How to Renew Indian passport in USA!

I had recently got my Indian passport renewed at New York consulate. I had submitted the documents in person and process is really simple. Sharing my experience so that someone could find it useful.

I had submitted documents on 7-Jan-2014 and collected new passport on 27-Jan-2014.

Starting August 2013 , all the Indian passport/visa related services have been outsourced to BLS International Services Ltd.

So most of the useful information can be found at http://www.passport.blsindia-usa.com/passport_information.php  &  http://www.passport.blsindia-usa.com/reissue10.php  and you can also refer to http://www.indiacgny.org/ for more information.

Quick Tips while renewing Indian passport:

  • The time for the processing is typically 1-3 weeks and one of my friends got it renewed in a week in Houston, whereas mine took 3 weeks at NY consulate. Typical processing time can be found at http://www.passport.blsindia-usa.com/reissue10.php#time . However I would suggest don’t plan your travel according to the processing times mentioned in the site. Allow at least 3-4 weeks of time to make any travel plans.
  • Just have some additional buffer time , because one my friend’s new passport has some wrong entry which he eventually got it corrected but it took another week time. So have buffer time for your travel plan and make sure your new passport has correct information.
  • If you are planning to apply in person you need to have proper appointment to submit the documents. So I would suggest you first fill in the BLS Order Form , which is BLS office usage application with all your personal details and at the end of the application you will have to choose the appointment date.
  • So for some consulates this appointment dates wouldn’t be available for 2-3 weeks . So better complete this registration step first, get the appointment and then work on the rest of the documents. You have to complete this form irrespective of whether you are submitting by mail or in person. However just to save some time , complete this step first .
  • If you think you have a valid reason to get a tatkal service(Close relattives demise, emergencey reason to go to India etc…) , you can always give a try . I saw someone convincing the officer, though they don’t have an emergency reason for Tatkal. And even with Tatkal service it takes 2-3 days of time for processing.
  • Think these offices as just a small customer care office hardly with 3-4 desks , so don’t think too much about what if I get late or what to carry or what not to carry and just think these offices like simple store , where you are submitting applications .But better be prepared and not carry any valuable items so just in case if you have to leave your backpack at the security.
  • If there are any errors in your application, you can correct it at the office  and you can request them to use one of their public computer to take a print out or you have some mobile notary operators nearby. So don’t get panic when you will be asked to change something, request them you will go and get it fixed. Same case with notarized documents also. You can take some time, rectify, comeback and submit the document.
  • If there is going to be some change in the details compared to previous passport, notarize the document supporting the change (Ex: Indian Passport etc..)
  • Remember, we are going to deal with our own DESI brothers/sisters at the counters. So you never know what they will ask or going to say. I’m pretty sure some of you might hear them saying you will not have any options, so just be mindful. I’m not being sarcastic; I wanted you to be realistic.
  • Carry all the original documents and photo copies/notarized copies of important documents
  • Have exact change better don’t expect change from the office , carry a pen and glue stick

And all the information mentioned in this blog is my experience and observations. Each case would be different so better don’t held me responsible if something goes wrong , All these information is strictly for your information ONLY. So please refer to consulate sites for more information.

Steps to Renew Indian passport in USA!

