This is the story of how we got a Passport for S. Now I know you all will be wondering why this is even a story. Everyone has a passport. Well stay with me, on this because I have had one of the most unexpected experiences with the passport.
Now as I have written before we wanted S to have an identity that he identifies with and not one that confuses him, and so his passport also needed to be the same. Not wanting to hide anything from S, I decided to leave the Father’s Name column blank. Now what we were told about this process is that this is impossible. People, authorities, change.org petitions and even touts all behaved as if I was asking Donald Trump to behave like a human.
And yet, stubborn as I am I persisted. Went in on September 15th to get a reissue of my passport and make the impossible task of getting S’s passport issues. We had all the required documents and then some. Every time an official from the passport office held the papers I expected them to say, “Are you mad. What you are asking for is not going to happen.”
But as we went from one process to the next none of that happened, and we were excited. No problem, at all. Before we reached the final verification counter we were already celebrating. But that is where they decided to hit the pause button on our celebratory mood. S’s passport was put on hold, I was told to go to the RPO without any reason or instructions as to why.
As we left the PSK, we were clueless as to what is happening or going to happen. I imagined all those people who told me it is impossible laughing at the fact that I didn’t get the final go ahead for S’s Passport. What followed next were multiple calls to RPO Mumbai to figure out what needs to be done. Finally we were told to wait for my passport to come through before taking S’s process further.
With Police verification, my passport took about 20 days to come. And then began the phone calls to understand this process again. Finally we were told that we had to come to the RPO with my passport and the copy of Annexure G that we had submitted.
Now we did not have the copy of Annexure G, you see we were not given back the papers submitted that day at PSK Malad. The people at the RPO were understanding and asked me to come with my passport. Next day I travelled to Worli with S in tow, still unsure about what was needed. I half expected everyone else to be proven right and someone tell me this is not going to happen.
My turn to meet the APO came, and I walked in, confident. They took the receipt and my passport and scanned the BAR code to access S’s file. After a little bit of scrutiny the APO asked, “You do not want to add father’s name? Are you sure?”
This is a question I am so accustomed to answer, so pat came the reply “No, He is not a part of our lives”.
“Okay then, write a letter, saying that please issue the passport without father’s name and Passport office will not be responsible for any legal problems arising out of it.”
Two minutes is what it took me to hand write the letter. The APO then signed it and asked me to submit it to a file. And that was the end of the Worli office exploration. Then the process went ahead and we had the police verification, which happened faster than mine actually. And the result of all this on Dhanteras day we had the passport in our hand, exactly how we wanted it to be.
Now while the whole process seems complicated and time consuming for a single mom, the major plus point is there is a procedure in place for this process. I guess that it isn’t used much and hence the problem when it comes to information dissemination. I feel the process can be made a little less cumbersome if instructions and information was readily available on the website.
As far as tips go, here is my list of things to remember:
• Take a Xerox of all affidavits submitted, just in case you do not get the submitted file papers back.
• Be prepared to go to your regional passport office once, and carry with you the copy of Annexure G and your own passport.
• Have proper documentation, of your divorce or separation. [Separation requires a different Annexure, please check the website]
I am so glad that there is a proper process in place, it is just about giving out the information more widely.