Every Indian citizen is entitled to have an Indian passport for international travel, provided that he or she complies with all the requirements. It is also proof of Indian citizenship or nationality. Functioning as the country’s central passport organization, the External Affairs Ministy’s Consular Passport and Visa Division issues Indian passports to all eligible Indian nationals. If you wish to obtain an Indian passport, you may apply at any of the 33 passport offices throughout the country and around 160 Indian missions (consulates and embassies) overseas.
With an Indian passport, you may visit an estimated 20 countries and territories visa-free. Many of these are in Asia and Africa. Here are these countries with the length of stay you are allowed in each without a visa.
- Azerbaijan (30 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Bahrain (14 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Benin (3 months)
- Burundi (visa-on-arrival)
- Cambodia (30 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Cook Islands (31 days)
- Comoros (visa-on-arrival)
- Djibouti (1 month, visa-on-arrival)
- Dominica (21 days)
- Ethiopia (6 months, visa-on-arrival)
- Federated States of Micronesia (30 days)
- Fiji (6 months)
- Georgia (visa-on-arrival)
- Indonesia (30 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Iran (7 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Kenya (3 month, visa-on-arrival)
- Kosovo (90 days)
- Laos (15 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Lebanon (1 month)
- Madagascar (90 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Malawi (visa-on-arrival)
- Malaysia (30 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Maldives (30 days)
- Mauritius (15 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Mozambique (30 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Nepal (150 days)
- Niue (30 days)
- Palau (30 days)
- Saint Lucia (42 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Samoa (60 days)
- Sao Tome and Principe (1 month, visa-on-arrival)
- Seychelles (1 month)
- Sri Lanka (30 days)
- Tanzania (visa-on-arrival)
- Thailand (15 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Timor-Leste (30 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Togo (7 days, visa-on-arrival)
- Tuvalu (1 month)
- Uganda (1 year)
- Vanuatu (30 days)
Another 20 countries may allow visa-on-arrival access. However, it does not automatically mean that you will be allowed entry. It is still at the discretion of the border enforcement officers of the country you are visiting.
Note: Traveling to another country with only an Indian passport and without a visa means that you are visiting as a tourist. You may not be allowed to work (paid or unpaid) or engage in activities other than tourism.
There are three major types of passports that are being issued by the government of Nepal. Choose the one appropriate for you depending on your purpose or position.
- Regular passport. It is issued to ordinary Indian citizens who wish to travel outside the country for business trips, vacations and other tourism-related purposes. A typical passport has a navy blue cover and 36 or 60 pages.
- Diplomatic passport. This type of passport is issued to ambassadors, foreign service officers, diplomatic couriers and other members of the diplomatic corps. This is also the type for representatives of international organizations such as the United Nations. It is also issued to top ranking government officials. This passport has a maroon cover.
- Official passport. Official passports are issued to Indian nationals who are representing the Indian government. These are used only on official business. This type has a white cover.
How to Apply
The first thing you will need when applying for a passport is an application form. You may obtain this from any passport office throughout the country. If you’re living abroad, you may get a copy from the consular section of any Indian embassy or consulate. Fill out the form fully, legibly and accurately. Write in capital letters. Use black or blue ink only. Any misrepresentation or suppression of the facts may lead to denial of passport. Incomplete and incorrect applications will not be processed.
Other than the application form, here are the other required documents that you need to prepare.
- four recent identical color passport-size photographs showing your front posed against a light background
- two pieces of proof of residence (photocopy of utility bills, lease agreement, driver’s license, other documents indicating your mailing address)
- certificate of citizenship or identity
- application processing fee
If you’re living abroad and you are applying at a consulate or embassy, you need to submit a photocopy of your visa, work authorization card, green card or other proofs of alien status.
Losing your passport can be a very exhausting and troublesome event. If, unfortunately, you lose your passport, the best thing to do is to apply for a duplicate passport. Applications are not usually accepted by mail unless you have approval of the passport issuing office or the consular office. Even so, you may still be required to come in person.
To apply for a duplicate passport, submit the following documents:
- a duly accomplished application form (one copy)
- a copy of police report indicating you have lost your passport
- six recent identical color passport-size photographs showing your front pose against a light background
- personal verification form (six copies)
- photocopy of employer’s letter or driver’s license
- photocopy of the lost passport
- an application letter stating reasons for the loss of your passport
- a letter from your university or college (if a student)
If you’re living outside India, you need to produce the following additional documents and submit them to the Indian consulate or embassy nearest you.
- photocopy of employment authorization card or green card (if living abroad)
- photocopy of bank certificate, utility bills, house lease deed or insurance policy
Normally, it takes around three months for the application process to complete. Duplicate passports can be released only on receipt of necessary clearances from concerned Indian authorities.
If you already have a passport and you need a new one, make sure to file your application within one year of your current passport’s expiry or before six months of its expiry. In case there is information in your passport that needs to be changed, such as the marital status and name of spouse, you are required to submit proof, like a photocopy of marriage certificate. You also need to submit your current passport, which you will get once the processing is over.
When all the requirements have been met and no prior reference is necessary, the passport will be issued within 10 working days.
The cost of obtaining a passport varies according to the type, the number of pages and several other factors.
- Fresh passport of 10 years validity with 36 pages – INR1000
- Fresh passport of 10 years validity with 60 pages – INR 1500
- Fresh passport for minors (of five years validity or until the holder reaches 15, whichever is earlier) – INR600
- Duplicate passport with 36 pages in lieu of damaged, lost or stolen passport – INR2500
- Duplicate passport with 60 pages in lieu of damaged, lost or stolen passport – INR3000
These are just standard fees. However, it is very likely that you will have to pay bribes as per standard practice at many government departments in India. The bribe and the method of bribing vary depending on the individual and department. The average bribe amounts range from 50 percent to 200 percent of the legal fee. Upon getting your Indian passport time to go to Taj Mahal, which is second in the list of the Top ten asian tourist destinations that you must visit and learn how to bollywood dance.