The best guide on the internet for how to surrender Indian passport in the UK.
If you are a person of Indian origin, you’re required to cancel your Indian passport after getting your foreign citizenship.
Acquiring British Citizenship is a lengthy process. It’s quite a journey from renewing your Visa to getting ILR (after 5/10 years), then submitting your British Citizenship application, to finally attending the citizenship ceremony to get your certificate of naturalisation as a British Citizen.
The next step is to cancel your Indian passport and receive a surrender certificate. I started exploring the process involved in renouncing Indian citizenship after getting my British nationality and documented the entire process. This post is your complete step-by-step guide on surrendering your Indian passport in the UK.
Since publishing, this guide has been used by over 100k+ people. In fact, we are using it for my wife’s application in 2022.
In the last five years, the awesome Comparism community has been helping keep this guide up to date. The process of surrendering your Indian passport and getting a Surrender Certificate has changed slightly over the years (with a few key changes), so I thought my wife’s application would be a great opportunity to update it for the latest information verified first-hand as of July 2022.
The purpose of this guide is to fill any gaps in understanding you might have after reading the official guide (bless you!). If you’ve landed on this guide, you won’t need to refer to any other page on the web. Promise.
Whilst I was at it, I changed the format to make it easier to read and follow. I also removed outdated comments that could be misleading.
Sidenote: The Mrs. was ecstatic and pleased to discover this guide that happens to be far superior to the official one, authored by someone she recognized. Extra brownie points there! 😉
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So what have I covered for you today?
Before we proceed, let’s address this common question I get asked a lot.
Surrender Indian Passport Guide: Why Did I Write This?
Why bother? What was the need when the official guides exist?
Well, for a few key reasons.
- For starters, I stumbled upon the VFS Indian passport surrender guide, but the information is not straightforward (unfortunately!). And you can see that reflected in the comments regularly. Not what you’d expect.
- There are anomalies in the information provided. Different pages mention contradictory information and that doesn’t seed a lot of confidence.
- I had to refer to different posts, forums and expert groups to wrap my head around the process and clarify my basic queries regarding the Indian passport cancellation process.
So, that’s the why! When I cancelled my Indian passport to get the surrender certificate, I decided to document the process and formalities involved. And with my wife’s application, took this opportunity to review it (once again!).
I documented all the tiny details for this page to become your one-stop go-to guide.
All this for a simple reason. So that YOU don’t have to face the hassles that I had to go through. It’s unnecessary.
One last thing…
These guides take a lot of effort and time, and running this site costs money… Now, I am not going to ask for money or buy me a coffee (although you can do that too!)
What I do ask, though, is: subscribe to my free newsletter, share this guide with your friends who need it, or share any one article from Comparism on your socials. I made you a promise this is the only hassle-free guide you need. If I deliver on my promise, could I ask you do to one of the above to show your support? It won’t take a long time but will mean the world to me. Thanks.
Disclaimer: As much as I would want this guide to be up to date at all times (with due support from the community), VFS likes to release updates to the process without much fanfare. If you spot any discrepancies, please let me know in the comments so I can update them for everyone’s benefit!
Now, let’s get right into it and understand the step-by-step process involved in getting a surrender certificate for cancelling the Indian passport.
When you come to this point in your ex-pat journey, a few very common questions are:
Why do I need to cancel my Indian Citizenship at all?
What if I don’t surrender my Indian passport?
Why can’t I keep my Indian passport?
Valid questions. But here’s why.
Why Do You Need to Surrender Your Indian Passport?
You must surrender your Indian passport because the Indian Citizenship Act 1955 does not allow dual citizenship for Persons of Indian Origin. Once you have acquired foreign citizenship, you must renunciate your Indian citizenship at the nearest Indian mission/post. Using an Indian passport after acquiring foreign citizenship constitutes an offence under Section 12(1A) of the Passports Act 1967.
Also, if you intend to apply for OCI Card (lifetime visa for India), Indian Visa or any other Consular Services, providing a Surrender Certificate as proof of cancelled Indian passport is a pre-requite.
How Long Do You Have to Surrender Indian Passport?
You can travel on your Indian passport after getting British Citizenship for up to three months, provided you haven’t yet received your new foreign passport. The 3 months duration is calculated from the date of acquiring foreign nationality, which is the date of issue on your Naturalisation certificate.
Can you still travel on your Indian passport?
Travelling using an Indian passport after the three-month grace period of becoming a foreign citizen, OR when you have already got your new foreign passport, is an offence under the Indian Passport Act 1967.
This is important. Some people retain their Indian passports even after acquiring foreign citizenship (and renew them at expiry) and also use them for travelling. Once you acquire citizenship in any foreign country, it is illegal to travel on an Indian passport after the grace period expires.
