In a world where technology is reshaping every corner of our lives, travel is no exception. It has also witnessed a remarkable transformation with the introduction of electronic passports, commonly known as E-passports. India, a nation known for its rich history and diverse culture, has embraced this change with the introduction of E-passports.
Imagine a passport that’s more than just ink on paper – that’s where the E-passport comes in. Now, if you are wondering what an E-passport is and how it affects your travel plans, then you are at the right place.
In this blog, we will take you through everything you need to know about the E-passport in India, security features, benefits, application process, and more.
What is an E-Passport?
An E-passport, also called a Biometric passport is a traditional passport with a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip installed in it. The E-passport contains an embedded electronic microchip that securely stores the passport holder’s personal information and biometric data, such as date of issue and expiration of the passport, fingerprints, iris scan, digital photograph, and passport holder’s name, age, gender, date of birth, place of birth, etc. Apart from these, the chip also has a unique identification number and a digital signature to avoid tampering with information. The chip present in the new passports will be located on the front and will include an internationally recognized e-passport emblem.
The E-passport is already available in India since 2021 and the E-passport Facility with embedded chips will roll out in 2022-23, as stated by the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the union budget 2022. If you want to replace your old passport with an E-Passport, you can apply for its re-issuance and submit the original passport to the PSK authorities. Upon successful completion of the process, your E-passport will be issued to you.
The concept of an E-passport in India isn’t new. It was first suggested by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. In 2008, E-passports were issued to India’s former President, Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister – Dr. Manmohan Singh, and Vice President – Mohammad Hamid Ansari, along with 20,000 officials and bureaucrats.
Application Process for E-Passport in India
The application process for an E-Passport in India is similar to a traditional passport. Below is the procedure as how to apply for a passport online in India.
- Step 1: Go to the Passport Seva website and click on “Register Now” or log in with your existing ID.
- Step 2: Click on “Apply for Fresh Passport” or “Re-issue of Passport”.
- Step 3: Enter all the required personal details and click “Submit”.
- Step 4: Click on “Pay and Schedule Appointment” to make payment.
- Step 5: Once you complete the entire process, print the receipt and show the acknowledgment SMS at PSK/POPSK/PO.
- Step 6: After the entire process is completed, a thorough verification will take place. If all the provided information is accurate and in order, your e-passport will be issued to you.
Documents Required to Apply for E-passport in India
Below are the documents required to apply for E-passports in India.
Any one of the following documents you can use as address proof –
- Aadhaar card
- Electricity bill (should not be older than 3 months)
- Landline or postpaid mobile bill (should not be older than 3 months)
- Water bill (should not be older than 3 months)
- Driving License
- Bank Passbook (Scheduled Public Sector Banks, Scheduled Private Sector Indian Banks, and Regional Rural Banks only)
- Election Commission Photo ID (Voter ID)
- Proof of Gas Connection
- Valid Rent Agreement (notarized copy of the main page of the lease which has the address or signature page)
- Ration card
- Spouse’s Passport Copy (First and last page including family details mentioning the applicant’s name as the spouse of the passport holder, provided the applicant’s present address matches the address mentioned in the spouse’s passport)
You can provide any one of the following documents as date of birth proof.
- Birth certificate from a legitimate authority.
- School Leaving Certificate/Matriculation Certificate (issued by the school last attended).
- Pension book / Pension payment order (in respect of retired government official) or copy of an extract of the service record of the applicant (in respect of Government official); (only acceptable if it has the precise date of birth of the applicant).
- Aadhar card
- Pan card
- Driving license
- Voter ID card
- Life Insurance Policy in the applicant’s name
Benefits of E-Passports
The E-passport in India enhances security, prevents counterfeiting, and facilitates quicker immigration processes and smoother travel journeys. The following are the benefits of E-passport in India:
- E-passports come with 41 advanced security features that make them extremely difficult to forge. The embedded microchip stores digital signatures that verify the authenticity of the passport.
- The biometric data stored in the E-passport can be quickly and accurately verified at immigration counters, reducing waiting times and enhancing the overall travel experience.
- The E-passports facility meets the international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), ensuring they are recognized and accepted by 120 countries worldwide.
- Any kind of tampering with chip data will result in authentication failure, which will help in filtering out fake passports.
- E-passport holders can use automated border control systems, such as e-gates, for quicker entry and exit at airports.
- In case of personal details change, like name or address, the information can be updated electronically without the need for a new passport and there is no risk of anyone accessing or deleting data remotely.
Security Features of E-Passports in India
The E-passport with chip comes with 41 new advanced features. This means that in about 120 countries following the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), you can finish the immigration process quickly at the airport as it will take only a few minutes. Below are some of the security features of E-passports in India:
- The embedded microchip stores personal and biometric information in encrypted form, safeguarding it from unauthorized access, and holds a memory space of 64 kilobytes.
- The microchip holds demographic information, biometric information, fingerprints of all 10 fingers of the bearer’s hand, Iris scans, color photographs, and digital signatures of the bearer that verify the authenticity of the passport. Any tampering or alteration is easily detectable.
- The Ministry of External Affairs has also stated that they are planning to install new and upgraded biometric systems at airports for handling E-passports. With these systems, the photo in your passport will be compared to a live picture taken during immigration in just a few seconds.
- The E-passport imprints holographic images in a laminated film that appear to change color and move under light, further enhancing their security.
Q. Are E-Passports available in India?
Ans: Yes, E-Passports have been available in India since 2021 and they are expected to roll out soon. India Security Press, Nashik has been approved by the government to procure electronic contactless inlays required for manufacturing E-passports.
Q. How many countries are using E-passports?
Ans: E-passports are being used in more than 100 countries. Some of these e-passport countries include Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and others.
Q. How do I know if my Indian passport is E-Passport in India?
Ans: The E-Passport will be embedded with a chip that will include personal details of the holder including biographical information visible on page 2 of the passport and the chip sign or icon is placed at the bottom portion of your passport’s front cover makes it different from the traditional passport.
Q. Are there any extra charges for an E-passport in India?
Ans: No, there are no extra charges for an E-passport. The fee for issuance or re-issuance of an E-passport is the same as that of a traditional passport.
Q. Who is eligible for an E-Passport in India?
Ans: All Indian citizens who are eligible for a regular passport can also choose to apply for an E-Passport.
Well, after the procedure, once you have received your E-passport, isn’t it the perfect time to plan your International trip, apply for your visa, book your cheap flight tickets and accommodation online, and have a magical trip to your dream destination?
The E-passport is a remarkable leap towards a more secure and efficient travel experience. And although the process for applying for a passport online may seem straightforward, it is a bit daunting and complicated. Many applications get refused as the applicant may have wrongly filled the application form, submitted incomplete documents, or mismatched the signature and many other errors. So, to avoid the rejection of your passport, it is always suggested that you should apply with the help of an authorized agent like Akbartravels.com, who will smoothly take care of the entire process.
The adoption of the technology of E-passport in India reflects its commitment to keeping pace with global advancements while ensuring the safety and convenience of its citizens. With enhanced security features, faster immigration processes, and global acceptance, the E-passport is poised to redefine the way we travel. So, let your E-passport be your guide, and let your adventures unfold with the promise of discovery and exploration in every corner of the globe.
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