Passport renewal, additional pages + Chennai Regional Passport Office + Tatkal
Decided to blog this, as I searched the web in vain on instructions or experiences of people who tried to get an additional booklet (or renew their passport) at the chennai regional passport office (RPO). I needed to have my passport back a little quickly in order to have my visa stamped, all done within 10 days (an ambitious project, right at the inception). I find that the process is relatively simplified, for a government organization .. but, if you tout an accent and are used to dealing with simpler procedures in other geographies such as the USA, you might be a bit surprised.
As any Indian Central Government office, the RPO makes changes to rules & the employees make up rules that vary/ change by day and also depends on whether you know someone there and/ or have used the help of a travel agent/ tout!! So advice #1: See if you can find a responsible/ believable (hopefully not too exhorbitant) travel agent who can help. If you do have the luxury of time, you can do this on your own & to the credit of the folks at the RPO, you can get this right in the day.
I chose to apply using Tatkal – which they promise will ensure that your applications gets processed within 3 days. I did get my PP back in 3 days.
For a minor dose of information that deceivingly looks complete, refer to: http://passport.nic.in/ – it does have about 80% of what is reqd at the office. Ok, here are the next steps for applying for renewal or additional pages via the Tatkal procedure. The process for a new passport is very different, quite a bit longer and requires additional documents – I am unfortunately unable to help with that:
- Some parts of the tatkal proceedure are mentioned at: http://passport.gov.in/cpv/TatkalScheme.htm– some of the following are not as apparent
- For tatkal, you need to register online at: https://passport.gov.in/pms/Information.jsp – This will give you an appointment date – this is important. You can only show up on this date. However, disregard the time that is provided to you as the time of your appointment (more below)
- If you are trying to get additional pages, these aren’t being issued anymore – instead, they issue a new passport & the procedure is as follows. However, you do have to prove that you have run out of pages & are hence attempting to renew your passport
- After you fill out the form in Step 2 above, a pre-filled application form is presented as the output. Print this application form out.
- You need to now assemble your supporting documents:
- you are required to produce any 3 out of the 13 suggested documents to provide proof of identification, photo & address. One of this needs to be a photo ID & one of them needs to be among the primary documents (a through h) mentioned in the list (as of Jan 2010) below:
(a) Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC);
(b) Service Identity Card issued by State/Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, local bodies or Public Limited Companies;
(c) SC/ST/ OBC Certificates;
(d) Freedom Fighter Identity Cards;
(e) Arms Licenses;
(f) Property Documents such as Pattas, Registered Deeds etc.;
(g) Rations Cards;
(h) 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;
(i) Railway Identity Cards;
(j) Income Tax Identity (PAN) Cards;
(k) Bank/ Kisan/Post Office Passbooks;
(l) Student Identity Cards issued by Recognized Educational Institutions;
(m) Driving Licenses; and
(n) Birth Certificates issued under the RBD Act.
- Produce an affidavit on a Rs. 20 stamp paper (called Annexure i) – the format to be cut & paste can be found at:http://passport.gov.in/cpv/ANNEXUREI_std.htm – take it to a notary (easy to find) for notarization – need to sign this affidavit in front of the notary. Very important step that I missed: get a notarial certificate from the notary (that states that you swore & signed the affidavit before him) – otherwise, you will be swearing later. You won’t get this certificate unless you ask for it from the notary. You do need to take a photocopy of the affidavit & provide it to the notary for their records.
- If you wanted additional pages, a photo copy of all pages of your passport – self attest each of them as well. I am not sure if you need this if you are just trying to renew your passport – take them with you any way.
- Now, obtain 3 passport photos – stick them on the application – has to be stuck & not stapled or otherwise tethered, don’t sign across the photo (even if everybody else asks you to)
- Look through the application & complete it – some parts need to be hand filled.
- Sign the application
- Take two photo copies of all supporting documents – each of these need to be self-attested
- Ensure that you take the originals of the supporting documents with you as well
- The RPO likes the application to be a packet – one set of the photocopies of the supporting documents need to be inserted between pages 3 & 4 of the application and the other set between the two “personal particulars” forms (that is printed out as part of the application form above). Keep the original affidavit with the first set – although I am not sure of where the affidavit should go really. You may get as lucky as I did. Staple them together in the form of a book – unfortunately, I have seen people getting sent back from the counter as the packet was not in the right order!!!
