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.
I got my British citizenship a couple of months back.
As I approach towards the 90-day grace period of being able to travel on an Indian passport, I started exploring the process involved in the renunciation of Indian citizenship and surrender of Indian passport.
Acquiring British Citizenship is a long process, and it is quite a journey – renewing your Tier 2 Visa every year to 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 renunciation of Indian passport and obtaining a surrender certificate.
In this post, that’s exactly what I have for you – a detailed guide on how to surrender your Indian passport after becoming a British citizen.
This guide will fill any gaps in understanding you might have when you are in the process of cancelling your Indian passport after getting foreign citizenship (in my case, British Citizenship).
Bonus tip for NRIs: If you are still using your bank for sending money to India, check out my detailed guide to show you how you could be losing thousands every month.
- How to surrender Indian Passport in the UK – Complete Guide
- Why do I need to surrender my Indian passport?
- Surrender Certificate Indian passport processing time
- Can I still travel on my Indian passport?
- How to apply for surrender certificate?
- Mandatory Documents for surrendering Indian passport
- How do I collect my Surrender Certificate?
- Surrendering Indian passport and applying for OCI at the same time
How to surrender Indian Passport in the UK – Complete Guide
As I cancelled my Indian passport to obtain the surrender certificate, I thought of documenting the entire process and formalities involved.
The reason is:
For starters, I stumbled upon the guide that VFS has published, but I felt the information was not as straight-forward as I would have expected (and there were a few anomalies in the information provided too).
I had to refer to different posts, forums and expert groups to get my head around this and clarify some of the basic queries I had regarding Indian passport cancellation process.
I documented the process for this post to become a go-to guide so that YOU don’t have to go through any hassles like I had to.
Without any further ado, let’s jump right in and understand the step-by-step process involved in getting surrender certificate after cancelling Indian passport.
But one last thing…
Why do I need to surrender my Indian passport?
By this point, you might be wondering:
Why do I need to cancel my Indian Citizenship at all? Why can’t I keep my 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 to the nearest Indian mission/post to renunciate Indian citizenship.
If you intend to apply for OCI Card or Consular Services/Visa, surrendering your Indian passport and getting Surrender Certificate as a proof of cancelled Indian passport is a pre-requite.
Surrender Certificate Indian passport processing time
The VFS website doesn’t answer this question very clearly. It mentions the processing times vary from case to case basis and some applications may take longer than others to get processed.
I followed some guidance on some forums which state the process takes 7-10 working days.
When I submitted my documents for withdrawing Indian passport, the executive said I should normally get the 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 cancelled passport back within 5 working days (from the date of submission).
Surrender Certificate Indian passport timeline
As I mentioned already, you have 90 days to surrender your Indian passport (without attracting any penalties) after obtaining foreign nationality.
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||21 Aug|
|Attended appointment at VFS||24 Aug|
|Application dispatched from VFS to High Commission of India||25 Aug|
|Notification received for Decision made and processed application received at VFS||30 Aug|
|Notification received for processed application dispatched by VFS||30 Aug|
|Surrender Certificate Received||31 Aug|
Can I still travel on my Indian passport?
You can travel on your Indian passport after getting British Citizenship for up to three months. The 3-month period is calculated from the date of acquiring foreign nationality which is the date of issue on your Naturalisation certificate.
Travelling on Indian passport after the three-month grace period of becoming a foreign citizen is an offence under the Indian Passport Act 1967.
Some people retain their Indian passport even after acquiring foreign citizenship (and renew them at expiry) and even use them for travelling.
Once you acquire citizenship of any foreign country, it is illegal to travel on the 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 Indian Passport after you acquired foreign citizenship.
What are the penalties if you do not surrender your Indian Passport
As mentioned on VFS:
“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 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 VFS website. I will provide some relevant links towards the end of this article for you to check.
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 application for cancellation of 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 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?
