How to apply for Passport? A Guide

HOW TO APPLY PASSPORT IN INDIA?

Author: Mr. Akanksh Deekonda, National Law Institute University, Bhopal.

What is a passport?

A passport is an official document of a country which is issued by the country’s government authorizing the holder’s citizenship and identity and allowing him to travel along with the countries under its protection.[1] Passport acts as a citizenship document giving Indian citizenship to the holder. It is regulated in India by the Passports Act, 1967. In India, the External Affairs Ministry issues the passport through 37 established passports offices all over the country and 180 embassies all over the world. The Ministry in service likewise centers to offer essential types of assistance through CPOs (Central Passport Organization) with its system of Passport Seva.[2] The NRIs can also avail of the passport through 185 Indian missions or posts. The Indian passports are Machine-readable and follow all the guidelines prescribed by the Indian Civil Aviation Organization.

Why does one need a passport?

The Passport serves the main purpose when the travel was done for education, Business visits, pilgrimage, and medical attendance, etc. it declares the citizenship of an individual. Pass-port plays an important role in instances like CAA or NPR where one needs to prove that they are citizens of the country.

Historical background of passport in India :

People in India were unaware of the system of passports before World-War-I. The British parliament subject to the conditions has legislated the “Defence of India Act”[3] which made it conditional for deportation from the Country with a Passport. Subsequently, the government of India enacted “The Indian Passports Act,1920” which was later renamed as “The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920”. The Ministry of Home Affairs took the task of issuing passports thereon where it lead the responsibility to the State Government to take the works involving such matters. Later the issue of passports had been allotted to the External Affairs Ministry where the state governments had taken the responsibility to work relating to Passport matters. As soon as India became independent, the “Regional Passport Offices” was created in 1954 which was later established as  ‘Central Passport Organisation’ in the year 1959. This body acted as subordinated to the Ministry. ‘The Passport Act,1967’ was legislated subsequently and there had been rules and regulations which were framed by the Central Government.

What are the general requirements for an Individual to obtain a Passport?

Any Individual can obtain a passport by following a clear procedure. The procedure can be done through an application that is to be made either online/ offline thereby submitting the required documents, having a verification in the Passport office where the documents have to be checked which may sometimes also lead to an additional verification through a police officer. The passport finally can be collected through post after successful verification.

i.       Application of passport

Online Application

The Passport Seva website/ Passport Seva App can be used by the individual for the application of Passport.

Website Link

New Users can Register themselves by clicking on the link below,

Register

Existing users can log in by clicking on the link below,

Login

You can track your application status by clicking on the link below,

Track

The candidate expected to have a Passport needs to enlist through the Passport Seva online portal. The enlister needs to login to the portal using his ‘login ID’ and ‘password’. The individual then needs to tap on ‘Apply for Fresh Passport/Re-issue of Passport’ interface.[4]

Following that, The candidate needs to enter the subtleties requested in the frame and get it submitted.  He then needs to pay the requisite amount and make an appointment booked. The applicant needs to get a print of the application receipt which contains the ‘Application Reference Number (ARN)’ and date of the appointment for document verification.

ii.     Submitting the documents/ verification

The candidate after completing his application needs to visit the ‘Passport Seva Kendra (PSK)’ or ‘Regional Passport Office (RPO)’ on the date of appointment made for him alongside with the documents.

Offline Application

The Applicant, for an offline application, either needs to buy/ download the form, fill the details asked for and finally, submit the form at the passport collection centres along with the relevant documents.

iii.    Police verification

The authorities can conduct Police Verification for additional verification of the applicant. This can also be done for the verification of the document(s) provided by him. The Police Verification normally conducted at the applicant’s residential address and also at his permanent address. This verification even makes the police enquire about the applicant regarding his Criminal Background. After successful verification of police and having sufficient reason for the police to believe that the applicant has not been involved in criminal activities, the police will communicate it to the Passport Office to issue the passport for the applicant.

