A lot of industries worldwide have opened their arms to us Indian students today. With loads of international internship opportunities, job offers in MNCs, and a little craving for traveling around the world; the one thing that becomes really important to have with you is a passport.
Since the government has outsourced the task of making Passports to the private sector (Tata Consultancy Services), the process has become smoother now. But does it mean you won’t have to take several rounds like you do take of a government office? What are those minute differences between a PSK (Passport Seva Kendra) and any Government office? Last week I toiled a little in applying for a fresh passport (normal mode) for myself.
Here’s my personal experience, the application process in detail, and a list of Do’s and Don’ts that I would suggest to everyone.
I first registered myself at Passport India’s website and applied for an Online Application. I think it’s the easiest mode of application compared to others like e-Form submission and applying in person because you don’t have to run around and find a printer and scanner to first download the form and then upload a scanned copy of the filled one. Another thing, you have to be very careful about is the information you fill in the form because each necessary information about you will be cross-checked with your official documents.
Also, if you are a student staying away from your parent’s residence (just like in my case) then you have to take a little more trouble in getting a local/temporary residence proof and a bonafide from your college. I got both these certificates made from my Institute’s Academic Office. Apart from all this, another query that may arise is “Where is the nearest Police Station?” this is an important field as a Police Inspector would come at a later stage for verification of your residence. So, I suggest you find that out before filling out the form. My best friend Google helped me out here.
Scheduling an Appointment
This is real challenge. For Hyderabad, appointments are allotted online at 4.30pm and all those hundreds of slots given each day are filled within just 2 minutes. So you really have to match your clock to their servers, login before time and click on Schedule an Appointment, as soon the clock ticks 4.30pm. I tried for two day consecutively but failed only by a few seconds every time and then finally got an appointment on the third attempt day.
Visiting the PSK
Take a printout of your ARN and take all the required original documents. Also carry minimum two self-attested Xerox copies of each. You should reach your PSK not more than 15-20 minutes before the scheduled reporting time. Arriving earlier than that is an effort in vain because the guards won’t allow you inside and you would only waste your time standing in a queue under the sun. Once, you get inside, take a deep breath of fresh cool air from the centralized AC. Submit your documents and Xerox copies at the Form-Filling section, get a token and wait for your turn. Meanwhile, you can grab a bite at the Brew berry’s outlet.
Further process is divided into three stages Counter A, Counter B and Counter C.
Counter A: Submit your File, get a photograph clicked and pay the fee. That’s it, short and simple.
Counter B: Now, this takes a little time as they’d verify your original documents with your application details. Here’s where problems arose for me as my father had a middle name on my 10th pass certificate and wasn’t mentioned on my birth certificate! Uh-oh! None of my explanations were heard, nor any other original documents that I offered were seen (not even my Voter ID or Driving License. They said it’s not made in Hyderabad. Strange reason! ) So they sent me back to get an Affidavit, declaring that both names are of the same person and come back the next day. I did as they said, had to toil a little for searching a Notary and avoid the touts but finally got it made for like 150 bucks.
Counter C: Grants Section! It took me 2 hours the next day to reach this final stage. Here, they just again verify everything and finally Accept or Hold your application. Mine, finally got accepted.
Now, just stay where you stay/reside as the a Police Inspector will be arriving within 10 days or a month to verify your residence and 45 days later, Voila! You’d have your fresh passport, with the smell of your sweat and freshly printed pages. Congratulations! Mission is accomplished!