General elections in this country will be held around mid-2019. But do you have a voter ID card? If not, do you know how to apply for a voter ID card in India? Getting a voter ID card in India can be a very complex and time-consuming process. You need to submit all sorts of documents as proof of identity, date of birth and place of residence and lots more. However, applying for a voter ID card in India need not be such a complex procedure. Simply follow these steps on how to apply for a voter ID card in India. Basics to Apply for a Voter ID card in India Before applying for a voter ID card in India, you need to know who is eligible to get one. Resident Indian Resident Indians are citizens that ordinarily reside within the territorial borders of this country. Persons that have lived abroad for extended periods but do not hold permanent residency of any country or have returned to India for good are also considered as resident Indians. The very first and basic requirement to apply for voter ID card in India is you should be a citizen of this country. The method by which you acquired Indian citizenship is not important, as long as it is legitimate.You should be an adult- meaning 18 years or more age- on the date of application. This rule came into force in 1988.Transgender people in India can also apply for a voter ID card in India following a rule passed in 2009. The above two clauses also apply to transgender persons.There is some ambiguity whether mentally challenged persons qualify for a voter ID card in India. Though Indian law allows persons with mental disabilities to vote, there are instances where they are denied their right to franchise. Non-Resident Indian A non-resident Indian (NRI) is classified as persons that live abroad for study, work or other purposes. They hold Indian passports but work abroad for extended durations. NRIs also hold permanent residence or work permits of foreign countries, such as the US Green Card or \u2018Iqama\u2019 issued by six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Basic requirement for NRIs is, they should have a permanent address in India that reflects on their passport.An NRI applicant should be at least 18 years old on date of registration for the voter ID card.The NRI should be registered as citizen of India at the nearest Indian diplomatic mission in the country where they are ordinarily residing.Non Resident Indians can return to India during elections to cast their ballot.Following an amendment made to the Representation of the People Act in 2017, NRIs can nominate proxies- such as their spouse or parents- to cast a vote on their behalf. Aadhar Card & Voter ID Card You can apply for a voter ID card in India without holding a Unique Identity Development Authority of India (UIDAI) number- or- Aadhar card- in simple terms. The Election Commission of India is planning to link Aadhar card to voter ID card. However, this proposal remains in embryonic stage. If you do not have an Aadhar card, there are various other documents you can submit while you apply for voter ID card. Documents Needed for Voter ID Card If you meet the above criteria, you are ready to apply for a voter ID card in India. Understandably, you will need to get some documents in place. Ordinarily, Election Commission of India requires only your proof of age and address to issue a voter ID card. Proof of Birth\/ Age Under existing rules and regulations, you can submit any one of these documents as proof of birth while applying for a voter-ID card. Birth Certificate issued by any competent authority such as municipal authority or state\/ Union Territory government.School Leaving Certificate issued by your school or education board, if you have completed Secondary School Certificate or Higher Secondary Certificate.Any educational certificate conferred by a state-run university that clearly states your name and date of birth.Permanent Account Number (PAN) card displaying your date of birth.Aadhar Card displaying your date of birth.Indian Passport.Valid driving license issued by any state traffic authority in India.Affidavit of Proof of Birth granted by any competent court in India, in cases you do not have any of the above documents. Proof of Address\/ Residence Providing a valid proof of residence is extremely important to get a voter ID card. The location where you can vote is called \u2018Constituency\u2019. Your \u2018Constituency\u2019 depends upon where you ordinarily live in India. It need not be your permanent residence, unless you are willing to travel to cast your vote. The following documents are accepted as proof of address\/ residence. Indian passport.Public Distribution System (Ration) Card.Aadhar Card.Passbook issued by India Post Bank or any other bank in India.Latest electricity or water bills sent by your utilities provider.Envelope sent to you by Registered Mail through India Post indicating your address.Driving license issued by any traffic authority in India.Latest mobile or landline telephone bill indicating your name and address.Income Tax Assessment Order issued by Income Tax Department.Rent\/ Lease Agreement if you are a tenant. (please see NOTE)Kisan Pass Book issued by India Post Bank.Valid visa or work permit from foreign country for NRI voters. NOTE: You might have to obtain oral or written permission from your landlord if you are residing as tenant, before applying for voter ID card. There are no specific laws governing such permission since every Indian adult is eligible for a voter ID card. However, some landlords are wary about allowing tenants to get a voter ID card since misuse of the document can have legal implications. Other Requirements There are some other requirements as well to apply for voter ID card. Clear and latest passport sized photos when applying for a voter ID card.Sometimes, the voter ID card of your neighbour, relative or landlord may be required by the State Election Commission of the place you live. This is to pinpoint your \u2018Constituency.