The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which is the sole governing body authorised with the task of issuing Indian passports, has amended rules yet again in an attempt to make the application process less fraught.
The new changes, which were announced in December 2016, will make it easier for categories such as orphans, single mothers and government employees to receive their passports with minimum hassle.
List of Changes
The MEA has made a number of changes with regard to documentation to be submitted, which are listed below:
Substitute for date of birth certificate
- Applicants who are born after January 1st, 1989 had to submit birth certificates in order to obtain a passport. Now, however, applicants can submit any one from the list of options provided when applying for a passport:
- Birth certificate as issued by the Registrar of births and deaths or the Municipal Corporation or any other authority empowered to issue the same under the Registration of Births and Death Act of 1969 to register a child’s birth in India.
- PAN card.
- Aadhaar card or E-aadhar card mentioning the applicant’s date of birth.
- Transfer certificate/school leaving certificate/matriculation certificate issued by the school last attended by the applicant and recognised by an educational board.
- Driving licence.
- Election photo identity card (EPIC).
- Policy bond issued by a public life insurance company mentioning the applicant’s date of birth.
Name of only one parent or legal guardian mandatory
Applicants can now choose to fill in the details of only one legal guardian or parent, making it easier for single parents to obtain a passport for their child/children. It is now no longer mandatory for the father’s name to be mentioned in the passport application form. This is especially true in the case of children being raised by single mothers and adopted children. This change was implemented after a special committee was set up to examine issues relating to passport applications for adopted children and children of single parents.
Reduction in number of annexures
Earlier, passport forms had 15 annexures, however this has now been reduced to 9 as some have been merged.
No attestation required on annexures
Previously, passport application form annexures required to be attested by a notary/executive Magistrate/first class judicial Magistrate. However, the new changes stipulate that there is no requirement for attestation of annexures. A self-attestation on plain paper is all that is required.
Marriage certificate not required in case of separated/divorced applicants
Earlier, the passport application form mandated the submission of the marriage certificate for all married persons, even if they were separated or divorced. The new rule states that a marriage certificate need not be attached for applicants who are separated or divorced. The applicant is also not required to provide the name of his/her former spouse on the application form.
In the case of orphaned children without proof of their date of birth such as a court order or a matriculation certificate, a declaration by the Head of the orphanage/child care home on the organisation’s official letterhead can be submitted in that regard.
Government servants who are unable to obtain annexure B/no-objection certificate (annexure M) from their superiors and are in urgent need of a passport may submit a self-declaration in annexure-N stating that the applicant has provided prior intimation to his/her employer informing them that he/she is applying for an ordinary passport. This annexure-N is to be submitted to the passport issuing authority at the time of applying for an ordinary passport.
The above changes are effective immediately at all passport issuing centres and Passport Seva Kendras.