You could be penalised if you do. The penalties are calculated on a graded scale which depends on the number of trips you have made on your Indian Passport after you acquired foreign citizenship. However, for now, the Ministry has suspended any penalties for such cases. If you fall into this scenario, please let me know your experience below.
Don’t miss: How to get the best deals on flights to India?
How to Surrender Indian Passport in the UK Online?
The High Commission of India has outsourced the Surrender of Indian passport service to VFS in the UK (and Cox & Kings in the US).
What does this mean? You cannot send your Indian citizenship renunciation application to the High Commission directly – it has to be via the VFS. You must submit your passport surrender application to cancel your Indian passport in person at the VFS application centres.
You need a prior appointment to apply, and your application won’t be accepted if you don’t have a pre-booked appointment.
We attended both our appointments at the London-Hounslow VFS centre. I have also given the entire timeline to give you an idea of how long the process takes from submission to getting the certificate.
Broadly, surrendering your Indian passport in the UK involves the below three steps:
- Fill out the online application form
- Book an appointment
- Visit the VFS (in-person) to drop off your documents
As a result of the above three steps, your cancelled passport and surrender certificate is delivered to you.
I’ll cover each of the above steps in detail below:👇🏼
Step #1. Indian Passport Surrender UK: Online Application Form
To apply for your surrender certificate for an Indian passport in the UK, start by filling out the online form.
Here’s how you do it (with step-by-step instructions and screenshots):
Step #1.1. Go to the Passport Seva website and register for a free account.
On the next screen, provide your details to create a free account. You’ll need your:
- Given Name
- Date of Birth
- Email address
Once your account has been created, you’ll see the below confirmation screen. Verify your account using the link emailed to you.
Sign in using the Login button. Then pick the option “Apply for Surrender of Indian Passport”
Step #1.2. Enter your most recent Indian passport details in the Passport Details section. Enter your British Passport details in the Surrender Details section. Click Next.
Step #1.3. Next, enter the Applicant Details
Here are the details you need to enter:
- Given Name
- Last Name
- Gender: Male/Female/Transgender
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Marital Status
- Educational Qualification
- Visible distinguishing mark (optional): To know more, check my guide on visible distinguishing mark
Step #1.4. Next, enter your Family Details.
Step #1.5. Enter your present residential address.
If you’re in the UK, select Yes for Is your Present Residential Address out of India? and enter your UK address.
Step #1.6. Enter your emergency contact information.
Tip: You can save the application form at any stage and it will save your progress so far and allow you to log back in to proceed from where you left. To save the form, just click Save button.
Step#1.7. On the next screen, you will see the Surrender Certificate Details.
Important: Review these details carefully because the information shown will be printed on your surrender certificate.
Step #1.8. The final step is Surrender Certificate Application Summary. This will show all the information you’ve entered so far.
Tip: Review all the detaisl very carefully. If you need to make any changes, now is the change. After this, you’ll need to fill in a new application form to rectify any mistakes.
Step #1.9. Read through the declaration and select the checkbox.
Finally, enter your current location in Place and click Submit.
You’ll get a warning at this stage reminding you to validate all the details. If you’re happy, click Yes.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully submitted your application to surrender Indian passport.
Let’s move ahead with the next step, i.e. appointment booking.
Step #2. Indian Passport Surrender Appointment Booking
To book your appointment for surrender of Indian passport, follow the below steps:
- Step #2.1: Go to this link and click “Schedule an Appointment”
- Step #2.2: Select service as “Surrender of Indian Passport” and select Location. This will reload the page and bring up the calendar with available slots.
RED: Already booked or No service available on the day
GREEN: Appointments available
GREY: Slots not yet open for booking
The VFS appointment centre options for each jurisdiction are:
|Jurisdiction (Mission to Select on Form)
|Location to Submit the Application
Follow this link to find out your jurisdiction based on your county.
- Step #2.3:Select a date and then pick a time slot. Once you have selected a date and time for your VFS appointment, the below two fields will be filled for you based on your date-time selection.
- Date of submission of application
- Appointment Time
- Step #2.4 (Last Step): Enter Applicant Details (shown below).
- Name of the applicant as given on passport
- Passport Number
- Email ID
- Mobile Number
Click “Schedule Appointment Now” to proceed.
If you’re applying together as a family, you can select the option and add the names and passport numbers of your family members. A family of three persons can book a single appointment. If you’re booking the appt. for more than three people, you can split them into multiple groups and book another appointment.
Well done! Your appointment is booked.
Next, you should get the Appointment Confirmation (below) which means you have successfully booked an appointment to surrender your Indian passport with VFS.
Print this as you need to carry this appointment confirmation (more on the full document checklist below).
