Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting A Duplicate Indian Passport In Lieu Of A Lost Or Damaged One Through Mail In USA




Important Update:Cox and Kings Global Services is the  authorized Service Provider for the Embassy of India and its Consulates across the USA for the Indian Passport Services with effect from May 7, 2016.

https://passport.in.ckgs.us/

Although some of the details below might be still relevant, I would encourage you to go through the above URL for the up to date process


Getting a duplicate passport in lieu of a lost or damaged Indian passport in USA through mail has become easy and hassle free now a days. The time required to get the renewed passport is mentioned in VFS website as minimum 2-4 weeks provided the details of Original passport is traceable in the database.If the details are not traceable, then the process may take even longer .Refer below link.

http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/fresh_processing.html

Please note that the weeks mentioned above are the minimum time and there is no maximum time mentioned. For me it took 6 weeks.Here is the status messages

11/13/2012-Sent the application as well as existing passport 

11/14/2012-USPS tracking website shows VFS received it . 
VFS took almost 15 days to verify the application and forward that to Consulate 

11/29/2012-VFS accepted the application

11/30/2012-Application has been forwarded to the Embassy/Consulate General of India on 30/11/2012.
I believe consulate gets in touch with the passport office in India were your existing passport was issued and then they gets the passport created in India and waits till it reaches them. They hand over the new passport to VFS as soon as they receive it.

12/26/2012-Processed application has been handed over to Courier Company on 26/12/2012

Received the new passport on 12/29/2012-I used USPS express mail so it reached me in a day.

Here is what we require 

1. Original Passport

In case you have your damaged passport, you need to send that along with other documents.
• Please make sure that you remove I94 document from the passport and keep it in a safe place. I94 is not required to be sent along with passport for renewal.

 

2. Complete the online application form here


You need to complete all the fields in the application. Following points need to be taken care while filling the application

• Select the correct Indian Mission. Please refer the section “INDIAN PASSPORT INFORMATION” in below link for consular jurisdictions


For example a person living in Florida should select USA-ATLANTA as the Indian Mission. Similarly a person living in Iowa should select USA-CHICAGO as the Indian Mission

• Select the Service Desired as New Passport in lieu of Damaged/Lost Passport

• District/Country- If you are born in India, you just need to mention here only the name of the District where you are born.

• Qualification -Fill in your qualification. Examples- B.Tech,B.E,B.Ed,B.Sc . This information is used to determine your emigration status. That is Emigration Check Not Required(ECNR)/Emigration Check Required(ECR)

• Profession- Fill the name of your profession. Examples- IT Professional, Software Engineer, Network Engineer etc. Please note that employee of Govt. Service/Public Sector Unit in India should write GOVT SERVICE/PSU SERVICE

• Visible Mark-You can refer your SSLC Book or CBSE records or school records. The mark should be permanent. For example A black mole on upper left arm, a mole in the left wrist etc. If you don’t have any marks, please mention NIL in the textbox.

• Address to be Printed in the Passport – Here you need to mention your USA address and not the Indian Address and you should have a proof handy for this US address. Please note that this is the address which is going to be printed in your passport and not your Indian address.

• Other Address – Here you need to mention your Indian address.

• Phone No and Mobile No-Mention your USA phone number. Please don’t mention “0” here .Give a number where you are reachable.

• File Number - This can be found in the last page of your existing passport


Once you complete the application, click on Save and Print. You will be asked to verify the details once again. Please go through each and every field and make sure there are no spelling mistakes or wrong information. You will not get a chance to make changes to the form once you save and print the form. After saving and printing, if you find that there is a mistake, your only choice is to open the application form link again and then fill all the information again.

• When you print the form make sure that the barcode on the top appears in the prints out
• It will provide you an appointment date. Ignore this. This is not your appointment date. In our case anyway we are applying through mail. So not need to even bother about this.

• You will have four pages to print and you need to complete the information requested in rest of the fields using pen.

Now we will see the fields in the rest of the application which might cause confusion.

• Specimen Signature - You need to sign with in the box and this is what is going to appear in your passport.    

• Payment of fee – Fill the Amount Paid $/E as $156.This includes Application Fee of $153 and VFS Service Fee of $3.Please refer below link for details.


