However, things have improved remarkably with the introduction of Passport Seva Kendras (PSK). Purpose of this post is to share with general public my personal experience with PSK.
Why is passport processing so complicated?
Think of one identity card that can help you get a phone connection, register vehicle, register a home/land, acts as universal proof of identity/address, gives you a stamp of Indian citizenship and enables you to travel across the world — that single piece of identity is PASSPORT. Hence it is important for us to plan properly before applying for new/reissue passport.
Do not involve brokers
In most cases, you would not require the help of any brokers at all, especially when you are applying for Normal passport in PSK. It is total waste of money and unnecessarily encourages corruption when some work can be done just by following rules. Remember, we all can be Anna Hazare in our own way.
|1. Name, Gender||4. Address|
|2. Photo identity||5. Parents name|
|3. Date of birth||6. Spouse name|
Key thing to remember is that for new passports, you have to provide documentation proof for all above fields. But for reissue, you need to provide proof of only those fields that are changing (for example – new address OR adding spouse name etc).
Process at PSK
Following flow summarizes the current process. The description for each step is my personal experience while getting the passport renewed at PSK in Bangalore.
Step 1 Arrange Documentation
I had to provide additional proof for address and spouse name since these 2 fields are different from old passport. Address proof is last 1 year statement of landline. You do not have to include all 12. Just 1 from last year and 1 from current year will do. Since I do not have the original marriage certificate, had to get Annexure D signed by a notary. You can easily search for notary in your city on internet. This will typically be a layer who charges for the service. The guy I went to charged Rs.350.
Agents and brokers will confuse you with all sorts of things but stick to the basic proofs and you should be good. Even if you miss something, the worst thing that will happen is the document screening guy in Passport office will point it and you will have to take a new appointment. Hardly a matter of 2 days delay.
Step 2 Take Appointment
Go to http://www.passportindia.gov.in site and register your user id. The best way to submit application is to download the PDF form, update it with your details and upload the generated XML file. This way it is easier to make changes later since you always have a local copy of the application form.
Difficult part is getting the appointment. The slot open 2 days before at 6 PM and get filled up in 15 minutes. So, best thing to do is to practice slot booking before 6 PM so that you are aware of the screens in process. At 5.59 PM, the system automatically logs off all users – so no point in getting in before 6 PM thinking you will get any preference.
The agents/brokers create a mess of the situation by opening multiple login ids and accessing through many machines for the same user. This increases load on the system and slows down the whole process. One more point to avoid brokers/agents.
I went to the PSK in Outer Ring Road, Bangalore. There is a huge dedicated parking space. Process inside PSK is similar to other PSKs. You can refer to this blog post for details – Process Inside PSK
For normal application, police verification will be done before passport is issued.
Additional notes for processing under ‘normal’ scheme
90% of the processing time gets wasted at the police clearance stage. About 2 weeks from the date of application submission, visit your police station and check if they have received the clearance request. If yes, you can get is closed immediately. In Bangalore, the police stations have a separate time slot for such queries – Sunday 10 AM to 1 PM.
If you are unsure of some document required for application submission, do not get tempted to reach out to an agent/broker. Simply take an appointment at PSK and the person at first counter will tell you what exactly is missing.
15-Nov-2011: Submitted the application today. Status shows that the application is sent for police verification. Will update this post as and when there is a change in status.
22-Nov-2011: End of week-1. No further updates.
29-Nov-2011: End of week-2. No further updates.
06-Dec-2011: End of week-3. No further updates.
18-Dec-2011: Read in an online article that Banaglore police stations have a specific time for verification status checking: 10 AM to 1 PM on Sunday. Went to the nearby PS with my wife. There were some other applicants like us already. The constable pulled out a big file which had some 300 verification applications and that is when I realized these guys are not going to residences for verification but are expecting people to come to PS. Anyway, make sure you carry 3 photographs, proof of address (if different from expired passport), proof of marriage (if not already endorsed in expired passport). Paid the constable Rs.100 bribe. He said it will take another 3 weeks for passport to be delivered.
06-Jan-2012: 3 weeks since polic verification. Still no change in status of the application. A visit to Police Commissioners office will bring some clarity but will have to take a full day leave from work for that.
09-Jan-2012: Auspicious day this. Finally there is a change in status of the application. It now reads “Passport application has been granted and Police Verification Report has been submitted. You would receive an email/sms once the passport is dispatched.”. It is now the turn of passport office to start a new delay phase. Wait and watch.
12-Jan-2012: Yet another surprise! Status now has changed to “Passport XXXX has been dispatched on 12/01/2012 via Speed Post. Speed Post Tracking Number is XXXX”. What this says is that the entire processing delay is due to police verification. Will add one last update once I receive the passport, hopefully in 3 days.
13-Jan-2012: Finally, this is going to be the last update. Received the passport today. Happy happy happy