(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,
- Application forms (for download)
- Instructions on how to fill the form
- Fee Structure
- How to apply
- Where to apply
- Tatkaal Scheme
- Online Registration
- Check List
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.
(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.