One Day @ The Passport Office

Passport Office

(Click on picture to enlarge)

I went to the Passport Office today. (Shastri Bhavan,Haddows Road, Nungambakkam,Chennai). Guess how much time it took me to go into the office, find my way and all that and come out, receipt in hand ? Twenty Minutes. Really. That’s how much time it took me. I was stupefied. I have my friends Bala, Marc and Hari to thank.

You know the secret to getting things done the way you want and really quickly at that ? Information.

First, the Indian Passport Website is really informative and useful. There is scope for improvement, but then believe me, this is as much as you can expect really. You can find the following there,

Among a few others….

Now, most things here are really detailed. They have given some thought to the questions the applicant might ask himself while filling the form. And tried to answer all those questions and structure the website such that it’s easy to navigate through.

Since my friends helped me out with a few things, that made things really simple for me, I thought I’d make yet another FAQ compilation. But I must warn you, I have not covered any of the questions to which you can find the answers in the website mentioned above. Duplication of content isn’t exactly my cup of tea. (Although, lots of bloggers thrive in it. :D) Read that (set of official FAQ’s) first!!

Disclaimer: The FAQ’s below are not official and are Chennai specific. Further more they are specific to Shastri Bhavan (unless mentioned) and Normal Quota (not Tatkaal, and again, unless mentioned so.)

Never Asked FAQ’s:

(Not specific to Chennai)

1) I have a 5cm x 3.5cm passport size photograph. Do you think it’s ok?

Why would it be ok, when they have clearly mentioned that you need to affix a 3.5cm x 3.5cm passport size photograph ? It’s not ok. If you want to take the chances, you are welcome, but then if they send you back, you have yourselves to blame. I would suggest spending an extra 50 bucks so that there aren’t any hassles.

2) The form says the passport size photograph should have a light background (preferably white). Is that true ?

Yes. Light is compulsory. White is not. I gave my application in with a Grey background and they were ok with it. So no reason why they won’t take yours. But just to be safe, demand for a white background when you get your passport size photograph taken.

3) How do I sign across the photograph ?

Now, this is a question even I did not have an answer to. The form said “Paste your cross signed recent color photograph.” Now whether I was to sign on it and then paste it or whether I was to paste it and then sign it with part of the sign falling outside the photo, I wondered. I did the latter though and I was alright. You need to use a ball pen to sign on the photo (I don’t know if OHP marker would be acceptable.) and it’s quite hard actually.

4) Do I need documentary proof for Place of Birth ?

I did take my Birth Certificate (the one issued by the hospital and not the municipality. The municipality one, is given to the school you first attended and it was probably burnt in the fire in the office :D.), but then they said it was not required. If you have it, it’s best to take it along.

5) I want ECNR, and I have completed my B.E. However, I do not have my degree with me yet. I have my TC, Course Completion Certificate and all of my Mark sheets. Is that enough ?

No, actually. None of these would do. The TC and CC are not accepted. And they don’t have the patience to sit and look at all your 8 semester mark sheets. So, take copies (and original) of your 12th and 10th standard mark sheets. They asked for my 12th mark sheet in my case.

6) In the personal particulars form, under 10 References, can I give my own parents names ? Or someone else who resides in my own house ? Or my parents office address ?

No again. It needs to be someone other than your family who know you and who live nearby. And the address needs to be residential. It is best to have people who have the same postal code as yours listed as your references. And they need to have a phone number too. I doubt if these people will ever be contacted, but it is better to let them know that they might be.

(Questions Specific to my case-Normal Quota, Chennai)

7) How did you apply online ?

Look at the link that reads online registration on top.

8. What documents did you carry with you ?

For ECNR-10th Mark Sheet Original and two self attested copies, 12th Mark Sheet Original and two self attested copies.

For Address Proof-Bank Passbook with Photograph and Address with two self attested copies and Ration Card with two self attested copies. I also had with me my voter ID card and College ID card.

For Proof of Date of Birth-TC of the college last attended. Copy of Birth Certificate. I also had an assortment of other documents like voter ID, college ID and 12th TC,(Attested by Principal) which had proof of Date of Birth. Your passbook should also have the same.

9) Where did you submit the online application ?

There was this queue for Online registration to the left of the general queue. Look at the picture below to get an idea.

Online Queue

(Click on the picture to enlarge)

10) What do they do in the form verification ?

