How to apply for a Police Clearance Certificate for a Passport or Visa?

I had to apply for a PCC (Police Clearance Certificate) recently, and I was surprised at the lack of information about this online even though this is a very important thing without which you can’t get a passport, and some countries don’t issue you a visa.

In this post, I’m going to recount my experience and cover everything that I dealt with and learned about this process.

When do you need a PCC?

You need a PCC when applying for a passport or when applying for visas of certain countries, and while the overall process for this is similar — it is not exactly the same. As a result of this — your experience might be completely different from the experience of someone else whose situation varied only slightly.

Who issues you a PCC?

Usually, PCC is given by the Regional Passport Office of the place that you have resided in the last six months. Location is important because although the PCC is a document issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, it does mention the place it is issued at and many countries require you to get it from the place you have resided in.

This can pose challenges for people who travel for work, and don’t have an address proof in the place they currently live in.

Here is a list of all the documents that they accept as a residence proof:

If you don’t have any of these documents then getting an address proof in the form of a bank statement is your best bet.

You can change your address to your existing one at the bank which is usually a very straightforward process, and then request them to issue a bank statement for the last twelve months. You need to go to the bank to get this because the bank stamps and signs this statement, and that’s what authenticates it. The statement will not work for you if you just download it online; it needs to have the stamp of the bank.

Also, keep in mind that it should be the last twelve months, I didn’t read anywhere that this ought to be the case but they insist on it once you are at the center. The other interesting aspect about this is that the more things you have the better it is. If you have a rental agreement which is not registered, just notarize it and take it with you anyway. If your passport has a local address, but it is different from the one you’re applying for, take a copy of that as well, take a copy of all your official documents, visas that you may have for other countries, marriage certificate etc. Although these documents aren’t mentioned in the list of documents that can be given as proof, I believe they can be used as supporting documents and the staff there likes to get as many of these documents as possible.

Also, this is not written anywhere as well, you need to take your actual passport with you so they can verify that and also provide the stamp on that. This is very important. Something else that isn’t mentioned is that you have to write a letter saying why you need a PCC. This can be a simple typed letter, or even a handwritten letter.

Where do you apply for a PCC?

Go to the Passport Seva website, and take an appointment at a date and center convenient to you. I was getting appointments for the next day at Hyderabad, but I’ve heard from people that sometimes you have to wait a week or more.

When you book the appointment, there is an option to enroll into the SMS service for Rs. 35, I enrolled in that and paid the 35 rupees in cash at the center, and I think this is an important thing to keep in mind, so you keep getting updates on your status.

On the day of the appointment, take a print out of the appointment letter along with your other letters, and reach the center at the time prescribed. I’ve been there thrice now, and I don’t see any benefit of reaching there before time. At the prescribed time, they ask people who have appointments for that time to form a queue and get inside to get a token and I think this is a very simple and efficient way of managing their queue.

There were three zones – A, B and C and three officers who each do part of the process, and there is an electronic board that tells you which counter to go to based on your token number, and there are people who also escort people around counters.

At the first counter, they check the documents, and create a file for you. They ask questions about what other documents you may possibly have, and put everything relevant in that file.

At the second counter, they scan and upload these documents, as well as verify the details you filled online. I had made a mistake in entering my place of birth which they caught and corrected. You are also finger printed, and photographed at this counter.

In the third counter, the officer actually brings up your information on their computer, and it tells them whether there are issues with your case, whether there are no issues, but a physical police verification is required, or if a physical police verification isn’t required altogether.

PCC and PCC Stamp

If a physical police verification is not required altogether then they ask you to go to a counter where the individual takes the PCC letter and puts the stamps on them. He puts three stamps on them:

  1. An endorsement with your application number, and a place to hand-write the country for which the PCC is being issued.
  2. Second is a stamp of the Ministry of External Affairs.
  3. Third is the stamp of the individual authorized to give this clearance.

Not only do they stamp the PCC letter, they stamp a page on your passport as well.

After these stamps are placed, the authorized individual also signs the letter as well as passport page, and you are all set.

It is my understanding that you don’t need physical police verification if you had a verification done from the same place earlier, and it doesn’t matter how long ago that verification took place as long as there are no police records about you after that verification.

Physical Police Verification

If you do need a physical police verification then you are given a receipt number, and a document that you are supposed to take home.

They send an SMS with the name and phone number of the police officer who will come to your house to verify your details. This SMS usually comes the same or the next day, and the police officer comes the subsequent day. It is best to call the officer, and get a tentative idea of when he plans to come visit so you can be available at home when he comes there.