To book an appointment for surrendering your Indian passport, follow the below steps:
- Step #1: Go to this link.
- Step #2: Click on Schedule Appointment
- Step #3: Select your preferred VAC and Services as “Surrender of Passport” and click on Submit. On the next screen, select a date and time.
The VFS appointment centre options that you can choose from are:
- Step #4: Once you have selected a date and time for your appointment, enter Applicant Details on the next screen (shown below).
As you are applying only for cancellation of your Indian passport to get surrender certificate, you won’t have an OCI Registration number.
Enter your Indian passport number in the field where it asks for “OCI Registration Number.”
- Step #5: That’s it.
You will be presented with the below alert which means you have successfully booked an appointment for surrendering your Indian passport.
Check your mailbox now, and you will get a confirmation email with the appointment confirmation letter.
When you click OK, you will be taken to the confirmation screen and prompted to take print out.
Print this out as you need to carry this appointment confirmation with you.
What happens on the day of appointment?
When you reach your chosen centre, a security personnel will attend you at the entrance.
He/she will make preliminary checks – your appointment letter, filled application form – and issue a token number.
Take a seat and 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 shown counter number.
Officer at the counter will then ask you to submit your necessary documents and pay the passport surrender fee.
Then, you will be advised about the tentative timelines and get the payment receipt.
While at the counter, the officer will also ask your mobile number and email address to keep you updated at critical stages of your application.
This service is charged extra at £1.20 (+VAT) and is by default included in the service – I am not too sure if you can opt out of this service.
Anyways, I recommend getting text/email updates added so you are informed of progress at every stage.
Surrender Indian Passport Fees in UK
As opposed to other (probably complicated) pricing structures for government services, the Govt. of India has set fixed fees for surrendering of Indian passport.
The fees vary based on the date, a Person of Indian Origin, acquired British or Foreign Citizenship.
Here I have explained those different criteria and the related fees.
- 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 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 “Deemed Surrender Certificate” which will cost you £20 plus applicable charges including Consular Surcharge of £2. Again, including VFS service fee of £7.44, you will pay a total of £29.44 to obtain Deemed Surrender Certificate.
To receive SMS updates on your application progress, VFS will charge you an additional £1.20 (plus VAT) for text updates on your mobile.
Mode of payment
You can pay the fees for surrendering your passport using Cash, Debit or Credit Card (except AMEX).
If you also pay using bank draft payable to “VF Services UK Ltd” or postal order.
Please note that paying with a Credit Card will cost you around 2% extra in Credit Card fees.
I paid using a Debit Card.
Mandatory Documents for surrendering Indian passport
Here’s the list if you acquired British Citizenship on or after 01 June 2010.
- Two recent 50mm x 50mm size photographs.
- Appointment Confirmation Letter
- Duly filled application form [Download here]
- A signed copy of Declaration Form [Download here]
- Original last Indian Passport (this is the passport that you held at the time of naturalisation as a British Citizen)
- Self-attested copy of 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 ask for the original British Passport for verification purpose.
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 by Nakul in comments below, I suggest you carry the original as well just in case you get asked and post your finding in comments below so others could follow accordingly?
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 Indian passport to be physically provided.
In this case, you can apply for “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 am in no position to 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 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 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 Indian passport and applying for OCI at the same time (via Cox & Kings who is the outsourcing partner for High Commission for India) is available.
But such a service is not available in the UK.
In the UK, once you have got your surrender certificate using this guide, you can use my OCI guide to help you with the OCI application submission process. Bookmark it now and come back to it later.
Over to you…
There you have it.
A simple guide showing you how to cancel Indian passport in the UK.
I hope this guide helps you in surrendering your Indian passport and obtaining surrender certificate.
If you have any queries about the passport renunciation process, do let me know in the comments section below along with your feedback.
If you found this guide helpful, please do me a little favour and share this guide with others, for there’s a good chance that it will help them with their Indian passport surrender application.