This is a summary of my experience on researching and successfully making an application for a new passport booklet since I had exhausted the pages of my old passport.
As the need to apply for a new passport came up, I started talking to friends & family back in India to figure out the procedure. The biggest change has been the establishment of new Passport Offices now managed by TCS. My dad spoke to a few agents and they said the process was now entirely computerized and there was very little the agents were doing. You fill up the form online, get your appointment slot and visit the Passport office.
So I logged in to www.passportindia.gov.in and filled up the application form for my requirement. Next, you need to seek an appointment at one of the centres. I repeatedly tried getting a Tatkaal slot but it kept saying try the next day. Then a friend told me that slots open on Saturday evening and that’s when you should login sharp at 7.30PM and make your slot booking. So on Saturday evening I logged in and kept clicking till the system finally opened up. I got myself a Monday 11.30am slot at the Andheri office. [Click here for a Google Map view of the location]
Now this is the tough part. Actually more of a guessing game. And here is where talking to the travel agents and past applicants becomes useful. I think the thumb rule you should follow is take all legal documents you have to establish your identity, birth, address proof. I took my PAN Card, Voter ID Card, Old Passport, Wife’s Passport, Bank Statements for 1 year, PPF Passbook. I also took Electricity Bills and Society Bills but they were not acceptable since they were on my Father’s name.
Some Key Pointers:
I was told that a Society Letter is very important if you wish to make an address change in your passport. Also you will need other documents like Bank Statements / Pass Book etc with the new address on them. They didn’t accept Vodafone bills as location proof.
If you are going to change your Marital status, please carry the marriage certificate and ideally also the Passport of your spouse if possible. Or at least a photo copy of the passport.
All documents like Bank Statements should be for a full 1 year. It helps.
Now if you are staying with your parents in all probability your electricity and society bills are on the Father’s name in which case you need to have at least Bank Statements on your name and residence address.
Take at least 1 photo copy of all the crucial documents. Yes, even the 12 Bank Statements should be in duplicate. Do it, save yourself trouble at the passport office.
Don’t forget to carry a copy of your Application Document which gets generated online after your success in getting an appointment slot.
At the Passport Office
This place is chaotic. I strongly suggest you go well-rested, keep a stable mind and be patient. Just because they are now “More Computerized” it doesn’t translate into magic. I also recommend you take water, something to eat and something to kill the waiting time. You don’t even get a cup of tea inside. They do have a Photo Copy centre, so you don’t have to struggle for that bit.
After a security-check you are let loose into a room which have the application counters but you will feel you have entered what used to be the old trading floor in stock markets. Find the Tatkaal and Normal application queue and get in.
At the application counter I submitted my Application Document and my old passport in which I had exhausted all the pages. They asked for an identity proof and I shared a copy of my Voter ID card and the Bank statements. Which they asked me to get a photo copy done for all the 12 month statements. I also submitted a copy of my marriage certificate since this was the first passport change after my wedding. A copy of my wife’s passport also helped. At the counter they asked for originals, compared them to the photo copy and then returned the originals.
After this they generated a case file with all the papers and said this would go inside to the officer for signature. I don’t know who sees it but it came back with some initials in it and I was allocated a token number.
With the token number they let you move to the waiting room, where 2 big screens display the token number and the relevant desk you should go to when it comes up. Be attentive since the change is reflected on the screen so you may miss out on seeing them. Although I did see some of staff come in and keep alerting people on the announced numbers.
After a 30-45 min wait, the number came up and I was directed to a desk. This is where the TCS team is active. They take your application, re-check the documents, ask for the originals. They scan all this, made me re-check the application form – Name, details, spellings etc. to ensure an error-free print in the new passport. At this desk they also photograph you, take your fingerprint scan. You make the payment, a receipt is issued and the file is handed over to you again with a token. I paid Rs.3000 for a re-issue of passport under Tatkaal scheme.
Then you move to yet another waiting area. When the token number came up on the screen I met a government appointed officer to verify and do a double check on all the documents. The officer will ask for all originals, a few questions in case they feel something is inconsistent. If all is good and this officer is satisfied with your documents, you are moved to the Issuance desk.
At the Issuance desk, the officer once again takes yet another look at the same documents and gives the final blessing and determines if you need a Police Station approval or not. Thankfully, I didn’t have any address or name change so there was no approval needed from local police station. At this point all originals were returned to me and one slip was given and I was asked to see the next desk. This lady basically took the slip and issued an application successfully submitted confirmation. I had applied under Tatkaal and I asked how soon will it be delivered. She said typically it comes in 4 days, but let’s work with 7 days at the max.
Having heard that I had a little smile on my face and walked out feeling victorious. At least the submission was successful, now I had to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the magic to be completed.
And the magic happened
Yes, after reading all the negative news and episodes from others there was huge skepticism on the Tatkaal application actually making it in the specified time. But I was lucky. Passport Application made on Monday and I got the New Passport on Thursday.
NOTE: I am not a Passport Application expert, so I won’t be really helpful in answering any queries as such. Best thing is to Google or find people on twitter who may have done the process earlier.