What another Experience with Singapore Visa and Flight

I have had so many bad experiences with visa applications before, including Canadian and Indian visas, which I had blogged before here. This time, it is Singapore’s turn.

I have planned trip to Cloudera’s Chennai office next week. Since I have never been to Singapore before and my flight will transit in Singapore, I decided to bring my wife with me for a short holiday before heading to Chennai. As I am holding Chinese passport, I will need a visa to enter Singapore. After checking the official website, I knew that we needed to wait until within 30 days before we could make an appointment with VFS Global, the third party vendor who processes Singapore visa.

Our planned date was 21st of Nov, so I tried to make a booking on 22nd of Oct, but only to find out that the earliest date available for us was 15th of Nov, which was just 6 days before our flight, and only 4 working days. I emailed them complained that it was too rush to apply visa only less than a week before our flight, and we could only get our visa one day before (it needs 4 working days to process visa). If anything happens, we will not be able to get another chance. They rejected my request to get appointment earlier, actually, they ignored me without a reply!!

Same deal for my parents, their planned flight is on 11th of Dec to Singapore, and I could only make appointment on 6th of Dec, just 5 days earlier, including weekends.

I understand about the 30 days rule to apply for a visa, but I do NOT understand why it also applies for making appointments. This is non-sense.

On the day we took our documents for interview in VFS Global’s Melbourne office, what was even more non-sense(er) was that they asked every one of us to change the Date field next to our signature to that day’s date on the main application form, and then sign again because we changed the field. But why? No one would take an empty application form and fill in on the spot!! And when you fill in the form beforehand, you would only fill in using the date you were on, not the interview date, which would be in the future. Why would this date matter anyway? I have seen pretty much everyone on that day had to change this field and sign again. What’s the point!! If this is a requirement, make it clear on the form PLEASE!!

OK! Now the Visa is all good, we got it just the day before our flight, PHEW!! This morning, on the day of our flight, when I was checking my email at 6AM, I noticed that JetStar notified us that our flight JQ007, scheduled to fly out of Melbourne at 12PM had been CANCELLED. What the hell? By following the recovery options, I was not able to make alternative flight because all others on the same day had been fully booked, possibly due to this flight’s cancellation. And I had to move the flight to tomorrow, which would be 22nd of Nov.

I called our hotel that I booked in Singapore, and confirmed that our hotel fee is non-refundable.

Hoping to get another flight today, so that we do not waste one day, I searched on Skyscanner and found out that Scoot had flights available with also very cheap price. So I called JetStar again to cancel our trip from Mel->Singapore and I made another booking straight on Scoot’s website. The flight was scheduled at 1:20PM this afternoon.

We packed up everything, called in DiDi Rider and reached at Melbourne Airport at around 10:30AM. However, when we checked in, we realised that the flight had also been delayed by 8 hours and was re-scheduled at 9:15PM instead of 1:20PM!! We just bought the ticket 1 hour earlier online, but never got notified about this huge delay. They just do not care about passengers who had to travel all the way to airport and only found out that we had to stuck in airport for 8+ hours.

In the end, Scoot provided us with AUD$20 meal voucher to be used in the airport, but we have to pass this long period of waiting time without knowing what to do!!

Budget airline? Think twice in the future before making decisions, JetStar and Scoot are certainly on the list to look out for!!

What an experience applying Indian Visa

I need to travel to India at the end of November this year to train up our new colleagues in the Chennai new office, so I have started applying the Indian Visa online through their offical website IndiaVisaOnline. After trying several times, I finally got through the final stage, however, I would like to share my extreme experience in the last couple of weeks.

1. I crashed their website at least 5-6 times on the same page, and each time took them around 5 minutes to be back and running again. Based on my test, I believe entering a website without “http://” prefix could crash it. I am really thinking about to test it again..

2. I had to squeeze in phone numbers and addresses into the same field that has 80 character limit, which forced me to truncate random characters to make them fit and at the same time it became totally unrecognisable address. So what’s the point here??

