My recent experience at the Passport office, Bangalore

So it was time to renew my son’s passport and make a new one for my daughter. We had been putting it off for some time, and then it dawned upon me that when it has to be done, we better get it done anyway. The last time when we had made my son’s first passport (as a six month old) and my re-issue of passport (I had to endorse my husband’s name on it), we had got hold of an agent. That was year 2006. We ended up shelling out almost 4K on the agent’s commission. So, this time we wanted to do the task ourselves. And after knowing about the PSK (Passport Seva Kendra) drive and what TCS had done to make the common man’s life easier, we thought of taking the plunge.

The first thing I did was read blogs and experiences of various people, and thankfully I found more of positive responses. Frankly, the process is pretty simple now.

1. Log on to http://passportindia.gov.in This is the official government website for anything to do with a passport. It is a well managed and neat website which gives all the information you need. You can create your user ID and password, again very quick.

2. Once you have your user ID and password, you can enter your account, and follow the simple instructions and download the application form. They have an option to fill up the application form live online, and submit there and then. But I would not recommend it as, if your internet connection goes kaput, you will be stuck in the middle of nowhere. I downloaded the form, and took my time to fill it up. One for my daughter: N, and other for my son: A.

3. After filling up the forms, you have an option to upload the same on the website. Once uploaded, you will get an Application Reference Number. You can even upload the supporting documents too. I did not, because when I called up the Passport Seva call centre, (the number is 1800-258-1800), they told me it is optional, and we need to anyway take all the documents to the PSK.

4. The next step is taking the appointment. PSKs do not entertain normal or Tatkal applications without an appointment, exceptions are there though. The first time we tried taking an appointment, it got all filled up in a matter of seconds once it was 6 pm. (The appointments are issued online from 6 pm onwards) We got a little jittery thinking that getting an appointment is pain-some. This was a Saturday. But on Sunday, we were better prepared…mentally. As soon as we logged in at 6 pm, we got N’s appointment, for Tuesday, 7th February 2012 at 12:30 pm . The very next moment when we tried for A, we were asked to try the next day. Yup, the appointment slots were filled in a matter of a minute. We got A’s appointment the next day, for Wednesday, 8th February at 2:45 pm.
5. Documents required for N (fresh passport for a 1.5 yr old with both my husband’s and my passport being valid)

a. The appointment letter print out
b. Attested photocopy of both parents’ passports. (first 2 and last 2 pages)
c. Filled up Annexure H (can be downloaded from the website itself)
d. Proof of address (If you are taking the bank statement, please ensure it is not a downloaded one. It has to be sealed and stamped by the bank officials) We took two BSNL bills, one of last yr, and one of present yr.
e. Birth certificate copy.
f. If the child is below 4 yrs, then passport size pic with a white background.
All the photocopies have to be self attested (The parents’ passport copies have to be attested by a Govt official though), and carry the originals.
Documents required for A (Renewal due to expiry of earlier passport. He is now 6 yrs old)
a. Old Passport in original with self-attested photocopy of its first two and last two pages. Any of the parent can self attest it.
b. Proof of present address
c. Annexure H
d. Print out of appointment letter.
6. On the day of N’s appointment:
We reached the Marathalli PSK at 12 pm. There was a queue outside for the 12:30 appointment, and we had about 15-16 people ahead of us. At exactly 12:30, the door was opened for us. The initial scrutiny is done as soon as we enter. There were different queues for normal, Tatkal, minors, senior citizens and Haj applicants. The queue for ‘minor’ was relatively small. ‘Minor’ here means less than 4 yrs of age. We got our document verification in ten minutes. And then they issued us a token. We took the token, and entered the main area where the process actually starts. There are 3 different counters. A, B and C. Counter A is handled by TCS where the documents are scanned, checked and entered into the system. They took a thumb print of N and also took her pic. They did not accept the pic which we had taken along. Counters B and C is handled by government officials and thats were the actual scrutiny of documents is done, and acceptance of the form is done. Both the counters were done with in about twenty minutes. We were told that there would be no police verification for minors till the age of 15, even though the address on our passports was different from our present address. We were out by 1 pm, and home by 1:30 pm.
7. On the day of A’s appointment:
We reached by 1:30, a little early than required actually. We were the 3rd in the queue. Once we were inside at 2:15, there was a huge rush and some back-log document verification going on. By the time our documents were verified and our name was called, it was 3:15. Even in the A,B, and C counters, the rush was more than the last day. Maybe because, we were in the normal line and not for minors. A pic, thumbprint and handprint was taken. By the time we were finished with all the formalities, it was almost 5 pm! Yeah, it was tiring…keeping in mind that N had been picked up from school directly to go to the PSK.
8. While exiting, they give you a print of the acceptance of your form, which you have to retain for reference. You can check the status of your application, online too.
All in all, a decent experience, better than going through an agent and spending almost 4 k or more, where the matter can be finished off in 1200 bucks. Pat on my back! 🙂
Will update when I receive the passports.