, 2014 at 4:28 pm
(432) anonymous says:

I had difficult time with BLS. Finally I received my passport along with someone else’s renounced passport and certificate. What do I need to do before informing them. My friends suggest me to contact lawyer first.
Please give me your feedback.

March 17, 2014 at 11:38 am
(433) Anita says:

I applied for the renewal of my passport in feb 2014, but till date there is no update on my passport yet. They dont know where my passport is. According to UPS tracking # it shows that it was delivered on 24th feb 2014 and was received by Wilson. When I try to contact BLS India at Washington, first of all they never answer the call and secondly the reply to my every email is that WE HAVE FORWARDED YOUR ISSUE TO THE CONCERNED TEAM AND WE WILL LET YOU KNOW IF THERE ANY UPDATES. Each email they respond has the same sentence. This is such a bad thing as these people cannot even take care of someone’s very important documents. I wonder if they have lost it… I dont get any proper answer from them. This is terrible.
Why do Indian government have to have a middle man between them and the Indian citizens. This is the reason why India is still behind many other countries in the world. The whole system is gone bad.
Imagine if this same issue would have ever happened with the US citizen, they would promptly solve this issue out.
Just for the renewal of the passport they give us such a bad time to us.
BLS India and Indian Gov need to WAKE UP and take some initiative to carry forward our INDIA.
Shame on you’ll…
If someone have any solution to this, please let me know.

March 19, 2014 at 9:06 am
(434) Dispatched says:

Current Aplication Status : Dispatched via Courier

Application accepted by BLS: 06-03-2014 , 12:25
Appliication Processed on Date :06-03-2014
Application Processed and submitted to Consulate : 06-03-2014 , 17:49
Application received at BLS Center : 17-03-2014 , 09:36
Application handed over to Applicant : –
Application Dispatched to Applicant :17-03-2014 , 13:45

I still haven’t received it. I had included Express Mail envelope for overnight delivery for return (UPS).

Unable to track the passport. Still waiting

UPS Says:A UPS shipping label has been created. Once the shipment arrives at our facility, the tracking status–including the scheduled delivery date–will be updated.

Anybody in the same boat

Is there any working number where i can contact BLS?

March 20, 2014 at 8:54 am
(435) Dispatched says:

Hey.. Got the passport Today (03/20/2014) :)

March 20, 2014 at 11:48 am
(436) Nick says:

Hi everyone

I applied for passport renewal after 10 years
BLS Receipt Number => ******************
Current Aplication Status : Processing at Consulate General
Application accepted by BLS:13-01-2014 , 10:51
Appliication Processed on Date : 13-01-2014
Application Processed and submitted to Consulate : 13-01-2014 , 18:34
Application received at BLS Center : -
Application handed over to Applicant : -
Application Dispatched to Applicant :-

I called the BLS helpline after 1 hour and several disconnection’s not included in the time I finally got an rep on the line. When I asked her when can I expect my passport back she said she does not know and that they are not BLS and its just a call center. What good is a call center if they do not know what are they doing. Told me to call Consulate General, when I asked for the number she said she is not supposed to give out the number. When I asked her what did BLS do then if they do not know whats going on she just disconnected the line. Its been about 10 weeks and no passport update emailed Consulate General. Lets see if they reply back. Indian services in the US are also terrible. I wish they would improve just a little bit so people would not have such a hard time doing anything related to the government. Please let me know if anyone else is have or had the same issue and when did you get your passport back. Thanks everyone

March 21, 2014 at 9:02 am
(437) Frustrated says:

This has been one of the most frustrating experiences in my life. Something as simple as a passport renewal should not be so painful.

My case details are as follows:
Application sent to BLS: Jan 15, 2014
Received: Jan 16, 2014
Sent to NY consulate: Jan 17, 2014
Application received at BLS: 3/18 at 10:50 am
Application dispatched to applicant via courier: 3/18 at 12:43 pm
Today is 3/21 and I have still not received it.

When my passport was pending at the NY consulate, I sent several emails, spent hours on the phone trying all sorts of combinations and numbers, but never got anyone on the line.

After repeated failed attempts from getting a response from the Indian consulate, I sent a hand written letter to the Consul General (Ambassador) in NY and FedExed it overnight. I sent this on a company letter head. I sent the letter on 3/12. Now another wait starts….Since then I have opened 2 escalation tickets…and btw they do not have a place where you can escalate passports…only the other 4 categories are available. So my escalation tickets are under the visa section. One of them was closed saying that “this is for visa, you have a passport issue…contact the passport section of bls”…DUH…you guys don’t have a place for passport escalation. Bunch of nincompoops!!

So I figure, there may still be some good people at the top most posts in the consulate that care and are trying. Maybe my letter started a chain of events that subsequently led to expediting my process (haha…after 2 months of waiting…expediting is hardly the word I want to use, but at least its better than nothing). I had a contact through a friend at the Houston consulate that told that the Indian embassies are sending the passport to India for printing. The usual lead time is 3 months…I don’t know how accurate or true this is.

Do we have any lawyers on this board?? If there is enough interest we can start a class action lawsuit against BLS.

March 21, 2014 at 9:38 am
(438) Frustrated says:
March 31, 2014 at 8:57 am
(439) Frustrated says:

Today is day 13 from when BLS said they dispatched my passport. I still do not see any tracking information on the FedEx site. I have sent several emails and spent many hours “listening to music” while I wait for someone at BLS to pick up the phone.

This has been so frustrating. Anyone else has the same problem with their passport not being shipped – even when BLS site says “dispatched via courier”?

Should I file a police report for fraud?

Any ideas on what to do?

April 5, 2014 at 10:09 am
(440) sudhir says:

We have very bad experience about their service too. My wife applied for an OCI before one month and she used to check status every other day and every time it showed the same thing. She wrote few emails and there was no response. Finally she attempted to call them in the last week, and for the first 2-3 days she would hold the line for an hour or two without any luck to talk to their representative. In the whole last week she had been trying she just got to talk to them once and then she got a reply that application was received but some documents were missing- after a month!!! and that they were returning our application. What a pathetic service.

April 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm
(441) Satish says:

BLS international is the worst company i have ever worked with.
I am not sure how Indian government has outsourced to such a stupid company who does not attend to calls nor have any updates on the case status.

VFS was far more better than BLS. I worked with VFS before and had an excellent experience compared to my nightmare experience with BLS.

USELESS and STUPID SERVICE by BLS INTERNATIONAL!!!

April 7, 2014 at 7:14 pm
(442) Riya says:

Horrible, but it’s good that few staff members are good and helpful. Lady on counter number 8 and man on front ashvin it’s great… Thanks…!!!

April 8, 2014 at 11:53 am
(443) Salman says:

Worst company to deal with..EVER…
I applied for my 10 year passport renewal in DC office. Got an email saying me to send Deed Poll for change of name. Even though I did not changed my name in the passport renewal.
Trying to call customer service number past two days and no luck with it. NO ONE picks up the call and waiting for 30mins to so the phone gets disconnected.
Luckily after calling for two days i got hold of a lady on phone but she said she has not clue why i got an email about change of name as she works in “call center” not in Washington DC office and she cannot speak to anyone there or have any clue about their workings. Advised me to send the Deed Poll affidavit and hanged up the phone even though i did not changed my name..

April 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm
(444) sandeep says:

horrible horrible horrible.
India will get a bad name with agencies like this.
India will never improve if agencies are allowed to provide such terrible customer service and get away with it.
But then again it is no big surprise that the government is not bothered by it – when have they ever been bothered by the plight of the people.
disgusting!!!!Ashamed to be an Indian- cannot wait to get my US citizenship.

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