Sunday, 16 December 2012

Boulder Bound

Hong Kong Airport
After a hectic week at work in Chennai, I am now sitting in Hong Kong waiting for my next flight to Los Angeles; I flew in earlier today from Chennai. I was one "those people" who had their named paged since I had fallen asleep waiting for my 3 am flight from Chennai. There was an airline attendant scurrying around calling my name, which woke me up. I was the last one on the flight, and I was in the waiting area 2 hours prior to the flight. While not a disaster if I had missed the flight, it would have been a hassle to rebook for the next day, I assume, since it is the high season with many travelers headed various places for the holidays.

I am spending Christmas with my two daughters, my sisters and their families, and my mother in Boulder, CO this year. Last year, we were spread out all across the globe. One daughter was studying abroad in Chile; the other doing a gap year in Costa Rica volunteering at a sea turtle hatchery. We had planned for them to come to India for the holidays this year, but it didn't work out so I am headed to the US. My husband will stay in Tiruvannanalai as he has family in from the UK.

I have very few cold weather clothes these days, so I am hoping my sisters living in Boulder will be able to loan me a sweater or two. This is my third time out of India this year, which is possible with my employment visa, and is now also possible with a tourist visa. Details on the new rules for Indian tourist visas are in my previous blog post.

More from sunny Boulder, CO.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Indian Government Eases Tourist Visa Restrictions

Some great news for tourists traveling to India - On December 4th, 2012, the Indian government issued a statement saying that it was no longer necessary for people traveling to India on a tourist visa to wait 2 months to return when they left the country. Now tourists can come into India, leave the country and return the next day, if they want to. There had been a two month waiting time if you had to leave the country for any reason.

According to 'The visa restrictions were introduced to reduce the flow of people into and out of India following terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people. However, government officials recognized that such measures were negatively impacting the country's tourism industry.'

The only way around this was if you had a travel itinerary that you could show the immigration officials which showed your entire travel plans that included multiple entries to India from, for instance, Nepal or Thailand.

Updated Info - Official Indian government websites concerning the easing of restrictions:

Government of India Press Information Bureau:

Embassy of India, Washington, DC:

Here is the announcement which was posted on the Travisa website for Indian tourist visa applications for US citizens:

Permit to Re-Enter Restriction Lifted

Travelers on a Tourist visa were previously required to have a gap of at least 2 months between two separate visits to India. The restriction has now been lifted except for nationals of China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origin and stateless persons.

You can find more information here concerning the new rules on Indian tourist visa:

Here's another link from regarding the easing of the two month wait for tourist visas.

Chennai Bound

For the past two weeks, I have worked from home in Tiruvannamalai. One week was the Deepam festival and it was very difficult to come and go from Tiru due to the crowds in town; I also wanted to see the fire lit on Mt. Arunachala and experience being in Tiru during this major festival.

The following week I contracted a nasty ear infection and was just too run down to travel. Thank goodness I was able to rest as much as possible, go to the doctor (twice) and still keep up with work. I have to say that this was one of the more painful ear aches I have ever had in my life; I am not prone to ear infections so not being able to hear was difficult and it was difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in at night due to ear pain. Anyway, I am all better now and head back in to the city at 5:30 am.

I am a technical writer so much of my day is spent editing technical documents that come across my desk. It's not the most exciting work in the world, but my skills seem to find me a job more often than not. I was able to find a job in India and get a work visa, so I am lucky in a lot of ways.

It looks like the weather will be nice this cyclones anyway. Tomorrow I say goodbye to rural India for a few days. More from Chennai.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Finding a Job in India as an Expat

Yesterday, I was asked by a reader how I managed to land a job in India as a US citizen  I have actually landed two jobs in India; I found the first job online with an Indian company while still living in the USA . I found my current post with a US company through an online job board while living in India.

The first thing to research when attempting to find work in India is whether or not you have a skill that is needed. There are over a billion people in India and many skilled workers are in high-tech field fields such as engineering. In my case, technical writing is still in its infancy in India. There is a need for trainers and skilled writers whose first language is English. While many Indians speak and write excellent English, many high-tech companies are multinational and seek technical writers who are able to write for a global audience. Many Indian companies are just now understanding the need for technical writers as opposed to having engineers write their documentation, so the field is wide open if you are an experienced technical writer.

The next hurdle is to find a company in India that is willing to sponsor you for an employment visa. My first employer interviewed me via Skype and hired me while I was still living in the US. He provided the necessary documents for me to submit an application to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco; I was able to secure the employment visa in about four days.

There were about ten required documents including something called a 'justification letter,' which must explain how your particular skills are not currently available in India. The company must also include a letter detailing your employment contract and the salary must be over $25,000. The Indian Consulate in the US outsources the visa application process to a company called Travisa. This includes employment visas, tourist visas and business visas. I have included the link for information on employment visas for American citizens wanting to work in India below. If you are not from the US and are interested in working in India, please contact the Indian Consulate in your country for specifics requirements for employment visas.

Travisa (Indian Employment visa for US citizens)