Govt simplifies passport services

New Delhi: Seeking changes in date of birth in existing passports will become hassle-free with government further simplifying services relating to issuance of the travel document.

Making the changes in existing rule, the government has also allowed digitally signed marriage and birth certificates as valid proofs of marriage and birth respectively.

As per the revised guidelines, passport issuing authorities (PIAs) have been authorised to consider request of each applicant seeking change in date of birth irrespective of the period that would have lapsed after the issue of the passport.

According to earlier guidelines, request for change of DOB was allowed within five years of issuance of the passport and the entire process was lengthy and cumbersome as it involved lot of paper work.

If the PIA is satisfied with the claim based on documents submitted by the applicant, then passports with revised DOB can be issued by the authorities concerned.

“Based on genuineness of the cases, the passport issuing authorities can issue fresh passports,” Chief Passport Officer Arun K Chatterjee told PTI.

The Ministry of External Affairs, which issues passports, has already sent instructions to the passport issuing authorities to accept digitally signed marriage certificates and birth certificates as valid proofs of marriage and birth respectively.

The ministry is also exploring the possibility of making amendments in the Passport Rules, 1980, in order to further simplify the documentation process necessary for issuing passports in a timely, transparent, more accessible, reliable manner and through streamlined processes.

MEA officials said the process of issuance of passports has been made foolproof and under the new system there was no scope for anti-national elements to obtain passport.

As per guidelines, the first time passport applicants who furnish Aadhaar Card, Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), PAN card and an affidavit of non-criminality in the prescribed format, get faster passport services.

The MEA had processed around 12 million passport applications last year.