Monday, January 30, 2006

Red Tape: Getting a police clearance certificate

I realized that I should have started this as a series when I first moved to India but I didn't think of it until recently. There are many "gotcha's" associated with getting any government work done in India which result in this "Damn. Now I know what to do next time" feeling. However, many tasks (e.g. getting a Marriage Certificate) are such that one rarely needs to do them more than once.
So I figured I'd put down at least one such experience in writing for the benefit of others.
Please update this information by leaving a comment

What: Getting police certificates from the regional passport office, and the local police station in Bangalore.

Why: In my case, it was to apply for a visa.

Est. Time: 1 week (at minimum), 3-4 weeks normal time.

In order to expedite, you'll need a letter explaining why. If it's for business purposes, it should be on company letterhead. If for personal purposes (as in my case) make sure that you can explain the reason in one sentence, and that the letter is written in formal style.

For pretty much every step, you'll need a recent photo. Keep a stack of them and a glue stick with you at all times.

Summary of Events

  1. You submit all the applications
  2. The request for passport clearance is forwarded from the passport office to the commisioner's office to the local police station.
  3. The police clearance request is forwarded from the commisioner's office to the local police station.
  4. The local police check your records and residence and get a statement from your neighbors.
  5. The applications travel back along the same route they came
  6. You pick them up at their respective starting points

Hopefully this will help you waste less time in the process.

Step x where x < 4: Get familiar with the local police station

Since both requests will finally come to the local police station, you should go there at some point before completing step 5, and get to know the person who'll do the verification. Explain your urgency, and ask him for any documents that he'll need so that, once the requests get to him, he can complete his end of things ASAP. In my case this guy was really nice and did all he could to help me get things done quickly.

Step 1: Money

Passport Office

Accepts Cash

Commisioner's Office

The commisioner's office requires that you first go to the State Bank of Mysore, Treasury Branch and remit Rs. 200 to account number 005500103004. You'll need to specify "for PCC" and supply your name and address as you'll want listed on the certificate.
You don't have to do this in person; I was able to send my driver to take care of this. However, I didn't know that it needed a name and address and he just guessed the spellings of both, so he had to do it again, this time with a PostIt with my name and address written on it.
Time:My driver said that there was a line for this as well, and it took about three hours.

Step 2: Forms

Passport Office

  • Form 2
  • Personal Particulars Form in duplicate (pages 10-13) and index card (page 3) from the passport application form
  • Passport (make sure you make copies of the important pages and visas in your passport first, because they'll hold onto your passport once you submit the application).

Commisioner's Office

The forms required at the commisioner's office are not available online. You may be able to ask someone to get them for you though I'm not sure. That process is optmized for wasting your time.
Show up at the office called "Single Window" at the commisioner's office. There is an 'enquiry desk' at the front which supplies you with forms and information. If the guy there is in a good mood, you may be able to get a blank form from him up front. If you're having someone take care of the bank stuff for you, they can try getting you that form at the same time.
Time: Should take about 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the line.

Step 3: Submit the applications

Passport Office

Show up at the passport office a little before 8am. The counter only opens at 9:45, but the line starts at 7:45 or 8:00am.
What to bring:

  • Proof of address
  • Forms with photo
  • Cash (About Rs. 300 I think)

You'll stand in line where they'll check your paperwork and give you a token number. Then you wait for your number to be called at which point they'll take your money and passport and give you a receipt. Make copies of this ASAP.
Time: If you get in line before 8am, you could be done as early as 10:30am.

Commisioner's Office

Show up in the morning around 10 or 11am; you should be able to head there right after going to the passport office. You'll need:

  • Proof of address
  • Form with photo
  • Receipt from the bank

Even if there's a big crowd when you enter, that's either people waiting in line to pick up the stupid form and figure out the process, or foreigners on long term stays registering their presence. Just go to the line in front of the window that says 'police verification' (number four, I think).
After submitting the application, you'll get a receipt. Make copies for safe keeping.
Time: About 10-20 minutes.

