A passport is a very important document. It should be kept upto date by renewing it before it expires. Its loss should be reported immediately to the local police authorities and also to the nearest Indian Embassy / Consulate General.
Indian passports can be renewed any time from one year before, to six months after the actual date of expiry. If the passport is already ten years old and has finally expired, a new passport will be issued. Final expiry is indicated on the passport by the letter "F" or the word "Final" mentioned after the date of expiry on the passport. Three passport size photographs are to be submitted along with the application duly filled in for issuance of a new passport booklet. In case there is any change in appearance, one of these photographs should be duly attested by a Notary Public. However, if the passport has not expired finally, the same booklet is renewed.
The forms for renewal of Indian passports and for issuance of new passport booklets are different and appropriate forms are required to be filled in. All applicants for passport services are also required to submit photocopies of their Resident Alien Cards or proof of their lawful residence in USA. Passports of visitors can be extended only for a short period to facilitate their return to India.
Duplicate Passports :
The issuance of duplicate passports in lieu of lost or damaged passports is handled under a special procedure. A duplicate passport can only be issued to an applicant on confirmation of the particulars of the lost passport from the original Passport Issuing Authority and receipt of the clearance of the Ministry of External Affairs. All applicants for duplicate passports must fill out
(i) one copy of the new passport application form and
(ii) six copies of 'Personal Particulars Proforma'.
These forms must be filled in correctly, completely and legibly. Generally it takes at least eight to ten weeks to obtain confirmation of passport particulars and the clearance from the Government of India. However, if one pays fax charges, telegraphic references are made. Paying fax charges cannot guarantee issuance of a duplicate passport within any fixed time-frame.
Emergency Certificate :
Emergency certificates are one-way travel documents to return to India and are generally issued to visiting Indians who lose their passports or to people who need to be deported. However, such certificates can be issued if the Indian citizenship of the person is confirmed.
Miscellaneous Passport & Consular Services :
Applicants for miscellaneous Passport and Consular services are required to fill out a 'Miscellaneous Service' form and submit their passports along with photocopies of their Resident Alien Cards or proof of lawful residence in the foreign country.
Endorsement of Child's Name :
On either parent's passport but it is necessary to send passports of both parents and a photocopy of the child's birth certificate. A child may be endorsed in one of the parent's passport only if the father was an Indian national at the time of the child's birth and if the child does not hold a passport of another country. (Documentary evidence to this effect would be required i.e., either a resident alien card or an 'A' number endorsement for the child on either parent's passport.
Change of First Name/Full Name :
An applicant has to submit (a) a Court Order from a court in India or a notarized affidavit. (b) a newspaper clipping of notice in the city of applicant's domicile in the foreign country. (c) a newspaper cutting of notice in the state of the applicant's domicile in India.
Change to Married Name :
An applicant is required to enclose a copy of the marriage certificate, a sworn affidavit giving maiden and married names duly notarized by a Notary Public and the husband's passport. In case the first name also changes after marriage, additional requirements as indicated in "Change of First Name / Full Name" are to be met.
Documents for Attestation :
These are required to be notarized by a Notary Public and submitted in duplicate (original and a photocopy). The applicant's valid passport should also be submitted. Submission of passports can be exempted in cases of attestation of Adoption papers when applicants do not hold any passports.
Sending Human Remains :
A copy of the death certificate and a letter from the mortuary stating that the body has been embalmed properly and hermetically sealed in a casket is required to be attested by the Consulate. For sending an urn containing human ashes, a copy of the death certificate and a letter from the crematorium stating that the urn contains nothing else but the cremated remains of the deceased and that it has been sealed properly should be authenticated by the Consulate. The Indian passport of the deceased should also be cancelled.
Time Taken for Consular and Passport Related Services Counter Applications :
Except for issuance of New Indian Passports, other services like renewal of a passport, issue of a Birth, Life or a Police Clearance Certificate, endorsement of child's name, etc. can be given the same day if it is otherwise in order and the applicant applies at the counter before 12.00 noon. Processed documents / passports are returned the same day between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm. New Indian Passports issued on the expiry of old passports which expired recently are given the next working day between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm.
Overnight Mail Applications :
Applications received through overnight mail are processed on a priority basis and the passports and services documents are returned by overnight mail provided an overnight mailing charge is paid to the Consulate in addition to the normal fee. It normally takes two/three working days to process such cases.
Certified/Registered Mail Applications :
Applications received by certified or registered mail are processed within 7 working days and returned by certified mail only. A self-addressed and stamped certified mail envelope or additional amount (as required) may be enclosed.
Obtaining Forms :
Renewal, Miscellaneous Services and New Passport application forms are distributed free of cost. These forms can also be freely duplicated. The application forms can be downloaded from web sites at the following address:
Forms can also be obtained from the Consulate by sending a request in writing and enclosing a self-addressed and stamped envelope. These can also be obtained from the Indian Associations and some Travel Agencies.