I applied for Thai visa in India, when Indian lockdown was started, visa center stopped operating. But they still didn't return my passport to me. They are saying " it is impossible because we are closed".
I should mention that there is lockdown in India right now. But at the same time I think government is not prohibits to them limited operating like passport returning, because it is very critical service. When I ask their support about that nobody reacts properly, just "we are closed, come later". But I'm foreigner, for me extremely important to get my passport back, at opposite case I risk to stuck in India for months.

Please say their action is legal or not?

Lockdown government guidelines: https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/Guidelines_0.pdf

Please, I'm seeking for professional legal advise. If you're very good software engineer or system administrator try to help somebody in other topics where you have solid professional expertise =)

  • they can be open means nothing if they actually are not.
    – user4657
    Apr 26, 2020 at 0:01
  • 1
    They can do whatever they want, if they don't violate rights of others. Question about legality of their actions. Anybody must have serious legal grounds for retaining others passports. If policeman will take your driver license without proper legal grounds it will be a crime. What are their legal grounds for retaining critical documents of their customers for such long time?
    – 37buEr
    Apr 26, 2020 at 5:54
  • 1
    I'm not a lawyer, and not familiar with Indian laws. My question is more about spirit of their actions. How I know at the moment they are able to limited operating, 2-3 workers at their office it is enough to start returning passports of their customers. Question regarding legality of retaining other docs is quite clear as by my opinion. I can reformulate question differently: can we be absolutely confident that their actions are totally legal?
    – 37buEr
    Apr 26, 2020 at 6:28
  • 1
    @happyastronaut: If you already have opinions from professional lawyers, I'm not sure why you are asking on this site, whose users are mainly non-professional non-lawyers? If you want professional legal advice, you get that by hiring a lawyer, not by posting on free websites. On this site we explicitly cannot provide that, see law.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/221/… Apr 27, 2020 at 15:33
  • 1
    Please clarify who has your passport. Is it the consulate of Thailand in India? They might not be subject to the law of India anyway.Also, it appears that you are not a citizen of India, so if there is a complaint to be made, it is your country that would say to Thailand 'Hey, you have our citizen's passport."
    – Damila
    Apr 27, 2020 at 17:45

1 Answer 1


What should and shouldn't happen isn't going to do a damn thing about your passport situation. Your passport isn't being 'held', it's in processing at a place that is currently not operational due to an unprecedented virus outbreak. No one is acting like a criminal or treating you like one, you are just unlucky. If your situation is that dire, you have no choice but to get a temporary passport.

I seriously doubt an Indian court is going to side with you on this one. Just because the passport office is legally allowed to operate, doesn't mean that they are actually able to. If, for example, COVID-19 hit enough of their workforce, they won't have enough people to operate properly and they'll have no choice but to close. And no, '2 or 3 people' is not enough to operate such a large scale, sensitive operation with high security requirements, even just to return passports .

  • 1
    Under Indian lockdown, everything not explicitly permitted is forbidden. I can't see anything in OPs document that even says there is an option to run non-essential services like visa processing.
    – richardb
    Apr 26, 2020 at 15:34
  • It not about visa processing, it should be considered as a essential goods delivery. Foreigner with out passport is not able to leave India. My home country closed its borders , India closed its borders. The only way to get home for me is to go by evacuation flight. What should I do if I miss it, for how long will I stay in India, under which risk I will be, who knows? At that context my passport (or another foreigner passport should be considered as an extremely essential good). Spirit of covid-19 circular prescribe to let essential good moves, but strict people moving.
    – 37buEr
    Apr 27, 2020 at 9:28
  • 1
    Do Indian courts even have jurisdiction over the actions of the Thai consulate? Diplomatic immunity and inviolability and all that. Apr 27, 2020 at 15:31
  • 1
    @NateEldredge Much of the clerical work in processing visas is done by agencies, so Indian courts would have jurisdiction. OTOH, the agency may courier the passports to Thailand for inspection.
    – richardb
    Apr 27, 2020 at 16:54
  • Passport is inside Indian company office, I'm in India, and ask them just find my passport and let me come to them and pick it up.
    – 37buEr
    Apr 28, 2020 at 3:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .