Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mixed Emotions

Its 22nd August which means in 3 days from now, I'll be on a flight to Barcelona. I'm actually not sure what I'm feeling right now and as a matter of fact I never was for the past several days. I'm overjoyed at the prospect of starting my MBA journey, meeting all the wonderful people there and visiting a new city/country. But at the same time I'm starting to feel sad at the thought of leaving behind my wife, parents and my brother. It'll be the first time in the past 5 years that I'll be living away from her (wife) and the thought of it is very depressing. But as she says I guess I'll have to do this to get myself an MBA and a 100K+ job to finance her shopping list. Jokes apart, I know the move is going to be tough and I know I'm going to miss her dearly!

Anyways lemme not invite any tears here! Coming to my pre-MBA preparations, I have been very very busy lately with my financial accounting pre-course, which i hope to finish by tomorrow, and with my packing. You know what I realized, packing is not only uninteresting but also one of the most laborious tasks - take it from a GMAT three timer! You need to have the right set of skill and planning to fit in a cupboard, a pantry, half of the washroom and a mobile Circuit City inside a single baggage and still make it weigh 23 kgs. Lucky for me, my mom is a packing-genius!!

I hope to squeeze in one more post before I say adios to India. Till then take it easy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to get a Spanish Visa?

Disclaimer: The information on this post limits to obtaining a Study visa or a student Class D visa. Although this post is targeted for Indian visa applicants, others might also find the information presented in this post useful in their visa application process to Spain. Also the following is based on my personal experience and is to be taken only as a friendly suggestion rather than a step by step guide. The information in this post holds good at the time of writing and the process could change in the future. Hence please don't hold me liable to any misinformation.

So if you have survived the GMAT, the essays, the interview process and managed to get an admit, then i suggest give yourself a pat on the back and take a vacation. This is because if you think you have overcome the tough part you are in for a shock!

If Spain is where you are going then you better be prepared coz my friend the visa process is not a walk in the park. Well this is in no way to scare you but I just want to alert you as the entire process is pretty time consuming. So without further ado here is how to get a Spanish Study visa:

There are two types of Spanish visas: Long term stay and Short stay. Basically if you are going to Spain to study and your course is more than 3 months in length then you need to apply for a "long term stay visa".

Timeline for application:

Keep in mind that even if you are applying for a long stay visa you will be issued a visa with only 3 months or 90 days validity. This is the norm so don't panic. What you need to do is to get a Student Resident card after going to Spain. So since your visa needs to be valid till the time you get your Resident card (which is after your school starts) do not apply too early. Yes, you read right - Do Not Apply Early.

So if your schools starts by September 1, do not apply before June 15th. Original

Requisite Documentation:

  1. Original Application Form.

  2. Three photocopies of the Application Form.

  3. Bank Draft in favor of Embassy of Spain, New Delhi for Rs. 3,424/-

  4. Photocopy of Bank Draft.

  5. Photocopy of passport (all the pages including blank ones).

  6. Original Police Clearance Certificate with the Apostille (More info on this below)

  7. Photocopy of the Police Clearance Certificate.

  8. Admission letter from the educational institution where admitted (in English).

  9. Admission letter from the educational institution where admitted (in Spanish)

  10. Letter from the school with the contents of the program of studies.

  11. Proof of health insurance coverage during the course of the program. In my case since IESE covered my insurance, i got a letter from them stating the same.

  12. Original Medical Certificate.

  13. Photocopy of the Medical Certificates.

  14. 10th and 12th std. marks cards.

  15. Graduation Degree certificate.

  16. Official transcripts from my Undergraduate University (Just in case)

  17. Proof of financing the program. Eg. educational loan sanction letter etc.

  18. Proof of funding for living expenses. Eg. Affidavit or letter of support from parent.

  19. IT Returns for the past year.

  20. Pay slip from the latest employer for atleast 3 months.

The Process:

There is a Spanish Visa Application center in Mumbai called IVS but unfortunately at the time of writing this it processes only Short term visas. Nonetheless, the IVS website has all the information about Long term visas too. You can find more information on their website -
There are certain important documents that are required by the Spanish Consulate for processing your visa (also mentioned in the above website). Obtaining each document is in itself a process so let me split them into 3 stages as follows.

Stage 1 - Police Clearance Certificate (PCC). This document should be issued by the Regional Passport office where you have been living for the past several years (5 years I guess!). PCC falls in to the Miscellaneous Services section of the RPO. Its simple but a painful process considering the fact that you probably would have to stand in que for atleast 4 hours depending on the Passport office before you will be able to turn in your request form along with the original passport.
You require: Your original passport, a copy of it, an address proof if the address on the passport is not current, a copy of it and a photo to be stuck on the application form.
Time to get the PCC: You should get your PCC (which is a certificate stating that there is not criminal record against you) within a week at your address delivered by speed post. Make sure you are available at home as the passport and the PCC will be only hand delivered to you.

