Finally went to the CKGS office in SF today, I played double role and picked up a token for urgent visa (#30 when I reach at 7 AM) and also went to the 1st floor office to check if they already have my passport available so I could file the visa. ( I had mailed the passport withdraw form 3 days back and it was received by CKGS on 11/18).
it took forever for the fromt desk guy at the first floor office to call out my name and check what i needed ( i was 11th or 12th person in queue there at 9:20 AM) , he finally called me at 11 AM . I will write more about it later.
Unfortunately the mail thing is highly unpredictable, they mentioned they have no such withdraw form even though I had the fedex delivery receipt :(. To cut the long story short, I submitted a new application for passport withdraw right there and the lady who handles it, said she has talked to consulate and I should come back by evening 5 PM today to collect the passport. I will update more once I get the passport back.
Another long day for me on Friday to go back to apply for the Urgent visa. Also since I anyway had the urgent visa number for today, there is a verification counter before the visa is applied. I got my papers verified that everything was in place to apply for the visa. I have to go back in the evening now to collect the passport and they either Friday or Monday submit the urgent visa. My travel dates in 11/28 and the PIO application was with consulate on 10/31 (even if I get the PIO it might be cutting too close, so I will apply for visa anyway). Fingers crossed.
One thing for sure, they are highly disorganized. so people walking in and submitting applications (PIO, Visa, withdraw) seem to get processed much faster than what is coming over mail. The system does not look fair at all for people not closer to the consulate, I can only imagine the plight if you were trying to work this remotely from outside of North California. And the Phone numbers for CKGS seem to common for all consulates, so it is same two numbers handling entire US traffic (most likely a call center in India), I wonder if the same call center is used for other countries as well. No wonder none of us can get through to them over. I was on hold twice for 1.5 hrs yesterday and both times gave up on the hope.
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