Monday, 20 March 2017

Indian Passport Saga

In September 2017 my passport dies.And the rule is 6 months prior to death of one's passport, one cannot travel abroad. So in the beginning of March, I decided to dive in head long into this renewal process.I was prepared to run around from one govt desk to another, answer a million unnecessary questions, crib about India's red tape, be next in line before lunchtime and blame everything on the process. Nothing happened!

I applied and 5 days later I got my passport. I would never have thought to write about this,but while I was researching what documents I would need, I found some answers on blogs that people like me (victorious Indians who came out sane) that really helped. So heres what I learnt from my experience.

Do's and Donts

  1. Take a good week to sort out all your documents. Its better to carry more documents. In my case, I had the same address as my last passport but I wanted to add my spouse name. When i checked on 'Document Advisor ' on the website it asked me to address proof,old passport and aadhar card. I carried that and marriage certificate, my degree certificate, pancard, bank passbook, birth certificate and utilities bill. In my application a lot of these extra documents I carried were taken. 
  2. Be patient while filling the online form. If the document hangs then try again using another internet browser. I had to fill the form thrice on google chrome it always had some snag. Firefox worked in one shot.
  3. On your appointment date at PSK, carry a few blank paper sheets just in case they could ask you to write a declaration form/letter.
  4. You do not need to carry photographs for PSK appointment. Infants/minors need passport photos. (up until march 17)
  5. Avoid carrying your documents in files. Carrying them in folders worked best for me. Its easy to produce when asked for.
  6. Given a choice, go for morning appointments.
  7. Signing up for sms updates makes the whole process stress free. I'd definitely recommend it.
  8. On PSK day, carry signed photocopies of all your documents as well as all the originals.
  9. Atleast until march 2017, uploading supporting documents on the psk website was a futile exercise. All of your original documents are scanned by them.
  10. The process is divide in 3 parts. A is where officer will scan documents, take your photo, biometrics. Then you will be called to B section, where you have a passport officer verify your documents, and thereafter at counter C is where they will accept of your application. 
  11. All questions / queries about your documents will be raised in B counter.So this could take a while. 
  12. After finishing A,B,C, you got to collect your application receipt from the exit counter.
  13. This process could take 2-3 hours. 
  14. You do not need an agent. The website explains the procedure.
  15. In my case, I wanted to add my spouse name at the same time retain my Maiden name. At counter C, I was told that there will be police verification. The next day, an officer visited my home, the day after that i went to the police station to sign and got my passport via speed post the in the following two days. 
  16. I applied for Normal passport renewal. I received my passport in 5 days.
Passport renewal process has become simple, its straight forward and quick. I am impressed. What used to take months, now is done within a week.