\u2019 Once you are armed with these documents and requirements, you are all set to apply for voter ID card in India. Now, I will explain the two ways how to apply for voter ID card. Online Voter ID Card Application The easiest way to apply for a voter ID card in India is online. Simply visit the National Voters Service Portal of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and follow steps on how to apply for voter ID card. Currently, online application for voter ID cards is available in English, Hindi and Malayalam languages only. Plans are afoot to offer this service in official language of every Indian state\/ Union Territory. Follow these simple steps. Resident Indian Basic Details These are basic details such as your full name, age and gender, among others. If you are Resident Indian and applying for the first time ever for a voter ID card, click on the Form-6 option.Obviously, the next step is to select the language in which you wish to submit application for the new voter ID card- English, Hindi or Malayalam. Form-6 will now appear in the language of your choice. Start by selecting in the state where you are currently residing or for which you require the voter ID card.Next, choose the district where you live, from the dropdown menu.Third, select the Constituency where you are eligible to cast your vote. Remember, this has to be the same Constituency where you reside and have proper address proof. Followed by this, you have to fill in relevant, important details including your full name, name of your father\/ spouse, type of relation, your age at the time of application or exact date of birth (as appears on your proof of birth document).And finally, indicate whether you are female, male or transgender. Address Proof As I mention earlier, this is the most important. Your Constituency will depend upon your address. Hence, there are two options given on the online Form-6. Current Address: In this section, indicate the address where you ordinarily reside. This need not be your permanent address. It can be a rented house, paying guest accommodation, company provided staff quarters or even your own house. This address has to be verifiable.Permanent Address: Permanent address is the place where you reside permanently and may reflect on your Aadhar card or other documents issued by any government authority. You need not reside permanently at the address for any reason. However, it has to be a valid and verifiable address. (Please see NOTE) It is very important to indicate the Post Offices that serves your both, Present Address and Permanent Address. You also have to give the correct Postal Index Number (PIN) code for your Present and Permanent Address. The PIN code is also very important to allot you a proper Constituency and delivery of your voter ID card. NOTE: It is compulsory to give the Electoral Photo ID Card (Voter ID Card) number of your relative or neighbour while providing your Permanent Address. Optional Particulars Whether or not to provide this information is your choice. But I strongly recommend providing these details. Optional particulars include whether you have any disabilities such as sight, hearing and speech including physical challenges such as difficulties in using hands and legs or any other. You can leave these blank, if you are not physically or mentally challenged. In Optional Particulars, it is best to provide your contact details including mobile phone number and email ID. This enables the State Election Commission to communicate immediately, should they need any further details regarding your application. Uploading Supporting Documents In this section, you have to upload jpeg, jpg, png or bmp images of the following: Your latest photograph.Proof of Birth\/ AgeProof of Address. If you are applying for a voter ID card in your place of residence, provide the relevant proof. While applying for voter ID card on permanent address, upload that proof. Declaration In this section, you are declaring to the Indian government that you are a citizen of this country and your date and place of birth. You also have to declare since how long you are residing at the present or permanent address in India. There is also an option that allows you to apply for a new voter ID card if you are unaware about holding one earlier in your name. Simply click on that option in the Declaration section. Fill in the place from where you are applying, complete the Captcha code and submit the form online. Non Resident Indian Online application process for a Non Resident