The experience of applying and getting a passport can sometimes be an overwhelming experience as it requires meticulous documentation, attention to detail, and a number of processes before you can get your hands on your own passport.
It can be especially daunting for people doing this entirely by themselves with no guidance. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry. We have put together a comprehensive ‘how-to’ guide on everything you need to know to successfully and painlessly get yourself a passport.
Why do you need a passport?
Photo source: Wikimedia
For starters, a passport is a form of identification issued to Indian citizens that enables a person to travel internationally. Additionally, it is also used as a proof of Indian citizenship and can be used to get documentation like the Aadhaar Card and number. Hence, even if you don’t plan on traveling internationally any time soon, it makes good sense to have a passport.
Before you apply for a passport here are the documents you will need
The authorities will only issue you a valid passport if you have documents proving the following:
- Your date of birth, which can be proven with a birth certificate.
- An identity certificate along with a photograph. This will be verified by Passport Seva.
- Your address proof
- Proof of your Indian citizenship. This will also be verified by Passport Seva Kendra.
Expert tip: Make sure you have a good internet connection. The process of filling documents can take a while and if the connection is lost, it can cause problems. We suggest having a net speed of 512kbps and above.
How to apply
You can apply online by registering on the official website. First-time applicants will be asked to create a fresh account. Create a login ID, set a password and enter the Captcha code along with the other details you are required to fill in and then click on the Register button at the bottom of the page.
Click here to register
The application type
If you want a new passport or want a reissue, go to the Applicant homepage, which will become accessible once you register. Here you can click on the following option – Fresh passport / Passport Reissue. You will be taken through the next processes accordingly.
The other options you can choose from are:
- Diplomatic passport / official passport
- Police clearance certificate (PCC)
- Identity Certificate
An official passport is issued to those who travel on businesses regarding the Indian government on an official basis and a Diplomatic Passport is issued to diplomats.
Since majority of the Indian population travels under the regular passport, we will focus on how that is acquired moving forward. And that begins with filling in the application form.
Photo source: Wikimedia
The application form
This can be downloaded online or it can be picked up at post offices or at passport offices. We recommend downloading the form from the website as it will cut down on the time spent standing in long lines.
It can be downloaded here
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Expert tip: While the form can be filled online, without having to download or upload it, the process can take longer. We suggest you download it, fill it without an internet connection and then upload it. The form is machine readable and hence should be filled in with care. Make sure the writing is in all caps and make sure to use a ball point pen. Also, do not fold the form or smudge it.
In case you choose to finish the process online, as mentioned earlier, make sure you have a fast connection that you are sure you will not lose.
Now you can schedule your appointment
When you go to the Applicant Homepage, you will be able to click on an option called ‘Pay and Schedule Appointment.’ While the process is free for Diplomatic and Official Passport, a regular one can cost depending on the number of pages requested (36 or 60), age of the applicant and the type requested (tatkal or regular). You will also have to pay for Reissue.
You can find out how much you need to pay using this calculator
Expert tip: You can either pay through internet banking or through a challan. We suggest paying through online gateway as you will be able to book an appointment immediately afterward. If you choose to do so by challan, then you need to take one issued by an SBI branch. It will take the bank two days to verify your Application Reference Number. Once the payment is processed, you can apply for an appointment online.
Once the payment has been processed, you will get an Appointment Confirmation and an Appointment Number. There will be a button on the bottom of the page that states – Print Application Receipt. Click it and print it out.
Make sure to review all the details provided before hitting that icon and verify everything carefully. Once completed, you will get the Passport Application Receipt that will also include details on the appointment, including the time.
Expert tip: Try your hardest to not miss your appointment date for the Passport Seva Kendra. In case you know that through some unavoidable circumstance you are going to miss it, then reschedule it online beforehand. You are only allowed to reschedule or cancel twice in a year, so be judicious. If you don’t show up for your appointment, then you will have to re-do this process all over again and that won’t be fun.
Now you have reached the Passport Seva Kendra
Make sure you are well-ahead of time at the PSK where you will be issued a Token. Carry all your documents and self-attested copies. If you show up after your appointment time, then you will not be issued a token and will have to redo this all over again. Applicants have to enter alone to the PSK but there are exceptions made for those with disabilities, minors, senior citizens and those who are not literate.
Expert tip: Don’t carry electronic items like cameras. And also make sure there aren’t any dangerous objects in your person. They are not allowed inside the PSK.
Once all the documents are processed, you will be provided an acknowledgement receipt.
Police verification process
About 3-4 days after your visit to the PSK, you will be summoned for the Police Certification verification wherein you will have to present yourself at the stipulated police station.
Once the verification is completed, the documents will be processed. It takes anywhere between 25-30 working days for a passport to be issued after this.
One can track the status of their passport here
Congratulations! Now you can travel anywhere in the world as long as you have the right visas in place. But that’s another post.