Passport Renewal at Indian Consulate in San Francisco – Basic Process
NOTE: After 7th May, 2013 VFS is no longer the service provider. The new provider is BLS International.
Note: Starting May 3,2012 The Consulate General of India, San Francisco, would no more, directly accept applications, either in person or through mail for passport related services.
Now you need to go through Website: www.vfsglobal.com/india/usa
i.e. the information mentioned below is kind of out-dated. They changed several things. So rely on the information provided at above website.
Check my post(07-Aug-2012): Indian Passport Renewal in US at VFS Global
I applied for passport renewal at Indian Consulate in San Francisco. Here I am going to explain the basic process and my experience.
I will go through the basic process and not any special case. Although this is what I followed with Consulate in SFO, I believe it should be almost identical for other Indian consulates in US as well. Also I am going to explain for “Applying by Mail” but most of the thing should remain same
Note: Always check the Consulate’s website for current procedure and requirements. The process, links or information in this post can be out-dated.
Read the general instruction to get the feeling of the current basic process, required documents, fees, etc. You need to determine
Fresh Passport or Renewal of Passport :
The process is same whether you are applying for Fresh Passport or Renewing an passport that is nearing completion of 10 years from date of issue. Here is the basic process.
Note: If you are holding a Short-term validity passport i.e. issued under Tatkal which has validity of 5-years, the process is different. It is termed ‘Extension’ and not Renewal. I will talk about it at the end.
Step 1: Completing the online application (You can find the link to the online application here.)
Filling this form is not too difficult. Detailed guidelines for completing the online application can be found here. Read it carefully to avoid any mistakes.
Once you are done filling all the required information, click Save. If you missed any of the required fields or entered some characters(,$./ etc) you might be prompted for that. If everything is ok, you will be taken to next page where a ‘File No’ will be assigned to your application and you will be given option to select the appointment date. Select appropriate date if you are going in person. If applying by mail, you can ignore this and and click ‘Confirm the Appointment’. This will generate a 4 page printable PDF document. Save this to your computer and if you have printer ready, print the document.
So online portion is finished but you still have some information to complete on the printed copy.
Step 2: Filling remaining application by Hand
The information to complete the application can be found here. It’s the same page with information to complete online application. The information is mostly general and quite easy to understand. Fill it out and sign wherever required.
Step 3: Passport Photos
You will need two 2×2 inches passport photographs with requirement as mentioned here.
I got it at Costco (4.99+tax for 2 photos) but there you can find different other options here.
Paste one Photo in the box on page1 of the application. Paste second photo on the page 4 where it says Official Use.
I signed the photo as my appearance has changed that what I look in my current passport. There is also a requirement that you need to get that photo notarized if you look different in current photo and photo in current passport. More details ahead on notarizing.
Step 3: Collect Supporting Documents
Collect all the supporting documents as listed here. Note that they require color copies for Proof of Status.
I submitted color copy of US Driver’s License for proof of residence in US. I was little confused if I should also be providing the proof of residence for India. I got recent electricity bill, telephone bill and gas bill from India but I did not send it. My application is still in process. I will and update if they ask for it.
Note: Whether you need a Police Verification or not, I would suggest you submit the Personal Proforma form and a letter stating that your police verification was done. Read my post on it here.
Step 4: Notarizing the photocopies and photograph
When you are applying by mail, you will have to get the photocopies for proof of status, residence, etc. notarized.
I found a notary off the craigslist. She charged me about $5/page. If you are in California you can check the license validity of a notary public here. Ask the person for their full name and License number.
I had to get my Passport photograph notarized as well, but she said since it was on page 4 of the application, she won’t be able to notarize it as single and she notarized entire application. Though she charged $10 for that.
Step 5: Fees
The fee for fresh renewal for me was $40. They accept cashier’s check or money order only. No personal checks.
Cashier’s Check: I checked with Bank Of America and they were charging $10 for a cashier’s check(any amount) if you are having a regular checking account. It was free if some preferred or something account. I think some credit unions have $5 and some offer free to their members.
Money Order: I got money order from USPS. Their charge is $1.10($0-$500). I actually got two MOs – $40 regular fee and $20 for overnight return mail.
Step 6: Applying by Mail
If you are applying by mail you need to take care of these 3 things:
a) You must send your Original previous and passport(s). Also photocopy of current passport even though you are sending the original.
b) All the photocopies should be notarized. Exception notarization of copies of passport is not required (since you are sending the original along).
c) You must send a pre-paid Self-addressed return mailing envelop (Express/overnight) with tracking. Or you can send a separate Cashier’s check or Money order of $20(this may change, so check their website) as return mailing fee.
I sent a M.O of $20.
I will update this on how my renewal goes. I know I have also to write about renewing a short validity passport. Thought will keep it for next post.
Update(02/23/2012): CGISF requested for additional form and information. I have written a new post for that, Passport Renewal at Indian Consulate in SFO – Police Verification and Porforma Form.
Hope this helps.