• Mode of Payment – This can be Demand draft / money order/ banker’s check depending on what you have taken. I used Personal Money Order from Bank of America for $156.It will cost you $156+$5 Service Fee. You can go to BOA and ask for Personal Money Order.

• For delivery by mail $/E – You can mention NA(Not Applicable) here

• Local car driving license No – Mention your US drivers license number.

• When did applicant first leave India –In case you don’t have this information handy, refer your existing passport and see if you can see the airport immigration seal for the first time departure from India. The sample application confuses more as it says this is the LAST DATE OF EXIT FROM INDIA and then the next question is when was he/she in India last?

• When was he/she in India last – This should be the last date of exit from India. Again if you don’t have this info, refer the passport and see the Airport Immigration seal.

• How long has applicant continuously resided abroad?- I am not sure about the answer to this question. I have taken the total number of months between my last exit from India and the date of submitting the application.

• Present Emigration Status(ECR or ECNR) – This is based on certain criteria. Most of us who come to US are professional degree holders . So we come under the category ECNR.Refer below link if you are not a professional degree holder.


• Profession and business address – Mention your profession.For example IT Professional/Software Engineer/Scientist etc and then the address of your office. Most probably there will not be enough space to put the complete address. So you have to write it small.

• Did applicant ever posses any other nationality or travel document of any other country? If so please give details – This is a confusing question at least for me. So here is my interpretation. They are asking if you were citizen of any other country or at least were having passport of any other country and not like if you possessed VISA or Work Permit from any other country.

For example, if you have traveled to Europe or UK or Middle East you will have VISA stamped on your passport. We don’t need to mention those as travel documents here

• Name and address of two relatives/friends – This needs not be necessarily your relatives/friends in USA. This can be of your relatives/friends in India. I provided address of my uncles in India.

• DECLARATION– This signature/thumb impression needs to be done in front of a Public Notary and needs to be notarized.If you are a Bank of America or Chase customer, they should be able to help with notarization free of cost. Otherwise you need to approach a public notary. They normally charge $10 for first document and then a max of $25 even if the documents are more.

Let me know if you find any more fields in the form confusing. We can add a description regarding that here so that it is useful for others who wants to renew the passport.

3. Nationality Verification Form with Photograph

You need 8 copies of Nationality Verification Form and the same needs to be notarized.

Download the Nationality verification form from below link

http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/pdf/Performa-for-Verification_28.05.12.pdf

Attach a recent photo in the space provided. Refer below link for photo specifications

http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/passport_after_10_years_photospec.html

Complete all the fields, if there is any information request that is not relevant to you, please mention NA. Almost all the information requested here can be obtained from your current passport as well as the application form that we just completed apart from item 13 and 15.

For item 13, please mention Not Applicable

In item 15 you need to mention the name and address of the travel agent who provided you the ticket for your last travel from India to USA. For corporate like TCS,Infosys etc there will be a travel agent to which the ticketing is outsourced. You need to provide their address. For others, you need either have it in your memory or refer a copy of the ticket. I had emails from my travel agent and I had the address and name there.

4. Photocopy of first five and last 2 pages of passport

5. Notarized photocopy of proof of valid visa

• Take color photo copy of your valid VISA page in your passport and get it notarized.

• If you are a Bank of America or Chase customer, they should be able to help with notarization free of cost. Otherwise you need to approach a public notary. They normally charge $10 for first document and then a max of $25 even if the documents are more. 

6. Notarized photocopy of proof of residence

 The proof can be your US Driver’s License, US State ID, US Utility bill such as gas, electric or water or Rental Lease agreement or Home Mortgage bill. For applicants above 60 years of age who do not have any        such documents, a copy of their State ID may be enclosed.

7. Photographs as per specification and  with White background

You need 16 photographs all together.
1 will be pasted in the application form
7 will be stapled in last page of the application form
8 photos required for the 8 Nationality Verification Forms


Here is the link to specifications for the photo.

http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/passport_after_10_years_photospec.html

I did my photo first at the local Walgreens but that one was blurry because the person who took the photograph was holding the camera in his hand while taking the photo instead of using a tripod.Then I went to Sears. Although sears is really costly, they did a good job. You can have it in Walmart, CVS,Cosco too

8. Application Fee

In our case this is $156 .This can be provided in the form of Demand draft / money order/ banker’s check . I used Personal Money Order from Bank of America for $156.It will cost you $156+$5 Service Fee. You can go to BOA and ask for Personal Money Order.

