The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has announced a new e-Chipped version of the Indian Passport that will go into effect shortly. This version will be equipped with an Immigration Control System software containing details of the passport owner electronically. All eligible Indian citizens and nationals including non-resident Indians will be expected to upgrade to this new passport before leaving the country to travel internationally.
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The intent in issuing this machine-readable, electronic chipped passport is to strengthen its security features and prevent circulation of fake passports. It is also an upgrade from the handwritten version that had photographs manually stuck to it. In order to achieve this and successfully execute an electronic transference of private information within the passport, the passport database of the Ministry of External Affairs has been integrated with the Immigration Control System Bureau of Immigration. If the information therein does not match, the passport will be immediately flagged and legal action will be taken against the owner of the passport.
Designed in compliance with the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the new Indian passport has quite a few new electronic features –
- e-Chip: The Indian passport will be embedded with a postage-sized electronic chip that will be more secure that the written version.
- Personal Information: It will contain the name, date of birth, and primary residing address of the passport owner.
- Travel History: The chip will also be able to pull up all details of the past 30 trips taken by the passport owner in real time.
- Biometrics: The chip will have a sensor to record the unique fingerprint and retinal image of the passport holder.
- Appearance: The new Indian passport will have a laminated protective layer, including reverse stitching and non-tearable pages, making it impossible to damage, eliminate or duplicate.
- Additional security: The new Indian passport will also have Supplementary Letter Screen Image (LSI) to prevent forgery within the data pages.
- Accessing this electronic information: Similar to 120 other countries who have implemented this e-Chip passport system, all international port of entries within India will have Passport Reading Machines (PRMs) and Questionable Document Examiner (QDX) machines that will read these passports to verify originality and personal details along with travel history.
Once your passport is upgraded and you are planning to travel abroad, here’s another precaution to take
To avoid being duped by fake organizations and websites, make sure you only access the official passport portal of the Ministry of External Affairs for upgrading to this new e-Chip passport. For a step-by-step guide on how to get the new passport if you are outside of India check out the documents required for Indian Passport in the US