Passport – Place of Issue

Passport Issuing Authority

What does the field “Passport – Place of Issue/Issuing Authority” mean? 

The “Passport – Place of Issue or the Issuing Authority” in a passport refers to the place where the passport has been issued. 

Earlier, there were several different passport centers and passport agencies which used to process the application and issued the passport. The passport issued from these agencies used to have the name of the place or state mentioned in the passport. The term ‘place of issue’ has now been replaced by the term ‘Issuing Authority’ on the passport provided in the United States and printed as the US Department of States imprinted in black colored ink. In most cases, it appears on the photo page of your passport book. 

Many people are confused about what to mention in the visa application form when it comes to the field ‘Passport – Place of Issue’ or ‘Passport- Issuing Authority’. 

If your passport was issued years back, it may be mentioned as the ‘National Passport Center’, simply mention it in the same way in your visa application. 

“Issuing Authority” for Foreign Nationals

In case the passport reads ‘US Department of State’ under the ‘Issuing Authority’, then you have to write that in the visa application form. In case you are a foreign national, and your passport was issued by a Consular or Embassy in the United States, write the name of the Consular or the Embassy that issued the passport.

If your passport was issued by a US Consular or Embassy outside the country, the place of issuance of the passport will be mentioned there. This is pretty much the same with respect to all the countries.

New Your Passport Centre

Who is authorized to issue the passports? Are there any other places where passports are issued?

The United States Department of States is the exclusive authorized body that issues passports to individuals in the US. 

There are several other legit passport agencies or centers across various parts of the United States that process passport applications. If you want more information about the different passport centers please visit the US Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs. 

The US Passport Services have also assigned numerous public sector offices as passport acceptance facilities to make it easier for the applicants to approach for the visa application process. The applicants can avail the option of applying for passports from these facilities, some of these organizations include the post offices, state courts, libraries, county offices, and few other offices.

What do different sections of the passport indicate:

When it comes to US passports, the US Department of State has segregated them into different categories based on their purpose. These passports have different colored covers on them for the authorities to differentiate between them: Service (Grey cover), Official (Maroon cover), Diplomatic (Black cover), Refugee passport (blue or green cover), Re-entry permit, Emergency passport, and US passport card.

The passport has several different sections that have their own meanings. There are two main pages in the passport: the ‘biodata page’ and the ‘signature page’.

The biodata page contains all the details of the passport holder and about the passport itself:

  • Name of the passport holder, nationality, date of birth, place of birth, gender
  • Photograph 
  • The place of issue or the Issuing Authority 
  • Type of passport
  • Passport Book Number 
  • Passport issuance Date
  • Passport expiry date
  • Code of the issuing country
  • Endorsements

There is a machine-readable zone (MRZ) at the bottom of the biodata page which enables the Authorities to get all the information about the passport holder and the passport booklet by putting the passport under the scanning machine. 

The signature page has the signature of the passport holder. If the passport holder cannot sign for some reason, for example in the case of toddlers or children, it has to be signed by the parents of the child of a person who has the authority to sign on behalf of the passport holder. A passport is considered invalid without the signature of the passport holder.  Now that we have covered the ‘Place of Issue/Issuing Authority’ and the various facilities or centers authorized to issue a passport, let’s move on to understand what OCI card refers to.

OCI card

What is an OCI card?

The Overseas Citizenship of India or the OCI is the permanent residency offered to the people of Indian origin who have moved out of India and settled down in another country and have acquired citizenship of that country. The OCI card is applicable only to those individuals who have the provision of holding dual citizenship in the country they are living in. 

Eligibility Criteria for OCI cards

There are certain eligibility criteria for applying for an OCI card. You can visit the official website of the Bureau of Immigration- Government of India for more information on who is eligible for OCI under the Indian laws. 

There are some perks when it comes to having an OCI card, but there are limitations as well. 

