Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Going home for the Holidays

We will be going home for the holidays. Ben is so excited he wants to see everyone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

American Citizens Services Unit

U.S. Consulate General

78, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai 400 026, India

Telephone: 91-22-2363 3611 ext. 4306; Facsimile: 91-22-2367-7026

E-mail: mumbaiacs@state.gov website: http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov

Date: December 9, 2009

Dear American citizens:

We bring this message to your attention so you can carefully consider the information it contains. Please pass along the information below to the American citizens in your area or put this information on your notice boards for dissemination. Thank you for your cooperation.

Warden Message: Potential Changes in Indian Tourist Visa Regulations

The U.S. Mission in India wishes to inform U.S. citizens traveling to India that the Government of India is reviewing its regulations pertaining to the entry of American citizens holding long-term Indian tourist visas. To date, these new regulations are not finalized and are being implemented inconsistently. The U.S. Embassy and consulates throughout India have received conflicting information regarding the new rules, but it is clear that the rules will only affect those who wish to enter India on a tourist visa within two months of their last departure from India. Tourists traveling to or departing from India are urged to review travel plans in light of these changing procedures and to contact the nearest Indian High Commission or Foreign Registration Office to ensure they have the most current information.

The U.S. Mission in India will follow with updates of the new regulations as they are clarified.

U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" found at http://travel.state.gov.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Americans are also encouraged to read the Country Specific Information for India, available on the Embassy's website at

http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov, and also at http://travel.state.gov.

U.S. citizens may contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Embassy or the Consulates General for further information:

-- The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is located at Shanti Path, Chanakya Puri 110021; telephone +91-11-2419-8000; fax +91-11-2419-8407. The Embassy's Internet home page address is http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov.

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai (Bombay) is located at Lincoln House, 78 Bhulabhai Desai Road, 400026, telephone +91-22-2363-3611; fax +91-22-2363-0350. The Internet home page address is
http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov.

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai (Madras) is at 220 Anna Salai, Gemini Circle, 600006, telephone +91-44-2857-4000; fax +91-44-2811-2027. The Internet home page address is
http://chennai.usconsulate.gov.

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata (Calcutta) is at 5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, 700071; telephone +91-33-3984-2400; fax +91-33-2282-2335. The Internet home page address is
http://kolkata.usconsulate.gov.

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad is at Paigah Palace, 1-8-323, Chiran Fort Lane, Begumpet, Secunderabad 500 003; telephone: +91 (40) 4033-8300. The Internet home page address is
http://hyderabad.usconsulate.gov.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Misc pictures of Ben




Ben's fish tank. The fish just keep dying....


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving The Ahmedabad Expat Way



Ben decorating the Christmas tree


Ben made this cake all by himself

He loves to cook


The cooks

What a surprise to thaw the turkey only to find it's head and feet


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is going to be Saturday night Nov 21 at 8pm. Call or email me for details.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

V wrote this to us about being in hospital

Hello All

I am back at home and wanted to thank all of you for taking such good care of me from the beginning, the middle and even now. I could not ask for anything better. From day one you all were there. Reasa was there to hold my hand while I was in pain, contactng doctors, you all, everyone and making sure nothing was done without her not only letting me know but talking with the doctors and myself about whatever they were doing, my meals, everything. She offered to take me in post-surgery, and Robert, Reasa and Ben were the ultimate hosts, and took very good care of me. Thanks to Bob and Kathi for their visits and laughs, presents and concerns. Thanks to Gijs and Licia for coming to see me and laugh with me also and the meals and fruits..and just always laughing as they always do.. Thanks Snehal, Vatu, Kosher and her beloved for coming and seeing me and making sure I was doing well, and speaking to the nurses. Thanks Alex for always checking up on me and getting me thru that terrible day.. was so glad to see you u have no idea. I love you all even more than I did before if that was even possible. You all are NOT just my friends for life..but my family for life..bcs you guys saved my life. I could not ask or even think of anything better.. I have had a great month...I was in the right place at the right time surrounded by the right people, getting the right medical care... Could not have been better! So thanks again, love you all...and I just love you all...

V

Monday, October 26, 2009

Killer V in hospital




As many of you know V was in the hospital. She had to have surgery. She has had a rough time but, she is finally getting better. Thank you all for helping so much!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

All he wants for Christmas is his 2 front teeth...

MMMM.
Lost both front teeth

Pulling the loose tooth

Braces?

First look at these shoes he picked out. Then see how BIG his feet are.


Lost one tooth.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

India: New Guidelines for Stricter Enforcement of Business and Work Visa Requirements

India: New Guidelines for Stricter Enforcement of Business and Work Visa Requirements

India: New Guidelines for Stricter Enforcement of Business and Work Visa Requirements

Indian diplomatic posts worldwide are no longer accepting employment visa applications from individuals who are not nationals of the country where the post is located. Instead, these applicants are advised to file their applications at the post in their country of citizenship. This change does not affect business visa applications. The government has issued new guidelines which prescribe stricter enforcement of business and work visa requirements for foreign nationals engaging in contractual or project work, including specific processes in relation to Chinese nationals.

