Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Passport Seva

* This post is only for informational purpose, based on my experience. Also, please do not infer any linguistic features (such as irony, etc.) from what follows:

My passport expired. It could no longer serve me for the greater purposes of seeing the world. Now, to get a new one I had to start the process. Within 13 days of expiry, I started on application for the passport. For the better (for most part) Bangalore has a 'Seva Kendra' or 'Service Center' to go to (presently only in the cities of Bangalore and Chandigarh).
  • The process starts with reading up the documentation requirement. For address proof, I had a gas connection receipt, SBI passbook, Citibank letter of address acknowledgement. If you are lucky to have a BSNL landline connection, that is even better.
  • Further, I carried marriage certificate and degree certificate, all in original and 100 copies (all self attested) of which they ultimately picked only one.
  • You need to create a login ID on the passport seva kendra website (google it), and create a new application. Here, you need to provide most of the details such as new address, service needed (new or re-issue, addition of details, etc.). Typically they ask for two references from the city you live in. You can count on your relatives or close friends for that.
  • After successfully logging in (which takes 3-4 attempts every time) and completing the form, take an appointment. From what I know, and have experienced an appoint is a must (it will increase success rate and comfort level). Don't look shocked if you see appointments are available only after 15-20 days from the date your watch is showing. Take a print-out of the appointment letter which carries more important details than just appointment date and time (e.g. please be present at the venue 30 minutes before the appointment). 
  • Once you are done with this, start collecting all possible address proofs, and other documents to strengthen your case. Please bear with the authorities there if they discard most of it (and call yourself lucky that they accepted a precious one to grant you a passport).
  • On the day of appointment, get up early and start preparing yourself for unavoidable delays at the office. Reach on time (leave your helmet locked on the vehicle - they don't allow gear to save your head). Stand in the line, pass through the mild security checks.
  • Once inside, don't say, Oh God where have I come - for you have come to the right place. There will be hundreds of people in different queues. Except for a couple of lines where you can guess something scribbled to be 'Token' you can pick your lane, get through first round of document verification. Once OKayed by the TCS employee, they offer you a token of appreciation. This one you will do good to keep all the time with you. On the token you'll see counters: A-->B-->C--> exit.
  • It's much more than just three counters and exit. Based on the token order, you'll be asked to go to counter A (scanning of documents, photo+finger prints and payment of fees). After waiting for another hour or so, you'll get to see someone at counter B, where they verify all the documents and originals etc. You may be asked to provide some additional document for which you will be sent back to counter A (this will be quick though).
  • Finally, after a couple of hours of much bench-warming in the waiting area, you'll find yourselves at Counter C, where they accept the 'File' and you are done.
Well, you are done just for the day. Then there is a different experience of waiting for the real passport.

Yes, but good thing is that they don't charge you for that!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had to renew my passport in 2009 - did it through Indian consulate in San Francisco. Just mailed the documents and form, which was available online, and a DD, and I got my new passport in a couple of weeks. I could even track the stage it was at online. If you go in person, you can get the passport the same day :)

- Rajani