- DD – the RPO does require payment to be made in Tatkal – this seems to change .. a suggestion is to go to the RPO the day before & ask the folks that stand in line how they plan to make the payment – ask a couple of folks at least .. the touts generally seen around the RPO were conspicuously absent when I went there as a result of recent clean-ups that were done. these folks are good source of info and are usually helpful if you plead with them
- Now, you are ready for the day. On the day, after the regular ablutions, make up, etc, plan to arrive a bit early at the RPO. I’d suggest about 8-8:30 AM is a reasonable choice. I was adviced to disregard the time provided when I registered online. No one seemed to notice the time at the RPO either.
- Procedure at the RPO:
- If you flinch in the sun, I’d recommend the umpire’s hat, fans, sun glasses, assistant to hold the umbrella etc – you will be slightly discomforted in Chennai’s blazing glory
- The watchmen are usually helpful and point you in the right direction if you ask them where the Tatkal line is. If you arrive around 8 AM, there should be 50-75 folks ahead of you, sufficient in number to tell you if you have missed anything
- The token issual starts around 9:30 AM. They are issued up to a certain time & to all that arrives early in the morning. My understanding was that tokens are issued until about noon, each day.
- Around 9:30 AM, the queue/ line usually proceeds to the first floor, where the packet is examined for the right thickness, presence of photos & staples announcing that the packet is complete. You are therefore issued a token to then stand in the next line.
- The token usually has an alphabet & a number – there were 5 counters operational at the time of this writing.
- The counters are in the second floor – and you follow the line up to the second floor, enter the room with the counter (isn’t as easy as it sounds) – while the token system is supposed to regulate the flow of folks in to this room, it doesn’t .. so, it does feel like a pallavan bus ride to a Hindu Temple on a New Year’s day. Use your elbows & umbrellas to the best advantage – it is now that you may feel like you want to open your accented mouth & let out a tirade about how it is so much easier elsewhere – don’t.
- The counter room did have chairs in front of them & it appears as if people are sitting according to the numerical order – chances are they aren’t. try and slowly move up close to the counter of your designation – put your checkers skill to advantage here
- Rush up when your number is called & present your documents at the counter – if your luck holds, you are all set & will be asked to go to the other counter to pay using your DD.
- In my case, as I had a previous passport & was attempting to get additional pages, I was asked to go stand in another line in one of the two small rooms within that room to get the history of all my previous interactions with the RPO – the clerk there looked my case history & printed out pages of all my previous requests, including ECNR stamping, address changes, etc and stapled this to my application
- When you are asked to do this, you don’t need to stand in line to be called again. Go directly to the counter, use your elbows & thrust the doc back at the slightest chance you get. pleading with those next in line helps.
- When I presented this renewed packet, it was found that my second passport was issued after my marriage, but, without including my spouse’s name in the passport – this caused a ruckus and I was directed to go to the other smaller room & talk to the superintendent there, who in turn asked me why I hid this. When I told him it was a mistake, he nodded & tacked on a Rs. 500 penalty and asked me to go back to the counter. Repeat step 10 above.
- The clerk at the counter nodded now & put the case in to a file and sent me to the cashier –
- Stand in the 3rd line for the day, present the DD & the documents at the cashier – they print out a receipt that has your tracking number as well, which you can track online. You have now completed your task.
- Other general things:
- At the time of this writing, there is an “Axis bank” branch right around the corner – so, if you missed/ misplaced the DD, I am told you can obtain it there
- It will serve you or the other folks in the line well for you to care a stick of gum and a stapler .. just in case you have to re-arrange your packet, etc
- Take some extra photos, just in case you do forget & sign on top of your photo
- Remember that the RPO strictly prohibits delivery of the PP to anyone other than the one it belongs to – so, your mother may not be able to collect it from the postman ..
I do hope someone finds this & it is useful to them. Do let me know how things change over time.
An Appeal: I see that a lot of folks are reading this post & I believe it is still current (as of Mar 2011). However, if you can provide a gist of your experience and how things have changed, that will be helpful to others as well. Please consider doing so, once you come back from the RPO.