  1. Complete the BLS Order Form
    • Location : Select the Location based on the consulate jurisdiction covering  your area of residence
    • Service Requested : Unless you are a frequent traveler select “Reissue of Passport Ordinary 36 pages”
    • Prepaid Delivery : This is not mandatory , you can mention this information while submitting the application at the office or you can prepare Prepaid envelopes from any service provider like FedEx or USPS . I personally collected the new passport from the office.
    • Payment Details : This is also not a mandatory filed so you can fill in these details later. These are basically useful while collecting your new passport
    • Other details are your personal details, fill in all other details
    • After saving the Order Form , you can choose your appointment time
    • You will have options choose the date and time slots , Time Slots will be 15 mins slots
    • Once you book the appointment , you should receive two mail from BLS one with the order form and other with appointment time
    • You have to show these two documents to the security guard to enter in to the building and guard will provide you with the token number
    • I’m not sure, if they allow you to the office any date after your appointment date ,but I sensed you can always request the guard to let you in because there are tatkal service users who doesn’t need any appointment
  2. Complete the   Online application form
    • Select Indian Mission based on the Consulate jurisdiction covering  your area of residence
    • Select Service as “Re-Issue of Passport”
    • Other fields are self-explanatory , fill in the personal details
    • Address to be Printed : This is the field , where we usually will have so many doubts
      • Here you can have your Indian  Address on your passport
      • If your Indian Address is going to be same as that of previous passport you don’t need any additional documents
      • If it is going to be different than your previous passport , you need to submit your address proof as a notarized document
      • Please make sure the document you submit has complete address that you wanted to print on the passport
      • To be on safer side make a notarized document with your Indian address irrespective whether it is same as previous passport or not
    • Once you Save & Continue , go the next page where you need to provide some more additional information about your Family and Passport
    • File No : You can find it on your passport last page
    • Page 3 , you will be asked to upload the image , you can ignore this page
    • Page 4 , You can click on the Generate PDF , which gives you a 3 page document
    • This is the Application with some additional fields , which you can’t edit within the PDF file. You have to take a Print out and fill the detail
    • FILL PRINTED APPLICATION  FORM (Same Online Application Form, you have printed earlier)
    • Payment of Fee , Amount be paid : 91.20
      • Office accepts Cash/Demand Draft / Money Order /Banker’s check
      • If you are submitting through mail Cash is not accepted
      • Mention respective mode of payment
    • Fill in other details , I have given additional details for some of the fields which may be little confusing .
    • Local car driving Licence No : Your US driving license information
    • When did the applicant First leave India
      • It’s the first time ever you have gone out of India. You can check your old passport for Immgiration stamps if you don’t remember the exact date
    • When was he/she in India last?
      • This is the last date you were India , even this info can be found from immigration stamps
    • How long has applicant continuously resided abroad?
      • I have mentioned number of months from the date of my first day in USA , not really sure.
    • Present Emigration Status (ECR or ECNR) ECR
    • Did applicant ever possess any other nationality or travel document of any other country?
    • Name and address of two relatives/friend
      • This could be either address  in India or US
    • Specimen signature or T.I.within the Space given below :
    • Put the signature in both boxes
  3. Fill In the Nationality Verification Form
    • Download the document , and fill in the details
    • Most of the fields are self-explanatory
    • DATE OF LEAVING INDIA: Last time when you flew out of India
    • PERIOD OF STAY ABROAD: Total duration of your stay abroad
    • NAME & ADDRESS OF TRAVEL AGENT INVOLVED IN SENDING THE INDIVIDUAL ABORAD :
      • You should get these details from your Air ticket , if not I guess you can mention your company name or Nil
  4. Print the Check list
  5. Notarize the documents
    • Notarized Photocopy of Proof of Valid Visa Visa on Passport/ Green Card/ Permanent  Residency Card/ Employee Authorization Card/ I-797 Approval Notice/ I-485 for  children, I-20 for applicants on student visa
    • Notarized Photocopy of Proof of Residence- For example Driving License/ Utility Bill –  Gas/Electricity/Water/ Rental lease agreement /Home Mortgage Bill
    • Make sure you get other documents (Any document that you think they might want to have a look at closely) notarized (Ex: India Address proof etc.. )
    • If you are an existing customer of BOA  they will notarize the documents for free of cost. Check with your bank or you can get these notarized with a public notary available at USPS at nominal charges ( If I remember correctly 5$ for each of the document and some additional service charges. So total it costs me 21$ for my I-797 , Visa & Driving license
  6. Get the photographs according to specs
    • Four photographs showing full frontal view of 2 X 2 inches size with light background
    •  8 Photos to be submitted in case of Lost/Damaged Passport and passport expired more than 3 yrs.
    • You can go any of the CVS Pharmacy /Walmart /Sears get this done in 2 mins , I got in CVS Pharmacy for 19$ for 4 copies .I’m sure you can find cheaper deals
  7. Finally Print all these applications and arrange everything in the order mentioned in the check list
    • BLS Order Form & Appointment Letter
    • Online Application Form (PDF printed and filled)
      • Paste one photo graph on this application
    • 3 copies of printed and filled Nationality Verification Form/ Personal Particulars form
      • I didn’t remember submitting three Nationality Verification Forms , but just as mentioned in the BLS site get 3 copies
      • Paste One photo on one of the Forms
      • Other two photo you have to directly submit to the officer at the counter
    • Original existing passport
      • You don’t need to submit I-94 , take out I-94 from passport keep it in a safe place. However you have to submit the ORIGINAL passport
    • Photo copy of first and last page including observation page if any
      • I have provided first,last and all my stamped Visa pages
    • Photocopy of the first five pages and last two pages of the passport
      • Yes this different set of copies from the earlier one
    • Fill the check List
      • You have to submit this checklist document along with the application

I guess that’s it you are good to submit the application , Thought I’m sharing my experiences I have referred to http://supradeepnarayana.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/renewal-of-indian-passport-in-us and http://sudee4u.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-to-renew-indian-passport-in-usa.html when i’ve submitted the my passport for renewal . So I would suggest you to visit these two blogs for more information

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