In a major decision aimed towards liberalising the passport issuance process, the government, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has announced a slew of changes in its passport policies. The ministry has fast-tracked the first-time passport application process, allowing it to take less than a week. Importantly, the new policy pushes back police verification until after a passport is issued to the applicant.
Now, getting the passport is going to take less than a week as police verification will be done after one gets the passport and not before. Until now, the process would take a month, with the police verification eating up a lot of time. Earlier, police verification for passport took 49 days, which was reduced to 42 in 2014, 34 in 2015, and 21 the same year.
"Get your passport first, Police verification later", says the Indian MEA Sushma Swaraj. “If you submit application with copies of Aadhar, Voter ID and PAN Card with an affidavit of no criminal case, we will issue the Passport. The Police verification will be done later," said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in a tweet.
The application with required documents and an affidavit of no criminal record, the passport will be issued first, and the police verification can come later. The new process can be explained in three simple steps:
1. If one submits application with copies of relevant documents such as the Aadhar, Voter ID and PAN Card with an affidavit of no criminal case, the concerned department will immediately issue the Passport.
2. The Police verification will be done later.
3. One can choose any appointment date from the earliest five available dates for Passport related services.
The MEA has also allowed the applicants to book an appointment at their convenience and any date of choice from the earliest five working days for the selected Passport Seva Kendra (PSK). So far, the Passport Seva system fixed appointment based on availability and first-in-first-out (FIFO) basis.
In 2015, the passport offices in India and the Indian missions and posts abroad rendered nearly 1.2 crore passport-related services. On December 31, 2015, nearly 6.33 crore Indians held valid passports.