This is real life experience of my husband who is working in an US based MNC. Couple of years back he was asked to travel to US for visting the US office and they were supposed to work on certain projects and assignments. We were really excited as this was a huge opportunity for him and travelling to US was really a exciting thing to have.
It was month of November 2010, The very first thing strike to our mind was the Passport, sadly he didn’t have a Indian Passport based on which he can travel to US. So, we visited the Indian Passport website (http://passport.gov.in) and checked out the list of documents required to apply for fresh Indian Passport. Sadly we were short of supporting documents as were were recently moved to Gurgaon after our just 2 years old marriage. We were tensed!
From now, we had two ways to move forward, either go to our hometown in Gujarat and explore some options, or go through very time consuming process of having a bank account in a nationalized bank, getting a LIC policy, getting MTNL landline connection and many more. We choosed the easier option as there this was bit urgent to get passport as soon as possible so that he can travel to US at earliest. And of course it was question of my husband’s reputation and reliability at his workplace.
We went to our hometown in Gujarat and contacted a travel agent who owns very big office in the center of Rajkot city. At that time we weren’t aware that you have to apply from the place where you are presently living, this was result of our inappropriate research and improper guidence. So, we used the documents of our parents like phone bill, house tax receipts etc and applied for a passport with the help of travel agent, who upfront charged us Rs. 7000 for tatkal passport. I went to Regional Passport Office, Ahmedabad to submit the application. As per my travel agent the supporting documents were enought for the application. But he strictly instructed me to not reveal the fact that I am not puttin up in Rajkot. But my application was not accpeted for different reason. For tatkal passport you need an affidavit from Class A officer or High Court Judge or Police Commissioner or a person at such level. This affidavit should be printed on his Class A officer’s letter pad, and his ID card copy should be attached with this affidavit. Strange shock, but later on he admitted that he was deserving this because he was totally relying on the travel agent and not doing any research by himself.
Now the next round of problems begun, with lot’s of networking and troubles we found some of our family friend who was judge on high court. We went to him and he provided the affidavit as per format instructed by the travel agent. And this time after getting the affidavit, my husband checked the checklist on the Passport website. And found that affidavit should be on letter pad and not on stamp paper which was suggested by travel agent. And he again went to that family friend for fresh affidavit on his letter pad, which also kindly given by that humble person with photocopy of his ID card.
Now we again went to Regional Passport Office, Ahmedabad to submit the application, and again the application was rejected due to some documents were missing. Now my husband was tired of that travel agent who was a dump person and less aware about Passport formalities. Even my husband gained more knowledge than him in these few weeks. Now we decided to add up documents and file a normal application in which passport comes in 30 to 45 days.
After 4 weeks, police verification came and immediately rejected because we were not present at the address that was mentioned in the passport application. Next round of problems started thanks to that intelligent travel agent who promised to get passport by this way very easily. This was third visit in 3 months to our hometown, we went to Ahmedabad passport office, paid Rs. 5000 fine for providing false information and get the file closed. We were relieved not because he got the passport, but he get off the problems in which we were stuck for last 3 months.
It was March 2011, After 5 months, we were still there. We came back to Gurgaon, and started getting all the proofs which took around 3 months to collect. We got a bank account in State Bank of India, we got a Life Insurance Policy for my husband, also got a Gas connection from Bharat Gas and a landline telephone connection from MTNL. After getting all these documents we applied for the fresh passport at Regional Passport Office, New Delhi on 14th September 2011.
Police Verification came in first week of October and we provided all the documents asked by police constable on 3rd Oct, 2011. Now the new wait was begun. Till November there was no news of passport, hence my husband went to Delhi Passport Office, and submitted a written application. The PRO (Public Relation Office) at Delhi Passport Office promised to have the passport delivered in next 15 days. Nothing happened till Mid of Janurary, 2012. Again he went to Passport Office, same application and same promise and more wait. He waiting till the month of April and went to Regional Passport Office, New Delhi 5 times, and he got the same answer every time that the passport will be delivered in next 15 days, but those 15 days never ended.
Now we were tired, frustrated and helpless. Now we did the right thing, which we should have done as first thing in October, 2010 when we were first asked to get a passport. We contacted a local travel agent with a fear because of the our past experience with travel agent in Rajkot. But this travel agent in Gurgaon looked confident and promising and promised that passport will be delivered to my address within 5 working days. And to my surprise, the very next day he asked for certain documents (i.e. the proof that i have paid Rs. 5000 fine at Ahmedabad Passport Office and my file there is closed), this was the reason that I wasn’t getting my passport for last 8 months. I gave the documents and passport was at our home on 5th day. We were delighted even after we took 2 yeart to get a passport, and also spent thousand of rupees for traveling and travel agents.
This was bad experience, but also gave some learning
- In India, if you need to deal with government agencies, never go directly, you must have some agent or connection
- For passport, refer to the Passport website and have multiple document as proof for your Photo ID, Income, Residence, Birth
- For police verification, you will need written verification from 2 person living in your neighborhood, in your society
- Tatkal Passport seva is only for people who are able to spend hefty amount after travel agents or any of your Family member is at higher post in Goverment agency
- Better to get the passport at your early age, when you are in school
Hope this article will help you to avoid the mistake in your life and you will learn from our mistakes. Someone rightly said, mistakes make the man perfect.