Pretty simple. They check if the application form is in order and you have the originals. As far as possible, carry all the originals you have with photocopies of the same. In case they say one of them is not acceptable, you can always produce the other(s).

Once you have satisfactorily submitted all documents, then you are asked to go upstairs and pay the money. Here again, the tatkaal queue(s) are pretty long, whereas the general quota queue(s) are very short. I had three people standing in front of me, of which I found out two weren’t even in the queue. Just standing there and talking.

I wanted to get a couple of snaps, but then Cell Phone Usage was not allowed inside and so I had to keep my shutter (camera’s) shut.

11) What’s the advantage of filling the form online ?

You don’t have to stand in the general queue and wait all day. However, with online applications, they give you an appointment some 4-5 days after you have submitted the form. You need to get this from printed out and fill a few other details yourself. Once you get your appointment date and time, be there at least 45 minutes early. (I went 15 minutes late, but you might not be that lucky)

The online queue is really short.

12) What additional steps did you take to make sure that you weren’t sent back ? I hear that happens a lot.

Yes, people take things for granted and do not have everything in place as required. Which is why they are asked to come back again. If your Ration Card, Voter ID and Passbook have different addresses (as in you stay in the same house, but the illiterate people who are sent to fill these forms for you and do not let you fill it yourself, screw it up and they now read addresses that are actually the same, but read differently, then you are better off not showing one of these originals.)

For instance, all of my address proofs had weird addresses. Thankfully, my pass book was in order. If you plan to have things hassle free, go to the Election Commission or whichever place they issues your Voter ID and get your address changed. My Pin Code was wrong. Instead of 41 which is Thiruvanmiyur, they had written 04 which is Mylapore. Dumbasses

Thought of a few more. Can’t remember it now.


30 thoughts on “One Day @ The Passport Office

  1. Some people are obsessed with the trivial ECNR and kept bothering me asking about it. I told them the 10th standard marksheet was enough. It is.

  2. The ECNR is not trivial, dude. I nearly couldn’t leave to a particular country some time back because of it.

    As a matter of fact, they did _not_ accept the 10th standard marksheet for me when I tried. I had to get a copy of a 12th standard marksheet, attested. Things may have changed, but as of November 2006, that is how they were.

    Karthik, thanks dude. Seriously, god bless you and all that.

  3. ECNR is not trivial but very important. While your leaving for abroad you definetly need ECNR otherwise you would be asked to pay 350 or so and get a police clearance certificate( producing your attested copy of degree certificate ) that too 3hrs before flight and then board your flight after the clearance.

  4. I said it is trivial because we have all passed 10th and 12th standard. Hence we can easily get it done.

    Siva, you will BUHA! Do you have ID proof or birth certificate for this ‘Selerines’ person that you are pretending to be?

  5. @Marc : “Selerines” is my nick name and off course my company name also…. So need of birth certificate for that… But they will surely question me. What’s the meaning for BUHA? For last few months you people are used to call me as BUHA. So me too changed into that mindset and now a days i am putting my sign as BUHA. Too bad you know!!!!

    @Rachel : Hey Rowdy…..

  6. @Marc,

    It is, but I heard that sometimes they arbitrarily send back people if they are not satisfied with 10th mark sheet.




    True. One of the reasons I waited so long was because I wanted to have my provisional degree to avoid any issues. ECNR is important.

    Thanks for what ? You have a passport don’t you ?




    It’s easy really. That’s what is great about Passport.


    Your name is slightly off course. 😉

    If they ask you what’s the meaning of buha, we will come with you to, say, assist you. 🙂

  7. Karthik, I was one of those people who’s 10th standard certificate wasn’t enough. Lots of trouble.

    Thanks for documenting the procedure. My passport expired a year and a half back.

  8. @Sid, (whose comment has been deleted on request)



    Ya, there can be a lot of trouble no matter how trivial certain people think certain procedures are. 😉

    You are most welcome. I just hope you get it done in less than 20 minutes. That would be a new record. 🙂 (I hold the current unofficial record)

  9. Well I think many don’t know about the online registration which is really very helpful. Those who go and apply there directly should go by morning 6 or so because they don’t accept the forms after 12.30 which is really bad for those who miss it by few inches away from the starting of the queue. But for online registration there is no time limit. It will go on till the evening or so. I went there slowly and got the work done in two or three hours.