Step 4: Check for the request from the passport office

At the commisioner's office, there is a big room at the front (facing Infantry Road) where you can go to check on the status of a verification. It should take a day or three for the request to get from the passport office to the commisioner's office; I wasn't able to figure out how to speed this process up.
When you walk in, you'll be confused; there are windows up front, but no lines leading up to the window. Sitting in front of the window will not result in someone coming to help you. The right thing to do is to observe for a few minutes and find someone who looks like they work there (you'll know by the fact that they keep coming and going from behind the restricted area).
Catch a hold of one of them and ask them to check on the status of the passport verification. Give them the original receipt and they'll go back into a room somewhere and search through their files to tell you if they've gotten the request.
Once they've gotten the request, move on to the next step.
Time:About 20 minutes each time you decide to go there and check.

Step 5: Expediting the process

The requests for verification could sit around for a while in the commisioner's office and we want to avoid that. Once you find out that the passport request has been received, find out if the police certificate request (that you submitted at the commisioner's office has been forwarded to the local police station or not). If it hasn't, then you'll need to complete the following steps for both requests:
  1. Go wait in line outside the DCP (Deputy Commisioner of Police), Intelligence's office along with your urgency letter and receipts for the requests and request him to let you take the requests 'by hand' to the local police station. He'll sign on the two receipts. His office is in a different building in the Commisioner's Office compound.
  2. Wait in line outside the ACP (Assistant Commisioner of Police)'s office and ask him to . This is inside the big room when you find out about status. It's on the right when you go in. Hopefully he'll grant your request by signing on the receipts as well.
  3. The ACP should instruct someone to go and prepare a sealed envelope containing both requests.

Time:About 45-60 minutes to get both signatures.

Step 6: Local Verification

This may vary. The cop dictated two long statements to me which I had to sign. Both were along the lines of "I am such-and-such person living at this address. I require police clearance / passport verification for the purposes of blah. I've provided the following documents as proof of residence. I request you to please provide the verification".
The cop came to my building and got a sworn statement from the building manager as well. Two huge packets consisting of the requests, along with address proof and statements were then signed by the head of the local police station (I forget his official title). Finally, they needed to stick my pictures in two registers, which I had to sign.
Thanks to an urgency letter, the responses were given back to me in an envelope and I was able to take this, by hand, back to the commisioner's office.
Time: Because I'd done a lot of ground work (i.e. been there many times), the actual physical verification took about an hour. I'd reserve about half a day to write the statements, provide address proof, and to get the appropriate statements and signatures.

Step 7:One down, one to go!

With the forms completed by the local police station, I was able to go back to the commisioner's office and submit them there. Again, just catch hold of someone and request to speak to the guy in charge of police verifications. If he's sweet, he might agree to complete the process that day itself.

Passport Verification

Just submitting the forms is not enough, you need to request that you are assigned a GR number. This should ensure that it is available for pickup from the passport office the next day.

Commisioner's Verification

The receipt for your verification would have listed a pickup date 3 weeks in the future. In order to pick it up before this date, you'll need to get signatures again from the DCP of Intelligence and ACP. Show them the urgency letter and hope that they approve your request. If they do, you should be able to take this back to the Single Window and get one your police certificate. Woohoo! One down, one to go!
Time:About half a day. Once you submit the local police reports, you should wait there to make sure you get the GR nubmer.

Step 8: Expediting the Passport Verification

Show up at the passport office a little before 11am with
  • your receipt
  • a personal statement of urgency
  • some proof of urgency (e.g. a company letter) and, of course,
  • one more photo.

In the front of the Bangalore office, two guards jealously guard the entrance to the "Tatkal" (expedited) area. Show them your proof of urgency and they'll let you in. Go up one floor and a security guard will give you yet another form, and direct you to stand/sit in a line.
When you get to the window, someone will check your paperwork and ask you to meet the Assitant Commisioner. You'll be shuffled along to another line outside his office. Explain your circumstances to him, and he may approve that you be provided your passport the same day or the next day.
Time: If you get there just before 11am, you should be done by about 12:30pm.

