Anyone who’s ever had to deal with the Indian Passport Office knows first-hand how frustrating the process can be. Hours of queues, forms and tiresome questions would drive anybody to the brink of despair. This is all set to change however when on Friday, The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced their new passport rules, designed to simplify the process tremendously. Not only have they decreased the number of required documents, but they’ve also liberalized the system to include a more diverse social background. They’ve created new rules in the categories of orphaned children, single mothers, government employees and sadhus, among others.
Here are the key takeaways from the MEA Press Release:
I. Proof of Birth Date
Previously, any applicants born on or before January 26, 1989 were required to submit a valid birth certificate. Now, there are 8 different documents that could serve as proof of age, these are:
(i) Birth Certificate (BC) issued by the Registrar of Births & Deaths or the Municipal Corporation or any other prescribed authority whosoever has been empowered under the Registration of Birth & Deaths Act, 1969 to register the birth of a child born in India;
(ii) Transfer/School leaving/Matriculation Certificate issued by the school last attended/recognized educational board containing the DOB of the applicant;
(iii) PAN Card issued by the Income Tax Department with the DOB of applicant;
(iv) Aadhar Card/E-Aadhar having the DOB of applicant;
(v) Copy of the extract of the service record of the applicant (only in respect of Government servants) or the Pay Pension Order (in respect of retired Government Servants), duly attested/certified by the officer/in-charge of the Administration of the concerned Ministry/Department of the applicant, having his DOB;
(vi) Driving licence issued by the Transport Department of concerned State Government, having the DOB of applicant;
(vii) Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) issued by the Election Commission of India having the DOB of applicant;
(viii) Policy Bond issued by the Public Life Insurance Corporations/Companies having the DOB of the holder of the insurance policy.
II. Name of Parents or Legal Guardians:
In the past, it was necessary to provide the identities of both parents at the time of application. Now, only one parent’s name is necessary, also it need not be the father’s name. India was quite biased earlier in the sense that the father’s name was always the name that carried more importance in the forms, this made the situation quite difficult for single mothers. With the new rules, single parents can get their children passports with ease. Even the need to fill in a ‘spouse’s name’ has been waived for divorced couples.
III. Number of Annexes
The total number of annexes to be provided has been reduced from 15 to 9. Annexes A, C, D, E and J have been removed and all of the remaining can be self attested on blank paper without the requirement of notarization, attestation or a swearing in before a magistrate.
IV. Married Applicants
Married citizens no longer need to provide Annexure K or any other marriage certificate during application.
Orphaned children, or people without any proof of birth can now submit a declaration from the head of the orphanage to confirm and attest to their date of birth.
VI. Children Born in Wedlock
In case of children not born out of wedlock, the applicant for the passport of such children should submit only Annexure G while submitting the passport application.
VII. Adopted Children
When obtaining the passports for children who are adopted in-country there will be no need to provide the registered adoption deed, a self attested declaration on plain paper will suffice.
VIII. Government Servants
Government servants, who are not able to obtain the Identity Certificate rom their concerned employer and intend to get the passport on urgent basis can now get the passport by submitting a self-declaration in Annexure-‘N’.
Sadhus/ Sanyasis can apply for a passport with the name of their spiritual Guru mentioned in the passport application in lieu of their biological parent(s) name(s) subject to their providing of at least one public document wherein the name of the Guru has been recorded against the column(s) for parent(s) name(s)
Featured image courtesy Point Blank 7