Regulated by the Government of India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has taken a series of steps to provide fast and efficient passport services throughout the nation. The rising demand for passports has brought up many changes to the passport application policies which has eased the entire process. Passport is an important document which not only functions as a proof of identity but also allows individuals to explore career opportunities in a different country. A passport also allows students to pursue their essential higher studies at an Institution/University/College located abroad which provides a better platform for them to learn and grow as individuals. And also, it allows people to go, see, and explore the world which is not possible without a passport. Earlier, the passport application process was considered to be complicated which needed filling up multiple forms and obtaining approvals from various regulatory bodies, however, MEA has reviewed various stages of the passport application process to make them easier and smoother.
Following the changes to the passport application process, the government has also launched many Passport Seva Kendra, Post Office Passport Seva Kendra and, Laghu Kendra. While these initiatives have helped the government in broadening the network of passport service, it has also helped the citizens in receiving fast and efficient passport services. Moreover, the phase II of Post Office Passport Seva Kendras aims at ensuring no applicant has to travel more than 50 kilometres to avail the services related to passports.
Recent Changes to the Passport Application Process
Earlier, the passport applicants had to follow the paper-based application process which consumed more time. however, the current paperless methods enable a faster processing speed. In addition to the changes to the application itself, MEA has also incorporated changes to the regulations concerning the policies. The new passport application process facilitates inclusion of many categories of applicants which were not possible earlier. The recent changes allow a divorcee to apply for a passport without having to mention the name of his/her spouse, instead, he/she can choose to enter their parent's or guardian's name. Similarly, there are many more changes to the policies, in order to learn more about the changes and also to obtain further information, individuals are recommended to visit www.passportindia.gov.in which is the official website for passports in India.
Passport Application Without a Birth Certificate
Announced in December 2016, the changes to the passport policy allows an individual to apply for a passport without the need of a birth certificate. Instead, the applicant can choose to furnish any of the document listed by the government. The Passport Rules, 1980, directs the applicants born on or after 26/01/1989, to mandatorily submit their birth certificate as the proof of Date of Birth (D.O.B.) for the passport application. However, the policy has been amended to allow acceptance of other types of documents as proof of D.O.B.
The decision to accept other documents for proof of D.O.B. has been taken to streamline and liberalise the issue of passports to applicants. The individuals who do not have a birth certificate can now submit any of the following document along with the passport application form to fulfil the eligibility criteria -
Birth Certificate - Apart from any of the documents listed below, an applicant can still use his/her birth certificate issued by any of the authorised bodies -
- Registrar of Births & Deaths
- Municipal Corporation
- A specified authority that is empowered (under the Registration of Birth & Deaths Act, 1969) to issue a birth to a child born in India
- School leaving/Matriculation/ Transfer Certificate - The applicant can use either the college/university transfer certificate, school leaving certificate or the matriculation certificate to fulfil the requirement for proof of D.O.B. provided the certificate contains the D.O.B. of the applicant.
- Aadhaar Card/E-Aadhaar - Aadhaar has become useful and mandatory for various types of applications and verification purposes. Considering the importance of Aadhaar since it contains the demographic and biometric details of an individual, MEA has allowed applicants to furnish their Aadhaar for the proof of D.O.B. Moreover, Aadhaar can also help the applicants in reducing the overall processing time for the passport's application.
- PAN Card - The new policy also allows an individual to use his/her PAN Card for the proof of D.O.B. A valid PAN Card issued by the Income Tax (IT) Department with the mention of the D.O.B. can be used instead of any other documents provided in this list.
- Service Record - Government employees can use the copy of the extract of the service record or the Pay Pension Order (applicable for retired employees) to apply for a passport. The document must be duly attested/certified by the concerned person in-charge of the Administration of Ministry/Department. The document must also indicate the D.O.B. of the applicant in order to satisfy the requirement for proof of D.O.B.
- Voter ID Card - The Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India has also secured a place in the list of valid documents that can be used for the application of a passport. The Voter ID Card must show the D.O.B. of the applicant in order for it to be considered valid for the application.
- Driving License (DL) - Since DL contains the D.O.B., a valid DL issued by the Transport Department/Authority of the State Government is also included in the list of documents which can be used for the passport application process.
- Policy Bond - A policyholder can use a Policy Bond issued by the Public Life Insurance Corporations/Companies to furnish it as the proof of D.O.B. provided there is a mention of his/her D.O.B.
Whether it is the application for a new passport or the reissue of an expired passport, applicants can use any one of the listed documents to carry out the application process.