Lessons learned from renewing Indian passport

In the hope that the next person who Googles passport renewal doesn’t have to read and decipher 50 different Quora posts, still be extremely confused about what exactly the rules are, and end up getting rejected multiple times:

  • It’s called reissue, not renewal.
  • Do not get fooled by how friendly and professional the employees at the passport office are at the beginning of the process. The people who process your documents are probably private contractors, the government passport officers will appear slightly later.
  • The passport website only says you need 1 address proof. But you actually need 2.
  • Upon hearing this, do not suggest to the passport officer that they need to update their website and list all the documents required clearly. This will only make her angry.
  • According to the passport office, a bank statement is not the same as a bank pass book, even though it really is.
  • A bank passbook which lists your name and address is not sufficient as address proof. It must also have a photo of you. Even if you have a separate photo id proof that has already confirmed that the name, photo, and face all belong to the same person.
  • Do not suggest to the passport officer that since an id proof has already proved your identity, maybe your address proof can be used to confirm just your address. This will also make her angry.
  • There’s a lot of confusion surrounding Annexure ‘B’, which requires you to get a signature confirming that you’re an upstanding citizen from a senior government officer of some sort. (Even a govt bank manager will do. Because those guys are usually upstanding citizens, right?) The passport website still lists the annexure as a requirement in some places, but the media reported that it has been scrapped. All I can confirm with certainty is that nobody asked me for it.
  • If you apply for tatkal renewal of passport and have moved to a different city than the one listed on your old passport, expect to get summarily rejected and moved to the normal process.
  • If you’ve moved addresses within a 1-year period, police verification will be done at all your addresses.
  • Luckily, police verification does not require your physical presence at the older addresses. How do they verify then? They call you. Yes, to verify the address that you already submitted an address proof for, they call you and ask you if you really used to live there.
  • Aadhaar is not required. The website says providing Aadhaar will expedite the process, but I didn’t and I got my passport inside a week (after I appeased the passport officers’ document requests in every respect).

If things go wrong, tweet to Sushma Swaraj by all means, but remember that she has 531k mentions and only about 5k tweets right now. I have a blue tick, but even that didn’t help her notice my tweet. Maybe an orange flag will help. (And while you’re at it, maybe also tweet asking for actual systemic change instead of cheering her on the next time she does some #twitterseva.)