Passport applicants would henceforth be required to pay the passport service fee online at the time of booking appointments for personal appearance at the Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in Tiruchi and Thanjavur.

Till now, applicants have been paying the prescribed passport service fee at the PSK at the time of their personal appearance.

The new system, introduced by the Ministry of External Affairs, aims at better utilisation of the processing capacity of the PSKs as currently a substantial number of applicants who book appointments online fail to turn up at the scheduled time and date, Regional Passport Officer K. Balamurugan said in a release.

A review of the operations of the PSKs over the past year shows that a large numbers of applicants were not turning up after taking appointment through the online system of filing passport applications. For instance, about 350 appointments were given for personal appearance of the applicants at the Tiruchi PSK for a day. But just about 250 applicants turn up.

This has not only resulted in lesser utilisation of processing capacity of the PSK, but also affected genuine applicants who were denied appointment slots.

To resolve the problem, the Ministry had launched the online payment system at the time of booking appointments, he said.

The online payment system would come into force from June 14 for applicants served by the Tiruchi and Thanjavur PSKs. However, applicants who had taken appointments can appear at their scheduled appointment slot and remit the fee at the PSKs. Mr. Balamurugan clarified that the applicants who are eligible for walk-in interviews such as tatkal, senior citizens, government citizens, and other categories can continue to pay the fee at the PSKs. Under the new process, the payment can be made through the website (www. passportindia.gov.in) either by credit or debit cards or net banking of the State Bank of India. Applicants can use the option to generate challans and remit the fee in SBI branches using the same. In such cases, applicants can take the appointments upon the confirmation of payment receipt by SBI through the online system. Once the payment is made, the system will automatically give the earliest available appointment to the applicant.

For more information, visit www.passportindia.gov.in or call the national passport call centre by dialling 1800 258 1800.