I hate to ask this question but I also feel that it must be asked. I have more than one reasons to believe that when it comes to issuing tourist Visas, Singapore does not treat tourists from all locations alike. I have had this doubt since the year 2010 when I got discriminated against in terms of getting a two-months-only Singapore Visa perhaps for being located in Chandigarh (North India) but the information given to me recently (April 2014) by an authorised agent in Bengaluru who arranges for Singapore Visa seems to confirm my doubt. For the sake of clarity, let me mention that some people who apply for a Singapore Tourist Visa get a "Two-year-multiple-entry" Visa while others are given only a "Two-months-multiple-entry" Visa by the Singapore Consulate / High Commission. This authorised agent told me that if I had a Bengaluru address on my passport, I was more likely to get a "Two-year-multiple-entry" Singapore Visa whereas if there was a North Indian address on my passport, I would only get a "Two-month-multiple-entry" Visa. The agent was quite certain of it. He said, they process hundreds of Singapore Visa applications every month and the outcome was always on these lines. Now that was really disheartening for me. Keep reading...
|Merlion Statue and Sands Marina Bay Singapore|
I have so far travelled three times to Singapore and always got a two-months-only Visa. For my first Visa application in the year 2010, which was incidentally for an official visit, I even gave my bank statements and a letter of introduction from my public sector employer. My passport, that had a Chandigarh address, accompanied the application . I got a two-months Visa when my colleagues located in other parts of India, who had been on similar official visits to Singapore, had all got a two-year Visa. For my second visit in that same year, they gave me a two-month Visa again. By then I had visited not only Singapore prior to making that Visa application but some other countries too. May be because my passport still had the Chandigarh address, my other good credentials did not matter to the Government of Singapore. In 2014, though I made a Completely Online Singapore Visa Application, the result was still the same - a Two-month Visa.
Actually because of this Visa hassle, I have been avoiding travelling to Singapore. Otherwise, my new passport issued in 2010 has only one page left for stamping that I will use in September next. I used to believe that the Government of Singapore does understand the business of tourism but after seeing this type of profiling of tourists based on their location within a country makes me seriously doubt their intelligence. OK, I an angry but I am also a travel blogger who has travelled extensively and knows a few things about tourism. The problem here is the fact that Singapore continues to use such dumb discriminatory practices at a time when Indian tourists are discovering new destinations all over the world that were once rarely heard of in India. By making tourist Visas more difficult for North Indian tourists, Singapore is only hurting their own business. Anyway I find Thailand and Hong Kong/Macau a lot more natural and exciting than the largely artificial Singapore. And I am not the only person who believes that.
My new passport that I get later this year will have a Bengaluru address. Let us see the duration of my next Singapore Visa. I will update that in this article.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|