A Passport is a proof of identity and nationality of its holder. It is an official travel document issued by a country’s government, which contains all the identification information of the passport holder. An Indian passport holder can travel to and from foreign countries by any means of land, water, and air, provided they fulfill all the necessary criteria to visit the country, like have a valid passport and a visa to visit the country, if visa on arrival is not an option for them.
In India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issues passport to Indian citizens for international travel, be it for business, tourism, education or medical purposes. Recently Union Finance Minster announced the issuance of e-Passport in India, adding India to the list of 150+ countries who have already started using it. E-Passports will contain a chip that will make them machine readable and difficult to tamper, allowing faster immigration check time and better security.
Based on the nature of work and purpose of travel, different types of passports are issued in India. An Indian citizen can be issued a Personal Passport, a Diplomatic Passport or an Official Passport. Although the application process and the fees are similar, one has to fulfill certain requirements to be eligible for a Diplomatic or Official passport.
Read on to know more about these different types of Indian Passports and what special perks can these passport holders enjoy:
Personal Passport – The Blue Passport:
- Also called a Type-P Passport, wherein P means Personal.
- Issued to ordinary citizens, this the most common type of passport issued in India.
- Regular passport holders don’t have any special privileges nor do they receive any special treatment.
- The main purpose of this passport is to distinguish between government officials and common citizens.
- The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has started the process to issue e-passports to regular passport holders by the end of this year.
Official Passport – The White passport:
- The most powerful Indian Passport.
- Also called a Type-S Passport, where S means Service.
- Issued to members of Armed Forces stationed abroad and representatives of the Indian Government, this passport can also be issued to people who are fully dependent on Indian Foreign Service officials.
- Holder of this passport enjoy special powers as it allows custom and immigration officers to identify government officers and give them due treatment.
- Recently, all the issued Official Passport have been e-Passports.
Diplomatic Passport – The Maroon Passport:
- Also called a Type-D Passport, where D means Diplomat.
- Issued to Indian diplomats, high ranking government officials, etc.
- The maroon passport holders don’t require a visa before travelling, making going on a foreign trip easier.
- Diplomatic passport holders clear immigration and other formalities much faster than regular passport holders.
- Since 2008, all the Diplomatic Passport issued have been e-passports.
The Ministry of External Affairs considered issuing an Orange ECR Passport to regular passport holders in ECR category. Individuals who have not studied beyond their matriculation or class 10 fall under the ECR (Emigration Check required) category. However, after several criticisms of discrimination and protests, this idea has been dropped.
Passports in India have been issued since after the First World War in 1920. These British Indian Passports were issued under the British Indian Empire and had very limited usage, as they were valid for travel only within the British Empire and to Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Holland and Austria. These British Indian Passports were discontinued after the dominions of India and Pakistan were established in 1947. Today, the Indian Passport holds 84th rank on the Henley Passport Index with 59 countries giving visa on arrival to an Indian Passport holder and can travel to any country in the world with a pre issued visa.
Want to travel but don’t have a passport? Worry not!! We’ve got you covered!! Our Passport Experts at Akbartravels.com, have a solution for all of your problems. Don’t have a passport? Apply online for your passport here. Want to renew your passport? Here’s the passport renewal process. Passport expired? Read on to know about how to renew your passport.