The Indian government recently issued guidelines introducing new requirements governing where foreign nationals may submit employment visa applications. The guidelines also prescribe stricter enforcement of employment visa requirements for foreign nationals entering India for contractual or project work, and clarify the procedures for the adjudication and issuance of employment visas to Chinese nationals engaged in contractual or project activities.

Work Visa Applications to be Filed in Home Countries

Pursuant to the guidelines, Indian diplomatic posts now accept employment visa applications only from nationals of the country where the post is located. Other nationals, including those with work or resident status overseas, are now required to file their employment visa applications at the Indian diplomatic post in their country of citizenship.

This change does not apply to business visas, which can still be obtained at the diplomatic post nearest to the applicant’s current place of residence.

Clarification on Permitted Business Activities and Work Visa Requirements

The guidelines clarify the scope of allowable business activities for business visa holders and the eligibility criteria for employment visas with reference to certain provisions of the Visa Manual, an internal policy document of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

It is no longer possible to use a business visa to enter India and engage in project or contractual work. While there is no official definition of “project or contractual work” in India, it typically refers to working in oil exploration, power generation, heavy engineering, and similar major projects. However, in this context, the Indian immigration authorities likely intend to cover productive work in general, regardless of industry or service area.

The new guidelines now limit the issuance of business visas to strictly business-related activities, which generally are regarded as attending business meetings and discussions, although the guidelines refer specifically to exploring opportunities for investment, establishing a business, and purchasing or selling industrial products in accordance with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s internal criteria. For activities that do not clearly fall under the usual permissible activities for business visitors, an employment visa is required.

The guidelines state that business visa holders already in India and performing contract or project work must leave the country by September 30, 2009 or before their existing visas expire, whichever is earlier. An employment visa will be required to re-enter India to continue the relevant activities. While the guidelines do not specifically discuss consequences, the immigration authorities have the ability to impose penalties for non-compliance, which under current practice are determined on a discretionary and case-to-case basis.

Similarly, individuals with pending business visa applications to conduct contract or project work activities will have their applications returned by the consular authorities. They will also be directed to obtain employment visas.

The guidelines also tighten the criteria for individuals who intend to perform contractual or project work to qualify for employment visas. Applicants must hold a senior-level, skilled position with the sponsoring company, such as a senior executive, technical expert, or manager. This requirement applies to intra-company transferees and directly hired employees alike. Applications involving jobs for which a large number of Indian nationals qualify or which are low-skilled in nature will not be considered.

Processes Affecting Chinese Nationals

Chinese nationals applying for employment visas are subject to an additional requirement called a security clearance. In the past, security clearance applications were referred by Indian diplomatic posts to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and were often delayed there indefinitely. Until the issuance of the guidelines, the clearance process was known only internally to the relevant government agencies.

The guidelines clarify the application process for security clearances. Individual applicants and their sponsoring entities are required to file the application with the relevant Indian diplomatic post and submit a copy to the MHA in New Delhi. The diplomatic post endorses the application to the MHA, who in turn forwards copies of the application to the Intelligence Bureau and the Ministry of Labour for review. Based on the recommendation of these agencies, the MHA conveys the approval or denial of the application to the diplomatic post. The clearance process is expected to take around 60 days or longer.

The guidelines also announced that the Indian government is monitoring Chinese nationals who may be on expired business visas and working on projects or contracts in India. Diplomatic posts are working with the Intelligence Bureau to compile information on business visas issued to Chinese nationals since January 1, 2008, including the visa holder’s name, sponsoring entity, visa validity period, and educational qualifications, among other details. Individuals and sponsoring companies found in violation will face penalties, which under current practice are discretionary and may take any of the following forms: negative publicity against the company, monetary fines, blacklisting of the company or individual, re-entry bars on the individual, or imprisonment.

Further updates on these developments are expected to be announced shortly. Fragomen is monitoring these developments in India and will issue updates as they become available.

The content herein is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Global Immigration Services or send an email to INInitiations@fragomen.com.

Source: Fragomen

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ben Ben Ben.......

Blue footprints all over my floors


Ben after a hard day at school.......

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ben asked.....

Ben is preparing is Christmas list which includes a laptop, back scratch er, touch screen Dell and play station. He is not getting any cheaper.

So, I know he loves music and his ipod so I suggested a stereo for his room. When I said this his eyes got really big with a confused look and he said "What is that?" Man, that made me feel old.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Ben after Oreo snack. He is by far the funniest and cutest kid I have ever met.... He makes me laugh all the time.

Ben's first halloween......

