What is the process to surrender Indian passport in the UK?
If you are a person of Indian origin, that’s the first question you seek an answer to as soon as you get your British Citizenship.
After I got my British citizenship, I started exploring the process involved in the renunciation of Indian citizenship and the surrender of an Indian passport.
Acquiring British Citizenship is a lengthy process, and quite a journey – renewing your Visa, getting ILR (subject to rules that apply to you!), to finally attending the ceremony when you get the naturalisation certificate as a British Citizen.
The next step in the journey is the Indian passport cancellation to obtain a surrender certificate.
In this post, that’s exactly what I am going to show you – a detailed guide on how to surrender your Indian passport in the UK.
This guide will fill any gaps in understanding you may have when you are in the process of cancelling your Indian passport after getting foreign citizenship (in my case, British Citizenship).
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How to surrender Indian Passport in the UK Online?
As I cancelled my Indian passport to get the surrender certificate, I thought of documenting the entire process and formalities involved.
Why? For starters, I stumbled upon the VFS guide, but the information was not straightforward. Not what I expected (and there were anomalies in the information provided too).
I had to refer to different posts, forums and expert groups to wrap my head around the process and clarify the basic queries I had regarding the Indian passport cancellation process.
I documented the step-by-step process for this page to become your one-stop go-to guide so YOU don’t have to face the hassles that I had to go through.
Without any further ado, let’s jump right in and understand the step-by-step process involved in getting a surrender certificate after cancelling the Indian passport.
But one last thing…
By this point, you must be wondering:
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?
Why do you need to surrender Indian passport?
The reason is:
The Indian Citizenship Act 1955 does not allow dual citizenship for persons of Indian origin. Once you have acquired foreign citizenship, you are required to surrender your Indian passport at the nearest Indian mission/post to renunciate Indian citizenship. If you intend to apply for OCI Card (lifetime visa for India) or Consular Services/Visa, surrendering your Indian passport and getting a Surrender Certificate as proof of cancelled Indian passport is a pre-requite.
If you choose not to file for Indian passport cancellation, it’s an offence under the Indian Passport Act 1967 and you’ll need to pay penalties.
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 got your new foreign passport yet. The 3-month period is calculated from the date of acquiring foreign nationality which is the date of issue on your Naturalisation certificate.
Can you still travel on 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.
Don’t miss: How to get the best deals on flights to India?
Indian Passport Surrender Fees in the UK
The Govt. of India has set fixed fees for surrendering Indian passports. The fee varies based on the date a Person of Indian Origin acquired 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 before 31 May 2010: You need to pay £22 (which counts towards Misc service charge and Consular Surcharge). You are not required to pay any Fee for surrendering your passport. VFS will charge you £7.44 (Inc. VAT) for the service so the total fee is £29.44.
- Got British citizenship on or after 01 Jun 2010: The passport surrender fees, in this case, is £119 that includes the embassy surrender fees of £117 and consular charges of £2). Including the VFS service fee of £7.44 (Inc. VAT), the total comes to £126.44.
- Got British citizenship and passport also expired more than ten years ago: In this case, you will be issued a “Deemed Surrender Certificate” which will cost you £20 plus applicable charges including Consular Surcharge of £2. Again, including the VFS service fee of £7.44, you will pay a total of £29.44 to obtain Deemed Surrender Certificate.
|Case||Fee||VFS Service Charge||Total Fees|
|Got foreign citizenship before 31 May 2010||£22||£7.44||£29.44|
|Got foreign citizenship from 01 Jun 2010||£119||£7.44||£126.44|
|Got foreign citizenship 10+ years ago (Indian passport expired)||£22||£7.44||£29.44|
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?
You can pay the fees for surrendering your passport using Cash or Debit Cards in person when attending the appointment. I paid using a Debit Card.
(Note: VFS no longer accepts credit cards and there is no online payment option at the time of booking an appointment.)
You can also pay using a bank draft or postal order payable to “VF Services UK Ltd”.
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”
If you fall in one of the scenarios above, you need to provide a declaration addressed to the High Commission of India in the UK explaining the reasons. If a penalty is applicable, it cannot be waived or reduced as per the rules mentioned on the VFS website. I will provide some relevant links towards the end of this article for you to check.
Surrender Certificate Indian passport processing time
The VFS website doesn’t answer this question clearly. 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 some guidance on forums that state the process takes 7-10 working days.
When I submitted my documents for withdrawing my Indian passport, the executive confirmed I should receive the surrender certificate in 5-6 business days. I will update this post when I receive my surrender certificate and cancelled passport back.
Update: I received my surrender certificate and the cancelled passport within 5 working days (from the date of submission).
