Passport application experiences

A few days back I wrote about Passport Seva Portal woes.    Here I want to share my experiences for the benefit of others.


How to get an online appointment for Passport Seva Kendra

  • Login to the portal at 5.45 PM (or even earlier if you are idle)
  • Navigate the various links and click on "Manage appointments"
  • Choose the Seva Kendra of your choice, enter the Capcha.
  • You will get a message saying appointments will start at 6 PM.
  • Continue doing this once a minute as the clock ticks.  This is to ensure that your session does not time out
  • Ensure you are clicking on it at exactly 6 PM.  You will probably see a Timout or similar error. Simply reload the page.  If you are lucky, you will suddenly see a bunch of entries in the screen - appointment slots of 45 minutes duration.  I lost 5 seconds of precious time since I had never seen this screen earlier.  
  • Just click on one of the links - do not spend time looking for a convenient slot based on your office, traffic, etc. Beggars can't be choosers!
  • You will see a magic acknowledgement screen saying you have an appointment.  I doubt if you would be able to print it during the 6 PM to 6.15 PM time due to the volume of traffic. You can come back and print the sheet. 


What the online documentation does not tell you

These are based on my personal experience renewing my wife's passport and applying a new one for my 1 year old.

1.  Do not renew your (or your spouse's) passport at the same time you are applying a fresh passport for your child.

You will need to complete the entire renewal process before you can start the process of applying for your child - essentially nothing can be done in parallel.

It is better to do this on two separate days so that the infant can be spared the ordeal of having to wait double the time.

Why this kolaveri?  The infant passport application has an entry for Father's and Mother's passport number.  If either of these passports are renewed, then the passport number would not be valid.  So, the file number of the renewal application needs to be entered there. This can happen only once the process for renewal is completed.

Why this cannot be done by software in the backend is a mystery to me.  (Perhaps this requirement got missed out in the implementation)

2. DO NOT change your signature if you are renewing passport.

If there is a signature mismatch between, you will be asked to get a notarized affidavit to this effect (depending on the whims and fancies of the officers).

Why on earth does the signature in the passport matter?  God knows!

We had to make another trip to the Passport office after incurring a cost of Rs.350/- to get a notarized affidavit.  (Luckily this one did not need an appointment)  Incidently submission of this form took an hour and a half and included needless questions about previously submitted address proofs.

3. Bank statements have to be attested by the Bank Manager/officer.

You give the original pass book of a Nationalized Bank along with the photostat of the relevant pages from it.  This apparently is not enough.  As if, we print our own pass book and bring it.  In the same line of thinking, it is possibly cheaper to forge a Bank seal and signature.

On one hand, we talk of Green iniative.  Most of us have opted for e-statements instead of monthly paper statements by post.  This is a problem at the Passport office. Computer printouts as address proofs are useless without signatures/seals of concerned department.

But then again, there are some bright spots.  A passport official accepted my BSNL telephone bill as valid address  proof for my wife.

4. Be prepared to be asked the same question again and again

There is a pre-screening counter in the oustide chamber where your documents are verified. Then are three counters inside -  A, B and C.

While the activity in Counter A is to scan each of the proofs, take photo, thumb prints, collect fee and so on, the activity in Counter B is to cross-check if A has done his job.  Now you will ask what is the role of Counter C?  It is to cross-check if B has done his job - Counter C is the Granting Authority.

Specifically about the Bangalore Devarabisanahalli Passport Seva Kendra


  • There is no parking.  Only if you ask, you will learn about the Paid Parking (by a private agency) behind the office, which is accessible from an adjacent road.  
  • Even if you have an appointment, you will still need to stand in a queue - once outside the office till you are granted entry and another in the "pre-screening" section, where they do the initial document verification. 
Other general comments



  • My experience makes me believe that most Passport officials engage in harassing citizens.  This could be due to various reasons.  They may be disgruntled - dissatisifed with their work or pay.  They could be jealous of the applications who they believe are affluent, want to fly abroad, make money and so on.  The bottom-line is they have the power in their hands and this is the opportunity to wield it. 
  • The software sucks.   Many of the staff keep complaining that certain screens do not work or give error.  I could see TCS staff walking around, calling up their backend staff and so on.
  • I believe Pre-screen counters are manned by TCS employees - one of them did not believe PNB (Punjab National Bank) was a valid Bank for address proof.  (And she has the right to deny access - luckily I had a backup plan - a second address proof! 

There is lots of paper-work for a computerized office.  What I would do to reduce this.

  • I would directly scan the originals into the system and thus avoid the need to keep paper copies.
  • I would work with Banks, Telephone companies, Gas agencies and others to provide a means to query for address given an account number or telephone number or gas connection number.  This way I can verify the authenticity of the given "proof" in a fool-proof way.  In fact, today I can get the address of anyone given his BSNL phone number thanks to the directory service.  This could help avoid redundant verification and thereby staff.



Comments

  1. i am trying to get appointment for my passport renewal from past 15 days still i hv not got appointment..

    ReplyDelete
  2. I got the appointment but I am not able to print the acknowledgement. Where should I proceed to print the same?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  3. Getting Passport appointment is very difficult and if you need Tatkaal Appointment it is even more difficult

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Opening a safe deposit locker in SBI

Opening a Kannada Word document

Automating a cordova ios build