How To Renew Your Indian Passport In The US? - with Cox & Kings

This post is for the Indian citizens (Indian passport holders) living in US and would like to renew their passport from the US. My husband has applied for his passport renewal from the US because he was not confident that his passport will get renewed within the two weeks of vacation time in India. Moreover, he did not want to go through the hassle of running to a PSK center for a personal interview/biometrics or a local police station for police verification. I mean that you are literally stuck at home waiting for the police to come for verification. Another problem was that his passport was expiring in April 2020. He wants to travel to India on December 2019 and the US will not permit to enter unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final day of travel. Given his situation, it was best to apply for his passport renewal in the US. 

Last time he had renewed his passport directly through the US Embassy in New York and had a terrible experience. His passport almost took 6 months to arrive and he also had to make frequent trips to the Indian Embassy in New York for following up. This time he didn't want to go through the same hassle moreover because he had to include my name (spouse name) as well as change his India address in his new passport. 

He went through the CKGS NRI passport service for renewing his passport. Trust me, it is a very straight forward and easy process. The website explains the steps in a very simple manner that is not just easy to understand but also very easy to follow. I would strongly suggest that you read the following links thoroughly before applying through CKGS so that your application does not get rejected.
  1. How to apply.
  2. Application guide.
  3. Photo specifications.
  4. Common mistakes to avoid.
  5. Pay extra attention to the 'Important Notes' under their passport physical document checklist.
  6. Pay attention to the FedEx/UPS envelopes that are acceptable.
He spent about USD 163 that includes their passport fees, CKGS service, and convenience fees, courier to and from CKGS for 60 pages passport through a normal application (not Tatkal). If you were to get your passport renewed from India then it would just cost you USD 29. However, given that you do not have to travel to India or go to PSK or a police station, it is worth spending that money for a hassle-free renewal. 

If your current passport has been issued in the US, then your new passport will be processed within 10 business days. However, if your current passport has been issued in India, the processing can take anywhere between 3-6 weeks.

CKGS customer service: 
They are extremely responsive and typically replied to my emails within 1-2 hours on the same day.  You can also reach them by phone. The first five minutes (from the time the customer service comes online) of the call time is free and then it is USD 2.00/min.

Questions to CKGS other than the FAQ's:
  1. Can I cancel the application on the CKGS website? You can cancel your application at any time before paying the fees.  
  2. What address to put under other addresses? Put your US address here.
  3. The FedEx shipping label has a date printed on it. Do I have to drop the package on the mentioned date? What can I do if I have already printed the shipping label and my package is not ready? I had called up FedEx for this. They suggested that the package can be handed over to FedEx asap. It is okay if it is not shipped on the exact date that is mentioned on the shipping label.
Mistakes made: 
Since the required size of the photo is 2 x 2 inches, we assumed that photo specifications are the same as required for a US passport. However, the full head size (top of hair to chin) has to be 1- 1 3/8 inches and the eye height is between 1-1 1/8 inches. I ended up sending a new set of photos and spent USD 15 to do so. Thankfully, he had to only resend the photos and not the two forms that had the photos affixed on them. Which would be a problem because one of the forms was notarized. 

Secondly, Rite Aid or CVS will most likely not be able to help you get a photo that matches the exact CKGS guidelines. At least, we didn't have any luck with it. I somehow managed to find a white background and clicked his photo using the Passport Photo Booth app by TRB Ventures for iPhone. The app is extremely easy to use as it has a silhouette that shows you where to place your face and eyes. I got the photos printed at Target and this photo was accepted by CKGS and the Indian Embassy as well.

Application status: 
My husband's passport arrived within 7 working days.

I hope that you have found this post useful. Feel free to send me an email if you have any further questions.