3 easy steps to your Indian Passport Renewal

Let’s start from the start. You know from the time when COVID had appeared in our lives, the time when we were all of a sudden asked to embrace a new normal, which was anything but “normal”. Time went by, and all our connections and relationships either became virtual or nonexistent. If you know me, you know that I am really close to my family and this Christmas, like many others, I felt very lonely. I had my husband and daughter around, but they could totally resonate with what I was feeling.

Long story short, we decided to go to India for my 40th birthday which is coming up this April (read more about my thoughts on turning 40), and so began the discussions. I realized that our passports were up for renewal in June (you need at least 3 months validity to travel), the money from Lufthansa (from a visit that couldn’t take place due to the pandemic) was still stuck in some coupons and that this travel seemed possible, but not easy!

So, started the passport renewal process; after that epilogue, I have finally come down to the point 😉 . Well, this post is very specific to Indian ex-pats who would like to renew their passports whilst in Switzerland.


Step #1: Indian Embassy in Bern

The Indian embassy is located in Berne and all of your papers/documentation needs to go to them for processing. So start the process by clicking on the link – this resource is fantastic and has all the instructions that you need.

My Swiss Story: 3 easy steps for your Indian Passport Renewal

Step # 2: Passport Application Portal

Follow the link – https://embassy.passportindia.gov.in/ from above and if you are based in Switzerland, click on the Swiss flag which takes you to the following website.

Over here, you need to follow the below steps to apply for a passport:

  • Register by clicking on the “Register” Link
  • Login with the registered login ID and Password on the “User Login” link
  • In the Applicant Home Page, click on the “Apply for Ordinary Passport/Emergency Certificate/Police Clearance Certificate/Surrender of Indian Passport/Diplomatic Passport/Official Passport/Identity Certificate” link to file a new application
  • After successful submission, take a printout of the online submitted form

Note: It’s a long form, so please enter in the information patiently, review your form twice and then print the submitted form.

Step #3 : Submission

This printed application form, along with the required documents and fee, should be submitted to the Embassy. The applicant is required to paste one photograph on the form and must also furnish his specimen signature in the space provided inside the application form.


Additional Notes for preparing your application packet

Photographs

Photograph should be as per the following specifications:

My Swiss Story: 3 easy steps for your Indian Passport Renewal
  • The image should be 2 inches by 2 inches;
  • The image must have adequate brightness and contrast (white background);
  • The skin tone should be natural.  In case of over-exposure or under-exposure of the photo, the skin is either too dark or too light, a photo will not be acceptable;
  • It should show a close up of the head and (partial) shoulders and both ears;
  • The image should be straight looking, centered with neutral expression;
  • Face should be in sharp focus and clear with no ink marks/creases/lines;
  • The face (from forehead edge to bottom of chin) should be 70 to 80% of the photo or one-inch height;
  • The eyes must be open and no hair obscuring the face;
  • Prescription glasses if worn should be clear and thin framed and should not have flash reflection or obscure the eyes;
  • Head coverings, hair, head-dress or facial ornaments should not obscure the face;
  • The photo must have a plain white background;
  • There must be no other people or object in the photo;
  • The lighting must be uniform with no shadows on the face or behind;
  • Red-eye photos are not allowed;
  • No lines are allowed.
  • Head coverings are not permitted except for religious reasons, but the facial features from bottom of chin to top of forehead and both edges of the face must be clearly shown.
  • The expression on the face should look natural.
  • Paste one photo – and attach three additional photographs

Photograph/Signature not in conformity with the requirements shall be rejected causing unnecessary delay in the preparation of the passport.

Cheat code: With lockdown in Switzerland, we used this website to make the passport photograph as per the above specifications – Make Passport Photo. If you have a photo printer, you can print those at home or you can use Ifolor to order the pictures which are delivered in 1-2 workdays.