Let’s talk about the benefits first:

  • Travel to and from India multiple times without any restrictions.
  • You will get a visa that is valid for a lifetime and can be used for various legit purposes. 
  • Work in any private company in India without needing employment authorization.
  • Enjoy equality with the NRI and the Indian residents on both international and domestic affairs.
  • You do not have to register with the local police authorities no matter how long you stay in India.
  • You will be provided equality both in terms of benefits and pay for professions such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, chartered accountants, architects, and dentists.

The various limitations to having an OCI card are:

  • You cannot cast your vote in India.
  • Restricted from becoming a member of any political or parliamentary bodies.
  • You will not be able to hold a position within the government or any other government or public sector companies. 
  • Cannot run for or hold a constitutional post.
  • You are not entitled to get an Indian passport.
  • Cannot buy properties related to plantation or agriculture

The process involved in the application of an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card:

There are some important steps involved when applying for an OCI. The step-by-step process is mentioned below:

  • Step 1: Identify which category of OCI do you belong to and whether you are eligible for obtaining an OCI or not. You can visit this link to get more details on the categories.
  • Step 2: Start filling the OCI application form. There are different application forms for different categories of OCI. Please be careful in choosing which category you belong to. 
  • Step 3: Complete your registration process and pay your application fees: Once you have completed filling in the online application form, you have to make all the necessary documents ready and send them by post to the VFS Indian Consular Application Centre. Please make sure to choose the correct VFS Indian Consular Application Centre before you send the documents.
  • Please note that your online application is valid only for 180 days, therefore you need to send all the necessary documents before this period of time.
  • Due to the covid 19 outbreak, VFS is not considering any physical applications. All the documents and applications have to be sent by post only
  • Step 4: Create an online profile and register yourself to submit your online application. Once you click on this link, you will be directed to the page as shown below:
    • Click on the first option, ‘Overseas Citizenship of India’.
    • Fill up the required fields with correct information and follow the next steps to complete the registration process.
    • If you already have an account simply click here. You will be directed to the login page where you need to enter your email id and password and sign in.
    • Don’t forget to choose the Mode of Submission as ‘postal’.
  • Step 5: Send your application hardcopy and other related documents package through the shipping method that you have opted for in the VFS system.
  • Step 6: Once VFS has received your application package, they will send a notification to you through email after which they will review your documents to verify them. 

  • Step 7: You can track your application by clicking on this link. You will also receive notifications on various status updates through texts or SMS if you have opted for the same.

Travelling Abroad and VISA’s

Now, when you are traveling abroad, one of the most crucial travel documents that you need is your visa. Therefore, it is very important to fill out the visa application form taking all the precautionary measures to facilitate a smooth visa approval process. Let’s get a quick overview of the importance of visas and the general guidelines to fill out a visa application process.

What does the word VISA mean? What are the various sections of the visa application form?

Well, the full form of VISA is really ambiguous. It can either be defined as ‘Verified International Stay Approval’ or ‘Virtual Important Stamp Authorization’. In any scenario, it is the authorization document issued to a traveler to travel in and out of a country. 

There are few general guidelines to follow when filing a visa application form:

  • Firstly, make sure to fill all the fields with something and do not leave any field blank. If there is something that is not applicable to you, just mention ‘not applicable’ or ‘NA’.

Make sure to write your details legibly for the authorities to understand.

  • The signature must be original and must match your passport and other official documents. 
  • If there is a criminal record that you are required to mention in the application form please include it with honesty. 
  • Make sure to provide all the information with utmost honesty and truthfulness.
Visa Application

So to conclude, when it comes to providing information in an application form about your passport, the issuing authority, or any other sections within a passport, it can sometimes be really confusing. Hope this article helped you make the process a little easier.

Is ‘place of issue’ different from ‘issuing authority’ in a passport?

The place of issue and the issuing authority is one and the same. Please refer to the first section of this article which will give you more information about the different scenarios where it is called the place of issue or the issuing authority. 

Are there different rules in different countries for locating the ‘passport place of issue’?

Well, it is pretty much the same for most of the countries. It appears on the biodata page of the passport.  

What are the fees involved in an OCI card?

The fee for a new OCI card is around $295 USD. reissue of the OCI in case of loss or damage will cost around $120 USD. 

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