Step 9: All done!

On the day you're meant to receive your passport back, you show up at the passport office between 4 and 6pm. Show your receipt, and the guards will let you go back up to the same Tatkal hall. Do not bother standing in line.
They have this funky process whereby they call out 15 names or so over the PA system. Those 15 people are expected to go to the counter and pick up their passports (they'll call out the names again in the same order). If you don't show up, they'll try calling your name again in a little while.
While this may entice you to show up at 5:30pm, I'd recommend going a little earlier just in case (remember; they strive to waste as much of your time as possible, and may come up with some even less efficient system by the time you read this).

And that's it! After many man hours of effort, repeated visits to the passport office, the commisioner's office, and your local police station; you would have gotten your certificates!

Appendix A: Address Proof

I have had serious problems with address proof in India. My landlady provides a phone and gas connection, and the electricity bill is in her name. The following documents are NOT considered valid address proof:

  • Phone bills from private companies
  • Your lease
  • Credit Card bills
  • Bank statements from a non government bank

Finally, I was able to use my tax "Saral" (a stamped piece of paper saying that you've filed taxes) as proof of address.
I recommend getting a gas or govt. phone line in your name even if for no other reason than to provide address proof.

Appendex B: Bribery

I'm the worst person to comment on this, as I don't really know how to offer someone a bribe. I'm also not at all comfortable with it.
There were certain steps in this process where the people concerned, after completing my job in a somewhat timely manner, asked for money. I paid. There were other cases where there was no request for money but I had been helped. I asked to make sure the person would not be offended, and paid. I paid more in the second case because I felt that the person had been sincere and I think honesty is rarely rewarded in India. It was ironic and possibly defeated the purpose to reward honesty with what could be construed as a bribe.


Anonymous said...

thanks a bunch. My company is asking for a police clearance certificate and i found your site very helpful :)

Anonymous said...

Great Job !!!!!I need to PCC and this information posted by you is really helpful.Thanks again for putting all efforts to give the process in detail because believe me getting all this information is VERY VERY difficult.
Just too good and it will help lot many like me who are doing this for the first time.

hemantbhanoo said...

Hey. Good to know that it was helpful. Makes me feel better about putting the time in to write it up. :)

As you go through the process, definitely add comments if your experience varies from mine, so that the next person can benefit.

EMC3 said...

Thanks....Very Useful one..

Anonymous said...

I m from Bihar, and trying to get passport for my wife and kid. And above on that, they stay in a village. Let me see how things work. Will post my experience after that. :)

Good work from your side, definitely will help at point of times.

Bhavna said...

Hi this is Bhavna from California, my husband is having very hard time to get PCC in Chennai. Your post is definitely a light for many people. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience!!

Shilpa said...

Hi Bhanu....I went this morning to the passport office for PCC for my U.S visa and realized that it is a pretty tough job believe me now it has become tougher than what you have mentioned..I am kind of confused...after submitting my passport ...jus thinking how i will manage the rest of the things...but i know if there is a will there is kindof hoping that i will accomplish this mission immposible....but some how these govt procedures has given boost to idea of moving to U.S...But anyways I must congratulate you for putting your experience on to the web..thanks again.

Sunny said...

I'm from Hyderabad. Is the process any different out here? Or has the process changed everywhere now? I was asked to make an application at the regional passport office for the PCC. There was no mention of the application at the Commissioner's Office. Have they rationalized the process or am I missing something. It would really help if you could shed some light on this.


Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience as well as your research in speeding up the process. Really helps when you are short of time are struck in red tapism.

Anonymous said...

Good all the info...lotherwise getting these details will eat up lotos of time.

Many thanks,

Shiraz said...

OMG !!
Such a big waste of time and effort .. I was thinking that it wud take 1 week or so .. but u have really scared the hell out of me .. I am thinking to drop the idea of going outside India on behalf of my company :D

hemantbhanoo said...

Thankfully, getting a police clearance certificate is not my fulltime job :) So I have no idea about Hyderabad.

Which is one of the funny things (as I mention in my post) about jobs like these. Usually, a person only goes through the process once, so there's no chance to learn from previous experience. Maybe someone from Hyderabad would be so kind as to post their experiences here?

sebin said...

hello all,
MY wife need passport clearence and police clearence certificate. she had only one week for interview. how to obtain this certificates in one week? she living in kerala and 4yr she studied in tamilnadu. she need to obtain certificate from both place?

Anonymous said...

Do you have any idea of validity period of PCC??

Anonymous said...

i need to get indian PCC for immigration as permanent residence to Australia. I lived 2 years in Bangalore. I am now in Europe. Do you know someone or agent who can help me?
Kind regarsd, Dony

hemantbhanoo said...

So I think the PCC was valid for three months or something.

I don't know any agents. I no longer live in India.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hey hemant
read this blog...very useful i'm sure. just heading for the PCC. jus 1 the final PCC u get , a separate paper or is it just a stamp on the passport. hope u still remember! thx

hemantbhanoo said...

Anonymous... I think it's both a stamp and a piece of paper. but don't remember 100%

am said...

this post is precisely what i need. my baby and i need to join my husbandin switzerland and his company is inisiting on a PCC for husband has been told that it's merely a day's work and no money needs to be spent. I'm sending him this link right away so he can see that it will take time :)

great job on putting this online. i'm sure it'll help a lot of needy souls!


Anonymous said...

hi bhanoo,

my status is now that police verification report has been done by the local police station. The application has been forwarded to Bangalore City Police. I called Bangalore City Police, he said that application has been forwarded to State Government, because it is the one which can issue PCC. Do you know what does it mean State Government?
How long the process still last?
Until which step am i compare to your steps. Thanks

Prabhat said...

I am living in mumbai for last 2.5 years so can get the PCC from mumbai itself or from my native place from whr I acqired my Passport...

Ashwin said...

amazing post, was laughing all the way, wish i had read this one before starting today, now i am totally prepared for our bureaucrats....


Raghu said...

Hi everyone,

This blog literally scared me to death. I am applying for Autralia migration and need clearance for visa.
So i decided to do PCC today itself
The procedure is very simple, in the police comissioner office. Whole thing may take 1 hr . The person handed over a receipt and asked me to visit the local police after 3 days and then he asked me to collect the PCC on 1st Aug. Unless you are in hurry you dont have to do anything nonsense. I hope this blog has scared a lot of them. Dont worry folks just take a days off from work . All your things will be done.

hemantbhanoo said...

Raghu. That's awesome. Great to hear that the process was so hassle free for you. I hope everyone else has an easy time.

Raghu said...

The blog helped me a lot for all the necessary forms that i had to carry to Passport office. Applying for PCC took me some 2 hrs here.I would like to give one more small info. The passport office in bangalore has reintroduced online appointment system. So you can book a time slot for which you will be given token number online.
So no more waiting in long queues :). I will keep you guys informed if i face any kind of issues. Thanks a lot Bhanoo.

Raghu said...


I received my PCC from passport office 4 days back :) Then i had got a call from local police station to sumit photo so i will be getting the clearance from comissioner office too by another 4 days.
Till now no hasles except i had to give 100 rs for local police . Though he did not ask, since there was lot of writing , the person there, did all by himself and i just had to sign . So i felt i have to give something and gave by my will. One thing i did not understand when we are getting PCC from Passport office then why again from Comissioner office? This is confusing. Since it was written in blog here i did both . Can any one answer me pls.


You can download the form from this site.... hope its the right one. I just filled it and is planning to submit it to Alappuzha DIst Police office tomorrow.

