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Susmita Thomas, Consul General of India


Large Attendance at Consul General’s Meeting for Visa Issues

Los Angeles, Nov. 15, 2010

Indian Americans travelled long distances to get answers from Ambassador Susmita Thomas, Consul General of India, San Francisco to their questions relating to visa for travel to India. The meeting was arranged in Artesia by GOPIO chairman Inder Singh who was supported by community leaders Chandu Patel (NFIA President), Ajoy Dube, Ashok Madan, and Mahesh Parekh of GOPIO, Los Angeles, Rajinder Dhunna of FIA, Vinita Vineet of UFICA, Amrit Bhandari and Bobby Kumar of India Association of San Fernando Valley.

Okra King- H. Samra, Harry Sidhu- Mayer Pro Team, Susmita Thomas, Consul General of India and Inder Singh

The Consul General explained that as a result of new security measures introduced by the Government of India in May, 2010, some people faced hardships or delays in obtaining visa for India. However, some of the rules have been relaxed and procedures for various visas have been streamlined.

For two hours, Ambassador Thomas and Consul Ashok Sinha answered written questions from the audience. Several people, at the end, thanked Ambassador Thomas and Consul Sinha and also the organizers for arranging the meeting, thus enabling them to have face-to-face interaction with the Consul General.

Prior to the community meeting with the Consul General, lunch was arranged for a small no. of community activists and prominent people who informally met with Ambassador Thomas and Consul Ashok Sinha at the Bombay Garden restaurant in Artesia. Besides the community activists, Cypress Mayor Prakash Narayan, Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Haryy Sidhu, prominent businessman Uka Solanki, hotlier BU Patel and several others also attended the luncheon meeting.

During the two hour session with the community, several questions from the audience were answered. Following are the repeat questions with their answers:

Q: Is Surrender Certificate required for travel to India?A: No.
Any person of Indian origin who held an Indian Passport is required to surrender his passport after acquisition of US citizenship.

Q: Is Surrender Certificate pre-requisite to getting VISA/OCI/PIO or Miscelenous services from the consulate?
A: A person who acquired US nationality after June 1, 2010, surrender certificate is mandatory. For those who acquired US nationality on or before May 31, 2010, it is recommended to apply for surrender certificate.

Q: If Indian Passport was cancelled while obtaining VISA/OCI/PIO, is surrender certificate still required?A: If the Indian passport was officially stamped with the wordings "PASSPORT CANCELED AS ACQUIRED U.S. NATIONALITY", no need for Surrender Certificate.

Q: My Indian passport expired long time back. Do I need to obtain a Surrender Certificate?A: Yes

Q: Should application for Surrender Certificate be sent separately or alongwith PIO and OCI application?A: Send both at one time.

Q: If Indian passport is lost, how can one get a Surrender Certificate?A: If the passport is lost or details of last held Indian passport are not available, the applicant should apply for renunciation of Indian citizenship along with a notarized affidavit explaining why details of Indian passport are not available.

Q: If someone has PIO/OCI/Long term VISA, does he need Surrender certificate?A: If the Indian Passport is NOT cancelled with the wordings "PASSPORT CANCELED AS ACQUIRED U.S. NATIONALITY", apply for a surrender certificate and the cancellation of the Indian passport whether it is valid or not.