If you read my recent posts, you know I went to the passport office for the purpose of document verification. It went as smooth as it could, but before all this, before submitting the form, I didn't have the slightest clue what all I had to do, and I learnt most of the technicalities from various sources on the Internet. So here I am, writing this guide.
There are three parts to this guide, as well as the entire process. Firstly, there is the online form filling part, followed by the onsite documents verification and lastly the police verification. Before you get into the process, make sure you have some documents. Documents that are required vary person to person according to your details (you can use the document advisor on their official website), but you'll basically need one proof of date of birth, one residential proof and a Non ECR category proof. Ideally, you should keep at least 2 of the former two proofs handy (You'll know why in a moment). For most of you reading this, the Non ECR would mean SSC (matriculation) certificate. Yes, that is all. In my case, I had my birth certificate as the proof of date of birth, BSNL landline bill as the residential proof and matriculation certificate as the proof of non ECR.
- Handy tip; Since the form is quite large compared to other forms you might have filled and requires your attention, if you happen to take a break while filling in the form, you can click the 'Save my details' link at the bottom of the page to save your progress in case of any failure.
- Go to Passport India's website and click "New User Registration" link. Create an account on the following page. NOTE that this is just an account so the details here are of little value.
- After setting up the account and verifying the email address, go to 'Applicant's Home' and select apply for a fresh passport. You will be presented with options to either download the form or fill it up online. Since you are reading this article on the Internet, you can freely select the 'fill online' option.
- Passport Type: You should select the 'fresh passport' radio button, since this is your first application. Otherwise, accordingly. The type of application can be any one of 'normal' or 'tatkal' depending on your need, and so is the option for passport booklet size. It will increase the total cost of the application, if you go for them. I kept it to normal and 36 pages.
- Applicant Details: Add your personal details here. Triple check everything for spellings and numbers. It will save you a lot of headache. Try to enter as much information as possible, and also cross check if the same details are present on your document proofs. Give special attention to spellings in your name.
- Family Details: Fill in your family details. Same instructions as that for applicant details.
- Present Residential Address: Fill in your address, and make sure it matches with the one on your bills and other documents that you are planning to submit at the passport office. You'll need to provide previous address proof if your current address is newer than 1 year (i.e. you are living in your current residence for less than 1 year)
- Emergency Contact: Person to contact in any case of emergency.
- References:People in your neighbourhood who can confirm your identity and address, like friends, relatives or any neighbours.
- The next few pages should be usual form filling, and doesn't carry much information weightage, compared to the previous sections. Once done, verify the details of your passport. Verify it again, and ask someone else to do it too.
- Verify the self declaration, and when sure everything is all right, submit the application.
- This will do for now. Your application is filled and ready. Now you can browse to the 'View Saved/Submitted' applications and your application should be there. There are some things that you can do from here. First of all, you will have to 'pay and schedule the appointment'. If you had been following as per the normal procedure, you should have an invoice of INR1500 here. You can either pay online or as a chalan from SBI. I would, of course, recommend you to pay it online, and save yourself the hassle.
- The payment process is similar to any online transaction. No surprises here.
- After the payment, the system will show you available appointment dates and their locations. Select one from those, or you can schedule it later. Select the nearest one and note the exact time. They don't tolerate latecomers and you would have to reschedule the appointment if you miss it, even by 10 minutes.
- After confirming the appointment date, take a printout of the application, get your documents attested with 2 copies of each.
- You are now ready for the next step, visit to the PSK - Passport Seva Kendra
Passport Seva Kendra
- Depending upon how far you stay from the PSK, try to reach the place at least 30 minutes ahead of reporting time. PSK will have an ATM machine, snacks counter, zerox machine, PCs with Internet access and washroom, in case you were wondering. Make sure you carry the application letter's copy, document proofs (original and attested zerox), extra documents that you have.
- Keep the documents handy. When it is time, you will first be checked by the security for valid documents and application letter, along with other security stuff. Only the applicant is allowed inside the PSK, unless there is a special exception or your applicant is a minor.
- After you get inside the PSK, you should notice queues, with some marked 'tatkal'. Get into the non-tatkal queue (of course, if applicable). You will be asked to show your originals and zeroxed documents. The person at the counter should inspect them and put them into a folder marked 'confidential'. Along with it, you will receive a token slip. Keep it infront of you and note the token number.
- Next up, you will be waiting for your token number to appear on the screen. When it appears, note the associated counter number (like 'A13') carefully.
- Counter A: Here, you will have to show your documents. The person at the counter will assess them, ask you to add something if something is missing and point out other errors. It is likely that you will get stuck at this stage if there are any problems with your documents. If not, then you'll be asked to smile for a photo, and give away your finger and thumb prints. You'll also be asked if you would like to have SMS alerts for further notifications at INR35. Get it if you need, although not necessary. If all goes well, they'll ask you to move to the next counter.
- Counter B: Same procedure goes here, only the document verification is done strictly at this stage. Every detail is cross checked line by line, and errors are noted. You'll be told if you have any errors that need to be taken care of. Otherwise, you are good to go.
- Counter C: Here, the person will check the originals lightly, question you a thing or two if there were any errors at the B or A counter, and if everything goes right, the person will keep your zeroxed documents' folder and ask you to submit the token slip.
- Submit the token slip at the next counter, and you will receive an acknowledgement stating the status of your application, and the token slip back. Fill in the feedback form on the back of the token slip, and submit it to the exit security.
- If your acknowledgement form reads 'status: granted' then it means all went well. You can return home and wait for the call from your local police station for police verification. In case it doesn't, then the exact error will be written. Rectify those and visit the PSK on the given appointment date, and get your application granted.
Now that you are done with things from your side, you can wait for a call from the police department of your area. Meanwhile, you can visit your profile and click 'track application status' to check on what stage your application currently is. During this time, authorities will inspect your civil/criminal records and stuff like that to make sure you're a good citizen. It should not be a problem for most of us.
The police verification step for me involved visiting the police station with identity proof, along with two references who came with me to the police station. For me, it was my school friend and other school friend's dad. Didn't take much time, a couple of hours and we were done.
Assuming that you are done with the police verification, the police will send the recommendations back to the passport office. It would contain details and depending on those, they'll further enquire and review your application or they will send the passport to print. If the latter is the case, then you can expect your passport within a month via speed post.
Edit Got the passport via mail in about 15 days after the police verification. All in all, a good experience.