I am looking for some help from folks who have renewed their Indian passport while living in GTA.
Myself and my spouse are Indian Citizens living in Toronto on PR. My wife needs to renew her passport which expires end of 2024.
We are trying to figure out if it is mandatory to book an appointment with BLS for passport renewal. The next available appointment is in February 2024 which is bit too late for us (turnaround time mentioned is 8 weeks and we have US B2 visa appointment in early April, don’t want to risk not having passport in hand).
Can someone confirm if we can walk in BLS Brampton or Scarborough for submitting renewal application without appointment sometime in early January? I checked on this webpage India Visa Application Center in Canada (Toronto Jurisdiction) but it’s not clear.
Also, I am wondering if mailing in the application still has the same 8-week turnaround time. If so, we might considering just mailing in the application in early January. Wondering if there are downsides to that.
I think it is mandatory to go with BLS, unfortunately. The Ottawa BLS took less than a month to renew my passport.
Just a note to say that I got a 10-year US visa in March this year in my old Indian passport. My passport had an expiry date of May 2024 and I renewed it in May this year. I was worried that I would receive a US visitor visa for only 1 year but surprisingly they gave me a 10-year one. If you’re in the same situation, you will simply have to travel with both your old and new passports when you fly to the U.S.
Thanks @MissMapleFry for the reply!
Couple of days ago, my wife was able to walk-in to the BLS center in Toronto and apply for passport renewal.
Sharing some info so it is helpful for others in future:
- It took almost 9 hours b/w when she arrived at the center and when she finally got done. It’s best to make an appointment instead of walk-in. You can shave off around 5-6 hours and be done in ~3 hours. There were no appointments available for next 2 months, so we decided to do walk in.
- If you walk in, best to reach there around 7am and put your name down in waiting list. My wife arrived at 7:30am and was 15th on the list. She was standing outside the center till 1pm. Right after 1pm, they don’t allow any more walk-in, even if you have been waiting outside for several hours. My wife got lucky and was the very last person to be allowed in. She got out at 4pm.
- If you are going in winter, make sure to dress warmly including warm socks and shoes!
- Filling out documents correctly is tricky since it is not clearly described in the FAQs/etc on BLS website. The good thing is that they can make some fixes for you for a fee. Some notes below
- Best to take laptop so you can fix application there if needed. Can create the pdf and send to agent by email to print.
Documents to take:
- Passport (you get it back when you get the new passport)
- PR card
- 2 passport photos
- Copy of the original documents above
- Drivers license or some other document (for Canada address proof)
- Indian address proof copy (we showed gas/electricity bill under parent name)
- Marriage certificate (for spouse name addition)
- Spouse’s passport (for spouse name addition)
- Parent’s passport first and last page (in case there are issues there like mismatch b/w parents name in old passport and current application)
- Annexure E which is found as part of online application to be filled out
- Online application form (on BLS website) filled out online and printed out
- Checklist (available online), fill it out
Notes on documents:
- Select “Yes” for “Are you exempt from ECR - Emigration check required”. Common mistake to select No. The way it works (as told by BLS person) is that some people have “ECR required” written in the last page of passport. Only those people need to select No. Others select Yes. I think if you have some basic education qualifications, you are exempt from ECR (which I think is true for most people on this forum).
- The Canada address must be written EXACTLY as shown in address proof (like driver’s license), include the commas. Same for Canada address of emergency contact.
- Providing India address is mandatory. If one doesn’t have any proof of address with own name, it’s OK. Just have a proof of address with name of whichever known person lives at that address. I guess best if it is father/mother as their name is in our passport. I think there may be a police verification visit at that address.
- The India address should also be written EXACTLY as shown in address proof of India address.
- If adding spouse name for first time on passport, need to have copy of marriage certificate and first and last page of passport.