BLS International - Indian Consulate - Visa Application

syz

New Member
#1
I read many stories about BLS international and their poor customer service. I have recently gone through Indian Visa Application process through BLS international (at Atlanta) for my child and my experience is highly positive. I would like to clear the confusion about the visa application process which is very unclear and confusing on BLS’s website. Here is my experience, hope this helps. Although I applied for visa, many of the following will be applicable for Passport Application process as well, so hopefully you will find it useful.

1. Fill the visa application form and print it with color printer. If the visa application is for a minor, parents sign the second page below the signature line, minor doesn’t sign. This page is also notarized. Minor of 5 years or older must sign at the bottom of the photograph on the first page; other minors can give thumb print. Photograph should be of 2 in x 2 in standard passport size, pasted (glued) on the box provided. If you have a passport photo, you can scan and upload it provided it meets the specification (size in pixel and megabits which will be provided when you upload your photo). Photo upload is not mandatory, but attaching the photo is.

2. You need to send notarized photocopies of all supporting documents.

3. Before you start filling the BLS order form, make sure you have the following items on hand: (a) the airway bill number of the package you are sending to BLS, (b) the airway bill number of the return shipment, (c) money order or cashier check information.

4. Airway Bill (AB): BLS wants you to send your application package with a trackable envelope and also wants you to enclose a trackable envelope inside it for the return shipment. I have used FedEx. You cannot send a hand written FedEx AB or an AB with credit card number on it. Therefore you must create an account in FedEx. Follow these steps: Go to FedEx and create an account by clicking New Customer and following the instructions, login to FedEx account and go to Create Shipment, and enter the following information.

To ship your package to BLS:

1- From: Your address.
2- To: BLS address. Click “Perform Detailed Address Check” to view the correct address profile. FedEx shows correct street address with North/South/NE/SE etc and also correct 5+4 digit zip code; but you can simply select the entered address since FedEx always finds the correct address.
3- Package and Shipment Details: Ship Date – you can create label at most 10 days in advance, i.e. you can enter at most 10 days from today and you have to ship by that day. It is not a problem for you when shipping to BLS. I entered same day of shipping since I was sure to send to on the same day. Enter $100 declared value, 0.5 lb weight, select service type (e.g. FedEx Express Saver) and package type (e.g. FedEx Envelope).
4- Billing Details: Bill Transportation To: My Account. Your account information is printed here, i.e. your credit card in your account will be charged but the credit card information will not be printed on the shipping label. On your shipping label “Bill to Sender” will be printed.
Special Service: I selected Signature Not Required since you don’t know whether someone will be there or not at BLS to sign and if they miss it whether someone will pick up from FedEx or not.
Select Pickup/Drop-Off option, Email Notifications and click view Rates and Transit Times.
5- Complete your Shipment: You can keep a shipment profile if you want and then click “Ship”; it takes you to the next page where you can print the shipping label. The shipping label has barcodes of destination address and tracking number.

To create return shipment label from BLS to your home address:

Following the above steps, but reverse the From and To address field (i.e. From should contain BLS address, To should contain your address). When you provide Ship Date, enter the date which is 10 days from today. Here is a catch. You don’t know when they are going to ship back to you. It may be well over the 10 days. In my case they shipped my passport back exactly at the 10th day; I don’t know If it was by luck or not. I don’t know what happens if they ship after 10th day, whether the shipping label will still be valid or not. I called customer support and they told me that shipping labels are valid until 30 days after the shipping date specified which should cover most cases, but I am not 100% sure. My personal feeling is that FedEx should always pick up the package even it is shipped after the shipping date date. But please verify it and let me know. Unfortunately, FedEx doesn’t allow creating labels for any indefinite date of shipment.

Note the tracking numbers of the two labels. These are the Airway Bill numbers.

5. Fill the BLS order form:
- Select Location where you are sending your application
- Web Reference No: this is the number printed on your visa application form
- Application Type: Postal. Airway Bill No: Enter the tracking number of the FedEx shipping label that you created for sending your application to BLS.
- To obtain delivery service directly online with FedEx, Please Click: DO NOT click here since you already created return shipment label with FedEx. This is confusing and do not attempt to enter anything.
- Travel Plan: Even you are traveling after several months, you don’t have to choose among those shown.
- Prepaid Delivery: Yes, if you are sending by postal mail and you are expecting them to send your passport back. Enter No, if you are scheduling appointment, but for me it was all by post. Airway Bill No: Enter the tracking number of the return shipment you created.
- Select Nationality (USA) and Service Detail (Visa).
- Personal Details: Full name, Passport No, Email, Phone, Payment Detail: Enter payment method and check number.
- Save the form. This will send you an email with the filled up BLS order form and a return shipping label. This shipping label is a 3 in x 2 in label containing the passport number and a tracking number for BLS. Cut this label and attach on top of the FedEx envelope which you are sending to BLS.

6. Gather the documents (check website for the order): application form, BLS order form, postal application checklist form, document checklist form, notarized photocopies of the documents, official check, copy of the official check, shipping label of the return envelope, photocopy of the shipping label of the return envelope. And of course include your Passport! Put the documents together with a paper clip. Do not staple them, but you can staple the two pages of the visa application form together.

7. Go to a FedEx shipping center and ask two Express Envelopes. Attach the two shipping labels on the two envelopes using a clear plastic cover which you will get from the shipping center. Put the documents, the passport and the return envelope in the envelope you are sending to BLS. You will find that both envelopes are of same size, so you may have to fold the return envelope inside. Attach the BLS shipping label (with BLS tracking number sent to you by BLS via email) on top of the envelope sending to BLS. Also attach a slip of paper with “Visa Department” printed on top of the envelope so that it reaches the correct desk at BLS.

8. You can start tracking your package when it is picked up by FedEx.

My visa application reached BLS after 2 days via FedEx Express Saver and BLS took 3 days to process including one day by the consulate to process passport. BLS sent back passport on the 7th day and reached me after 2 days via FedEx 2-day service. All together, it took 10 days (8 business days) after sending passport to get it back with visa.

Let me know if I missed anything. Thanks.
 

second stage

Registered Users (C)
#2
4. Airway Bill (AB): BLS wants you to send your application package with a trackable envelope and also wants you to enclose a trackable envelope inside it for the return shipment. I have used FedEx. You cannot send a hand written FedEx AB or an AB with credit card number on it. Therefore you must create an account in FedEx. Follow these steps: Go to FedEx and create an account by clicking New Customer and following the instructions, login to FedEx account and go to Create Shipment, and enter the following information.

Let me know if I missed anything. Thanks.
I want to add that you can use USPS which is much much cheaper than FedEx but provides the same value(delivery + tracking)...
 
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