I applied for passport over 10 years ago and the process at that time was paper driven. I had to stand in line for a very long time; I had to fill in big sets of papers and the processing time at Passport Seva Center was very long…things have changed considerably in the last ten years. Let me share my experience visiting passport Seva Kendra(PSK) for my Indian Passport Renewal.
Outside Passport Seva Kendra in Hyderabad.
I went to passport seva kendra at about 8:30 AM. As I was eligible for walk-in at that time, I did not had any appointment booked, I just went for a Walk-in Appointment ( 9 AM to 11 AM). The security guard was very specific on timing, he did not allow anyone until the clock hit 9 AM. As I inquired others, they were telling their own stories how much they paid for the agent, what all different documents they were carrying. I got a little confused as I never went to an agent and I did not had all the documents that they were mentioning…I said to myself to stay calm. Some of things I heard was, some paid about couple of thousands to get a slot… (Updated 2016 : Now-a-days, there is no hassle of opening slots at a certain time, you need to pay online and then book slot, so the agents stories are gone for toss. Do NOT believe in agents. ) In any case, none of the agents are allowed inside the passport seva Kendra. They have to stay at the gate. So, there is no need to go for one, unless you badly need some specific help and illiterate.
Standing in Line outside, Outside hall token collection – Documents verification
Once the security guard lets you enter the premises, you will be asked to stand in line, then they look for the document that you printed out from website, which has the appointment details and Application Reference Number ( ARN) with bar code. They will suggest you to do self-attestation on the pages you are supposed to do like Passport first and last pages, etc. Once you are done with line, they do security scan and let you to enter a hall, where you will need to get token. TCS personnel will verify your documents and let you complete the signatures and any other stuff. They will collect your documents and place them in a file and give you a token number. Be careful as they shout your name and you have to pay attention. Once you get token then you enter other chamber where process is defined. You need to show the token to a security guard and he will let you in. It takes about 10 to 15 min here to get token number.
Process Inside Passport office – Photo capture, documents verification, Passport officer
The token clearly states step-by-step where to go. It says A -> B -> C, indicating where you start and where you end. All the sections A, B and C are color coded. You first enter Section A.
Section A – Photo Capture, Fee payment, Document check
You have TV monitors displaying your token and the corresponding booth where you need to enter. TCS personnel will take care of capturing your photo, verifying documents, organizing them and having them ready in a file. As you need to do online payment, no need to worry about anything about payment for application. Really nice TCS team, they are very helpful and courteous. They will only take the required documents and return if something is not required. This is done in a section like Cubicles in typical office with one side open. It takes about 10 min here. If you have something wrong when you filled application online, this is the time to get it corrected.
Section B – Documents Verification by Passport Office Govt Employees
Once you are done with that, you need to go to Section B, where you will have to wait for sometime for your token to be called. Again, you need to watch TV monitors to see where your token would be called. As this is done by Government employees, it takes time here, they are slow and some of them were not at their desk. I waited for about 15 min and then the guy just verified the file for about 5 seconds and did a signature and asked me to go to next section. It takes about 15 min time at Section B.
Lately, in 2018, users have reported that they are sent away not being sent to the Section C and given acknowledgment letter. They are not giving any reason. There is nothing to panic, it is just happening and we do not know the exact reason. Nevertheless, the passport is being issued as normal, just the process is getting delayed in few instances for such people.
Section C – Passport Issuance by Assistant Passport Officer, All Govt. employees
Well, this was the most frustrating section of the whole process. I ended up waiting for about 1 hr to 1 hr 20 min here. It was just slow as hell. There were only two old guys, one of the guys did not know how to use a PC, they called a guy to turn on computer…it was pathetic. Anyways, they let you wait for a very long time and you need to keep checking the monitor. They will verify the documents once again and tell the decision. If everything is fine, they will ask you to go to the acknowledgement/ feedback counter. If not, they will ask you to get the required documents. You will be asked to fill out a feedback form and leave the premises. It hardly takes 5 min here.
Overall the process takes about 30 min until section B and the last one takes about 1.5 hrs. overall the process should take about 2 hrs. If there are more people in Section C, you could be out by 1 hr or maybe 1.5 hr. TCS team does a great job by doing work swiftly without any lag. The bottleneck is the last section where Govt Employees work.
Two cents of advice from Passport Seva Experience :
- Carry a ball point pen, you may need it to sign. If you have not done.
- Make sure you do self-attestation of the passport pages and other documents that are required to do. It will save some last minute hurry when you are in the line.
- Carry photo copies of all the original documents like your address proof, marriage certificate, etc. At Hyderabad, you have a copier inside to take photo copies, but be prepared.
- Do NOT need to go early to the passport Seva Kendra, they will not let you inside. You just need to be there at respective reporting time.
- They will allow cell phones and remote control car keys inside the passport office, do not need to worry about these things. You need to turn them to silent mode.
- You do NOT need an agent, you can do everything on your own. Just need to carry the right documents. Agents do not really take you inside or do anything. They will just guide you and maybe get you a slot.
Latest Tips from Readers :
- If your Aadhar card is new, there may be a situation where the government database is not linked. So, if you have a recently issued Aadhar card, carry a backup accepted document for proof of address.
- For using private bank statements as proof, you need to have your passport size photo with a bank stamp over it. Also, if you have to re-submit certain documents there is a separate time for files that are on hold, so not to worry too much.
What was your experience ? Any other tips for our readers from your experience ?