UPDATED: Decision For NRIs to Get New Color-Coded Passports Rescinded

Updated:The Indian Foreign Ministry has retracted its announcement regarding a new type of passport issued exclusively for those Non-Resident Indians who require an Emigration check before departing the country on work. This new version of the passport was going to be color-coded Orange to distinguish between those travelers needing emigration versus those not requiring emigration checks. The rest were to continue to have blue passports. This was in response to a protest on how this action would lead to discrimination of these marginalized workers.

With an intention to protect blue-collar workers who travel abroad for work, this would have allowed them to be enrolled into a registry with the Indian government which will look out for their rights and protect them from exploitation. While many had argued that this distinction can lead to further discrimination, the intent is to protect this vulnerable community from exploitation abroad from foreign employers and domestic travel agents.

The travelers who qualify for this new orange colored passports are uneducated, unskilled laborers belonging to the poorer strata of society. They normally migrate to countries seeking laborers like United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Malaysia and Yemen. To protect this community, the Indian authorities require these unskilled migrants to get prior emigration clearances before traveling.

This change does not apply to skilled and educated travelers. They will still be issued the older blue passports.

Another significant change to the new Passport design was the absence of the last page wherein lies the passport applicant’s residential address in India, identifying details pertaining to his parents, spouse as well as the specific area outlining whether he requires an emigration clearance is endorsed. Consequently, this absence of an emigration requirement is replaced with the orange cover and identified as such. Read here to keep up on some pertinent facts surrounding the Indian passport.

According to the recommendations of a three member committee, this would be a potential procedural hindrance to several activities and organizations that use the passport as an official identifying document such as banks, hospitals and government offices abroad. Without such pertinent information available on the passport, the holder will have to furnish other acceptable documents to certify these details. As such, this last page will continue to be printed in all future passports.

Currently, there exists a white passport for government officials, a maroon passport for diplomatic functionaries and the regular, navy-blue passport for the ordinary citizen. This, additional orange color will now be for the blue-collar worker going abroad. No specific dates have been announced for its roll out yet and all current passports with a valid expiration date will continue to be in use.

If you have an Indian passport currently and are looking to renew it, here is a step-by-step process of how to renew the passport.