Indian (NRI) varies in several aspects. Basic Details If you are an NRI and wish to exercise your power of franchise in India, here are simple ways on how to apply for voter ID card in India. Choose the Form 6A option on the National Voters Service Portal, which is especially for NRI applicants.Select the language of your choice: English, Hindi or Malayalam. The form will appear in your chosen language. Start by filling details about your state\/ Union Territory, district and Constituency.Next, fill in details such as your name, date of birth or approximate age at the time of application.Also select the name of your relative such as father, mother, spouse or others, who can serve as Proxy Voter while you are abroad. In the next section, indicate the state where you ordinarily reside in India, district, town, gender and a valid Indian mobile number.The mobile number has to be registered in your name. However, the number may be left with the relative whose name you have given in the first section to serve as Proxy Voter. Provide your email ID to enable the State Election Commission or other authorities for communications. Address Details Non Resident Indians are not required to give proof of address for their residence in this country. However, officers from your State Election Commission can visit the premises for verification. Furthermore, this present or permanent address in India has to reflect on your Indian passport or any other document such as Aadhar card. Mention the address where you ordinarily reside in India.Remember to clearly state the nearest Post Office to this address in India. Give exact details including the state, district, village, town or city with PIN code. Passport Details In this section, you have to furnish all details about your passport. Remember, they should match with those mentioned on your passport. Passport NumberDate of Passport Issue Place of Issue: such as passport office in India or Indian diplomatic mission abroad. Expiry or Validity Date of your passport. Details of Country of Current Residence Here, you need to submit details that you are staying abroad. Visa Number: This can be your Green Card, Iqama or work permit or permanent residence number that is issued by the country where you live.Date on which the visa or Green Card, Iqama, work permit or permanent residence document was issued by the foreign country. Validity of your current Green Card, Iqama, work permit or permanent residence document issued by the foreign country. Name of the Issuing Authority. This can be Ministry of Interior, Department of State, Foreign Ministry or any other branch of the foreign government who issues your foreign visa or residence\/ work permit.You also need to mention whether your visa is for single or multiple entries, work visa, student visa or tourist visa, for the foreign country of your residence. Reasons You Live Outside India In this section, simply select the reason for which you are living abroad. Select whether you are living in a foreign country for employment, studies or any other reason.Mention the specific date since when you have left India to work or study abroad or for any other reason. The date of leaving India should match with the Exit stamp on your passport, when you first left the country to take job or study abroad or for other reason. You may have left India on a particular date but shifted between countries for work or studies. This does not matter. Hence, it is enough to provide the date since which you are living outside India. Address in Foreign Country Providing your address in a foreign country can become confusing for some. If you are residing in the US, Europe or other parts of the world, it is easy to provide proper residential address where you get postal services.NRIs in Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates can give their full residential address. However, since mail delivery in these countries is at PO Box addresses only, do not fail to mention the PO Box number in your address section.ZIP Code: Again, ZIP codes exist in some countries, while in other countries, such as the six Arabian Gulf states, they are not used. In such cases, simply write 1111111 or 01010101 or some other number.It is important to fill in some value for the ZIP code section, since it is mandatory: else, you cannot submit the online form. Upload Supporting Documents For NRIs, only few documents are required to apply for voter ID card in India As NRI, you have to upload a latest, passport sized picture on the online form.Upload all the relevant pages of your Indian passport. These include the first and second page showing your name, date of birth, place of birth, place of passport issue, passport validity and passport number very clearly.Other pages where the name of your parents\/ spouse and other details appear are also to be uploaded.Also upload the page showing your current, valid visa or work permit for the foreign country. Declaration As an NRI, you need to declare that you have not taken nationality of a foreign country and click whether or not your name could have been included on some earlier electoral roll in India. Fill in the place abroad from where you are making the application for voter ID card, date of application, complete