3. The passport and business card need to be uploaded in PDF format, well, fair enough, but why 300K limit? I had to keep shrinking the size in PNG format, convert and then repeat the loop, until I can barely see the text on my passport!! THIS ISN’T 1980s folks!!! GO TO OFFICEWORKS AND BUY A HARD DRIVE!!!

4. Now, after several hours of trying, I finally got to the last step. And what a surprise in the success message, with every piece of information missing on the confirmation page. I am wondering, should I call them to confirm if I made through or not?

Use my manager’s word, “A monkey with no arms could code better than whatever el-cheapo graduate they fished out of the fail pond to write this website”!!

I am sure that there are other guys out there have the same experience as mine, has anyone complained to the officials?

Dad’s Visa Rejected Again by Immigration Officer

I submitted my dad’s Australian tourist visa late last month and we have been patiently waiting for any reply from the officer in Sydney during last month. If you have not seen the amount of documents that I have submitted, here it is:

Isn’t it ridiculous consider that it is only for a simple short stay tourist visa?

What made me mad + crazy was that we got the refusal letter today from the officer who was processing our application. We got the first refusal letter when we applied from China through the Embassy in GuangZhou, then I decided to apply within Australia for a sponsored tourist visa, which means I am willing to pay the BLOODY $15,000 security bond for the period of my dad’s stay. But they still fucking refuse it again.

The reason made by the officer was simply that there was not enough evidence showing that my dad has incentive to leave Australia after the visit. Given the amount of documents I submitted, it is fucking ridiculous. I have supplied every single piece of possible documents that I can think of to support our application, but all I did was bloody useless.

I will have to talk to lawyers and fire a review tribunal as early as possible. If my dad’s visa can’t be granted before 1st of October, all time and money will be wasted because my mum is leaving Australia in mid October and there isn’t much point to have them separated again.

Why is it sooo fucking hard to get a simple tourist visa when your true intention is TRUELY for holiday and visit family members???

Mum Finally Got Her Visa

After long wait of a simple visa application for my mum’s visit to help us take care of the baby for the next three months, her finally got her visa. This visa has been delayed by more than a month.

The officer who processed our visa application simply ignored the fact that my son was expected to be born on 10th of July, and my mum’s visit is very important to new parents who have no experience of taking care of new born baby.

Anyway, she’s got the visa now and she will arrive in Melbourne on this Saturday at 11AM, and I can back to work without much to worry what’s happening at home.

Countries With The Number Of Free Visas To Other Countries

The following is the list of countries with the number of free visas they can have to other countries, I think it is a good thing to know. Enjoy.

Released on 2006-12-20 10:44:00 at CHSI – International Education Channel

  1. Finland 130
  1. Denmark 130
  1. United States 130
  2. Ireland 129
  2. Sweden 129
  2. Germany 129
  3. United Kingdom 128
  3. Italy 128
  3. France 128
  3. Japan 128
  4. Spain 127
  4. Norway 127
  4. Switzerland 127
  4. Belgium 127
  5. Netherlands 126
  6. Luxembourg 125
  6. Austria 125
  6. Canada 125
  6. New Zealand 125
  7. Portugal 123
  8. Singapore 122
  9. Malaysia 120
  9. Iceland 120
  9. Greece 120
  9. Australia 120
  10. Liechtenstein 116
  11. Korea, Republic of 115
  13. Hong Kong 110
  14. Chile 109
  18. Israel 104
  19. Hungary 101
  19. Argentina 101
  20. Brazil 99
  21. Mexico 98
  28. Croatia 84
  34. Romania 73
  37. South Africa 65
  40. St. Kitts & Nevis 62
  46. Dominica 52
  46. Turkey 52
  55. Taiwan 42
  62. United Arab Emirates 35
  62. Russian Federation 35
  64. Serbia and Montenegro 32
  65. Saudi Arabia 31
  67. Thailand 29
  71. India 25
  71. Bosnia and Herzegowina 25
  72. Egypt 24
  75. Jordan 21
  78. China 18
  78. Korea, Dem People’s Republic 18
  79. Pakistan 17
  81. Iraq 15
  82. Iran 14
  83. Afghanistan 12