This is my tale of renewing Indian passport at the same address. My passport evokes so many in emotions in me, particularly the second one which I got in 2009. My first passport was made at my college address in IIT Kanpur. It was not at all difficult to get it done in 1999. Then after my Ph.D. I eventually moved to Gurgaon. In 2009 it was time to renew my passport. It was hell but I will tell you that story a little later in this post.
Logically my current passport renewal should have happened in 2019. But there was a hitch. I almost ran out of pages on my current passport. There were just two clean pages left in my passport by December 2015. I was still holding on to it as I was supposed travel to a country which had e-visa and two pages would have sufficed. But that trip got postponed. There were no trips on the horizon for December and I saw opportunity to renew my passport.
But let me take a slight detour and talk about my passport renewal experience in 2009. There was a change of address from the college to my own home in Gurgaon. I had a trip to UK coming up. I had more than three months to get the passport renewed. After looking at the website I decided to go for the normal route as I thought I had sufficient time. I was able to take an appointment online, and I successfully submitted my application. Police verification also happened. And then nothing. My trip dates were inching closer and I was getting nervous. After a while I panicked. I decided to convert my normal application to tatkal. Once again IIT Kanpur connections worked. A lot of friends from IIT wrote IAS successfully and one of them asked a friend to give me the Annexture F. He was himself not in town. I don’t think he will be thrilled if I name him, but if you are reading this, you know what a big help it was!
In fact when I talked to him in 2009, I was probably not making any sense, so he told me “your work is done but now please explain to me slowly what is it that you want?” And did I mention that I was talking to him after a gap of seven years? After all that high drama my application got converted to tatkal and I got my passport just in the nick of time to get my UK visa done!
And then blogging took off! I realized it in 2014 that I may run out of pages ahead of time. Since then I would ask all the immigration officers in my most polite voice to please stamp a used page in my passport. First I did this only in India, but then I started requesting everywhere, because I didn’t want to run out of pages! To my surprise immigration officers all over the world were cooperative! On my last trip to Thailand the officer had some trouble in finding a used page, where he could place one more stamp. He was showing my passport to the person sitting next to him as well! In a way it was a good thing, I traveled so much but I dreaded going back to the passport office!
I started cribbing online. But I heard good things about getting the passport renewed at the same address. Also last year we did our daughter’s first passport and our experience was good! I did contact my friend who helped me in 2009 and he was as willing to help again but in the end I decided to go the normal route to renew my passport.
I started looking at the official website on December 3. I had to create an account on the website and the verification mail took some in arriving. But other than that it was smooth. To my surprise an appointment was available on the very next day, on December 4! I hesitated thinking I could not assemble the documents so quickly. But the document generator told me if I was renewing the passport at the same address with no changes in it, I only needed a self attested photocopy of my old passport’s first and last two pages! I could pay the fee online as well! So I took my chance got an appointment booked the Passport Seva Kendra in Gurgaon for the next day. It was for 12.00 noon.
I reached the building (MM Towers in Udyog Vihar) at 11.30, I was willing to be early than late. There are two road side tea stalls near the office. Both make excellent tea but if you want it with less sugar go to the one slightly away from the building. Finally it was five minutes to 12 and I walked in. It was easy going at the entrance, I showed my appointment paper and after a security check I was waved through!
As I was walking in a car with blue light went inside. Someone asked the security guard- gadi andar jaa sakte hai? (are cars allowed here)? The guard replied, inka kya hai, kahin bhi jaa sakte hain (what about them, they can go anywhere).
At the first counter outside the building, they took the appointment sheet and the documents and asked me to wait. Pretty soon a person went all guns blazing at the tatkal counter. He was shouting and screaming at the person handling his case. Apparently they were saying his home ownership papers were a photocopy and he was arguing that the originals were at the bank! The exact thing happened to me in 2009. But in my case they immediately accepted my logic when I said I could not show the originals as they were with the bank. If you have a home loan, that is the logical outcome.
The lady and the young lad who got out of the ‘blue light’ car also went to the tatkal counter. But we all waited to collect our tokens in the same line. My number came before the ‘blue light’ people.
I was asked to go to the A counters. As soon as I located the A counters my name was called. There was a young lad at the counter took my fingerprints and my photo. He joked that I ran out of pages, as that is the reason I gave for renewing my passport. The photo he took is horrible but I forgive him for that! I was done with the A counter within a few minutes. He asked me to go the B counter after that with the file he gave me.
That is when the fun started. There was a token system and there were a few seats. But so many people were waiting in that area! Looking at the token numbers I knew I had a long wait ahead and I accepted it.
The token system didn’t go strictly according to the numbers. If a person was sent back to the A counters they would come back and get their files processed again! This would make the queue a little haywire. Two girls were announcing the token numbers in addition to the numbers being flashed at the counters. I saw the person with photocopy of his home documents waiting for his turn inside!
The waiting area had clearly pasted notices asking us not to use out cell phones and to keep them on silent mode. Most of us would surreptitiously check our messages. There was one woman though who continuously kept talking on her phone! No one said anything to her. And after a while she picked up a huge fight about her turn not coming in! She shouted at the young girls calling out the numbers. They too got angry. It was nearing lunch time now. I was resigned that my number would come after lunch!
But the woman who was creating the big ruckus got out someone higher up who requested the counter person to see if he could process her application! The counter person said he would check for a few tokens. The second number that flashed on his counter was mine! So I told him I was also waiting. He went for lunch without processing any tokens! There is a small canteen within the premises. I had a tea and a spring roll. There is a clean wash room available too.
