The Curious Case Of The Surname

It is always exciting when you know your passport is going to get stamped with a visa! At least for someone like me who had the first flight well into engineering, a visa is like the chocolate that I never had. I submitted my passport details and a person called me up, let us refer to her as Julia Roberts for the sake of having a name!

Julia : Hello Mr Sriram, I just went through your passport and see that you do not have a surname!

Me : Oh I do not have a surname.

Julia : So is your first name ‘Aaditya Sriram’

Me : Nope

Julia : Ok I am confused now!

Me : My First Name is Aaditya and Last Name is Sriram

Julia : Alright, are last name and surname the same thing?

Me : Hold on, let me google it

****** 3 minutes ********

Me : Well according to this  Yahoo! Last name and surname is the same!

Julia : Well I think you need to get your passport corrected then!

Me : Na na, its ok I dont want a surname I’ll live with Aaditya Sriram as firstname.

Julia : You will have a lot of issues with government organizations if you do not have a surname!

Me : I’ll manage :) Thanks

This conversation actually threw me off gear and I ended up doing a lot of searching online about the case of the missing surname and figured life would be really hard without a surname in many countries! So then I called her back and

Me : Hello Julia! How you doing?

Julia : I am good Adeeetya! Whatsup?

Me : I decided i’d get the name on my passport changed!

Julia : I am glad you changed your mind, good luck with that

I’m sure she laughed out and made fun of me after that! Well so I freaked out and prior to this had a  very bad idea about how governmental organizations worked and how inefficient they are. My only silver lining was the fact that more than 50% of South Indians do not have a surname on their passport and they all get it corrected once they realise how this could bite their rear! Went through a million blogs and they all made it sound like a ridiculously easy process, i begged to defer and thought the only way to find out the truth is by going through the ordeal myself! My dad suggested I go through a Passport agent, but I wanted to give the Passport organization a chance to prove their organizational capabilities.

The following are the steps to get it changed, the online part of the process is mentioned on this post, as I’ve my passport office appointment in the future as of writing this post.

  1. Go to Passport Seva
  2. Click on Register in case you do not have an account already, else click on login. You know the charade!
  3. Once logged in, click on the tab that says “Apply for Fresh Passport/Reissue of Passport”
  4. It will give you a link to download a form, download it and fill it!
  5. While filling form, in the reason for reissue choose OTHER and type “NAME BIFURCATION”
  6. Fill up other details and save, it will generate a XML file.
  7. Upload XML file from the page whose link you can find on the login page
  8. It will create a ARN for you, now click on “View Saved/Submitted Applications”
  9. Choose the current upload and book an appointment

I went in for a tatkaal appointment as mentioned before and got my passport in 24 hours of the passport office appointment! It actually works when it is just name bifurcation, but again in my case I had no other change! It was the same address.

Carry the following with you for proofs:

  • Old Passport
  • Copies of the first two and last two pages of old passport
  • 10th Marks card [in case ECR stamp is on your old passport]
  • Address proof [in case of address change]
  • Yourself [yep you need to go]

It is a long wait inside the passport office though! So take a day off and spend it there! Do not go early do not go late! Be on time :) Good luck to everyone! Get your passport on time and enjoy your study/work adventure in the US!

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