Visa Crunch

India Will Issue Next-Gen E-Passports, To Ensure Secure Biometric Data, Smooth Passage Through Immigration Globally: MEA

Indian citizens will soon get chip-enabled e-passports which will ensure a smooth passage through immigration posts around the world. The development was confirmed by MEA Secretary Sanjay Bhattacharya in a recent tweet.

Bhattacharya said that these e-passports will secure biometric data, be compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and will be produced at Nashik’s India Security Press.

As per several media reports, the chip in the e-Passport will be embedded to hold vital information related to the passport holders such as his biometric data, name, and other things. It will also hold security features that will disallow unauthorized data transfer through Radio-frequency identification (RFID).

“India to soon introduce next-gen e-passport for citizens. Secure biometric data. Smooth passage through immigration posts globally. ICAO compliant Produced at India Security Press, Nashik,” Bhattacharya tweeted.

India on a trial basis had issued 20,000 official and diplomatic e-Passports with an electronic microprocessor chip embedded in them. After its successful run, the Centre will begin the process of issuing e-Passports to all the citizens of the country.

Currently, passports issued to Indian citizens are printed on booklets.

The e-passports will follow the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, and will be tougher, as well as harder to destroy, the Ministry had announced in 2021.

Earlier in March, the ministry had said in its statement, “India Security Press, Nashik has awarded the contract for procurement of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)-compliant electronic contactless inlays along with its operating system necessary for chip-enabled e-Passports.”

Reportedly, India has a network of 555 Passport Kendras which includes 36 Passport Offices, and all 36 passport offices will provide the service of issuing e-Passports.

The government had previously said these passports would be available to anyone seeking a re-issuance or opt for applying for a new passport in 2021, but those plans were delayed.

(With inputs from news agencies)

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