Indian passport Surrender Certificate timeline
As I mentioned already, 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 cancellation based on my application.
|Booked appointment with VFS||Day 0|
|Attended appointment at VFS||Day 3|
|Application dispatched from VFS to High Commission of India||Day 4|
|Notification received for Decision made and processed application received at VFS||Day 9|
|Notification received for processed application dispatched by VFS||Day 9|
|Surrender Certificate Received||Day 10|
How to apply for surrender certificate?
The High Commission of India has outsourced the Surrender of Indian passport service (and all other Visa/Passport/Select Consular services) to VFS in the UK (and Cox & Kings in the US).
What this means is:
You cannot send your Indian citizenship renunciation application to the High Commission directly – it has to be via VFS.
You can submit your passport surrender application for cancellation of 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.
I attended mine at the London-Hounslow VFS centre, and I have based this guide on my experience (I have given the entire timeline above to give you an idea of how long the process takes from submission to getting the certificate in hand).
How to book an appointment for Indian passport cancellation?
To book an Indian passport surrender appointment, follow the below steps:
- Step #1: Go to this link and click “Schedule an Appointment”
- Step #2: Select service as “Surrender of Indian Passport” and then select Location. Doing so 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 #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 #4 (Last Step): Now, 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 at this point select the option and add the names and passport numbers for 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 for the surrender of your Indian passport is booked.
Next, you should get the Appointment Confirmation (below) which means you have successfully booked an appointment for surrendering your Indian passport with VFS.
Print this as you need to carry this appointment confirmation with you (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.
What happens on the day of appointment?
When you reach your chosen centre, security personnel will attend you at the entrance and make preliminary checks (your appointment letter, filled Indian passport surrender application form) and issue a token number.
Wait for your number to be called on the screen in the waiting area. Once your token number is displayed on the screen, proceed to the counter number shown. The officer at the counter will then ask you to submit your necessary documents and pay the passport surrender fee.
Next, you will be advised about the tentative timelines and get 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
Here’s the list of documents required for the surrender of an Indian passport if you acquired British Citizenship on or after 01 June 2010.
- Two recent 50mm x 50mm size photographs.
- Appointment Confirmation
- Duly filled online application form [here]
- A signed copy of Declaration Form [download here]
- Original last Indian Passport (that you held at the time of naturalisation as a British Citizen)
- Self-attested copy of your Indian Passport (copy all used pages – I just took a photocopy of the full passport)
- Original British Passport^
- Self-attested copy of the current foreign/British Passport (you need 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 are submitting more than one application together, you need ONE Special Delivery envelope PER application.
^A quick note on British Passport proof:
If you have applied for the British Passport but haven’t yet received it, you need to include a declaration mentioning “My UK Passport is under process.”
If you DO have a British Passport, I recommend carrying it with you as well. 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 put 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.
From the experience I had and the one shared in the comments below, I suggest you carry the original as well just in case you get asked and post your finding in the comments so others could benefit.
In case you are applying for Renunciation Declaration or Deemed Surrender Certificate, you need the below documents.
Renunciation Declaration: If you have lost or misplaced your Indian passport and fail to produce a valid Indian passport physically, Surrender Certificate cannot be issued to you as a surrender certificate requires the Indian passport to be physically provided.
In this case, you can apply for the “Renunciation Declaration” with a copy of the Indian passport. Renunciation Declaration includes a remark that the original Indian passport was not surrendered.
You will also need to provide a duly Notarized Affidavit and a Police report to make sure you avoid any passport misuse.
Deemed Surrender Certificate: If you are applying for a Deemed Surrender Certificate, you also need to provide a photocopy of the last Indian passport and the first British passport.
Note: I have provided this list based on the documents I used to obtain a surrender certificate after surrendering my Indian passport. I got my surrender certificate based on this list, but I cannot guarantee that you will too – the High Commission of India may ask for additional documentation if required.
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 are required to 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 available, but I recommend you carry a Special Delivery envelope. It’s cheaper, and you can track the delivery on the Royal Mail website.
The VFS courier option is £15 per application and you can get the Post Office Special Delivery envelope for £7.30 each!
Surrendering Indian passport and applying for OCI at the same time
If you plan to renunciate Indian citizenship and apply for OCI Card/Visa at the same time in the UK, you have to face disappointment. Surrendering your Indian passport and applying for OCI at the same time is not possible in the UK at the time of writing this guide.
If you live in the US, the facility to cancel your Indian passport and apply for OCI at the same time is available (via Cox & Kings who are the outsourcing partner for High Commission for India). But such a service is not available in the UK.
In the UK, once you have got your surrender certificate, 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 in filling out the online application form and preparing documents for Indian passport surrender.
If you have any queries about the passport renunciation process or you 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 do me a big favour and share this guide (and spread the word about Comparism) with others, for there’s a good chance that it will help them with their Indian passport surrender application (or any of the other detailed ex-pat guides).
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