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How to Survive the Passport Office in Pakistan

28/10/2015 0 Comments

This Article was first published in Dawn Magazine on 6th September 2015

 

Getting a passport shouldn’t be much of a hassle, but if you do not have appropriate information about the fee and documents needed, you can end up wasting valuable time. Follow the checklist below to save yourself from the clutches of unauthorised agents as well as the hassle of going again and again.

How much fees to pay and where?

Fees can only be paid at designated National Bank (NBP) branches, usually situated in the immediate vicinity of the passport office.

The fee cost for both new and renewed varies upon these elements:

— Normal or urgent

— 36, 72 or 100 pages

— 5 years passport fee ranges from Rs3,000 to Rs12,000

— 10 years passport fee ranges from Rs5,400 to Rs21,600

The fee structure for issuance of lost passports is different and will be notified by the passport office.

Choose wisely based on your travel needs as the fee once paid cannot be amended to increase or reduce per your requirement.

Always confirm the exact fee at the bank or the passport office before paying.

What documents are required?

The requirements are different for those below the age of 18 and above 18 years.

For those above 18 years, the documents needed are:

— Original bank receipt of fee paid

— Original CNIC and two photocopies

— Old passport and a photocopy of ID page 1 and 2

— Government employees require a No Objection Certificate

— For dual nationals: original foreign passport with a photocopy of ID page

For those below 18 years, the documents needed are:

— Original bank receipt of fee paid

— Original Child Registration Certificate (formerly known as B-FORM) and two photocopies

— Old passport and a photocopy of ID page 1 and 2

— Original CNIC of parents and photocopy

— For dual nationals: original foreign passport with a photocopy of ID page

When applying for a new passport or renewing an old one, what do you need in hand?

Note that the FIA officer may during the interview process ask for additional documents to satisfy any concerns that may arise with your application. Those will need to be submitted before the form is accepted.

At the passport office:

Having paid the fees you will proceed as follows:

— Take the token and have your picture taken at the appropriate counter

— Have biometric (finger prints) taken at the next counter

— Proceed to the following counter for data entry

Note only the address mentioned on your CNIC will be captured. Any modifications to address need to be first carried out at the NADRA centre.

Verify all data entered here and only then sign the document handed.

— Security check will be done at the next counter and the application appropriately stamped

— Finally, a senior FIA official will interview the candidate before accepting the form for passport issuance

If you are applying for a passport for the first time, the form will have to be attested by a Grade 18 and above government officer and then returned to the same official.

In case of passport renewal for those above 18 years, no attestation required

In case the applicant is under 18 years, attestation is required both on new passport or renewal.

— Retain your token slip as it will be required at the time of passport collection.

How long will it take to receive the passport?

Officially, an urgent passport should be ready after four working days while a normal passport is available after 10 working days. However, there may be unforeseen delays in the issuance of passports, and therefore, before heading over to the passport office to collect it, call the helpline number mentioned on the token slip.

Delays are known to occur for technical reasons (shortage of security film, booklets, or high demand). The months during which Haj applications are processed usually experience a large volume of applications therefore delays do occur.

Who can collect the passport and what documents must be presented?

The passport can be collected by the applicant, their spouse, sibling, parent or children.

In case the applicant collects it in person then they simply need to provide the original token issued.

In case someone else is collecting the passport on their behalf the following is required:

— An authority letter signed by the applicant bearing the name and CNIC number of the authorised person with a photocopy of the applicant’s CNIC and the authorised person’s attached.

— The authorised person will need to present the letter and their original CNIC in addition to the original token to collect the passport.

What is the appropriate time to renew a passport?

There are no restrictions on renewing a passport before the expiry date. The applicant may be asked for a written explanation as to why they are renewing it early but this is not always the case.

Common reasons for early renewal:

— No blank pages left in the passport.

— Visa application condition requires minimum six months validity of passport after intended travel date.

— Visa application condition requires multiple blank pages and even adjacent to each other.

What is the process to have a lost passport issued?

— In the event the passport is lost within Pakistan, then a police report needs to be lodged with the nearby police station.

— The fee for lost passports is different therefore confirm from the passport officer before depositing it in the bank.

— In the event the passport is lost outside Pakistan, then a police report needs to be lodged and the applicant has to proceed to the appropriate Pakistan diplomatic mission in that country.

— If the traveller is on a short term visit they will issue an emergency travel document that will only permit them to return to Pakistan

— A short term visitor to a foreign country who loses a passport will be sent to Pakistan on an emergency travel document and not to a third country where they may be residing permanently.

If the traveller is a long term resident of the foreign country then the Pakistan mission will issue them a new passport.

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