Here again, keep the original proof that you submitted to the passport office ready with you. If you gave a stamped bank statement, get another bank statement out, take a copy of all your documents whether they are listed or not, as well as take a copy of your passport. He will ask for all of these. He will also need signatures of two neighbors so ensure that you have two neighbors who are willing to sign as witness, any two will do, even from the same house.

How long does it take to get PCC after the verification?

This is another important thing to keep in mind — if you’ve been living in your current city for less than a year then the verification takes two to three weeks, but if you have been living in the city for more than a year then the verification is done the next week and then two or three days after that you can go to the Passport Seva Kendra and get your passport stamped and PCC letter issued.

This information is not present anywhere and it isn’t even very clear to me from which form they obtain this information, but the document that the police officer receives from the passport office contains this so make sure when filling the forms you pay attention to this.

This is everything I learned about this process, and while I truly feel the process is a lot better than the one ten years ago, there is no place where it is explained properly so you can be prepared for it. I hope this post helps people who are going to apply for a PCC and if you have any questions, or anything to add to this, please do leave a comment.

Weekend Links: July 3 2015

First up, a very very interesting quiz in the NY Times that you should all try out. Don’t worry about hating numbers or anything else like that. Spend some time on it, very well worth it.

Next up, an article on what Greece may be able to do next. Semi related, how 16th century Spain dealt with a bankruptcy.

Euthanasia is a difficult and hard topic to discuss, here is a good article on how some countries are dealing with it .

Indian companies bypassing banks, and going directly to the public for funds.

Pakistani mall charges an entry fee with a certain exceptions, and people are not happy about it. I think they missed a trick here, could have simply exempted people who buy something inside, but made it elitist instead.

Finally, a great article on what makes the expat lifestyle attractive.

Need of the hour – Super Top-up Policy

This is a guest post by Priyanka Khandelwal who is heading eBusiness vertical  at MediManagea specialist health insurance advisory service for Individuals, Families and Corporates. Know more about Medimanage’s free advisory services here

Life is full of risk and unpredictable most of the time. A sudden situation might arise and end up making you physically, emotionally & financially stressed.

One grave example is the fact of not buying an additional cover & relying only on your company insurance. It is often believe that the coverage provided by the employer is sufficient to take care of any unforeseen medical expenses which may arise. Let us look at 2 important facts to get a clear understanding as to why we require a supplementary cover.

  • The average medical cover that a company insurance offers ranges from Rs. 2 to 4 lakhs.
  • In the last 5yrs the medical cost has increased making it difficult for a common man to borne the expenses from his pocket. Let us look at the cost of few medical treatments in India:-
Procedures20082013Increase %
Heart Valve ReplacementRs. 1,75,415Rs. 3,43,14552%
Knee ReplacementRs. 2,70,220Rs. 4,36,73061%
Cataract RemovalRs. 16,000Rs. 25,00056%
AngiographyRs. 14,000Rs. 22,00057%
Coronary Artery Bypass GraftRs. 1,65,000Rs. 2,40,00045%
AppendectomyRs. 28,000Rs. 47,00066%
Gall Bladder RemovalRs. 32,000Rs. 59,00084%
Angioplasty (PTCA) with 2 StentsRs. 1,75,000Rs. 2,65,00051%

Please Note: Rates are as per the approximate cost of treatment.

Looking at the above figures, do you still feel that your coverage is sufficient enough ?The answer will be “NO”.

It is also important to note that along with the cost of the medical expenses the premium rates may also inflate Thus, it may not be practically possible to either enhance the current cover or buy an additional cover. So in such situation, what should be the solutions?

The answer is Super Top-up policies.

In this article, let us understand – What is a super Top-up Policy? How will this be beneficial? We will also be providing a detailed comparison between 2 notch products available in the market for your reference .

What is a Super Top-up Policy?

A Super Top-up Policy is a unique type of health insurance policy available which offers an additional coverage, beyond the “ Aggregate Threshold Limit”. Thus it acts as a cushion & comes in to action when you have exhausted the exisiting cover.

Let us understand with an Example:-

Let’s say if you have an individual Policy of Rs. 5Lac and a Super Top-up Policy of 10lac with 5 Lac Threshold Limit.

Incase there is a claim for 7Lakh, your individual health insurance policy will pay Rs. 5Lakh and the remaining claim amount of Rs. 2 Lakh will be paid by your Super Top-up Policy.

Now if there is another claim of 4Lakh in the same policy year, then the entire 4Lakh claim shall be paid by the super top-up policy. Because your aggregate threshold limit of 5 lakhs is crossed. This claim will be paid upto the limit of sum insured.

