I still remember the struggle of getting my first passport. I had applied seeing few of my friends in the final year of college and time it took I had already passed out and was not there to collect it. Eventually my dad tried with some of his friends as one had to go to Guwahati in order to collect. Somehow that didn’t work out and Guwahati Passport office suggested that the passport can be sent over to Bangalore, where I had moved, and can be collected there. I will tell you this small problem became a ordeal which lasted more than 6 months. Unaware of the process, just to handover the passport that has been issued to me by Guwahati Passport Office where the police verification was already done, Bangalore Passport Office again wanted a police verification. And this led to multiple issues and so many visits to Police station and Passport office that I was really sad with the whole process. My police verification file was misplaced which I could figure out only by getting someone who knew people in Commissioner’s office (fortunately my elder brother knew someone who knew someone in Commissioner’s office) and it was re-initiated. After so much of hassle I got my passport and it took couple of years to get it.
That was year 2006 and I will fast forward to 2016 and my passport was up for renewal and this write-up gives you all that you need to know about the present process which is far more streamlined and cannot be compared to anything that we had in those days. So this is my experience in Bangalore during the month of Feb 2016.
The process now starts online by registering on this link. This maybe a little difficult task for people who are not computer literate which can be the case for many but hopefully there is a helpdesk setup for such people or volunteers can be encouraged to help them out. Possibly the agents that used to be earlier can take part in such case and still make some money by helping people as now there job is in trouble.
The application can be filled online or by downloading a pdf file where all the details needs to be included. You also need to choose as Normal or Tatkaal Passport application. The application fees of 1500 rupees needs to paid online and in case you are applying for tatkaal another 2000 rupees needs to paid at the Passport Seva Kendra. Please make sure if you want a Tatkal application, choose a Tatkal appointment slot only. It so happened that I had applied in Tatkal but somehow was not getting a Tatkal appointment and hence took a normal one and because of that I had to do some extra rounds that was not required if I had not done that. There will be an option to enable SMS on the application for which you need to pay 40 rupees, please make sure you do that,it is very helpful as you get SMS updates for all major things.
A day before your appointment you will get a SMS on your registered number.
Once online appointment is booked come at your alloted time, probably 15 minutes early should be fine otherwise you will not be allowed to enter. The first step at Passport Seva Kendra is to take a Token for which there may be queue. There are 4-5 counters in PSK on the outer ring road in Bangalore, one reserved for elderly, disabled and families with young kids and there is one reserved for Tatkal applicants. The person there would check for all your documents and filled application printout and would suggest to get any photo copies required and they have a copier machine inside the office which has normal charges. Once you have all the documentation according to their requirement you will be given a token number after which you can proceed to inner chambers where further processing will happen.
There are three counters that normally you will have to go through each one doing some checks, accepting fees for SMS and for Tatkaal applications. Once you enrol for SMS services you should get another SMS
The first counter will scan your documents for address proof and all relevant documentation. Ideally you should take as much documentation as possible Aadhar card with current address (you can update the address online by uploading a self attested proof on UIDAI website), company letter, phone bills attested copies by Airtel or any other (if you have stayed one year in that place this can be given as a proof for that), signed and sealed bank statement and passbook (one year statement if it has the current address) , LPG gas card and relevant documentation. Take all documentation that has current address mentioned. If you have not completed 1 year at the current address then you may have to go through multiple police verification on all the locations that you have lived in last one year. Its the first counter where you need to pay the Tatkaal fees as well but the decision to give you Tatkaal passport is based on the officials. The second counter is where they take your bio-metrics and if you are giving Aadhar it actually queries the Aadhar database and matches your bio-metrics and if successfully authenticated you will get an e-mail. Probably a day will come when Aadhar database and Crime Database can be integrated and police verification can be made easy. Here is the mail that I got instantly
On the third counter your files will be verified again and will be kept by the official. Existing passport will be cancelled. Once this is done your process is completed and you can go out. At the exit there is a feedback collected and receipt of your application handed. Once this done you should get another SMS giving the final status of your file. For me they had given Post Police Verification which mean Passport will be issued first and then police verification will be done. There can Pre Police Verification or no police verification based on your application
Here are some SMS that you should receive giving the status
Within a weeks time if Police Verification needs to done you should get a message like this
For me it was HSR layout Police Station and I got this message two times. First time I went met the officer and filled up the required forms. When I got the message again I went to meet him again and he said that application has come back for my previous travel details and he reconfirmed with the the travel. I had to go there couple of times and there was bribe or money involved. I was expecting someone to come down to my flat but I never heard back from them but I received this message which I hope completes the process
Meanwhile I received my Passport within a weeks time of my appointment and I did get another message
All in all I am satisfied by the process and it has been streamlined to a great extent. This is good way of implementing IT in government services for citizens. My only worry is what about people who are not comfortable with computers and online. I believe there is an opportunity to start a helpdesk which takes a fees and help everyone who is looking for a support.
Time Taken at PSK –> 3 hours 30 minutes (12:15 PM to 3:45 PM)
Number of Police Station Visits –> 2
Bride Paid –> Zero (Post man did ask for some “Baksish” and I gave him Rs. 50)
Hope this helps anyone else and not get into Agents as it can be easily “Do It Yourself” stuff.