Government begins out-phasing of non machine readable passports
- Ministry of External Affairs issues advisory to update hand written passports before November 24
- Passports issued before 1990-2001 for a period of 20 years fall in the category of non machine readable passports
- Approximately 2.50 hand written passports still in circulation
The Ministry of External Affairs which issues Indian passports has come out with an advisory stating that from November 24 onwards all handwritten Indian passports will become invalid until the passport holder updates them to a newer machine readable format. Passports issued in the 1990’s up until 2001 for a period of 20 years fall in this category.
“Indian citizens living in India and abroad are advised to urgently replace their handwritten passports with machine-readable passports. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has set a deadline of the 24th November, 2015 for globally phasing out of all non-Machine Readable Passports (MRPs). Thereafter, foreign Governments may deny Visa or entry to any person travelling on a non-Machine Readable Passport. Indian citizens residing in India and abroad and holding such passports with validity beyond the 24th November 2015 are advised to apply for re-issue of their passports well before the deadline in order to avoid any inconvenience in obtaining valid visa or international travel. Needless to mention, travel on ICAO- compliant machine readable passports will facilitate hassle-free and safe journey.”- read the statement from the Ministry of External Affairs.
It is learnt that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has set a deadline of November 24 for globally phasing out all non-Machine Readable Passports (MRPs). Thereafter, foreign governments might deny visa or entry to any person travelling on a non-Machine Readable Passport.
Vijay Shanker Pandey, regional passport officer, Dehradun said, “Normally, the re-issue of a passport takes three to four days and only the ‘tatkal’ (urgent) ones are issued the very next day. But considering there is so little time left for handwritten passports to be phased out, for cases of emergency like people who have to travel overseas soon, we will ensure that their passport is reissued on time”.
For more details related to passport services, website – www.passportindia.gov.in – or the National Call Centre (1800-258-1800 – Toll Free) may be accessed. Indian citizens living abroad should visit the website of respective Indian Mission/Post.