I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.See all posts Frank Gogol
How to Renew an Indian Passport
If you’re one of the more than 4.4 million Indian immigrants living in the U.S., you have a passport that helps you remain in the U.S. legally.
What is a Passport?
Passports are documents that last a long time and renewing or reissuing them might not be something you do very often. Maybe, you never had to renew your passport or have it reissued to you, or perhaps you simply want to get a refresher and stay updated on how the process works. This scenario comes up for thousands of people with Indian passports around the world and we want to make sure you get through the process correctly.
How to Renew Your Indian Passport in 4 Steps
Generally, renewing or reissuing your Indian passport in the U.S. is a simple process with four simple steps:
- Initiate Passport Application: Start by filling out the passport application on the official website of the Indian government.
- Register on VFS Global: Create an account on the VFS Global website and pay the required shipping fee.
- Prepare and Send Documents: Gather all necessary documents and mail them to VFS Global for processing.
- Document Verification by VFS: Once received, VFS Global will verify your documents and forward them to the Indian embassy.
- Police Verification in India: The Indian embassy will then initiate the police verification process in India.
- Passport Printing: After successful verification, the Indian embassy will print your new passport.
- Delivery of Passports: VFS Global will dispatch both your new and old passports back to you.
Each of these steps is explained in detail below.
1. Register Yourself Online at Passport Seva Website
The very first thing you should do when starting this process is to register yourself with the Passport Seva Website. You can do this by going to the website, clicking ” New User Register” and commencing the registration that way. When you register you will have to:
- Select the passport office that is connected to your current residential address
- Enter your name, date of birth, email, login ID, password, and hint question
- Activate your account using the email they send to you so that you can access your account.
Once the login is complete, you will see an option in the menu that states: “Apply for Fresh Passport/Re-issue of Passport”. After clicking on this link, you will proceed to fill out the application. This is the second step of this process.
You can visit the Passport Seva website here.
2. Fill out Your Online Application
Filling out your application is the core part of your passport re-issuing and renewal process. You will be presented with two options to fill out the application form and they will be presented as two alternatives. The option you choose does not matter because the process works out the same. The alternatives are:
- Alternative 1 will put your application in a PDF form that can be downloaded and filled offline.
- Alternative 2 will be inputted directly into the form you are using.
It is always good to have documentation so that you can easily access your information, especially sensitive information like this that you might need to change or update as you go along when filling out the application. That is why it is recommended to choose the first option with the PDF form because you might not have some of the details the form might require available to you at the time. The PDF form is also very clear and easy to fill out because of the way it is set up.
If you are using the PDF form option, you will need to enter the city or town you are in and then click Validate and Save. You will then have to save your file as an XML file and then save it under an appropriate name that you can easily find later. You will then need to upload that file in the section where you just downloaded the PDF form. All the details will be automatically created and you will just need to look over it and verify it before saving since you will not be able to change the details after this step. If anything is wrong, you will be able to change it at the passport office but try to confirm everything as best as you can.
No matter which case you choose, you will have to fill out the same details. Both options get you the same results; it is just a matter of preference on how you would like to fill it out. The information you will need includes:
- Current address
- Information on your Spouse as requested by the document
- Two local references including their full names, addresses, and phone numbers
This is the most important part of the information to fill out because it might be needed for police verification. These are the people in the villages, towns, and cities of your area who will vouch for your character or who you are if the police need to do an extra investigation.
3. Get Set for Your Passport Renewal Appointment
Once your application is created, the next step is to check for available slots so that you can make an appointment to get all your documents checked out. You will also have to pay to submit the application. We will go through this process so you can see exactly how to do it.
Once your application is submitted there will be an option on the left stating “View Saved / Submitted Applications”. After you click this option, you will then have to select your application by clicking on the radio button. Then when the options are shown with links connected to them, you will need to click on “Pay and Schedule Appointment.” This link with take you to a page with the option for payment. You will be allowed to either pay online or pay with challan I recommend doing it online because it is generally easier.
Choosing an Appointment
Once you select Online Payment you will have the option to select the Passport Service Kendra and the time slot. It will show the available time slots you can choose for your appointment. Once you select your time slot, you will then be directed to the payment page where you can select which source you want to use to pay for the application.
Some of you filling this form out might be eligible for a walk-in appointment instead of having to pick a slot. If so, you can cancel the appointment and print the page out of the cancellation page to take to your appointment.
Printing Your Receipt
You will also have to print the payment receipt page for the walk-in appointment. Present these documents at the walk-in hours listed for the office you will be having your appointment at.
