This is a not-so-brief document on the process for applying and acquiring an Indian passport. It is an attempt to be as up-to-date and true as possible, but it doesn't claim to be complete or error free. Nor can a whole website worth of information be summarised into a single comprehensive article. If you see any information that needs to be update, please edit the article as needed.
Notwithstanding anything in this article, you should check the Government of India's official passport application website for the latest updates, information, and official requirements. This article is for informational purposes only. India Mike takes no responsibility for any actions taken on the basis of this article or any consequences that arise as a result of those actions.
The Basics of the Indian Passport Application Process
This article is meant for Indian Citizens only. It is a brief introduction to the process of applying for, and acquiring from within India, an Indian passport for the first time. This How To article only concerns itself with regular passports applied for through the normal and Tatkal process. The process for official and/or diplomatic passports is beyond the scope of this article. Those applying for an Indian passport outside India need to check with the nearest consulate for the procedure.
The Indian Passport is issued by the Consular, Passport and Visa (CPV) division of the Ministry of External Affairs of the Govt of India through Regional Passport Offices (RPO) in India and through the Consulates/Embassies in other countries.
You can apply for a passport either at an RPO (only certain cases), or a Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) or the District passport Cells (DPC) and, if outside India, at the nearest Indian Consulate. The links are available on the official passport application website to locate a nearby PSK or a DPC. An RPO/PSK/DPC will accept applications from applicants residing at the time of application within the jurisdiction of the office.
You can visit any PSK or DPC for any queries you have on the application process, fees etc. You can call 1800-258-1800 from anywhere within India between 08.00 AM to 10.00 PM and contact the Passport Seva Helpline agent. The IVRS support is available 24 hours.
Applications made at the RPO or the PSK need to be done electronically by either e-form mode or online form submission mode, so you will require access to a computer with an internet connection to fill in the form and to send the application files and get an appointment.
Applications made at the DPC currently require a paper based form. This may however change in future to the electronic mode. DPC's do not accept Tatkal Applications nor applications for the re-issuance of passport.
The applicant has to be physically present at the center where you apply at the time of application and normally cannot be made by proxy. This is true even if you decide to use an agent. A passport can be applied through a normal process or through a Tatkal (quick) process that is quicker but consequently has additional documentation requirements.
Some definitions that apply:
- New passport means applying for a passport for the first time or applying for a passport if you have never held any passport earlier.
- Reissue means an application for another passport in lieu of an existing one which has either expired or is about to expire. Reissue includes lost/damaged passports/Change of Personal particulars including Name, Address, Marital Status. You may apply for a new passport upto 3 years after and 1 year before the expiry of the Passport. Though Applications for Reissue are accepted even after 3 years from expiry, the address verification was earlier not done in case the address had not changed. Now however, Address Verifications are done in almost all cases, atleast on a Post PV (Post Issue Police Verification) basis.
- Renewal of passport means that a passport that was originally issued for a short validity of one to five years is now required to be extended to its full validity of ten years from the date of issue of the passport.
Modes of Payment and Fees for an Indian Passport Application
The fee to be paid for a passport varies depending on the age of the applicant, mode of application (online or not), whether it's a normal or a tatkal application, number of pages requested in the passport, etc. Because of the various combinations possible and because the fee may be changed without notice, the amount is not being mentioned here. The fee amount can be easily deduced from the Official website.
The fee amount as of this writing can be paid Online through net banking or Credit card while booking appointment for PSK, in cash only at the various PSK's, and in case of applications at a DPC, by Demand Draft (DD) favouring "PAO-MEA", and payable at the City where the concerned RPO is located. DPC's may insist on the DD's to be from PSU banks only.
The Not-so-Brief Process of Applying for an Indian Passport
The current procedure can be checked from the official home page under various headings Like Fresh Passport, Reissue of passport. Also check the Documents Required link on the home page and the various FAQ's under User Assistance on the left column of the official website.
Police Verification is done in most cases before issuing a passport. However in certain cases police verification may be done after issuing as well.
The application process is similar for new passports and re-issuance of passports, and for normal and tatkal process, though the documentation requirements may vary.
The time taken for issue of passport is at the discretion of the RPO, varies widely by RPO, by applicant and by time of year. No guideline or normal time frame for issue can be given.
Those applying at a DPC need to use the Passport Application / Instruction Booklet. This is available at all DPC's, many Post Offices and Citizen Service centers as well. Photographs need to be recent, in colour with a white background and with dimensions of 4.5cm by 3.5cm. For those applying at a DPC, the fee is to be paid through a Demand Draft (DD) drawn in favour of "PAO-MEA" and payable at the City where the concerned RPO is located. Mention the applicant's name, application number on the back of the DD. The amount varies and should be confirmed from the DPC.
The process involves :
- Step 1: Having all Documents ready before application.
- Step 2: e-Form Submission/Online Form submission. (ONLY for applications at RPO/PSK).
- Step 3: Scheduling an Appointment at a PSK/RPO. (ONLY for applications at RPO/PSK)
- Step 4: Visit the PSK/RPO/DPC with the Documents, Submission of Form.
