My passport was due for renewal and I just renewed it. Even though the process seems relatively simple on paper, there were quite a few things I learned on the way which would definitely help someone who has to go through the process again. I thought of documenting and sharing them so that it is useful for people who are in the similar situation.
Couple of disclaimers before we start.
- As with government offices in India and state of an atom, your experiences may vary
- I am documenting the steps that worked for me as of Jan 2013. It is possible that rules might have changed.
- I renewed it in Bangalore. It might be different if you are doing it in another city/state.
- Most of it apply for new passport also, but there might be some changes.
Additional changes needed in my passport
In addition to renewing the passport, I wanted to do these additional changes as well.
- Change my address from Chennai to Bangalore
- Change my marital status from single to married. Yes I got married about a year back
- Include my wife’s name in the spouse column
- Remove ECR check. I got my old password while I was in college and it was enabled.
One thing I came to know is that, if you are married then it is mandatory to include your spouse name in the passport by providing the necessary documents. Sorry guys, if you are married you can’t skip it
Tatkal and Ordinary
There are two methods to renew passport. Tatkal and ordinary. According to the official statement, if you choose tatkal, then you can expect to get your passport within 10 days and for ordinary it will take about 3-4 weeks.
My passport was due for renewal in Jan 2013. I submitted the online application on Dec 3, 2012 through ordinary method and received my passport on Feb 7, 2013. There were two major reasons for the delay.
- Getting the appointment
- Delay because of police verification
If you take both into consideration, it is fair to say that you will get your passport in 3-4 weeks even if you choose the ordinary method.
For passport renewal, you need the following documents.
- Old passport
- Address proof (need two separate proofs)
- Marriage certificate or affidavit(to add your spouse name)
- Degree certificate (for removing ECR check)
For address proof I took the tax document (katha extract) of my house, EB bills, Gas bills, letter from my HR dept and my company id card. Even though the website says only two is needed, they asked for all the above from me.
For adding spouse name, you need the marriage certificate or an affidavit. If you have a marriage certificate it is better to carry that instead of an affidavit. For me they objected since my affidavit was issued in Chennai and was registered using Tamil Nadu stamp paper. I told them that I got married in Chennai and they accepted it on the condition that they will keep the original.
To remove ECR check, I had both my BE and MS certificates and they were fine with that.
It is also safe to carry your 10th and 12th mark sheet and also some additional certificates with have your date of birth. This is not specified anywhere in the website, but they asked me for this. The reason they gave me for this was that, if you are renewing your passport in a new city, then they can’t retrieve your old documents and you have to submit them again. I was not able to argue beyond that but luckily I was carrying them that day.
Okay so let me explain the process now. This is more or less the same for new passport also.
- Submit your application online
- Get an appointment for the visit to passport office
- Visit the office and submit the documents
- Complete police verification
- Receive your passport
Submit your application online
You have to create a new account at http://www.passportindia.gov.in, download the application form, fill it and submit it back. The site is maintained by TCS, but don’t have any expectations. It is more or less at the same league of Irctc. Links open randomly in tabs, captchas every where, random session lock-in – you get the idea right?
One very important thing to do, if you don’t want any random calls from tele-marketers is to make sure you un-check the “Share my details with tele-marketers” checkbox, while uploading your filled in form. Yes, you read it correctly! Honestly I was shocked when I first saw it. I don’t know why they want to do this in a site where you upload sensitive information about you. I don’t know how much MEA (Minister of External Affairs) or TCS (who is maintaining this site) is going to earn by doing this. Anyways that is the state of things and make sure you uncheck the checkbox and hope they respect it.
Getting an appointment
If you thing uploading the document was tough, then you have not seen the real thing
Personally for me this was the most irritating, difficult and time consuming part of the entire process.
They give appointment only for the next two days. The booking starts at 6PM for Bangalore (varies for different cities) and gets over in less than 100 seconds! (not minutes!) You need to fill in 3-4 captchas during that time and most of the times the site just hangs or times out.
It took me one full month to get the appointment after trying it to get one exactly at 6 PM every day.
The following are some of the things I learned the hard way. Hopefully this should help you to get appointment easily.
- Don’t try from your office or places where a single public IP is shared. They do filtering based on IP (I don’t know why)
- Be careful while filling out the captchas.
- Try exactly at 6:00 PM. Not at 5:59 or 6:01.
- Close everything in your machine and have only this tab open.
- Try to do it from a place where you have decent broadband speed. Trying from a slow connection usually fails.
- Try to choose a time-slot between 12-2PM. Most people don’t choose this time period and the probability of getting this time slot is higher.
Visit the passport office
When you visit the passport office, make sure you are carrying all your documents and be on time. I guess you don’t want to loose the appointment that you got the hard way
At the passport office, they will first check your documents and then will give you a file and token number. When the number is displayed on the display screens, you have to go to counter A, where they will check and scan your documents, collect the fees and take your photo. I saw a couple of people wearing blazers with tie and others using a hand mirror and comb. It’s up to you, if you want to do it
After that you have to go to counter B when your token number is called. They also will check your documents and will ask you to go to counter C. In counter C, they will check your documents again, put a cancel seal in your old passport and will ask you to go to the final guy, who will give you an acknowledgment.
If you are lucky the entire process should be done in around 2 hours. I was very un-lucky the day I went and ended by waiting there for 6 hours Hopefully you will be lucky enough
Complete police verification
Let me state the theoretical process first of how things should happen and then the practical process of how things actually happen.
The theoretical process is that your application is received by the police station, then come to your home to verify you stay there and then forward the application.
But in practice, this never happens. You should consider yourself to be lucky if they atleast have a courtesy to call you. For me they didn’t even give me a call. I waited for more than 3 weeks and went to the police station after that. That’s one of the reason why my passport got delayed.
The police station receive the application in a day or two after you visit the passport office. Wait for a week and if you don’t get a call, it is better to visit them. Make sure you carry all your documents and two passport size photos. Be prepared to be treated badly and also expect to wait there if needed. It is a police station and I guess you get the idea.
You receive your passport
Once the police forward your application you can expect to receive your passport by post with-in a week. Make sure you are either at home or have someone at home with your photo id.
Congratulations you have renewed your passport