I have to grant it to them that they came back from lunch in less than half an hour. I already knew where and when my turn would come. Surprisingly the lady with the blue light and her son were still waiting. As the lady from the blue light was older I asked if she would like to sit down? By now all seats were gone. She politely refused but a man got up and gave her a seat. The women who created a ruckus was also waiting.
My turn came fast after the lunch. I was very scared that I would be asked to present some additional documents and this whole process will start all over again at a future date. But it took them just two minutes to process my application. I was asked to proceed to the exit. There are C counters too, but as I was not asked to report there, I do not know what is it about. At the exit they gave me a receipt and I was out of the building. It was 2.30 pm. The whole process took just 2.5 hours!
I took an auto back home. I did not bring the car as I was told parking is not easily available. So far so good. But even in 2009 I had no trouble submitting my application.
This time I asked for SMS alert too for my application. I know I can track it via the website but I was restless. After a week the status of my application changed to ‘passport is ready for printing.’ My hopes soared. Then in a few days, I got the notification that the passport had been dispatched via speed post! I was given a tracking number for the speed post.
And on the 13th day (December 17) after I applied for my passport, the new one arrived. I was not at home, my husband took it. It is the 36 page booklet too. There was no fresh police verification but then my address or any other detail has not changed.
So going by my experience renewing Indian passport on the same address is a straight forward process if there are absolutely no changes required. Use the website and you should be fine. I am so thankful for this hassle free experience!
PS. If you are wondering about the background of my pictures, the orange background is a sleeping bag! The other two are Chhavi’s dresses!
How difficult could be renewing Indian passport at a different address? Well, if you go by my experience if was a hell of an experience, one that I will never like to repeat. My first passport was done when I was in college at IIT Kanpur and I had to renew it at Gurgaon where I was currently residing. It was not easy at all. It didn’t help that I was in a hurry too! The story unfolded like this!
I tried calling a friend from IIT Kanpur days as I needed his help to get my passport renewed. I got his number from another friend. He of course did not pick up my phone, it was an unknown number for him. Being an IAS officer picking up random phones does not make sense! I had not been in touch with him for past 7 years! I had been calling people left right and center in the hope that someone would help me in getting my passport reissued and he was not even my best hope.
I applied for the renewal of my passport in early March after taking an appointment online. I had relevant supporting documents and they accepted my application after a token protest, which is the hallmark of many a government employees. Still, this was a pleasant experience, as I said when I blogged about it earlier.
Then someone managed to get my police verification done. And I thought I was all set to get the passport soon. But that was not to be.
There were many people who tried to help me out. Some said my police verification has not been received and some said that it has been! To cut through all this confusion I decided to use a travel agent. He initially asked for a lot of papers and said he would try. Each day gone by was bringing my proposed travel date to UK even closer. So, I was waiting anxiously to hear from the travel agent on Tuesday when he said with a lot of regret in his voice that it could not be done unless I could get a form signed by a government official verifying my address. My police verification report was stuck somewhere.
That is when I was making a lot of phone calls. When my friend did not pick up his cell phone I wrote a SMS to him saying who I was. Within two minutes I got a call back. I must have not been making too much sense to him because one of the first things he told me was, “please take out that panic from your voice, your work is done”. Then he asked me, “Now tell me what is to be done?” I tried explaining to him about Annexture F, he said he don’t know which form this is but he would get it done by tomorrow if I was willing to run around a little! He told me to meet a friend of his in the office blocks in front of India Gate. He would arrange for my entry into the place!
He knew I was very nervous and told me, “if I do not pick up my phone for a while tomorrow please don’t panic, I sometimes go out of my room and leave the phone behind.” But when I called him the next day, he picked up my phone promptly and coordinated every minute till I got into the room of this lady officer who looked at all the relevant documents and then gave me the letter I wanted. I gave it to the travel agent in the afternoon and got the passport by next day evening.
The moral of the story is that apply in the Tatkal (immediate) scheme if you can get the Annexture F made. When I went to collect the passport in the evening there was a gentleman standing in the line in front of me who had applied for the passport in January and still not got it!
When I was standing in the line to pick up the passport on Thursday evening, the counter did not open till 5.20 pm. The notice above the counter said the distribution time was 5.00 to 5.30 pm. There was a very pretty girl in the line who could not speak (along with a fatherly figure, they were talking in sign language) and almost in tears. The gentleman in front of me went inside the office and came back with the reassuring news that they do not go away without distributing the passports that have been promised that day.
By 5.45 I had mine. Next day 8.00 am I was at the VFS UK and it was so orderly out there. Get your token (I did not had an appointment this time), wait your turn, submit your documents and go back home.
The biggest surprise in this entire episode was the friend from IIT Kanpur. I mean maybe someone else too would have done the work for me but the speed and consideration he showed to me has left me speechless. I have thanked him many times and he has never failed to tell me that the pleasure is his! And that when we would have talked at IIT only a few times and I was making this call after 7 years of no contact.
I can’t name you my blog, but then whenever I will travel for the next ten years and hold that passport in my hands I would ask the folks up above to grant your every cherished wish. Thank you, without your help my passport would still have been stuck in some dark corner of an office. For me renewing Indian passport at a different address was not easy at all!
PS. Why can’t the police verification report be scanned and sent online? Would make our lives just a little bit more easier.
And there is a possibility of doing an edited book on the experiences of getting the passport issued in India, I am sure many of us have stories to share!
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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