  10. Hey I heard from some friends who went before 2 months that both online and regular applicants were made to stand in the same queue and they had to bribe some 100 bucks to get to the other short queue. Is that so. Is it enough if i go some 30 mins before the scheduled time in my online application?

  11. @Vinod,

    I didn’t know about it either. Thanks to Bala. All credit to him.

    The best thing with online registration is that you get an appointment kinda thing. I think very soon everyone should be compelled to apply online. Most people go to internet cafes for “other” reasons anyway. You might as well apply for the passport there.


    One thing I did not talk in my post is that when I was searching for the online queue, a guy came up to me and talked like he was the passport issuing authority there. He asked me what I wanted and all that. And was telling me where the queues were and all that. Then he called me aside and asked me whether I wanted him to simplify procedures for me. Now, anyone who has heard all those horror stories about passport offices would have said yes please and ended up paying.

    Do note that the guy had NO OFFICIAL connection with the passport office. But, I am adamant. So, I said, no thanks, I think I can manage.

    It is precisely for this reason that I posted on this!! People get fooled. I am sure your friend didn’t know that there was a separate queue for online applicants. I didn’t either. My friend Marc told me about it.

    There are no bribes. Not if you are smart and honest and have all documents in place. If you want the easy way and don’t have everything in place, I guess you will bribe. I wouldn’t dream of it. It is enough if you go 30 minutes before the mentioned time. I went 15minutes late 😛

  12. Thank god…. I applied through online and i got the appointment too…. Thanks for your information vinod…. I hope that i will get it soon… My next aim two wheeler & four wheeler license….

  13. Hi guys,
    I searched for a blog about chennai passport office and ended up here.I went to Shastri Bhavan 2day for givin the application(online).
    -If u r clean with ur proofs,u r through.
    -Plz apply online,coz if u go in normal queue only 50 persons wud b allowed,u have 2 be there b4 six in mornin and wait all the day.
    -Wat ever be the time of Appoinment just try to be there before 9.30,coz, they are not following the appoinment time basis,its 1st come 1st serve basis.

    Hey guyz, i jus wanna know how many days it wud take to get the passport under normal status,not in takkal.??

  14. Hi ,

    In the passport book there is a column “Type” . In my passport it showing “ORD” but I have seen “P” in my friends passport . Is it affecting my travel outside please ?

    Thanking you .

  15. I went to the passport office her in Mumbai Suburbs, the fucker asked for bribe and said I cannot get ECNR on the basis of PAN card or IT return as well. It depends on which b*****d is taking ure application. he said he needs 2 address proof instead of one documents WHICH IS CLEARLY said the website.

  16. Dear Fellow Citizens,
    Let me put forth my experience. I my self being a very senior Central govt Official having worked in the same premises and location for 35 years too often bump with all the staff of the Pass Port office at Chennai, When we went to submit the forms for obtaining our Passports had to face such an idiotic question the person/staff asked me to produce two original documents of the ration cards in order to prove the address Identity of myself and for my wife, for which all that I could counter the guy with a question whether the Civil Supplies Deptt/ Ration authorities of the TamilNadu Govt issue two ration cards for the same family to produce as a proof for him? Such is the knowledge of the guys who are only dopes who occupy the counter seats exhibit their arrogance with frivolous and flimsy reasons to reject the filing of the PP forms.

  17. @Aksheya,

    Ya even I thought I was lucky. What an idiot I am. 🙂 I am yet to get my passport.

    @Srinivasa Ragavan,

    Sad but true. In India you could probably even get two passports. 🙂 (Not that I recommend anyone to try. I think you can be imprisoned for doing so.)

  18. Hi,

    This is sankar iam applying a passport for my kid below 3years of age. I have question, is it necessary to put the tumb impression for minor child in “Paste your cross signed recent colour photograph” column.

    1. @Sankar,

      I wouldn’t have a clue. But I doubt if the guys at the passport office will either. It’s been almost a year since I applied for a passport. Still haven’t gotten mine. Great isn’t it ?

  19. Hi,

    I have applied for passport under tatkal scheme through online. I couldn’t go to passport office to submit the application on the given date of appointment. What should I do now? Shall I apply for it again through online?

  20. @Karthik

    I was wondering what does this type “ORD” signify. After re-issue I can see they have specified my passport type to be “P” which means “personal”. But, am curious about this “ORD” thing-’bout which I just didn’t get any information on any site.

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