Moving to Goa- Getting address proof
When you move within India, the holy grail of existence is getting address proof. It can take months.. sometimes years to have the right service provider certify to the Government's satisfaction that you do, indeed, live where you claim you do. In Goa, Here's how it went down for us.
Goa's roads are perfect for two wheelers. If you're visiting, renting a scooter is easy. But if you've moved to Goa and you want to buy one, the bike dealer won't sell you a bike until you go to the RTO and get them to approve of your documents.
Dealer, "Show the RTO everything you've got. Electricity bill in your name?"
Dealer, "Gas connection, landline bill?"
Dealer, "..voter ID card.."
Us, "We have voter ID cards! We finally got them made before the last Lok Sabha elections and.."
Dealer, "Goan voter ID cards?"
Dealer, "Is that your toddler climbing up the motorcycle and tearing down Christmas decorations?"
Dealer, "Show the RTO the proof of his school registration."
Which we duly did.
And then we were told that waving around all those expensive play school fee receipts would do us no good. We needed to show Goa voter ID cards or a passport with a Goan address. And then we found out that since the elections were less than a month away, the Electoral Rolls were sealed shut. So no voter ID cards till the electoral dust settles, which is a month after the elections, when the votes are counted. And then if they accept the address proof you have, it could take 3 months to get the voter ID card.
So we decided to start with the passport, since mine was expiring soon. Multiple trips to Panjim and Margao later, here's what you should know:
1. Check what your local RTO requires before purchasing a scooter. We were told that only passport and election ID were acceptable. Cough <what's the Aadhar for then?!> cough.
2. Call 1950 to reach Goa's chief election office- they're friendly and informative, but they require all the documents you probably don't have if you're leasing a house- water bill, electricity bill, residence certificate etc.
3. Change the address on your bank account. If you've been with the bank for over 3 (or 5) years, they should accept your house lease and PAN card to change the address. Or change the address on your post-paid mobile bill. Use either of these as address proof for the passport office. Unless your house lease agreement has been registered (not just notarized), it won't be accepted by the passport authorities.
4. The passport office doesn't accept an address proof that includes "care of".
5. As a part of your application, you need to provide 2 references near your Goan address, as well as near your previous address, preferably in the same building. The police may visit both. So get in touch with old friends and start making new ones!
6. After successfully submitting the application at the RPO Panjim, you will have to go to the local police station for police verification. You will need a letter from your landlord saying he/ she has no objection to your using the address for the passport.
7. The police will go through your documents and if all is in order, they will submit an adverse report.
8. Wait, what?!
You will get the SMS about the adverse report and feverishly call the helpline or your parents to ask what it means. It turns out that since you've only lived here for a few months, they have to submit an adverse report. But if you've lived a blameless life, it usually gets automatically cleared in a few weeks, after which you receive your shiny new passport in the mail.
9. Now do the same thing for your spouse. It's just like having a second kid, you are older and wiser now, so it's very easy.
(We only have one kid. This is speculation)
Note that we did not use an agent and only paid the passport fees during this process. If your passport has been made recently and entered into the electronic database, this whole process will be done within a week. And the passport and RTO officials we met were friendly and helpful.