The Government of India has urged Indian citizens living in India and abroad to quickly replace their handwritten passports with machine readable passports. The International Civil Aviation Organization (IACO) has set a deadline of the 24 November 2015 for globally phasing out of all non-machine Readable Passports (MRPs). Thereafter, Other countries may deny Visa or entry to any person travelling on a non-machine readable passport.
The Government of India has been issuing Machine Readable Passports since 2001. The Passports, However, issued before 2001 and particularly those issued during mid 1990s with a validity of 20 years will fall in the category of non-MRPs. By the end of October 2015, it is estimated that there are approximately 2.50 lakhs handwritten passports still in circulation. Approximately 6.20 crore Indians hold valid passports.
Indian citizens residing in India and abroad and holding such passports with validity beyond the 24 November, 2015 should apply for re-issue of their passports well before the deadline in order to avoid any inconvenience in obtaining valid visa or international travel. Needless to mention, travel on ICAO- compliant machine readable passports will facilitate hassle-free and safe journey.
The Government of India has advised that all passport issuing authorities in India and abroad have instituted a simple and fast track procedure for renewal of passports.
For more details related to Indian passport services logon to : www.passportindia.gov.in