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Applying for an Indian Passport

Introduction

The Consular and Passport Division under the Ministry of External Affairs of India issues fresh and renewal passports to the citizens across India. The respective Regional Passport Offices located at various cities across Indian states issue the passports to the applicants.

The passports are normally issued under two categories i.e. Normal and Tatkal passports. Applicants can also apply for either 'fresh passports' and renewal of passport through 're-issue' of passport. A Normal Passport will take some time to be delivered post verification by law enforcement authorities. While a Tatkal Passport is normally issued within 3-5 days subject to certain conditions met by the applicant based on the level of clearance required i.e. pre-verification or post-verification.

The applicants may visit any of the designated Regional Passport Offices, Passport Sewa Kendras, and Post Office Passport Sewa Kendras across major Indian cities to avail the passport services. While the Regional Passport Offices is the nodal agency to issue a passport at respective state/UT, Passport Sewa Kendras and Post Office Passport Sewa Kendras function under these Regional Passport Offices to issue fresh, tatkal, and renewal of passport.

Of late, Regional Passport Offices have ceased to issue Normal and Tatkal Passports to the applicants. But the Regional Passport Offices only accept Enquiry of Passports and accept Passport applications only under exceptional circumstances. While otherwise, a Passport applicant can approach the nearest Post Office Passport Sewa Kendra or Passport Sewa Kendra functioning across various cities in states.

Passport Application Process

The application process for both fresh and re-issue of passport under Normal and Tatkal categories is completely online. An online application process ensures updating the citizen's application form in a hassle-free manner and ensures ease of fee payment through the online payment system. The below are the generally followed steps to obtain a passport-

  • Online Application-An applicant has to make an online request to book an appointment to visit the nearest passport office Prior to this step, an applicant has to ensure to fill an online passport application form available under various categories like Normal and Tatkal type.

    An applicant may log in to www.passportindia.gov.in to apply online and select either 'Fresh' passport in case of a fresh passport application or select 'Re-issue' to renew the existing passport application. A choice of a 36-page passport booklet or a 60-page passport booklet is available to both fresh and renewal applicants. The fees for both the booklets vary and the information for the same is available on the registration page.

  • ARN Receipt-An online application once successfully submitted will generate an ARN receipt, upon payment of fees. The ARN receipt will be accepted as a reference for appointments at the passport offices. ARN receipts should be displayed to the officials at the counter for reference along with necessary identity proof and this is the key document that contains the applicant's details and fees paid to obtain the passport.

  • Scheduling an Appointment-The The applicant may schedule the appointments as per the days of availability of slots and the dates for the same are mentioned on the website prior to an appointment booking. The applicant has to approach the nearest passport center as per the appointment booked with the ARN receipt and all the necessary documents with photocopies.

  • The Appointment Day- An applicant has to arrive 15 minutes ahead of the appointment at the passport office and wait for his turn for the token number to be issued. On the appointment day, a token will be issued upon producing the ARN receipt and confirmation of documents available with the applicant at the reception counter.

    An applicant has to go through several counters inside the passport office to get the process of ARN receipt verification and other credentials verified. (The documents will be verified and returned to the applicant.)

  • Status of Passport Application-After successful completion of the appointment and verification of documents at the counters, an applicant is provided with an acknowledgment receipt through an SMS and registered email address. The number on the receipt may be used to track the status of the passport despatch process online in the passport portal. The Passport is generally delivered within the stipulated time and the applicant can track the progress online and may also follow-up with the respective passport center through online mode for delivery status.

  • Dispatch of Passport- The passport is then delivered to the applicant to the registered address by India Post's 'Speed Post' service. The final dispatch of the passport booklet is subject to certain conditions met including verification by law enforcement authorities.

  • Validity of Passport- A Passport is generally valid for up to 10 years, from the date of the issue. Under exceptional circumstances, the Passport may be valid for at least 5 years, in case of minor applicants.

Catergories of Passport Application

An applicant has the option to apply for a passport under two different categories. They are-

  1. Normal Passport
  2. Tatkal Passport

1.Normal Passport-

An applicant can apply online for a normal (ordinary) passport by paying the stipulated fees online. An applicant has book an appointment date as per the availability and approach the nearest passport issuing center. After the appointment process is complete the passport is issued subject to meeting certain conditions including verification from law enforcement authorities.

The passport is then delivered by Indian postal department's 'Speed Post' service within 30 days or may vary in some instances. An applicant has an option to track the status of his passport application and despatch status online with the help of the acknowledgment number that is provided after the successful completion of the appointment.

2.Tatkal Passport-

Under the Tatkal passport scheme, a passport is delivered to the applicant within a short span of time than the normal passport despatch wait time. An applicant has to pay an additional fee as stipulated by the Regional Passport Office and has to meet certain additional conditions set by the passport office.

The passport will be dispatched to the applicant within a week subject necessary verification by law enforcement authorities and depends on case to case basis. The passport applicants requiring urgent travel generally opt for Tatkal passport-subject to meeting certain conditions as stipulated by the respective authorities.

Passport Categories

Categories of Passport

Passport TypeDelivery TimeAppointment Type

Normal Passport

30 Days

Normal

Tatkal Passport

3-5 Days

Tatkal

Passport Issuance Schedule

The Passport appointments issued at Post Office Passport Sewa Kendras (POPSK) and Passport Sewa Kendras (PSK) function only for five days a week from Monday through Fridays. Thus no appointments are allocated on all the Saturdays of the month and on the days of special clearance drives for applicants under both Normal and Tatkal categories. As most of the applicants are working professionals, there is now a necessity to make the passport application process available even on Saturdays, which is the weekly off for most of the passport applicants under the Normal Category.

With the increasing demand to obtain Tatkal and Normal category passports, the suggestion will highly benefit the working professionals who otherwise face logistical inconvenience for an appointment on any of the four-day working hours at the Passport offices. The move will also help respective Regional Passport Offices to dispose-off application requests quickly, thereby easing the online appointment availability with shorter wait times.

Thus it may now be considered to look into arranging a passport application appointment process to at least on the First and Third Saturdays of every month at all POPSKs and PSKs. The suggestion may be considered in the best interest of working professionals who otherwise enjoy a weekly-off on Saturdays and thus may avail the facility in a hassle-free manner even on Saturdays.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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