How to Get Your Passport Without Stress

[NOTE: This post is applicable for Indian Citizens only]

Indian-PassportSome years back, getting a passport was real work. Standing in queue simply to get the form, fill it, get stacks of supporting documents, stand in various queues again to get the documents checked, submit the application form, get sent back for some more documents and stand again in the queues. It would make you question as to why are you applying for the passport…?

Not any more. Over the years, the passport application process has been streamlined by the Ministry of External Affairs. Now, part of the work is done online and the balance at the Passport Sewa Kendra (PSK) in your respective region. However, you still need to be careful. While the Passport Seva website of the Govt has exhaustive information, I am attempting to provide additional inputs  to help others get the passport without stress .

The Process

Registration. First, register as a user (if not already done so) at the Passport Seva portal of MEA.

Fill Application Form. Login using the credentials obtained above. You will see links for “Apply for New Passport”, “Re-Issue of Passport” etc. Click on the appropriate link to pull up the required application form. Begin filling it. Don’t worry, you can save the semi-filled form and get back to it later to add more information. Be doubly sure to check that your and family’s particulars are as per the supporting documents. So, if the name is Ramesh Kumar Sharma in your Aadhar card / Birth Certificate etc, your name MUST be entered the same (and not like RK Sharma or Rakesh Kumar). This name should be same in ALL supporting documents and Annexures including the Affidavit (Annexure I). Likewise, your address MUST be same as per the supporting document (Aadhar card /electricity bill / telephone bill etc). Any change in the name or address of self, parents and / or spouse, will simply render the application liable for rejection. Therefore, check and re-check your application, verifying against the supporting documents before you submit the application.

Submit Application & Documents (Optional). When ready, submit the application by clicking the submit button. You will get a confirmation. Now you can upload supporting documents (this is optional)- you can upload upto 4 (four) documents at present. If you don’t want to upload any documents, skip this and go to next step.

Online Payment. As of Aug 2013, most PSKs have made it mandatory to make payment of fees online.  This link is greyed out (not available) till you submit the application. Once you submit it, you can click on this link to make the payment using credit card, debit card or online banking. You will get a receipt.

Book Appointment. You can get an appointment only after you make the payment. The system will generate the next available slot for you. You can re-schedule your appointment thrice, after which any change / re-schedule will require you to pay once more.

Print Application Receipt. Print the application receipt and the payment receipt (usually not asked for). The application receipt will have your particulars, a bar-code with ARN Number and your appointment date and time.

Prepare for Appointment.

Because of many questions I received on the documents required, I have written a separate post on the Documents required for a Passport application. Now, get a folder / large envelope and place the following documents:-
1.  Application receipt
2.  Date of Birth Proof. Get at least TWO, although just one is required. The photocopies (get two copies of each) must be self-attested.
3.  Address Proof.  Although, just ONE document is required, it is again advisable to get two.  (For an exhaustive list as to what documents are required and accepted, go to this link for a “Passport Document Advisor” which enables you to view the documents as per your status as an adult / minor / senior citizen / govt employee etc.  The photocopies (get two copies of each) must be self-attested.
3. Non-ECR Proof. Earlier called as ECNR, now it is called Non-ECR. The stamping of ECNR is now discontinued. Click here to view the list of acceptable documents for Non-ECR. The photocopies (get two copies of each) must be self-attested.
4. Other Annexures. This list of annexures and affidavits for passport is good enough starting point. It is advisable to go for multiple annexures to ensure. I have seen applicants being asked to get an Affidavit (Annexure I) even though they had other documents. Especially if you are applying for Tatkaal passport, you MUST get the affidavit and Annexure F.
5. Original Documents. You must have the originals of the self-attested photocopies you will be submitting for the PSK employees to verify – so keep them separately with a clip.
6. Old Passport. If you are applying for re-issue, you must take a self-attested copy of first 4 and last 2 pages AND also get the original passport along for verification.
7. Miscellaneous. Get a glue-stick, at least 4 colour passport size photos against white background (may not be required), stapler, pen, and some change / coins for the photocopying machine at the PSK (if required).

Appointment Day

Reach the PSK at least 15 minutes before the appointment time. Getting their much earlier is not going to help since the security guys will just not let you enter. Look your best since you are going to be photographed and that photo will be on your passport for the next 10 years (5 years for minors). If needed take a tie and jacket / blazer in a bag and when you’re about to be clicked, wear it quick. Take a comb too.

When you reach each counters, it does not hurt to wish them according to the time of the day – remember they are doing this job day and day out, so a little courtesy will go a long way in making matters easy for them. And do thank them while leaving…There are usually four places your will go to – initially the documents checking counter, where if they are satisfied, you will be given a token and be asked to be seated in the waiting lounge / room. Then you go from sections A (documents check, photo and fingerprinting), B (document re-check by Govt officials) to C (Govt issuing official), after which you exit.

Your passport will be issued immediately if no police verification is required (govt employees and Tatkaal) or on post-police verification (Tatkaal) or after police verification depending upon your application / status.

So there it is…my low down on how you should go ahead with getting a passport. I must say that since I have been applying for passports since 1988, there has been a drastic improvement in the process and the turnaround time is faster too. So go ahead and get that passport for your travels or higher education or employment abroad.

If I have missed anything, or have any queries, you are free to write in the comments section below.

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