Applicants for passports can now log on to the website any time to take an appointment. Under the earlier system, applicants had to log on at 6.30 pm and try to take an appointment before all the slots were filled up. Now, with the introduction of more number of appointment slots and online payment system, applicants can register and take an appointment any time.
With the availability of appointments round the clock, the waiting period is also slowly on the rise. At present, appointment for Lalbagh Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) is expected to take around a month, while the waiting period for Marathahalli PSK is about three weeks. The number of appointments is expected to reduce in the coming days, if the number of PSKs are increased.
Walk-ins are still entertained for several categories including senior citizens and minors from 9.30 am to 11.30 am. Candidates who need to apply for passports immediately will be allowed to present their proof of urgency to seek an appointment.
Addressing reporters on Tuesday, Regional Passport Officer P S Karthigeyan said those who had to go back in case of insufficient documents or other reasons would be allowed to come back.
“These people can come back in the next three working days without taking a fresh appointment,” he said. He stated that the introduction of online payment had resulted in the reduction in the number of cancellations of appointments and the waiting period for applicants had also come down. For those who cancel appointments, the facility to reschedule or cancel two times within a year is allowed.
At present, payments can be made online or after downloading a challan and depositing the money at State Bank of India branch. Efforts are on to include more number of banks to pay the challan.
Karthigeyan said the time taken for the police to issue verification reports had reduced significantly. In Bangalore alone, 40 per cent of the applications are being processed by the police under 21 days. Overall, the number of days taken for police verification has decreased to 51 days from 59 days. At present, there are around 33,000 applications waiting to be cleared by the police. One of the reasons cited for the decrease in time for verification is the sending of applications to the local jurisdictional police, unlike earlier, when they had to be routed through the Police Commissioner’s office.