When you buy Super top-up, consider the below points:-

  • While buying a super Top-up policy it is not mandatory to have an existing health insurance cover
  • The threshold limit is applicable for each policy year
  • The threshold limit is the mandatory deductible, which needs to be take care by the customer either by way of a corporate policy or any other individual policy. You can also pay this from your pocket.
  • An aggregate threshold limit is sum total of all hospitalization expenses in a policy year.

 

Let us also look at the comparison – L&T Medisure Classic & Apollo Munich – Optima Super

ELIGIBILITY DETAILS:

Insurance CompanyL&T – Medisure – Super Top-upApollo Munich – Optima Super
Sum InsuredSI 3Lac & 8Lac – 2Lac Deductible
SI – 7 & 12Lac – 3Lac Deductible
SI – 6, 11 & 16Lac – 4Lac Deductible
SI – 5,10,15 & 20Lac – 5Lac Deductible
SI – 5Lac, 7Lac & 10Lac
Deductible – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 10Lac
Min Entry AgeAdult – 18yrs
Child – 91days
Adult – 18yrs
Child – 91 days
Max Entry AgeAdult – 65yrs
Child – 23yrs
Adult – 65yrs
Child – 21yrs
Renewal AgeLifelongLifelong
Pre Acceptance Medical Checkup55yrs45yrs
Cost of MedicalOn acceptance of proposal, 50% of the cost of medicals will be re-imbursed.On acceptance of proposal, 100% of the cost of medicals will be re-imbursed.
Family DefinationIndividual Cover – Self, Spouse, Children, Parents, Parent-in-laws, Siblings, Grandparents, Daughter-in-law, Son-in-Law, Nephew, Niece, Grand children.
Floater Cover – Self, Spouse, 2 Children (Parents & Parent-in-Laws can also be covered as a separate cover)
Individual – Spouse, dependent children and dependent parents (Max 4Adults & 5Children)
Floater – Self, Spouse, 2 Children (Max 2 Adults & 2 Children)
Parent-in-law – If financially dependant.
Family Discount2 or more family members are enrolled 10% Discount2 or more family members are enrolled 10% Discount
Policy Tenure1 & 2yrs1 & 2yrs
Tenure Discount5% discount on premium7.5% Discount on premium

 

BENEFITS:-

Insurance CompanyL&T – Medisure – Super Top-upApollo Munich – Optima Super
Room RentUpto the Sum InsuredUpto the Sum Insured
ICU RentUpto the Sum InsuredUpto the Sum Insured
Doctor’s fees and related charges, Other Medical ChargesUpto the Sum InsuredUpto the Sum Insured
Ambulance ChargesNot CoveredRs. 2000 per Hospitalisation
Per & Post Hospitalization30Days Pre & 60Days Post Hosptialization60 Days Pre & 90Days Post
Day Care ProceduresCovered – No Static List.Covered. 144 day care procedures
Organ TransplantNot CoveredCovered – Only Hospitalization Expenses
Addo-on BenefitsService Guarantee. Cashless hospitalization Response in 6 hrsNA
Co-payment10% Co-payment for Insured age 80yrs & above.No Co-payment

 

EXCLUSIONS & WAITING PERIOD:

Insurance CompanyL&T – Medisure – Super Top-upApollo Munich – Optima Super
Waiting Period for AccidentNoneNone
Waiting Period for Specific Ailments24months24months
Joint Replacement Waiting Period24months24months
Cataract – LimitationNoneNone
Limitation on Major IllnessNoneNone
Waiting Period for Pre-Existing Diseases36months48months

 

Let us also look at an example – Mr. Rao wants to enhance his existing Health Insurance of cover.

Age: 35yrs                      Existing Health Insurance: 5Lac  Required Super Top Up Cover: 10Lac

How much premium will be charged to Mr. Rao?

Insurance CompanyL&T – Medisure – Super Top-upApollo Munich – Optima Super
PremiumRs. 1,236Rs. 2,475

Please Note: L&T Premium is Inclusive of ST & other companies Premium is exclusive of ST.

Our Opinion:

Super Top-up Policy are the best way to enhance your basic sum insured. If we look at the comparison both the products are good but there are few points where L&T – Medisure Classic takes an upper hand. Let us look at those points:

  1. In terms of premium, it is lighter on the pocket.
  2. Service Guarantee: Cashless hospitalization response in 6hrs.
  3. No Pre-Acceptance medical check up till the age of 55yrs.
  4. Option to add more extended family members under one policy (Customer has the choice of adding Grandparents, Siblings, Grandchildren, etc.)
  5. Family Discount of 10% in case you add 2 or more members in an Individual policy.
  6. The customer has the option of paying 2yrs premium at one shot and avail additional 5% discount.
  7. No Sub Limits on Room Rent, ICU, Nursing, Doctor’s expenses, medical bills, etc.
  8. Day Care procedures are covered without any static list.
  9. Pre-existing diseases covered after 36months.
  10. Under a single policy multiple relationships can be covered.

