Planning to go abroad? Getting your passport is much easier now

The new online system for getting a passport is well thought out. The major beneficiaries are mainly educated and tech-savvy elite who constitute a very small portion of our population. A large number of our youth still depend on middlemen or touts for getting their passports

Here is good news for the tech-savvy elite of our country. Thanks to the external affairs ministry, the procedure for getting your passport has undergone a sea change for the better. Getting a passport rightfully due to you was a nightmare, with several hours of waiting just to get into the passport office to submit your papers with no certainty of your application being accepted. With touts hanging around to make a quick buck, one was virtually at the mercy of these unreliable wheeler-dealers, who even got forged passport/endorsements for a hefty fee from the gullible public.  All this is a thing of the past, with entire machinery now geared up to give you a sleek and genuine passport with minimum of hassles.


New procedure for issue of passports1

“Passport Seva Project is a citizen-centric e-governance initiative introduced by the ministry of external affairs for improving passport service to the public” so says the website of the government. Under this plan, with 77 Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) spread all over the country, applying for passports has been made online and the following procedures are made mandatory with effect from June 2012.


Steps to follow:

1: Visit the home page of website :

2: Download the e-Form through the “Download e-Form” link on the home page.

3: Ensure that you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader (9 or above) on your computer to open and fill these forms. If you do not have this latest version of software, download this by clicking on the link provided on this page before downloading the e-form.  

4: Fill the downloaded e-form and click “Validate & Save” button. This will generate an XML file in your computer, which is required later for uploading into the system.                                                                          

5: Register through the Passport Seva Portal and create a User ID in your name. (Click on the ‘Register’ link under the Online Application Filing Section on the home page.)

6: While registering as stated in step 5, you will be required to mention your e-mail id, and you will be asked to confirm by clicking on the link on the activation e-mail which is supposed to have been sent to you. If you do not receive any e-mail, as it happens many times, due to which your login account does not get activated, you can again create a User ID but without mentioning your e-mail ID, which is not mandatory, and then log in to your account without any problem.

7: Login to the Passport Seva Portal with the user ID created as stated above.

8: Upload the XML file (generated in Step 4) through the ‘Upload e-form’ link. Do not upload the PDF form as only XML file is accepted by the system.

9: Click the “Manage Appointment” link on Applicant Home page and schedule an appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra preferred by you.

10: Click the “Print Application Receipt” link to print the application receipt containing “Application Reference Number” (ARN) and the details of the appointment scheduled for you.

11: Visit the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) where appointment has been taken, with original documents, on the appointed day and time to complete all formalities for issue of the passport. This may take an hour to complete all procedures like taking your photograph, fingerprints, signature, etc.  


Time taken to issue passports

Under the new dispensation, the system is organized in public-private partnership with Tata Consultancy Services. They check the demographic data, scan and upload supporting documents, take the applicant’s photographs and biometrics and accept application fees on behalf of the government. It is said that the sovereign and fiduciary functions of verification, granting and issuing of passports are handled by government officials. The entire process is online, including the interface with the police authorities for verification of personal particulars of applicants and with India Post for tracking delivery of passports.


Simple renewal of existing passport without any changes is done within about seven days, as the police verification is done subsequently. In all other cases it may take three to four weeks, as they are issued only after police verification and satisfactory feed back from the police department.


Only emergency/medical cases may visit PSKs without appointment, but it is left to the discretion of the Passport Officer to provide service without an appointment. Detailed instructions in respect of passport for minors, documents required, fees payable, etc are available on the website mentioned above.  


How to make the system more user-friendly?

Though the new system is well thought out, the major beneficiaries are mainly educated and tech-savvy elite who constitute a very small portion of our population. A large number of youth of our country who aspire to go abroad, though literate, have neither access to computers nor the facility of internet to enable them to take advantage of this new system, and they continue to be dependent on middlemen or touts for uploading of applications and arranging appointments, etc, due to which, the chances of malpractices cannot be totally ruled out. Besides, the sheer number of applicants who apply for passports has increased manifold and it is very difficult to get an appointment through the website of the passport office, as all appointment slots get closed within a few minutes of commencement, causing disappointment even to the articulate web user. It is, therefore, necessary to supplement these steps with the following additional facilities for the convenience of a large number of our people, who still face problems to get their passports, which they are entitled to as a matter of right, being citizens of this country.

  1. The number of PSKs, which are 77 at present, is totally inadequate for a country of our size, with such a large population aspiring to go abroad in search of jobs or otherwise. During 2011, more than 73.65 lakh passport services were rendered, which indicates that nearly 30,000 applications are processed every working day. Therefore, there is a pressing need to increase the number of PSKs and they should be located in many more cities across the country, where there is pressure of people seeking passports.
  2. In metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc, there is a need to double the number of PSKs to enable the citizens to easily get an appointment without having to try for several days, thus considerably reducing avoidable inconvenience.
  3. At present there are District Passport Cells in a few districts of our country, where walk-in applications are accepted instead of online applications. But they are very few and far between, and do not meet the needs of our people living in the countryside, who have to travel long distances even to submit their applications. In all district headquarters, where there are no PSKs, district passport cells should be set up so that people have access to this facility nearby within the district where they live.
  4. Even in metros and state capitals, every PSK should reserve one day of the week exclusively for senior citizens and people with disabilities, who should be provided with the facility of submitting walk-in applications also, so that the needs of these special classes of people are taken care of. They should have the option to go through the online system or through the walk-in facility on the day earmarked for them in every PSK.  