- Step 5: Track your application till receipt of passport
Step 1: Documents Needed when Applying for an Indian Passport
The documentation requirements are quite simple.
The list of documents required in each specific case can be checked from the Documents Required link on the home page.
The documents required may vary or additional documents may be required depending on the mode of application (normal/tatkal), where applied (eg DPC or PSK), applicants profile (for instance an infant / child or adult over 65 years of age), marital status, an employee (incl retired) of Govt/PSU/Defense/Statuary body etc. Residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland, family members of serving or retired Govt/PSU employees, official or diplomatic passport holders, and students staying away from normal home have additional requirements. If you fall in any of these categories, it is prudent to check the official website Documents Required link to know what documents you need. Additional annexures or affidavits might be required in certain cases.
This article assumes that an e-Form/Online application is being made for an adult person in the normal mode.
One set of photo copies of each of the below documents should be submitted along with the application form and the originals should be available for cross checking during submission.
Organise all the documents neatly and in order. All photocopies need to be on a full A4 sheet. All documents to be submitted (photo copies or originals) need to be self attested. Photos if submitted are not be signed.
The following documents are required.
Proof of Date of Birth (DOB)
You are required to submit atleast 1 of the documents listed below.
- Birth certificate issued by a Municipal Authority or any office authorized to issue Birth and Death Certificate by the Registrar of Births & Deaths
- School leaving certificate, or a secondary school leaving certificate, or a certificate of recognized boards from the school last attended by the applicant, or any other recognized educational institution
- Affidavit sworn before a Magistrate, or notary stating date and place of birth as per the specimen in Annexure 'A' by illiterate or semi-illiterate applicants (less than 5th class).
If the DOB is after January 26th, 1989, only Birth Certificates (BC) issued by the Municipal Authority or any office authorized to issue Birth and Death Certificate by the Registrar of Births & Deaths is acceptable. The BC's issued should contain the Applicants name in full as in the Passport application. If the Birth Certificate doesn’t contain the name of child, a declaration on plain paper signed by parents, is required to be submitted specifying the name of the child. (However the acceptance of BC's without name is very low even with a Parents declaration.) For others School Leaving Certificate (Class 10) or similar is accepted.
Proof of Of Address
One among the following:
- Water bill
- Telephone (land-line or post paid mobile bill)
- Electricity bill
- One year statement (with transactions) and passbook of running bank account (scheduled commercial bank excluding regional rural banks and local area banks).
- Income Tax Assessment Order
- Election Commission Photo ID card
- Proof of Gas Connection
- Certificate from Employer of reputed companies on letter head
- Spouse's passport copy (first and last page including family details), provided the applicant's present address matches the address mentioned in the spouses passport
- Applicant's current and valid ration card
- Parent's passport copy, in case of minors (first and last page)
- Aadhar Card issued by UIDAI, Govt of India.
- For Document No. 1, 2, and 3: Atleast 2 bills are required - one bill should of be of last year and the other bill of current year
- For Document No. 8: Only public limited companies can give address proof on company letter head along with seal. Computerised print-outs shall not be entertained.
- For Document No. 10: If any applicant submits only ration card as proof of address, it should be accompanied by one more proof of address out of the given categories.
- If the document chosen as proof of address from the above list is not in the applicant's name, then any document that shows the applicant's relationship with the document holder will also be required.
If you have lived in more than one place during the last 12 months, proofs for all the locations have to be submitted. If none of the documents are in the applicant's name, they can be in the name of any family member. You need to prove the relationship with the family member. If you are a tenant, lease agreement or a letter from the landlord along with any of his/her above address proofs need to be submitted.
Documents required for Emigration Check Not Required (ECNR)
Though the list is quite long, any educational certificate that is equivalent to matriculation (Class 10) or above is sufficient. For the full list please refer the official website. This is required for Tatkal applicants as well.
ECNR stamps are now NOT affixed. Only certain categories of applicants may have Emigration Check Required (ECR) stamp on their passports.
Those applying in Tatkal need to submit a few additional documents:
- Standard Affidavit as per Annexure 'I'
- Documents for ECNR as above.
- Verification Certificate Annexure 'F' OR (according to a few posters some RPO's accept only a VC and not the 3 docs while some ask for both) any 3 out of 16 documents listed as under:
List of 15 Documents
You are required to submit at least 3 out of 15 documents listed below.
- Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC)
- Service Photo Identity Card issued by State/Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, local bodies or Public Limited Companies
- SC/ST/OBC Certificates
- Freedom Fighter Identity Cards
- Arms Licenses
- Property Documents such as Pattas, Registered Deeds etc
- Pension Documents such as ex-servicemen's Pension Book / Pension Payment order, ex-servicemen's Widow/Dependent Certificates, Old Age Pension Order, Widow Pension Order
- Railway Identity Cards
- Rations Cards
- Birth Certificates issued unxder the RBD Act
- Student Photo Identity Cards issued by Government Recognized Educational Institutions in respect of full time courses
- Driving Licenses (valid and within the jurisdiction of State of submission of application)
- Bank / Kisan / Post Office Passbooks
- Income Tax Identity (PAN) Cards
- Gas Connection Bill (of one year before and current bill)
- Aadhar Card issued by UIDAI, Govt of India
- At least 1 out of 3 documents must contain applicant's photograph.