When you buy a policy always keep in mind the medical inflation while selecting the sum insured. Cost should not only be the deciding factor in choosing the Best Health Insurance plan. The ability of the plan to function when required should be the core of selection.

If you want to speak to Priyanka’s team of expert advisors for a one-to-one discussion on your requirements, post your inquiry here.

 

Site restored to normal

A quick note to let you know that as far as we can tell, the site has been restored to normal and you won’t see any more spammy posts.

What happened was a person, script or machine had somehow gotten access to one of the passwords that is associated to an account here that has publishing rights. Posts were getting published through that account, and it took a while to narrow down the problem to that account.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the person or system had just guessed the password to that account because I had kept it ridiculously simple.

The lesson is to make all your passwords complicated, and the way to do that is to use pass-phrases instead of passwords because they are easily remembered and harder to guess or crack. For example: “$DinosaurBirdBrain457#” I believe is easily remembered and harder to crack.

Apologies for the inconvenience and thanks for your patience.

Site Attacked: Ignore the daily email from June 23 2015

I noticed three posts titled ‘cheap oakley posts’ and similar variants on the site yesterday, and promptly deleted them, as well as changed passwords etc.

Three more posts like this appeared a few hours later, and then two more. I am working to get this issue resolved, but I wasn’t able to stop the daily emails from sending out these spammy posts.

Please ignore the email from today, and if you would like to unsubscribe because of this nuisance, you can scroll down to the bottom of the email and click on the unsubscribe link.

I’ll send out a further update when the issue is resolved.

Use Paytm to pay your phone bills

I paid my Airtel postpaid phone bill using Paytm today, and got a Rs. 50 cashback in the Paytm wallet by using a CASH150 promo code.

The deal is that you get 10% or Rs. 50 off (whichever is higher) on phone recharges using the code above, and is valid till June 10 2015.

I believe this is a simple and useful deal because almost everyone has a prepaid or postpaid connection; this deal works on both, and the only thing you have to do is instead of paying from the regular cellphone website using your credit card, use the Paytm wallet.

If you don’t have the Paytm wallet then it’s perhaps not worth your while to get one just to do this but a lot of people have these mobile wallets and in that case there’s really no reason to NOT do this.

This deal is available frequently enough which means that it is not a matter of saving fifty bucks one time, but rather saving this every month, well at least till they decide to withdraw it, and it neither adds time nor effort to an activity you would do anyway.

When the Paytm coupon on this recharge expires, I’ll update this post with the new coup0n code, and in the meantime, if there is a better way to do this then please leave a comment.

New Simplified Tax Return Forms for 2015

The Finance Ministry issued a circular earlier today about tax return forms, and for a change, it is good news all around.

They have made six announcements and they are all positive ones. They have stated that they won’t be asking people to furnish details of their foreign travel along with tedious details of how much money they spent etc. This was something that was proposed last month and would have been quite a burden on everyone.

They  have however asked for your passport number in the tax return, and I think this is only fair. You already give your PAN out obviously, and giving out your passport number in addition to that should not be a problem at all, not to those who have paid taxes properly anyway.

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The number of people who under report their incomes or don’t pay taxes at all is ridiculously high in India, and I can imagine the tax department running some simple reports on this data to find people who are under reporting their income.

The other exciting news is the simplification of the form themselves. The new forms haven’t been shared yet but they are supposed to the simpler than the existing ones, I will write about this in detail when the forms are actually out. Since the forms aren’t out and the software to process these forms isn’t ready either, the deadline to file taxes have been extended to 31st August.

Finally, there was a proposal to ask people to give details of their bank accounts along with the money in them but now they have reduced that to say you can just mention your bank account numbers and that is a fair ask as well.

I think these changes are a win for the people who gave their feedback to the ministry on the things like the foreign travel requirements, and raised a ruckus on social media as well.

What’s the best way to get online deals in India?

Last week I told a friend that I needed to go to the dentist, and his first advice to me was buy a Groupon worth Rs. 80 and get consulting worth Rs. 800. I don’t really want to use a Groupon for a dentist, but this particular friend is an expert in getting deals, and is so enamored with deals that he hardly ever buys anything at full price anymore.