Additional Instructions

  • Please write all the details as mentioned in your present passport (in the application form). Any change requires documentation proof.  Affidavit to be signed in front of the Consular   Officer, Embassy of India, Berne. 
    • Present address in Switzerland can be changed.
    • Specimen Signature – Signature should be in the center of the space provided for, without touching the borders, after taking printout of the filled in application form. Applicant unable to sign should give thumb (right for female and left for male) impression.
  • While filling online application against address to be printed in the passport, only  address in India should be filled up.  Other address in Switzerland should also be filled up.
  • Please clip all the documents – do not staple it
  • Fee details – Find all the information here
    • Pay the passport fee in UBS Bank AG, Bubenbergplatz 3, Postfach, CH-3000 Bern Account No. 235-939899-01P (IBAN No: CH82 0023 5235 9398 9901 P) of Embassy of India Berne and send the original receipt along with application. 
    • Consular surcharge amount CHF 2.- is to be paid in Embassy’s UBS AG, BUBENBERGPLATZ 3, POSTFACH, CH-3000, Bern  Account No. 235-939899. 02K (IBAN No: CH 39 0023 5235 9398 9902 K) and original receipt attached to the application.
  • Payment is NOT refundable

Handy Checklist before you mail everything to the embassy

  • Prescribed application form duly filled in and signed.
  • Existing Indian Passport in original with copy.
  • Receipts for the fee paid
    • (i) Bank Payment Receipt in original with Embassy A/c No. (UBS AG, Bubenbergplatz 3, Postfach, CH-3000 Bern Account No. 235-939899-01P (IBAN No:CH82 0023 5235 9398 9901 P)
    • Consular surcharge amount CHF 2.- is to be paid in Embassy’s UBS AG,  BUBENBERGPLATZ 3,  POSTFACH, CH-3000, Bern  Account No. 235-939899. 02K (IBAN No: CH 39 0023 5235 9398 9902 K) and original receipt attached to the application.
  • In the case of a new born child, Passports of both the parents are to be sent original with copies.
  • Marriage Certificate in original duly attested plus 1 photocopy.
  • In the case of a Child: Birth Certificate of the Child in original plus 2 photocopies.
  • Four (4) recent and identical passport size (5.1X5.1 CM) photographs.
  • Photocopy of Residence Permit/proof of Indian address (If ration card is submitted, it should be accompanied by one more proof like Water/Electricity Bill, Pan Card).
  • Salary & Bank Statement showing applications financial standing in support of columns Nos. 4 and 5 in the Sponsorship Affidavit form.
  • Sponsorship Affidavit Form duly filled in and signed.
  • In the case of a child, declaration from parents that the child is currently living with them in Switzerland and that the child has no other Travel Document. 
  • For all miscellaneous services, one photograph is to be pasted properly in the box provided in the application form (Page 1). Application form will not be accepted without photograph of the applicant.
  • Self-addressed stamped return envelope (for Registered Mail).

All the details are also available here – Indian Embassy Bern

Points to remember

  • It takes between 4-6 weeks for the new passport to arrive, hence book your onward travel accordingly or wait to book your tickets.
  • There is no need to submit the original of your marriage certificate unless the name is already not present.
  • There is not point applying for the tatkal service
  • You can order a jumbo passport, with 60 pages if this is what you prefer. (It obviously costs more!)
  • The passport fee for children under 15 years is 47 CHF, by mistake I paid the full fee for my daughter, not sure if this would be refunded.
  • Police verification will be required if your address is either not the same as your previous passport or if it is not the same address as in your Aadhar card.

My Experience

Collecting all the documents, printing, scanning and getting the photographs done was a pain for sure, but everything after sending the documents was a smooth process.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section and I will be happy to respond to your comments to the best of my knowledge.


Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Did you enjoy our February posts, “self-love” was in the air. Stay tuned to read about body positivity, turning 40 or 50, encouraging children to eat healthier, and many other useful resources.

Are you interested in the topic of Body Positivity? Please read this post to get associated with us on our new creative collaboration.

To read posts from February, click here

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One thought on “3 easy steps to your Indian Passport Renewal

  1. Hello Pragati,

    Thanks for the blog. It was really helpful. I have a couple fo queries if you can help with those:

    – Can we keep our original passports while the application is in progress? I read that we can keep it, but right now the in-person consular services are cancelled an we should send all our documents by post.

    – Can I pay the fees online and submit the online receipt? Or do I have to visit the bank and deposit the fees?

    Thanks,
    Appurv

    Like

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