India Takes a Leap Forward with E-Passports 

    Updated on: 16 Jan 2023

    With the advent of information and communication technology, the world has witnessed an instrumental change in every possible aspect of our lives. The government mulled the opinion for the first time in 2008 but the process couldn’t be scaled. However, the digital divide has been bridged in the last couple of years which enabled the government to take this step. The next generation passports will help Indian citizens get through most of the immigrants across the globe. The e-passport will enable people to pass through most immigration with much ease as it contains the biometric data of passport holders. 

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    Announcement of e-passports

    In the union budget, 2022-23 the finance minister announced the e-passports that will be embedded with chips. The new passport is designed to enhance security and ease traveling. The e-passports will be launched in the current financial year itself, and the MEA has set the ball rolling for its robust implementation. The government has emphasized a lot on digitisation, and the use of technology in every aspect has eased the lives of people. The new passport comes with security features that will help overseas travelers easily pass through immigration. As more students, tourists, businessmen are traveling abroad it becomes imperative for the government to ease the traveling by reducing the checks at immigration, tracking lost passports, tracking travelers in distress, and several other benefits of e-passports. 

    Working of e-passports

    The closest resemblance of an e-passport is with the new driving license with chips. The outer appearance of e-passports is like the usual passports barring the chip which is a new introduction. The new technology will ensure that all the details about you like your name, date of birth, the address will be stored in the electronic chip embedded in the e-passport. The e-passport will also contain all your biometrics which will help the authorities in helping citizens in distress while traveling abroad. The embedded chip will also have all the details of your previous trips which will help you in clearing the immigration in a jiffy. The move of issuing e-passports from now on will help the government in curbing the circulation of fake passports. 

    In present times students, tourists, and other people traveling abroad have to spend a lot of time at immigration wherein the officials physically verify all the details. It is one of the reasons for long queues at immigration counters. However, with the issuance of e-passports, all the information will be verified at once without much human intervention or a long list of questions. The government has assessed that the newly issued e-passports will reduce immigration timings by more than 50%. 

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    Things that will change with e-passports

    There is no major change that will happen with the issuance of e-passports. The process of applying for passports, the time to get passports, the number of passport offices issuing the e-passport, etc will not change. The new e-passport will be issued at all 36 passport offices spread across the length and breadth of the country. The application form for the passport will also remain the same, and there will be no change in the required set of documents needed for the issuance of passports. The appearance of the passport will also remain the same barring the placement of the electronic chip at the front of the passport. The passport will remain the way it was like the printed booklets. There will be a logo that is recognised across the globe, and used exclusively for e-passports globally. 

    With the passage of time, more people from India are traveling abroad, and it becomes imperative for the government to make traveling convenient. Every year lakhs of students go abroad for higher education, and it will be of significant help for them as they will be able to clear the immigration way quicker than before. The Indian embassies and consulates will also be in a better position to help or contact students in distress or any other problem they might face during their time of studies in a foreign country. The new e-passports are now being issued on a pilot basis, and very soon we are expecting a full rollout. The developed world has already adapted to this system, and now it is time for the Indian government to provide easy immigrations to its citizens traveling abroad. 

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    First published date: 15 Feb 2022

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About author

Vishakha Bhagia
Interest in Finance with a flair for writing, Vishakha has written on education loans and the study abroad field for the last two years with articles published in Times of India, Outlook India, The Hindu, and many more publications.

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