Ever since 2007, when the Indian authorities approved Passport Seva Project, the process of getting or renewing a passport in this south Asian country has been substantially eased up so that citizens can facilely access services without having to lose themselves in bureaucracy.
The new system introduced online applications, making passport issuance more approachable, transparent, secure and reliable.
By accessing passport.gov.in, Indian citizens can get all the information they need on how the system works, which the required documents are, location of passport offices, means of passport tracking and steps they must take to get their passports issued.
Passport Seva has re-organized front-end activities in passport offices, putting issuance, police linking, centralized printing and dispatch into place. There are 77 Passport Seva Kendras available throughout the country, where residents can go and obtain their travelling document without spending hours standing in line or filling out stacks of papers. The processing time has become considerably shorter as the stages of submitting the applications have been simplified.
Submission Flow at Passport Seva Kendra
The first thing you, as an Indian citizen, have to do in order to acquire a passport is to visit the Passport Seva portal in order to apply for this document. After filling in the e-form and uploading the documents (optional), you can get a valid appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra which is the closest to your address. However, keep in mind that it is mandatory to complete the online payment to get the appointment scheduled automatically. You can pay through your credit card, internet banking or SBI Bank Challan.
Once you have done that, you have to print out your receipt containing your application reference number (ARN) and take it with you on the day of the appointment. You should arrive there 15 minutes earlier.
After passing the security check and the guard clears your entrance to the premises, you will be asked to show your ARN for verification. Then, you will be referred to the Token Issuance area, where you will be given a token number and all your documents will be pre-checked and filed by specialized personnel. This process takes about 15 minutes.
The token is destined to guide you through the submission flow, indicating through color codes the stages you must undertake in order to start and finish the process.
Next, you will be directed to another chamber where, upon entrance, you must show your token number to a security guard to get in. Section A is the first stage of the actual application process. This is where you will have your photo and biometrics captured and your documents thoroughly verified, organized, scanned and uploaded by courteous personnel. You will also have to pay a fee, if you have not already done that online. It will only take about ten minutes to go by all four desks and complete the steps.
Section B is where you will have to wait for about 15 minutes until your token number is called. There are TV monitors available where you can watch when your turn comes. This is where Passport Office Government employees verify your file for correctness and completeness and sign it for you to be able to move to Section C.
As with the previous stage, you will have to check the display screen and pay attention to hear when your token number is called. In this section, your documents will be checked again, and a Government employee will tell you whether your file is complete or you need more documents in order to be granted a passport.
If everything is in order, you will be referred to the acknowledgement counter and you will be given a feedback form to fill out. You will collect your Acknowledgement Letter and, with that done, you will have finished the process.
The Acknowledgement Letter will help with find out when you will get your passport, tracking the status of your application online.
Useful Tips and Recommendations
Most residents who have gone through the process at Passport Seva Kendra have stated that the waiting time has been significantly cut down and the process is fairly comfortable and organized. However, to make things even easier, you should make sure that you do the self-attestation of the required documents and carry photocopies of the originals (marriage certificate, address proof). Take a ball point pen with you, as you are not allowed to fill out forms in ink or pencil.
The Indian Ministry of Internal Affairs advises against paying agents to get you through the submission process faster. The steps are easy to follow and guidelines are offered for free on passport.gov.in. No agent is authorized to intermediate such services and cannot influence passport issuance.
It is also important to know that you can enter the premises of Passport Seva Kendra with cell phones and car keys, but Laptops, cameras or iPads are not allowed inside.