Check your mailbox, and you should also get a confirmation email summarising the details of your appointment, but the printout of the below screen is all you need for your appointment.
Step #3. Attend Your Appointment to Submit Documents
The final step is to attend your appointment at VFS to submit your passport surrender documents.
When you reach your chosen centre, a VFS personnel will attend to you at the entrance and make preliminary checks (your appointment booking confirmation, filled Indian passport surrender application form) etc and issue a token number.
Then, you’ll be seated in the waiting area (if you find a vacant one) and wait for your number to be called on the screen. Once your token number is displayed, proceed to the counter number shown.
The officer at the counter will then ask you to submit your necessary documents (checklist below). Once everything is in order, they’ll ask you to pay the passport surrender fee.
Next, they will advise you about the tentative timelines and hand you the payment receipt.
While at the counter, the officer will also ask for your mobile number and email address to keep you updated at critical stages of your application. I recommend getting text/email updates added so you are informed of progress at every stage.
Documents Required to Surrender Indian Passport
Below are the documents required for surrender of Indian passport (if you acquired British Citizenship on/after 01 June 2010).
- Printed online application form [Step #1. above]
- VFS Appointment Confirmation [Step #2. above]
- A signed copy of the Declaration Form [download here]
- Two recent 50mm x 50mm (1-inch x 1-inch) size photographs (the requirement says two, we carried two, but only one was used on the application form.)
- Original most recent Indian Passport (held at the time of naturalisation as a British Citizen)
- Self-attested copy of Indian Passport (photo page, address page and all used pages)
- Original British Passport (if received; if not, include a declaration). Refer to notes below^
- Self-attested copy of the current foreign/British Passport (only the photo page)
- Self-attested copy of British Naturalisation Certificate (Birth Certificate if you obtained British Citizenship based on birth in the UK)
- A4-sized self-addressed envelope (Special Delivery) – if you submit more than one application together, you need ONE Special Delivery envelope PER application.
If you have applied for a British Passport but haven’t yet received it, you must include a declaration saying, “My UK Passport is under process.”
If you have a British Passport, carry it along. The VFS guideline suggests carrying a self-attested copy, but they do sometimes ask for the original British Passport for verification purposes.
In my case, I had my signatures on the British Passport before taking a photocopy and was accepted by the executive. I was told that if it didn’t have signatures on it (which many don’t bother signing), I would have just been asked to go back. For my wife, they didn’t ask for her original British passport.
Will VFS Keep your British Passport?
In most cases, no. All you need is a self-attested copy of your British passport. But I recommend carrying your original just in case you get asked for it (which was the case for many readers).
Note: The documents checklist above is based on what my wife and I used to get a surrender certificate after surrendering my Indian passport. Based on this list, I got my surrender certificate, but the decision is with the High Commission of India; they may ask for additional documentation if required.
Additional Documents: If you cannot produce your Indian passport
Case #1. Got foreign citizenship 10+ years ago
Deemed Surrender Certificate
Deemed Surrender Certificate is an alternative to the Surrender Certificate that could be issued to Persons of Indian Origin who cannot produce their Indian passports.
If you obtained your foreign citizenship 10+ years ago and your Indian passport expired more than ten years ago, you could be issued a deemed surrender certificate.
To get a deemed surrender certificate, you’ll need to provide:
- a copy of your expired Indian passport,
- or a letter from the government of your current nationality mentioning your Indian passport at the time of acquiring foreign nationality
- and proof of acquiring foreign nationality 10+ years ago (the first British passport)
You need the documents below if you apply for Renunciation Declaration or Deemed Surrender Certificate.
Case #2. Got foreign citizenship on/after 01 June 2020
If you have lost or misplaced your Indian passport, a Surrender Certificate cannot be issued to you as a surrender certificate requires the Indian passport to be physically provided.
If you got your foreign citizenship after 01 June 2010, you need to provide a self-written declaration addressed to the High Commission of India (London, Birmingham or Edinburgh – based on your jurisdiction) with a detailed explanation of why you cannot provide the physical Indian passport.
Renunciation Declaration includes a remark that the original Indian passport was not surrendered.
To apply for the Renunciation Declaration, you will need:
- copy of your Indian passport
- duly Notarized Affidavit
- police report to make sure you avoid any passport misuse
Indian Passport Surrender Fees in the UK
The Govt. of India has set a fixed fee for surrendering Indian passports based on the date you acquired your British (or foreign) Citizenship.
Here I have explained the different criteria and the related fees for surrendering an Indian passport.
- Got British citizenship on or after 01 Jun 2010: Total fee is £80.44. £71 passport surrender embassy fees, £2 consular charges and a VFS service fee of £7.44.