- At least 1 out of 3 documents must be amongst the documents (1 to 9)
- Name in all 3 documents must be same.
Addtional Documentation Required when Applying for an Indian Passport
- Government/Public Sector/Statutory body employees should submit “Identity Certificate” in original.
- Marital Status documentation: If the applicant is married, a marriage certificate issued by The Registrar of Births and Deaths ONLY is valid. The name of the spouse should appear on the passport. In case of divorce or death of spouse, the divorce or decree of death certificate is to be submitted.
- In case of infants or minors under 18 years, copies of parent(s) passports and affidavits from both parents consenting for issue of passport. The parent(s) passports should have the spouse name endorsed. For any other case please refer to the official website.
- Photographs: Photos are not required to be submitted as photos will be taken at the PSK. Infants and children under 4 will need to submit photos. Those applying at a DPC will require 4 passport sized photos. Photographs if required need to be recent, in colour with a white background and 4.5cm X 3.5cm in dimensions
- Any others Annexures and Affidavits depending on specific case:
- Affidavit of Date of Birth to be submitted by illiterate Applicants (Annexure "A")
- Identity Certificate (Annexure "B")
- Affidavit for a Passport of a Minor Child by either parent (who are separated but not formally divorced) (Annexure "C")
- Affidavit for Lady applicant for change of name after Marriage (Annexure "D")
- Change in Name/Deed Poll/Sworn Affidavit (Annexure "E")
- Verification Certificate for Tatkaal Passports (Annexure "F")
- Declaration of Parent/Guardian for Minor Passports (one parent not given consent) (Annexure "G")
- Declaration of Parent/Guardian for Minor Passports (Annexure "H")
- Standard Affidavit (Annexure "I")
- Specimen Verification Certificate (Annexure "J")
- Specimen Affidavit for Reissue of passport, which was obtained prior to marriage, by married applicants who are unable to provide the prescribed marriage certificate or joint affidavit with spouse due to marital discord, separation or without formal divorce decree by the Court or due to total desertion by the spouse. (Annexure "K")
- Specimen Affidavit for a passport in lieu of lost/damaged passport (Annexure "L")
- No Objection Certificate (Annexure "M")
Step 2: e-Form Submission OR Online form Submission
e-Form involves filling in details into a fillable PDF form. This is the preferred and recommended method. The form can be downloaded from theGovernment of India's official passport application website. You will need Adobe Reader for this.
Online submission involves submitting all the details online on the official website and is not a recommended method by the RPO.
- Download the e-Form through the Download e-Form link on the Home Page. This is a compressed or zip file that needs to be extracted using a compression utility like Winzip or similar.
- Fill the downloaded e-Form. After filling in all details, click the "Validate & Save" button. This will generate an XML file which will be required later. Names ALWAYS need to be filled without any initials. ALL initials need to be expanded irrespective of how your name appears on other documents or certificates.
- Register through the Government of India's official passport application website and create a User ID. Click on Register link under the Online Application Filling section on the Home Page. Please remember, this User ID would remain active for two months only from date of its creation.
- Login to the Passport Seva Portal with the User ID created in above.
- Upload the XML file generated in #2 through the "Upload e-Form" link. Do not upload the PDF form at this stage as only XML file is accepted by the system.
Step 3: Scheduling an Appointment at a PSK/RPO
Appointments are given for a specific date and time.
- Click the "Manage Appointment" link on Applicant Home page to schedule an appointment at a Passport Seva Kendra (PSK).
- Click the "Print Application Receipt" link to print the application receipt containing Application Reference Number (ARN) and Appointment Number. You will need to carry a print of this along with all the documents.
Update: From 01-June-2013, Passport Department has changed the procedure for taking appointment. Earlier it was required to slect a date, but now the website will allot date. As perthe new process, appointments at the earliest date/time will be automatically allotted by the system as per the availability of appointment slots at the desired PSK, on payment of Passport fee Online. An applicant will be able to cancel/reschedule the appointment only twice within one year of first appointment date.
Step 4: Visit the PSK/RPO with the Documents and Submission of Form
Visit the PSK/RPO on the scheduled date and time of appointment along with printed application form, photocopies of documents above and the originals.
Step 5: Track your application till receipt of passport
You can track your application status from the Track Application Status link on the home page.
Quite often on this forum, the common question is why do the status messages on the tracker not seem to flow in a logical order. Applicants seem to get worried about their application if that happens.
The reason for the not-so-logical flow of status messages is that the processes at the RPO are run in parallel to save time and the status messages for these parallel actions do not indicate the logical flow that they need to indicate within the short status message displayed. In most cases there is nothing to get worried over the seemingly random and conflicting status messages on the tracker.