Sunday, February 22, 2015

[VISA] Bangladesh (Single Entry)

Among South Asian nations, only Bangladesh and Pakistan would require a trip to the embassy if you are planning to get a tourist visa. What most people do is include an obligatory stop in Calcutta, through which Philippine passport holders could enter India with visa-on-arrival, then stay a few days while waiting for their passports to be released by the Embassy of Bangladesh there. The process is well-documented online, but not everyone has that luxury of a Calcutta stopover.

I searched for feedback regarding the visa application process at the Embassy of Bangladesh in Manila, but it appears as though this country is not really a popular part of most Filipino backpackers' itineraries for the Indian subcontinent. And so I had to do the inevitable, which is rely on their website. You could also call them, but the guy at the reception is a bit unreliable. In fact, twice I went to the embassy and twice I saw him get scolded by one of the big bosses there. Poor guy.

The fee for a tourist visa is 2,900 pesos. Your passport would be released after five working days. If you want the process expedited, you double the price and receive your visa after two days. 5,800 pesos! Really? Even a Schengen Visa would not cost that much. And so I waited for five days. My passport released a day before the Chinese New Year holiday. They gave me single entry with seven days as duration of stay. I do not know if you could request for a longer period of sojourn.

What are the requirements? You could download the application form from their website, but I was asked to fill out a new one longhand anyway when I got there. You need to attach a passport sized photo. You need to include a bank certificate. You also have to give them a copy of your Certificate of Employment. I did not have that so I just gave them my admission letter from the University of Vienna. It was in German but the course dates were highlighted in bold anyway.

The website says that you also need NBI or Police Clearance. Rumor has it that you could also just surrender your Baranggay Clearance as a substitute. The guy at the reception did not tell me that until I asked him, after which he said he would just note on my application that the said document would just follow. I applied at Robinsons Otis and had a hit, so they asked me to come back a day after the scheduled release of my passport. I claimed the passport as scheduled anyway, but there was no mention of the effing clearance.

So, there! The website says that you need to pay the fee in some bank. I paid mine at the embassy. They do not give change, by the way. The embassy is located at Herco Center, along that street next to Pasay Road, to the left if you are facing EDSA.

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