9. Prepaid self addressed envelope with tracking facility

You can get the prepaid envelop from any service provider USPS,FedEx etc. I preferred USPS. You may either go for USPS Express Mail 12-1/2" x 9-1/2" envelope with a single day guaranteed delivery with tracking-this will cost you 18.95 or USPS Priority Mail 12-1/2" x 9-1/2" with 2-3 days guaranteed delivery with tracking-this will cost you $5.90 .
Now you can mention the from address as the address of the consulate and to address as your address since this is for return mail in which you are going to get the new passport and other documents..Click on the below link and then click the consulate name to get the address
http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/Postal_Application.html 
For example my consulate was Atlanta since I live in Florida

Prefer to fold this envelope by the side only and not at the middle to fit in the envelope in which you will be sending the documents.


10. Lost & Damages Passport Affidavit

You can get the form here

This if pretty straight forward form. The only thing we need to take care is that the DEPONENT that is you) and the two witness needs to put their signature in the space provided in front of the Notary Public, although some notary may ignore such things some may insist that you do the signature in front of them.

Please note that if the passport is lost/damaged/expired for more than 3 years,an Additional –Notarized- “4 Point Affidavit” is required for Applicants of HOU Jurisdiction. Here is the link to the affidavit


Please refer the section “INDIAN PASSPORT INFORMATION” in below link for consular jurisdictions

11If Visa Status is Expired/Pending: “Notarized Affidavit of No Status” is required.This is applicable to Atlanta, New York,Houston and SFO jurisdiction Only 

You can get the form here

12. If the passport is lost,Original FIR(Police Report) is required

You can go to the nearest police office and file a complaint mentioning that you have lost your passport and provide the details of the passport. Mostly the policy office will issue a report with in a day or two,


The above documents are mandatory. Based on your specific case, you might require to provide additional documents. For example, if you are recently married and want to include your Spouse's name in the new passport, you need to provide notarized photocopy of your marriage certificate along with above documents.


Once you have all the required documents,take a print out of the checklist available at below link and mark whichever is applicable to you and then place it in the same order as mentioned in the checklist along with the marked checklist
http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/pdf/checklist_31oct2012.pdf 


Once you place all the documents including your passport as well as the prepaid self addressed envelope in the envelope in which you will be sending the documents to consulate., you can head to the post office for sending it to the consulate. Again address for sending the documents can be obtained from above link.

You can track the package at below link by keying the tracking code at upper right corner of the receipt in the search box

https://www.usps.com/ 


How to track your application


Once the application is received by VFS, they will send you an email with Application Reference Number at the email address that you have mentioned in your application. The email normally comes from the address DoNotReply@vfsglobal.com.

Once you have the Application Reference Number, you can track the status at the below link

https://www.vfsglobalonline.com/IHC-USA-TRACKER/




If you have any correction or suggestion about the above article, please let me know. Again the intention of this article is to help all those who are looking for information on how to renew an Indian passport  through mail while in USA.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How To Renew An Indian Passport In USA Through Post


Important Update:Cox and Kings Global Services is the  authorized Service Provider for the Embassy of India and its Consulates across the USA for the Indian Passport Services with effect from May 7, 2016.

https://passport.in.ckgs.us/

Although some of the details below might be still relevant, I would encourage you to go through the above URL for the up to date process

NOTE FOR READER:-Please refer the comments to this post as well. Comments provide useful information especially the one from iHelper M.

Renewing Indian passport through mail in USA has become easy and hassle free now a days. All that we require is the existing passport,photos and a set of documents notarized. The time required to get the renewed passport is mentioned in VFS website as minimum 1-3 weeks.Refer below link.

http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/fresh_processing.html 


Please note that the weeks mentioned above are the minimum time and there is no maximum time mentioned. For my friend  it took 5 weeks.Here is the status messages


VFS accepted the application

Application has been forwarded to the Embassy/Consulate General of India

Processed application has been handed over to Courier Company 



1. Original Passport

Please make sure that you remove I94 document from the passport and keep it in a safe place. I94 is not required to be sent along with passport for renewal.