I’ve always been wary of deals, discounts, sales etc. because you end up spending more than you wanted to by buying crap that you don’t need. However, the hotting up E-Commerce space in India means that there are a lot of online deals and discounts without any hidden terms or shenanigans that you can take advantage of.

While 20 or 30 percent off is quite common, getting things for free on online deals is not uncommon either. Aditya tweeted this out today, and I know a few other friends who have done similar things.

I’m admittedly new to this game, but there are at least two things which are very apparent to me that should be done in order to get your hands on the best deals available online.

Get a Mobile Wallet

Mobile wallets are a relatively new concept in India but have gained popularity very quickly, and in fact there are now more mobile wallets than credit cards in India.

Paytm and Mobikwik are the two leading mobile wallets in India, and the benefit of using either of them is that almost all shopping sites accept these sources of payments, and you often get a decent cash back when you use the mobile wallet option. If you don’t use this — you would either use a credit card or a debit card, and there’s really no reason to use the mobile wallets instead.

Go to DesiDime.com before buying anything

DesiDime.com comes highly recommended from my friend, and I thought it was quite useful as well. This is a coupons site, and not only does it give you free coupons, it also tells you about the combinations of discounts, and cash backs that mobile wallets offer so you can take advantage of both of them.

A quick glance through this site can tell you if there is a deal on something you wanted to buy, and if there is a deal, then what’s the best way to go ahead and pay for it.

But does this work on what you actually want?

As I said earlier, my primary reservation against deals, coupons etc. is that you end up buying crap you don’t need, so I waited to write this post till I had used this method myself on something that I needed, and satisfied myself that it actually works.

I needed black trousers, and it so happened that Jabong had a 50% off on brands that I wear, so I bought a trouser from there, and paid using MobiKwik which ensured a Rs. 100 cash back on top of the original discount. So, in this particular case I paid Rs. 950 for something I’m pretty sure I’ve paid slightly over Rs. 2,000 a few months ago, and yes, I’m satisfied that it does work.

I’m sure that there are many more tricks that I’m unaware of, so please leave a comment and let me know as well as any advice on what doesn’t work and you should stay away from.

And, back to the Tweet at the beginning of the article — the code that Aditya used still works in case you’re interested, and TinyOwl operates in your city.

Weekend Links – May 29 2015

One of the more interesting news stories of the week was the FIFA arrests, and this NYT article gives a good account on how the Swiss authorities went about doing this.

The American indictment of FIFA officials doesn’t look into the alleged corruption in awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, which has caught a lot of attention recently due to the numerous workers who have died there recently. This Guardian article talks about a new atrocity where Nepalese workers weren’t allowed to go back home to attend funerals of their family members. 

This Economist articles compares how nationals of different countries have done in the US, and it is amazing to see how far ahead Indians are compared with anyone else.  

Harvard Business Review with a good article on how silence should be used as a weapon for persuasion. 

I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, and people who have read the book or seen the TV series would know that only very few things can ever top the Red Wedding. George RR Martin on where his inspiration for the Red Wedding came from. 

A barber in a village close to the Pakistan border got suspicious when he saw a pigeon land on his hut because it had markings and seal in Urdu. He took the bird to the police, and the police took it to the vet, but all is well, the pigeon is not a spy, but the police still has the bird in custody.

Fascinating question, and unbelievable answer: Will any species go extinct if humans were to go extinct?

Enjoy your weekend!

Two important unanswered questions about the gold monetization scheme

The first question is of course about the interest rate, and how much will a bank be willing to give out to investors.

As far as retail investors are concerned I feel it is really hard to get excitement going about the gold monetization scheme at anything less than 3 or 4 percent. I have a feeling it might be feasible to get to a rate like this or even slightly higher than this since banks are allowed the gold reserves as part of their CRR / SLR reserves, and there may be a market for them to lend this gold and make a profit.

Pot of Gold
Gold Monetization Scheme

The second question, and one that has not been discussed as much is the paper-work that will be required when you take your gold to get it melted. Do you need any paper work at all to show that was bought in white or can you take any gold at all? This is obviously important because of the realities of our economy.

A lot of gold is bought in cash, and through money on which tax hasn’t been paid. When you talk about black money you tend to think of crores of rupees locked up in Swiss accounts but any retailer or professional who has under-reported his income and not paid tax on all of it has black money and they are not necessarily cheats or corrupt officials, they have just found ways around our tax system which isn’t good at enforcement when it comes to anyone outside of salaried employees.

Most commonly such money finds its way to gold and real estate, and if the government is introducing a scheme which looks at channeling gold into the economy and all above board, it is important to take cognizance of this reality and not be insistent on asking for paperwork when someone wants their gold melted as part of this scheme.