Hats off to you for such a detailed blog on your experience on PCC which cleared almost all doubts as to how to proceed..
Thank you..

Anonymous said...

Its a great move to post back your experience. Having the roadmap and bottlenecks upfront, I'm confident that I'll come out with less frustration. Thanks a ton!

Shane said...

I recieved my PCC, now im in process to get them attested by the HRD (home department) and then get apostille stamp on it.

Does any one know how long do RPO bangalore take to reply back for document verification (HRD sent letter to RPO for document verification). Its been two weeks and until today they have not replied back to HRD.

If any one has done this before kindly share your experiences i cannot find any references on google search for time take to reply back in case of a document verification. All they need to do is check their database and reply hardly takes 30 mins to do so.


Anonymous said...

hi bhanoo ,
gr8 job done ... i hav got a job in offshore and they require pcc ,now i hav an issue with address proof , can u pls tel me the documents that r required that is ration card + society letter/electric bill/phone bill ... if i dot hav ( society letter/electric bill/phone ) can u pls tel me any or all options that i can provide to the CID office for verification ... pls help me .. its urgent ...

Thanks & Regards .... .

Anonymous said...

Hi Bhanoo,
This is Aditya from Bangalore, Whatever information you have metioned regarding getting PCC is really helpfull to others who are going to apply or already been applied.

oh! said...

Thats so true.
It was really helpful to me too last year when I tried to get it and responded about that here.

surya said...

My wife had no clue how to start this process. I came across this information u posted. Its exactly the kind I was looking out for.

Thanks a bunch

oh! said...

do update with any new additional formalities or any new stuff added to the proceeding..

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for this awesome post, Hemant. I got my PCC fairly quickly because I was well-prepared at every place. Btw, a simple letter from your employer on their letterhead stating your address works for address proof.

It is 2010 now and the process hasn't changed a whole lot. Some things have improved. The application went to my local police station from the commissioner's office in just one day. The following morning I got a call from the cop and I decided to go immediately. The cop came to my apartment, took the money (asked for more when I gave him less), and finished the paperwork in 30 mins! I requested that he send my file back the same day, if possible. But he took 2 days. The "fee" I paid probably didn't qualify me for same day delivery :)
Anyway, the day after he sent the file to the commissioner's office, he told me that I could go and collect my PCC. I went but they told me that it is not ready yet. I tried once more the following day and the same outcome! Like an idiot, I didn't realize that all I had to do was pay another "fee". It took me 3 visits to figure that out and then, like magic, my PCC was in my hands.

Anonymous said...

oh my god, it was a horrific experience 4 me 2 get the pcc 4m commisioners office now awaiting my passport clearance thanx a zillion 4 making such a lovely blog bhanoo god bless!!

Anonymous said...

i spent 7hrs@ commissioners office and got my pcc, later 12 hrs just 2 submit the form after veriication @ rpo hyd.

army said...

thanks a ton for the advice..
I had to do my PCC for the company.. it was simple procedure, went to the nearest police station,wrote a application addressed to Supritendent of police,requesting for PCC, gave them some address proof, same even,they came for varrification,(two neighbour address required minimum). next day you get the PCC on a paper stamped and signed by inspector,, yess yo might have to give bribe to the typist and the enquiry ispectors( that understable). cheers.

Anonymous said...

This info is of great help.. Thanks for sharing..

Anonymous said...

I just had on question.
Can you please tell me, If I apply for Police certificate at Commissioner's office, do I still need to go to Passport office?????
My visa call letter says, I need PVC from local passport office. Can you please guide me

Anonymous said...

hey can you please tell me where is the Intelligence office of Bangalore??

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Srinath. Can anyone send me the specimen copy of the pcc who bought it through the passport office in India for work permit in abroad? if so plssssssss scan & send it to or just say that will they mention the country name in the pcc to which they are going for work...

Anonymous said...

found your post very helpful. thanks a bunch.