The aim of this newly introduced system as stated in the website of the ministry is “to deliver all passport-related services to the citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible, reliable manner and in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained and motivated workforce”. This objective can be achieved only if a large number of Passport Seva Kendras are opened in many more cities and the facility of walk-in applications being made available in more number of District Passport Cells at least for next couple of years, till the broadband penetration increases considerably in our country.




To read other articles by the same writer, click here.

(The author is a banking and financial consultant. He writes for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’)

Udit C
1 decade ago
I got my Passport with an inkjet printout for a photo, even though I was called to submit two more in addition to the statutory eight. No one is clear about what is to be done.
nagesh kini
1 decade ago
Yes, full sympathies for the persons who suffered from the bureaucratic hiccups.
The almost automatic on line TDS refund is a case in point.
Even in the case of Passport, the system has just been put in place, just let it get over the teething problems.
The Police verification, in the post-terrorism era is a must to establish the genuiness. There is the RTI to tackle delays and/or harassment. My experience with Mumbai Police is good - they are a harassed lot.
Ramkumar agrawal
1 decade ago
Yes yestreday i get my passport with three working days under tatkal scheme. the system is quite good and clean.

Ramkumar Agrawal Pune.
Sudheer M
1 decade ago
Excellent initiative by government. However, the police verification also should be transparent and the system of "chai paisa" for verification should be stopped completely.
1 decade ago
yes,this is the reason why our few leaders are dealers of their percentages commission in indian videsh seva.i agree with mk gupta comment,trying for passport from2000 and not get it due to limited resources.
MK Gupta
1 decade ago
I am afraid, the writer is yet to "face the music", so to say, through his own experience. The police verification apart, the procedure remains "expensive" still--rather costlier job has become! After all, getting a job or a transfer in this section (either in i=the passport office or the special branch of police doing the 'verification') costs money! The system itself is expensive with corruption running riot in all fields of life, from the TOP (literally) to the bottom and there is no more any stigma attached any more to this "normal way of life"! Otherwise, getting IT refunds, even though the TDS claimed by assessees would have become automatic, irrespective of the internal problems between the deductors and NSDL and AS26 sort of things! Or, getting an electricity or water connection or a CGHS card, and the like, would be so hassle-free and easier! For a retired person relocating from a metro to Delhi, getting a CGHS card is so very time consuming, humiliatingly harassing and expensive that the senior citizen feels like giving up! And, then, getting reimbursement of medical treatment expenses is unimaginably expensive! Why dont you carry on a study of this "welfare" area to understand the government's true mindset on healthcare at leasyt in a limited arena? What to talk of Delhi's govt. hospitals and the woes of the public--and at night when the security staff and the class four employees rule the hospitals and women attendants constantly remain in fear of the worst? But, thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my ideas on your site and for this informative piece based on govt. press releases.
Gaurav Parikh
1 decade ago
I was one of the first to use the services of the PSKs in Mumbai when I applied for a new passport for my 16 year old daughter who was awaiting her Std X Results ~ The Online Process was cool but the document requirements were not comprehensively stated on the website.Luckily an agent had warned me to take along what was not even mentioned.Great New Office but the lack of knowledge was frustrating even by the Centre Head on the point of Emigration Clearance Required Stamp as my daughter did not have her Matriculation Certificate yet.They were first unsure whether under the new passport format whether this stamp would be put as it was not required till she was 18.Then they said it would not be there. Finally she was issued a new passport at age 16 with 10 year validity as requested but with stamp put stating Emigration Clearance required.Also it took months to get the passport and even the police verification took ages and the local police station required her personal presence and even the whole set of supporting documents yet again as the PSK had not send them a copy of these.The Helpdesk too was not very knowledgable and parrots what's on the website.The Passport Authorities say they cannot remove the Emigration Required Sentence in this new Passport Format and I will have to apply again for a New Passport for her and pay the requisite fees again !However they tell me till she is 18 not to worry about this as Emigration clearance is not required till then.However the Passport does not mention this age exception.The only solution appears to be apply for a new passport again !...rather silly as this one was issued in 2012 and is valid till 2022 and there should have been a provision to remove the Emigration Requirement Stamp from this New Passport
Rajesh Kothari
Replied to Gaurav Parikh comment 1 decade ago
There are many issues like that.

Read my blog at
Replied to Gaurav Parikh comment 1 decade ago
Yeah, there were quite a few hiccups reported when the transition was in progress. Lot of people's application got stuck for months. However, in the long run it is a beneficial change as it cuts out the middlemen to a great extent and the processes are also more streamlined, not to mention much better offices (similar to the VFS centres). As the staff gets more experience in handling a variety of cases, ho
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