Your payment receipt will have a barcode on it as well that will be scanned at your appointment. Please make sure that your printer has proper ink so that the payment confirmation information and the barcode are completely and 100% legible. If you encounter an error in your receipt make a note of it and tell the person who will be reviewing your passport.
Make sure you arrive at Passport Seva Kendra about 15-minutes earlier so as to not miss your appointment. Getting there on time will suffice, but it is always better to be earlier than later, and sorry!
4. Find the documents needed for your Passport Reissue or Renewal
You want to make sure you have all the required documents so that you do not run into any issues when you present your documents at your appointment. On the homepage where Document Advisor for renewal / re-issue is listed; you will find a form with options listed for you.
Click the respective option that is similar to your case and a list of documents that you need to take to your appointment will be listed. You will not need any additional documents apart from the ones listed here. Do not worry about what other people say in regard to the issue. The only documents required are the ones listed on this page.
Documents Required to Renew an Indian Passport
This is the list of documents you need. In the end, you will see the information about documents proving your address, as well as documents needed if your address has changed from the previous passport you owned. You will see respective information for other changes like spouse changes.
- Online form that you printed out with the Application Reference Number (ARN).
- Original expired or expiring passport
- Proof of address as a utility bill: water, telephone, electricity bills, etc.
- The utility bill should show statements for at least 2 months. One from the current year, and one from the previous year
- If you are submitting a utility gas bill, PSK will ask for two proofs of gas connections from the previous months
- Ration Card with address
- Bank Statement for 1 year, and the passbook of bank account with the address on it.
- Aadhar card, Voter ID, or another national identity card
A Note About Addresses
If your address is the same address as the one in your old passport you only need a photocopy of your passport’s first page, last page, and the page with your ECNR info. You will then do a self-attestation of the validity of this address. You can also carry current address proof through the documents listed before like with your utility bill, bank statements, or national identity card like a voter card.
If you have had a change in address that is different from your old passport address you will also need a copy of the first, last and ECNR page of your passport that will require the self-attestation. You will have to provide proof of the change in address with any of the documents listed before.
A Note About Name Changes
If you have a new spouse or have had a change in spouse you can add your spouse’s name and verify he/she is your spouse with an original copy and an extra photocopy of your marriage certificate -the photocopy that needs to be self-attested. If you plan to change any details of your spouse’s information from the one you had before, you need to carry the original marriage certificate proving this as well as a photocopy signed by you.
The documents listed above are the most basic ones you need for this process. As stated in step 3, you can find a more comprehensive list on the website.
Indian Passport Renewal Processing Time in the U.S.
During the application process, you will note how you’d like your application returned to you. Delivery times will differ depending on the option you choose. Below are the common processing times by U.S. officials:
|Washington D.C.||Minimum 1-3 weeks and up to 6 weeks for a new, reissued, renewed, or corrected passport|
|New York, NY||2-4 weeks for a new, reissued, renewed, or corrected passport|
|San Francisco, CA||2-3 weeks for a new, reissued, renewed, or corrected passport|
|Chicago, IL||Typically 4 weeks for 1-3 weeks for a new, renewed or corrected passport; Minimum 3-6 weeks for a reissue of a lost or damaged passport|
|Houston, TX||Minimum 1-3 weeks and up to 6 weeks for a new, reissued, renewed, or corrected passport|
|Atlanta, GA||Minimum 6-8 for a new, reissued, renewed, or corrected passport; 10-12 weeks if referred for clearance; 7-9 weeks if referred for clearance by details are available in a database; Open-ended timeframe of passport is expired more than 3 years (varies by case)|
Note: If approval is required from the authorities in India, processing times may take additional weeks.
Should I Hire Someone to Handle My Passport Renewal?
You might feel you need an agent to handle your passport renewal but the truth is you do not. The process has been streamlined and automated so that anyone can do it without needing an agent. The only reason you would need an agent would be if you were illiterate, and if you are reading this, I believe you know what you are doing.
You also might want to hire an agent if you do not know how to use a computer, which would make you unable to fill out the online form in the process. Again, I am assuming you know how to use a computer and fill out an online form if you made it this far on the internet.
What if I need to Renew My Infant’s Passport?
The process to renew an infant’s passport involves some different steps. You can read about that process here.
Renewing or Reissuing an Indian Passport
Below is a detailed breakdown of how to renew your Indian passport in the U.S. Read on to learn everything you need to know!
What’s the difference between renewing and reissuing a passport?
When you renew a passport, you are trying to extend the expiration date on a Short Validity Passport (SVP) so this process will require that you get an entirely new book.
A re-issued passport is one that you get because you have used up all your pages and your passport is reaching the end of its validity. These steps outline the most common experience, and the one you might be facing, which is a passport re-issue. Just be advised that the terms are used interchangeably.
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