A passport is an official document issued by a government that permits the holder to travel beyond the borders of the issuing country. The passport also acknowledges that the holder is a citizen of the issuing country and has been cleared for travel overseas.
Besides being used a travel document, a passport also acts as a proof of identity and address for everything from buying a house to taking a loan.
Applying for a passport used to be a long process entailing multiple visits to the Regional Passport Office (RTO) as well as a long wait period. However, the Ministry of External Affairs, which issues passports on behalf of the Indian government, has introduced an online application process that is easy and convenient to use.
Passport applicants in Kolkata can follow the steps outlined below to apply online for a passport:
- Visit the Passport Seva Online portal and click on the ‘Register Now’ link on the homepage.
- Sign up and log in to the Passport Seva Online portal using the log in credentials.
- Click on the ‘Apply for fresh passport/re-issue of passport’ link on the page.
- Enter the details requested in the online form and submit it.
- Go to the ‘View saved/submitted applications’ tab and book an appointment at a Passport Seva Kendra or Passport Office.
- Make the online payment to complete the appointment booking (through either debit/credit card or internet banking or State Bank of India challan).
- Print the application receipt that mentions the application reference number or appointment number.
- Visit the Passport Seva Kendra/Passport Office with the application receipt and all documents.
How To Apply For Passport Offline In Kolkata
Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) are designated passport application centers where applicants are required to submit their documents and complete additional formalities.
Generally, a fresh passport application cannot be filed at the PSK without an appointment unless it is an urgent case or a tatkal passport, or if the applicant is handicapped, a minor or a senior citizen.
All other applicants are expected to schedule an appointment and visit the PSK on the appointed date.
The procedure to be followed is given below:
- Buy a form from the passport office or download it from the passport website.
- Submit the filled in form and all supporting documents to the passport office, whereupon a file number will be issued.
- Pay the prescribed processing fee, after which the application will be processed.
- The application can be tracked on the passport website by mentioning the file number.
- On successful verification and processing, the applicant will be notified and will have to collect the passport in person.
As per existing rules, passports cannot be applied for at Regional Passport Offices (RPO). However, notifications are sometimes issued that enable applicants to apply for a fresh passport at the RPO.
As mentioned above, the process for applying for a passport in Kolkata has become a more streamlined one, with a greater emphasis on online applications, which results in quicker verification and processing time. In case of any difficulties, the Ministry of External Affairs can be reached through helplines mentioned on the website as well as at the PSK/RPO.