the Captcha challenge and submit online. Acknowledgement of Registration Both resident and Non Resident Indians that apply online will receive an email from the National Voters Service Portal acknowledging their application. Keep this acknowledgement carefully: it will bear your application reference number. This application reference number is useful for tracking status of your voter ID card and know whether it is issued. Offline Applications - How to apply for Voter Id via Offline Method Resident Indians and Non-Resident Indians can also apply for voter ID card offline. You need the same documents that I have listed above while applying for a voter ID card offline. For Resident Indian Resident Indians can apply for a voter ID card any time of the year. If you are resident Indian, simply visit the nearest Chief Electoral Officer\u2019s office or any branch of your State Election Commission.Usually, SEC offices are located in the capital city of your state. Also, they are located in every major city of your state.A list of offices where you can apply for voter ID card can be found with your Gram Panchayat, municipal and state government offices.Submit the completed Form-6 along with the necessary documents such as proof of birth\/ age and proof of residence.At some SEC offices, the enrolling officer may send you to a booth where they take your pictures for free, for printing on the voter ID card. This facility is available in select cities only.Also submit passport sized pictures along with your Form 6. Voter Id By Post If you are resident Indian and cannot visit the office to apply for a voter ID card, simply send your completed application form along with self- attested copies of supporting documents by post to the SEC Office.Please note, this facility of applying for voter ID card by post is available only to residents of very remote areas of the country, physically challenged persons and senior citizens only. Voter Registration Campaigns You can also apply for a voter ID card in India during Voter Registration Campaigns. These are held by your State Election Commission in collaboration with local government such as Gram Panchayat or municipal bodies. Voter Registration Campaigns are generally held before any important election. Registration centres are usually set up at schools, colleges, municipal or village administration offices and other public places. The Indian and state government announces Voter Registration Campaigns in advance. Mobile numbers of officers at your nearest enrolment booth are also given in these advertisements. Voter id From Political Parties Whether or not to take assistance of a political party to get your voter ID card is highly debatable. But yes. Most major political parties also offer the service to citizens. In such cases, you have to contact the local municipal councillor, Member of Legislative Assembly, Member of Parliament or the nearest office of the political party and make a request. They will assist you in getting the voter ID card. Please note, whether the practice of political parties assisting citizens to get voter ID cards is legit or not is highly debatable. Non Resident Indians 1. Voter Registration Offices Non Resident Indians can apply for a voter ID card in India during their visit to this country. Visit the nearest office of your State Election Commission.Submit Form 6A along with supporting documents.Give passport sized photographs of have one taken by the election office, if they have the facility. 2. By Post Non Resident Indians can merely download the Form 6A, complete the required details and send it by Registered Mail to the State Election Office in their home state. Form 6A is also available at Indian diplomatic missions in foreign countries. For applying by post, documents such as passport and visa\/ work permit copies may have to be attested by the Indian diplomatic mission in your country. Points to Remember Now that you know how to apply for a voter ID card in India, here are some important points to remember. Apply for voter ID card at a single location only.Having multiple voter ID cards is a criminal offense and attracts stiff penalties including hefty fines and jail terms.Police verification is not necessary for getting a voter ID card. Anyone with a past criminal record or ongoing cases in courts or incarcerated in prison can also get a voter ID card.Voter ID card is also available to people who have no permanent address, including those who dwell on pavements and slums. In such cases, the State Election Commission will conduct the necessary checks before issuing a voter ID card.And finally, a voter ID card is free of cost. You do not have to pay anything to get one.Your voter ID card is property of the Government of India. Hence, you have to report its loss or damage to the police immediately and get a proper First Information Report (FIR) copy. In Conclusion Now that you know how to apply for a voter ID card, go ahead and get one. Indeed, it is a very important document. A voter ID card also serves as identity proof for opening a bank account or availing services from the government. And finally, getting a voter ID card is your right, guaranteed by the Constitution of India while voting at elections is your national duty.