Stage 2 - Apostille from the Ministry of External affairs. Certain countries need the External Ministry to endorse Government issued documents. PCC being one of them and Spain being one such country, you need to get the PCC apostilled by the ministry of external affairs in Delhi. The apostille is simple a stamp or rather a Sticker stamped on the back of the PCC and it states that this PCC is genuine. Now there are two ways to get this.
- IVS center can get the apostille for you for a fee. All you have to do is take send the original passport, the original PCC, two copies of both and a draft covering their fee. Then send all these to their address (in Mumbai) or take it to their office. You can collect it from them in about 7-10days.
- Another way to get the apostille is to go personally to the Ministry of External Affairs, Patiala House Court, New Delhi and get it done personally. Its a 1 Day process, and the fee is Rs.50 per apostille.

Stage 3 - Submitting the Application:
Once you have reached this stage then you can breathe easy. Coz this is the simplest stage.

There are two Spanish Consulates - one in Mumbai and one in Delhi. The one in Mumbai processes visas for Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Andra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa plus Daman & Diu. Check the IVS website to make sure you go to the right consulate. So once you know where to apply, go to the consulate in person with all the required documentation and submit the documents at the counter when you are called. Basically that concludes the application process. If you are curious about the status of your application you can call them and inquire about the status by using the phone number mentioned in the IVS website. Give them atleast 10 days before you call them with status inquiry. Oh btw you have to go and collect the passport stamped with the visa in person from the consulate. While collecting check whether your name is printed correctly on the visa, whether the validity and expiry period mentioned are correct and whether you have infact been issued a class D visa!

Also they tell you that it takes 3 weeks to process your visa, I got my visa within 2 weeks and so is the case with many of my friends. So you can try your luck by calling them.

Write to me or leave a comment if you have any questions.

All the best.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Thats the number of days before I take my flight to the beautiful city of Barcelona! I've booked my tickets and now I have a d-day - 25th of August! There are several things to do in the next 17 days and some of the more important things are as follows:

1. Shop
2. Transfer funds and buy Euros
3. Finish the Financial Accounting Online course - courtesy HBS
4. Finish the recommended reading assignment (atleast try)
5. Try to finish my "secret project" (he he will tell you later about this)
6. Help brother shop and pack (he will also be leaving for HKUST to do his masters!)
7. Take everyone for a family dinner
8. Pack

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Craziest Two Months of my Adulthood!

You can call me a lazy-ass or a downright moron but I can totally explain my absence from the blogosphere for the past two months. But in any case, a thousand apologies for not posting!

Although during the past two months I was running around like my tail was on fire, I can definitely say that they were the most memorable days of my life! So here is an account of what i went through during these months:

Wedding - I never dreamt of such a wedding, ever. A perfect bollywood example of a South Indian-North Indian collaboration! It was fabulous and a dream come true. I had only previously heard of the fun in north Indian weddings but thanks to my GF (now wife) for being one, I could experience all the fun first hand. It was a nice amalgamation of cultures, customs, relationships and joy. The best part was the dance! I witnessed the dance moves of my parents and relatives for the first time and was left with a cramped jaw due to excessive laughter! Anyways, on the whole I'm so thankful to my in-laws for arranging such a beautiful wedding and to my family for being such a good sport!

The Family Blessing Marathon - If you are unaware of Indian customs then note that the most important ritual for a married couple is to visit the houses of ALL the relatives, fall in their feet, get their blessings and consume as many calories as humanly possible in a single meal. So a week after my wedding and after a wedding party at my city, we were off on road touring several hundred miles seeking blessings and calories! Note that in India this takes priority over the honeymoon or so is my conception.

Honeymoon - 15 days, 1000 miles and 50 pounds later we set out to one of the most beautiful places that I've seen. It was a beautiful nature resort called Camp Noel about 8500ft above sea level in the state of Kerala. Check out the place here. The monsoon at Camp Noel was to die for.

Back to business with Pre-Visa Prep - After a week relaxing and charging our spirits we headed back to my hometown and immediately I realized I would be starting my MBA in a couple of months. And hence started the frenzy document chase. I was not surprised to know that I was damn late in my visa application process considering the American visa nightmare that i experienced 5 years back! But there are a couple of things that i got to know about myself during this process - one is that I can be very very very patient while dealing with "Government" folks and when my visa is on the line, and two that one of the places that i absolutely hate in this world is the Passport office! Once the document collection circus was finally over I had to get it endorsed! That called for a trip to the capital - New Delhi. Its only when I landed that i realized that i had just intruded into the worst monsoon storm of the year! Anyways, lets just say i managed to get the job done.

Family Blessing Marathon Part 2 - Is it a coincidence that the Spanish Consulate General is in Bombay which is where my in-laws are? Yeah some questions are better left unanswered. So i fly to Bombay and this time with my wife (I'm still not used to calling my girl friend - "wife"). After handing over all the documents to the Consulate, we prepared for another round visiting all her relatives, falling in their feet, getting their blessings and consuming insane amount of calories. But since my inlaws were North Indians, the meeting involved a lot of singing, dancing, and an over dose of laughter at high decibels. Just kidding! On the whole I and my wife enjoyed the trip especially since after exactly 12 days, I got my visa!

So thats how June and July 2010 was for me. (Hope yours was fine as well!) And now that I'm free of my visa and post-wedding duties, I plan to post more often atleast until I fly to Barca. I'm also planning to put up a step-by-step guide to the Spanish visa application process in the upcoming post; so stay tuned for that!

Take care.