 

2. Complete the online application form here


You need to complete all the fields in the application. Following points need to be taken care while filling the application

• Select the correct Indian Mission. Please refer the section “INDIAN PASSPORT INFORMATION” in below link for consular jurisdictions


For example a person living in Florida should select USA-ATLANTA as the Indian Mission. Similarly a person living in Iowa should select USA-CHICAGO as the Indian Mission

• Select the Service Desired as Re-issue of Passport

• District/Country- If you are born in India, you just need to mention here only the name of the District where you are born.

• Qualification -Fill in your qualification. Examples- B.Tech,B.E,B.Ed,B.Sc . This information is used to determine your emigration status. That is Emigration Check Not Required(ECNR)/Emigration Check Required(ECR)

• Profession- Fill the name of your profession. Examples- IT Professional, Software Engineer, Network Engineer etc. Please note that employee of Govt. Service/Public Sector Unit in India should write GOVT SERVICE/PSU SERVICE

• Visible Mark-You can refer your SSLC Book or CBSE records or school records. The mark should be permanent. For example A black mole on upper left arm, a mole in the left wrist etc. If you don’t have any marks, please mention NIL in the textbox.

• Address to be Printed in the Passport – Here you need to mention your USA address and not the Indian Address and you should have a proof handy for this US address. Please note that this is the address which is going to be printed in your passport and not your Indian address.

• Other Address – Here you need to mention your Indian address.

• Phone No and Mobile No-Mention your USA phone number. Please don’t mention “0” here .Give a number where you are reachable.

• File Number - This can be found in the last page of your existing passport


Once you complete the application, click on Save and Print. You will be asked to verify the details once again. Please go through each and every field and make sure there are no spelling mistakes or wrong information. You will not get a chance to make changes to the form once you save and print the form. After saving and printing, if you find that there is a mistake, your only choice is to open the application form link again and then fill all the information again.

• When you print the form make sure that the barcode on the top appears in the prints out
• It will provide you an appointment date. Ignore this. This is not your appointment date. In our case anyway we are applying through mail. So not need to even bother about this.

• You will have four pages to print and you need to complete the information requested in rest of the fields using pen.

Now we will see the fields in the rest of the application which might cause confusion.

• Specimen Signature - You need to sign with in the box and this is what is going to appear in your passport.

• Payment of fee – Fill the Amount Paid $/E as $81.This includes Application Fee of $78 and VFS Service Fee of $3.Please refer below link for details.


• Mode of Payment – This can be Demand draft / money order/ banker’s check depending on what you have taken. I used Personal Money Order from Bank of America for $81.It will cost you $81+$5 Service Fee. You can go to BOA and ask for Personal Money Order.

• For delivery by mail $/E – You can mention NA(Not Applicable) here

• Local car driving license No – Mention your US drivers license number.

• When did applicant first leave India –In case you don’t have this information handy, refer your existing passport and see if you can see the airport immigration seal for the first time departure from India. The sample application confuses more as it says this is the LAST DATE OF EXIT FROM INDIA and then the next question is when was he/she in India last?

• When was he/she in India last – This should be the last date of exit from India. Again if you don’t have this info, refer the passport and see the Airport Immigration seal.

• How long has applicant continuously resided abroad?- I am not sure about the answer to this question. I have taken the total number of months between my last exit from India and the date of submitting the application.

• Present Emigration Status(ECR or ECNR) – This is based on certain criteria. Most of us who come to US are professional degree holders . So we come under the category ECNR.Refer below link if you are not a professional degree holder.


• Profession and business address – Mention your profession.For example IT Professional/Software Engineer/Scientist etc and then the address of your office. Most probably there will not be enough space to put the complete address. So you have to write it small.

• Did applicant ever posses any other nationality or travel document of any other country? If so please give details – This is a confusing question at least for me. So here is my interpretation. They are asking if you were citizen of any other country or at least were having passport of any other country and not like if you possessed VISA or Work Permit from any other country.

For example, if you have traveled to Europe or UK or Middle East you will have VISA stamped on your passport. We don’t need to mention those as travel documents here

• Name and address of two relatives/friends – This needs not be necessarily your relatives/friends in USA. This can be of your relatives/friends in India. I provided address of my uncles in India.

Let me know if you find any more fields in the form confusing. We can add a description regarding that here so that it is useful for others who wants to renew the passport.

