Since 2012, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has changed the process of passport application and reissue. The application for issuance of fresh passport or reissue of expired/expiring passport has been made online. This has been done to streamline the whole process. Also Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been roped in to manage the online application system as well as to manage the data entry process. MEA and TCS have launched many passport kiosks also known as Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) where an Indian citizen can visit to submit his or her passport application. This is certainly a good news for Indian Passport applicants as it removes all middlemen and agents in the process. However, in order to visit the PSK, one has to book an appointment online (unless your are filling up a tatkal application in which case you can simply walk into the nearest PSK without appointment). The number of slots at any given PSK are limited and hence they get filled up really quickly as soon as they are open. Here are some of the tips that will help you get your appointment faster.
- Make sure you have already created your account on the website http://passportindia.gov.in/
- Either fill the application online or download the PDF form to be filled offline. Once the offline form is filled, you need to generate the upload file and upload the same from your account at passportindia website.
- Verify all the details entered in the form and submit the form. Once submission is complete, you will now be able to create an appointment.
- Click on “View Saves/Submitted Applications” link and the system will list down all the applications that you have created. At most you can create only 3 applications per account.
- Select the appropriate application and below the application list, click “Manage Appointment” link. The link will only be enabled for forms that have been submitted. Partially filled forms will not have this link enabled.
- On the next screen, the system will ask you to choose PSK nearest to your location and click on “Create Appointment”.
- The system will ask you to fill in a CAPTCHA code to verify its a human being and not any automated bot trying to create appointments. The CAPTCHA code is alphanumeric and alphabets are also in capital.
- Once you enter the CAPTCHA, click on “Show Available Slots”. Most likely you will see the following message displayed “Currently no appointment slots are available for the selected Passport Seva Kendra (PSK). Please try scheduling an appointment from DD/MM/YYYY, 3:00 PM onwards. Total number of appointments booked today : XXX“. The appointment timings for various passport offices are also published on the passport website.
- Note down the date and time carefully. Also sync your computer/watch/mobile (whichever one you refer to) to the website’s clock. Website’s clock is displayed at top left corner of every page.
- Visit the website on specified date at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time.
- Follow steps 4 to 7 and reach the “Show Available Slots” page. Make sure to keep the CAPTCHA code filled in the form. Do not click on the link to see the slots yet. Wait until the time is exactly 3:00 PM (or whatever time was mentioned in the error message). Hit the “Show Available Slots” within seconds of clock hitting 3PM.
- You will now see many slots open for one or more days. Do not think twice and simply choose a slot immediately. It is advisable to choose afternoon slots as many people don’t prefer it or 3PM to 4PM slots.
- The system will ask you to enter another CAPTCHA and if the choosen slot is still available, you will receive an appointment confirmation number.
The system may become extremely slow during this period since there is heavy visitor traffic on the website. Make sure to access the website from a broadband or high speed Internet line (if possible, e.g. from office). Do not hit refresh/back buttons on the browser since you will only get one chance before slots get filled. If for some reason, your booking gets stuck on the final page, open another window without disturbing the stuck window and login into your account again and see if you have an appointment ID. Sometimes the system is too slow to respond and may have already booked your slot but unable to show you the appointment confirmation. In such cases opening the account in a new window can help verify if appointment went through.
If you are unsuccessful in your attempt, come back again at the date and time mentioned in the error message.
Do not try to make bookings for multiple accounts as only one account will be logged in from a single browser. If you have multiple bookings to be made, make sure to open them on different browsers (such as Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome etc) or use multiple computers.
Update (June 13, 2013): If media reports in TOI and other leading newspapers are to be believed then Passport authorities are rolling out two important changes in the application process.
- Now the system will automatically give an appointment from available slots instead of users logging in at a specific time to book an appointment. Users will be allowed to change their appointment twice in an year.
- Payment of Passport Fees will be made online and must be done along with the appointment in order to confirm the booking.
These changes will be rolled out slowly through the country.
Update (Aug 13, 2013): The new appointment system has been activated PAN India where the payment of the passport fees has to be made online before appointment is given. Also there is no way to choose the appointment slot and the same is allotted automatically by the system.