If the Applicant works in the Public Sector, Police Verification may not be required on the submission Original Identity Certificate.[5]

If the police or the Authority has found out that the Information submitted by the applicant was false or the documents produced were forged, then he would be punished under the Passports Act, 1967.[6] The Applicant would be also be punished if he contravenes the conditions imposed by the authority. The act even punishes for the abetment to commit the above acts.[7]

iv.    Collection of Passport.

The passport will be finally issued when after the successful verification of the police. It is issued by the External Affairs Ministry comes through the Regional Passport Office and sent to the applicant through the post. The postman delivers it to the applicant within a week when the passport reaches his office.

If the applicant was not present during the delivery, The postman can exercise his discretion. He can either hand over the Passport to his relatives or can return it to the respective Regional Passport Office. The postman to handover the Passport to relatives must verify them with the help of their Identity card. 

What are the essential certificates required?

The documents which are essential and acceptable for issuance of the passport are:

–   The Government issued a Photo Identity card. It may be issued by the State Government or Central Government. It may also be issued by a Public Sector

–   The Aadhar card. It is issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

–   The Electors Photo Identity Card (EPID).

–   The Caste Certificates.

–   The Undertakings from Public Limited Companies.

–   The Arms licenses(If carries any).

–   If the Applicant is Old or a Widow or a Disabled person. The Pension documents issued for them. It may also include servicemen’s Pension Payment Order etc.,

–   All the Identity cards relating Income Tax(IT).

–   All the Passbooks issued by the Post office/ Bank etc.

–   If the Applicant is a Student, then the Photo ID Cards are issued by Government Recognized Educational Institutions.

–   The Ration card is issued for the family.

–   The Driving License. Such license is valid only when it satisfies the jurisdiction of the state in which Applicant submission has been made.

–   Birth Certificates are issued under the Registration of Births & Deaths Act.

–   If the Applicant is a minor,  Any three of the acceptable documents along with standard affidavit has to be submitted.[8]

The successful submission of all the above documents completes the procedure established by the law.[9] Subsequently, the Passport will be sent to the Applicant’s address through Post as mentioned earlier. The time taken is normally for three weeks. If the Applicant made a Tatkal Application, it would require 1 day other than the day of submission of documents without Police Verification and three subsequent working days if Police Verification is required for issuing the Passport.[10]

When can the Passport be re-issued?

The Passport can be re-issued for a person when there could be a change in existing particulars. This can be done even when the validity of such a passport expires or the pages exhausted. The expiration has to be within 3 years or expired for more than 3 years. The passport can also be re-issued when the existing one is lost, burnt, damaged by any means, etc. There wouldn’t be any Police Verification for re-issue. However, it depends on the discretion of the authority.

Conclusion

Technology had developed with time. Toda, things happen through hands even the application for a Passport. One can apply it sitting in his house, can track the status using ARN, can ask or clarify the queries within no time, can also get all the information required. The government is also running parallel with it. It made the process easy and convenient and charged a nominal fee to encourage people to apply for it. The process involving Passport Seva Kendras, online application form for Police Clearance Certificate, Grievance Redressal Mechanism made easy today. Therefore it saved a large amount of energy & time for people.

If still, you’re having any doubts, visit the Frequently asked questions section of Passport Seva official website.

FAQs


[1] Section 3, Passports Act, 1967.

[2] The office through which the passport application procedure takes place. Here, the application gets processed, verified and finally cleared for the issue.

[3] Defence of India Act, 1939.

[4] https://portal2.passportindia.gov.in/

[5] Annexure A, Passports Act, 1964.

[6] Section 12, Passports Act, 1967.

[7] Id.

[8] Annexure E, Passports Act, 1964.

[9] The Passports Act,1967, S 7

[10] G.S.R(General Statutory Rules) dated 18 January 2018 and  O.M No.VI/401/1/4/2013.

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