3. Nationality Verification Form with Photograph

Download the Nationality verification form from below link

http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/pdf/Performa-for-Verification_28.05.12.pdf

Attach a recent photo in the space provided. Refer below link for photo specifications

http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/passport_after_10_years_photospec.html

Complete all the fields, if there is any information request that is not relevant to you, please mention NA. Almost all the information requested here can be obtained from your current passport as well as the application form that we just completed apart from item 13 and 15.

For item 13, please mention Not Applicable

In item 15 you need to mention the name and address of the travel agent who provided you the ticket for your last travel from India to USA. For corporate like TCS,Infosys etc there will be a travel agent to which the ticketing is outsourced. You need to provide their address. For others, you need either have it in your memory or refer a copy of the ticket. I had emails from my travel agent and I had the address and name there.

4. Photocopy of first five and last 2 pages of passport

5. Notarized photocopy of proof of valid visa

• Take color photo copy of your valid VISA page in your passport and get it notarized.

• If you are a Bank of America or Chase customer, they should be able to help with notarization free of cost. Otherwise you need to approach a public notary. They normally charge $10 for first document and then a max of $25 even if the documents are more. 

6. Notarized photocopy of proof of residence

 The proof can be your US Driver’s License, US State ID, US Utility bill such as gas, electric or water or Rental Lease agreement or Home Mortgage bill. For applicants above 60 years of age who do not have any such documents, a copy of their State ID may be enclosed.

7. Three photographs as per specification and  with White background


Here there can be confusion. Does this 3 photographs include the one that we pasted in the application?. Yes, it includes the one that we pasted in your application. So apart from the one that you pasted in the application, you need to have two more

Here is the link to specifications for the photo.

http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/passport_after_10_years_photospec.html

I did my photo first at the local Walgreens but that one was blurry because the person who took the photograph was holding the camera in his hand while taking the photo instead of using a tripod.Then I went to Sears. Although sears is really costly, they did a good job. You can have it in Walmart, CVS,Cosco too

8. Application Fee

In our case this is $81 unless you are a frequent traveler and need a Jumbo Booklet. .This can be provided in the form of Demand draft / money order/ banker’s check . I used Personal Money Order from Bank of America for $81.It will cost you $81+$5 Service Fee. You can go to BOA and ask for Personal Money Order.

9. Prepaid self addressed envelope with tracking facility

You can get the prepaid envelop from any service provider USPS,FedEx etc. I preferred USPS. You may either go for USPS Express Mail 12-1/2" x 9-1/2" envelope with a single day guaranteed delivery with tracking-this will cost you 18.95 or USPS Priority Mail 12-1/2" x 9-1/2" with 2-3 days guaranteed delivery with tracking-this will cost you $5.90 .
Now you can mention the from address as the address of the consulate and to address as your address since this is for return mail in which you are going to get the new passport and other documents..Click on the below link and then click the consulate name to get the address
http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/Postal_Application.html 
For example my consulate was Atlanta since I live in Florida

Prefer to fold this envelope by the side only and not at the middle to fit in the envelope in which you will be sending the documents.

The above documents are mandatory. Based on your specific case, you might require to provide additional documents. For example, if you are recently married and want to include your Spouse's name in the new passport, you need to provide notarized photocopy of your marriage certificate along with above documents.

Once you have all the required documents,take a print out of the checklist available at below link and mark whichever is applicable to you and then place it in the same order as mentioned in the checklist along with the marked checklist
http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa/pdf/checklist_31oct2012.pdf 

Once you place all the documents including your passport as well as the prepaid self addressed envelope in the envelope in which you will be sending the documents to consulate., you can head to the post office for sending it to the consulate. Again address for sending the documents can be obtained from above link.

You can track the package at below link by keying the tracking code at upper right corner of the receipt in the search box

https://www.usps.com/ 


How to track your application


Once the application is received by VFS, they will send you an email with Application Reference Number at the email address that you have mentioned in your application. The email normally comes from the address DoNotReply@vfsglobal.com.

Once you have the Application Reference Number, you can track the status at the below link

https://www.vfsglobalonline.com/IHC-USA-TRACKER/




If you have any correction or suggestion about the above article, please let me know. Again the intention of this article is to help all those who are looking for information on how to renew an Indian passport  through mail while in USA.