- Got British citizenship on or before 31 May 2010: Total fee is £29.44. £20 Misc service charge, £2 Consular Surcharge and VFS service charge of £7.44. You don’t pay any fee for surrendering your passport.
- Got British citizenship and passport also expired 10+ years ago: Total fee is £29.44. In this case, you will be issued a “Deemed Surrender Certificate”, which will cost you £20 plus a Consular Surcharge of £2. Again, include the VFS service fee of £7.44.
|VFS Service Charge
|Got foreign citizenship before 31 May 2010
|Got foreign citizenship from 01 Jun 2010
|Got foreign citizenship 10+ years ago (Indian passport expired)
To receive SMS updates on your application progress, you will need to pay an additional £1.20 (plus VAT) in fees for text updates on your mobile.
How to pay?
When attending the appointment, you can pay the fees for surrendering your passport using Cash or Debit Cards. I paid using a Credit Card.
You can also pay using a bank draft or postal order payable to “VF Services UK Ltd”.
(Note: There is no online payment option when booking an appointment.)
Indian Passport Surrender Penalty
What are the penalties if you do not surrender your Indian Passport? As mentioned on the VFS website:
“Penalty for misuse of Indian passport would be imposed if the last held Indian passport expired on or after 1 January 2005 and it is retained beyond three years, i.e. not surrendered or the PIO travelled on this passport beyond the grace period of three months or the validity of the last held Indian passport was renewed after acquiring foreign nationality”
Update: As per the latest update on the VFS website, I found an additional clause is added to the above statement.
As per the recent orders from the Ministry, applications will no longer be subjected to any Penalties.
How Long Does It Take to Surrender Indian Passport?
I received my surrender certificate and the cancelled passport within five working days (from the submission date).
However, the VFS website doesn’t answer this question. It mentions the processing time for Indian passport surrender varies from case to case basis, and some applications may take longer than others to get processed.
I followed the guidance on forums that state the process takes 7-10 working days. When I submitted my documents, the executive confirmed I should receive the surrender certificate in 5-6 business days which is what happened in the end.
Indian Passport Surrender: Timeline
As I mentioned, you have 90 days to surrender your Indian passport (without attracting any penalties) after obtaining foreign nationality or as soon as you get your foreign passport.
The date on the naturalisation certificate is treated as the date of acquiring British nationality and not the date your British Passport was issued.
To give you an idea, below is the timeline for Indian passport surrender based on my application.
|Attended appointment at VFS
|Application dispatched from VFS to High Commission of India
|Notification received for Decision made and processed application received at VFS
|Notification received for processed application dispatched by VFS
|Surrender Certificate Received
How Do I Collect My Surrender Certificate?
Once your request is processed, the surrender/renunciation certificate will come to you by post/courier. When you apply for a passport surrender certificate, you can provide an A4-size self-addressed envelope (Special Delivery) per application for return delivery.
You can also speak to the advisor at the application centre for secure delivery courier services if you want, but I recommend you carry a Special Delivery envelope. It still works (verified July 2022).
The VFS courier option is £15 per application for next-day delivery and £8 for 3-day delivery. You can get the Post Office Special Delivery envelope for £6.85 each! It’s cheaper, and you can track the delivery on the Royal Mail website.
Tip: If VFS tries to persuade you into buying their courier option by saying things like Royal Mail isn’t secure enough or that people have lost documents etc, you have the right to say no. They can advise you, they can’t force you. I have used the RM Special Delivery (and so have 100s of others here), and there have been no issues.
If you experience being forced, please return and retweet this, so we get a confirmation once and for all because readers have confirmed varied experiences when it comes to accepting Royal Mail envelopes or not.
Surrendering Indian Passport and Applying for OCI Simultaneously
If you plan to surrender your Indian passport and apply for OCI at the same time in the UK, you have to face disappointment. You cannot submit both in one go in the UK yet.
However, in the US, the facility to cancel Indian passport and apply for OCI simultaneously is available (via Cox & Kings, the outsourcing partner for High Commission for India). Such a service is not available in the UK.
In the UK, once you’ve received your surrender certificate, you must apply for OCI separately. You can use my OCI guide to help you with the OCI application submission process. Bookmark it now, and you can refer to it later.
There you have it – your detailed guide showing you how to surrender Indian passport in the UK.
I hope this guide helps you fill out the online application form and prepare documents for Indian passport surrender.
If you have any queries about the passport renunciation process or get stuck at any step, drop me a comment below along with your feedback and suggestions for this guide. You can also refer to the existing comments below.
If you found this guide helpful, please share it with others (and help spread the word about Comparism), for there’s a good chance that it will help them with their Indian passport surrender application (or any other detailed ex-pat guides).
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