Ben fishing...yes that is a fish... 4 years old

video This is Ben at SGVP fashion show last Saturday....He is the most handsome boy of that school...

Monday, September 28, 2009

More recent pictures of our Ahmedabad Expat life



Ben and his 3rd eye

I bet Pops is proud

At the carnival- all he want to do is shoot guns

Ben and the paintball gun

Ben getting his hair cut. with every hair cut you get a head massage. Despite the look on his face he does enjoy it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Govt tells expat workers on biz

visas to leave

AHMEDABAD/SURAT: Pack your bags and leave the country
before September 30! The terse notice has rattled and
scared expats across Gujarat.

"This is rather rude and a very short notice. We are not sure
what to do now," said a US national, who has been
living in Ahmedabad for the past two years.

GS Malik, additional commissioner of police (special branch),
has sent notices to the expats saying: "All foreign nationals
who are already in the country on business visas and
engaged in executing projects/contracts should leave
the country on expiry of their existing visas or by
September 30, 2009, positively, whichever is earlier."

"We are just following orders from the ministry of external
affairs (MEA). We have not been told why the
Centre wants this," Malik told TOI.

According to sources, the Centre has decided to stop misuse
of business visas by expats for employment. "Employment
visa applications are examined thoroughly while business
visas are easily procured," said a source.

Special branch officials said in Ahmedabad there are 21
registered business visa holders. These include nine from US, six
from UK and the rest from other European countries.

"Employment visa has a limit of six months and requires constant
monitoring by the employer. Business visas have much
relaxed norms and can be issued for up to one year and
can be extended by another six months," said an immigration official.

The impact of the notice has also been felt in other cities in Gujarat.
Foreign nationals were vacating hotels in Surat. Three, four
and five-star hotels have been instructed to ask such foreign
nationals to vacate rooms before September 30.

"We are confused about the order. We will meet the city
police commissioner on Friday for clarifications," said
Sanat Relia, hotelier in Surat. "These were long-term
guests who used to stay with us for months together," said Relia.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recent pics of our Ahmedabad Expat Life


Carnival

Carnival

Carnival

The Okies have arrived in Ahmedabad

Ben at the art and craft show

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Paintball day change..

Paintball has been rescheduled to Next Saturday night. There will beer and lots of fun. Contact me to join in.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Paintball Sunday!


We are getting together a paintball game on Sunday. If you are interested please contact me.


Recent Pictures.........

Sleeping Beauty

Killer V, Ben and yes, me

Do not mess with me!

Ben riding his bike...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Travel Alert for Ahmedabad Expats

TRAVEL ALERT from American Citizens Services

INDIA

September 12, 2009

The Department of State reminds U.S. citizens of the continued possibility of terrorist attacks throughout India during the current Indian holiday season, which includes Hindu, Islamic, and secular holidays as well as the period surrounding the commemoration of the September 11 terror attacks. The November 2008 attacks in Mumbai provided a vivid reminder that hotels and other public places are especially attractive targets for terrorist groups. U.S. citizens are urged always to practice good security, maintain a heightened situational awareness and a low profile. Americans are advised to monitor local news reports and consider the level of security present when visiting public places, including religious sites, or choosing hotels, restaurants, entertainment and recreation venues. This Travel Alert expires on October 30, 2009.

U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. For additional information, please refer to "A Safe Trip Abroad" found at http://travel.state.gov.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Americans are also encouraged to read the Country Specific Information for India, available on the Embassy's website at

http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov, and also at http://travel.state.gov.

U.S. citizens with questions or concerns may contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Embassy or the Consulates General for further information:

-- The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is located at Shanti Path, Chanakya Puri 110021; telephone +91-11-2419-8000; fax +91-11-2419-8407. The Embassy's Internet home page address is http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov.

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai (Bombay) is located at Lincoln House, 78 Bhulabhai Desai Road, 400026, telephone +91-22-2363-3611; fax +91-22-2363-0350. The Internet home page address is

http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov.

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai (Madras) is at 220 Anna Salai, Gemini Circle, 600006, telephone +91-44-2857-4000; fax +91-44-2811-2027. The Internet home page address is http://chennai.usconsulate.gov.

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata (Calcutta) is at 5/1 Ho Chi Minh Sarani, 700071; telephone +91-33-3984-2400; fax +91-33-2282-2335. The Internet home page address is http://kolkata.usconsulate.gov.

-- The U.S. Consulate General in Hyderabad is at Paigah Palace, 1-8-323, Chiran Fort Lane, Begumpet, Secunderabad 500 003; telephone: +91 (40) 4033-8300. The Internet home page address is http://hyderabad.usconsulate.gov.

Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ben's midterm exams....


Oh man it is that time again. Ben is doing midterms starting Friday. So, that means he has tomorrow and every other day off for the next week. Then he has 9 days off for a festival. That should be so much fun. If you have time and have his email you might wish him luck.