Passport is a document used for the purpose of travelling to foreign nations.This travel document is issued by the government of nations to its citizens on application.Passport is used as an identity for nationality of a person.For example,If a person possess U.S passport then he will be considered as US National.And the passport serves as one of the valid identity of a person such as Aadhar card,Driving license,etc., There are certain rules and procedures to get passport in India under Passport Act,1967. No person shall depart from, or attempt to depart from, India unless he holds in this behalf a valid passport or travel document[i].
Historical background of passport in India :
There was no system of having passport in India before World War I.During the First World War the government enacted Defence of India Act 1914 which made it compulsory to possess a passport to enter into or depart from India.After the end of war,the Act expired after the period of six months but still Government of India wanted to have such system of passport and enacted Indian Passports Act,1920 and it was renamed as The Passport (Entry into India) Act,1920.Later the issue of passports had been allotted to Ministry of External Affairs where the state governments had taken the works relating to such matters.In 1954,five Regional Passport Offices had been created which initiated the establishment of separate organization in 1959 called ‘Central Passport Organisation’ as a subordinate body to the Ministry.Subsequently the Passport Act,1967 was enacted and Central Government has been empowered to frame rules in this regard.
Present passport authorities in India :
Currently we have 36 Passport Offices across India with additional 93 Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) and 412 Post Ofiice Passport Seva Kendras (POPSKs).As per the guidelines issued by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),all Indian passport offices issues machine readable passports to its citizens.Through Indian Missions and Post Abroad,the authorities provide Passports,Consulars and Visa to Overseas/Foreign Nationals.
Procedures for applying fresh passport:
- Now the time has changed a lot with the development of technology and the passport is not an exception to it.Before the advent of online services,a person who needs a passport must go to Passport Seva Kendras(PSKs) and buy the application at the service counter.
- After filling the necessary details in the application,he/she should submit the same to the Citizen Service Executive(CSE) at the service counter along with the photocopies of required documents which have to be submitted as per the rules.
- After that, some procedures will be done such as procuring your thumb impression or signature,capturing your photograph and fingerprints,etc., and finally the applicant should make payment for further verifications.
- Once the Application Reference Number is given,then the applicant must go to the Verification counter with all the original documents for verification of the application.After the completion of verification process,the applicant will get a acknowledgement letter which shows the status of his/her application at the Granting counter.
- If they(authorities) need any further verification or any clarification regarding the details provided by the applicant,then Police Verification will be conducted at both present residential address and permanent address of the applicant.In most of the cases,Police Verification will be conducted to check the criminal background of applicant if any.After the completion of all required process,the passport will be sent to the address of the applicant through register post.
- If the applicant is not present at the time of delivery of post,then his relatives can receive the passport after showing valid identity card.But this completely relies upon the discretion of Post man and if he wishes he will hand them over to the concern person or he will return it to the respective Regional Passport Office.
Online passport services[ii]
The Government of India has introduced an online portal exclusively for passport services.To apply for passport a person should register through Passport Seva Online Portal and fill the required details in online application and submit the same.Then the applicant must make online payment for scheduling the appointment because he/she would not be served at the PSKs without prior online appointment.Then he or she can take a print out of the application receipt which contains Application Reference Number(ARN), as a proof of appointment.But it is not mandatory to carry the print out copy of application receipt and SMS with your appointment details is enough proof during the visit to Passport Office.
If a person couldn’t make attendance on the scheduled date,then he can reschedule the dates upto two times within the period of one year.If the applicant hasn’t visited the Passport Seva Kendra within 90 days from the date of appointment,then he must resubmit the application to schedule the appointment.Only emergency/medical cases and pre-approved categories can only visit the PSKs without prior appointments and such services will be provided at the discretion of in-charge or Passport Officer.
The applicant also need to fill the Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) Application form to get Police Clearance Certificate in case of Global Entry Program(GEP) .While visiting the Passport Seva Kendra on appointment date,the applicant must carry all the original documents for verification.
The following are the list of acceptable documents for issuance of passport :
- Aadhar card issued by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
- Electors Photo Identity Card (EPID).
- Service Photo ID card issued by Central or State Government or any Public Sector Undertakings or Public Limited Companies.
- SC/ST/OBC Certificates
- Arms licenses.
- Pension documents such as Old Age Pension Order,Widow Pension Order,Ex servicemen’s Pension Payment Order,etc.,
- Income Tax Identity cards
- Bank/Post office Passbooks.
- Student Photo ID Cards issued by Government Recognized Educational Institutions with regard to full time courses.
- Ration cards.
- Driving License (valid with the jurisdiction of State of submission of application)
- Birth Certificates issued under RBD Act.
If the person is below the age of 18 years,then he has to submit any three of the acceptable documents along with standard affidavit as per Annexure-E.Government/Statutory/Public Sector employees will be given passport without Police Verification if they submit Original Identity Certificate as per Annexure A.And once all the procedures are completed as per the rules,then the Passport will be sent to the applicant’s residential address through Speed Post.The duration for passport may vary for different classes of passports or different categories of passports[iii].
In case of normal application,passport will be sent to the applicant address within three weeks from the date of submission of all required documents.And in case of tatkaal application for passport[iv],if there is no Police Verification required,then the applicant will be expected to receive his/her passport within one day excluding the date of submission of application and if the Police Verification is required on Post-Passport Issuance basis then the applicant can expect his/her passport on the third working day excluding date of submission of application.
A person can also apply for re-issue of passport under the following reasons:
1. Change in existing personal particulars
2. Validity expired within 3 years / due to expiry
3. Validity expired more than three years ago
4. Exhaustion of pages
5. Damaged passport
6. Lost passport.
In most of the cases,the authorities won’t ask for Police Verification except if the passport’s validity expired more than three years ago.
If any person has furnished false information or forged documents or contravenes the conditions of passport or abets the offence punishable[v] under the Passports Act,1967,then he will be punished under section 12 of the Act.
Grievance Redressal Mechanism:
If there is any need of information or grievances related to passport application,then the applicant can register their grievances in the passport portal[vi] or they can call National Call Centre (1800-258-1800) which operates on the basis of 24×7 or can access help desk or can seek remedy from Public Grievance Cell under Ministry of External Affairs[vii].Additional remedy is also available under Centralized Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS)[viii] which enable the aggrieved person to lodge complaints from anywhere at anytime and also ensure speedy redressal.
These online grievances redressal portals facilitates the complainants to track the status of grievance redressal through system generated unique registration number.In addition to this,we have Passport Adalats and Passport Mela which will be organized by Passport Office from time to time.
Through the advanced technology,now it is easy to apply for passport in India.Even we can track the status of our application through Application Reference Number in the official passport portal.And the government has made number of rules to make our process easy and convenient such as booking prior online appointments at PSKs,Grievance Redressal Mechanism,online application form for Police Clearance Certificate,etc., In short,we can’t deny the fact that online passport services have reduced the difficulties and also have saved time and energy of people.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] The Passports Act,1967, S 3.
[ii]Online form submission https://portal2.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/online/annexureAffidavit (last visited Aug 27th,2019,8.31 PM (IST) )
[iii] The Passports Act,1967, S 7.
[iv]G.S.R(General Statutory Rules) dated 18 January 2018 and O.M No.VI/401/1/4/2013.
[v]The Passports Act,1967, S 12 (Offences and Penalties).
[vi]Registration of grievances –https://portal2.passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/ccgm/ServiceRequestHomeAction (last visited Aug 27th 10.32 PM (IST) ).
[vii]Official email ID handled by Public Grievance Cell – firstname.lastname@example.org