What is E-Passport: Structure, Features and Effectiveness

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What is E-Passport: Structure, Features and Effectiveness

We all know that a passport is one of the most significant documents of a person travelling abroad. The passport stores vital information about the travellers including his residential address and educational background, which serves as a basis of his identification at a port of entry.

However, in the past few years, there have been increasing cases of infiltration of suspicious individuals through fake passports. These suspicious entrants can prove to be a great danger to a nation’s integrity and peace. Hence, the governments all over the world have felt the need of issuing e-passports to their individuals for validating their details in electronic format.

This article will shed light on what an e-passport is and what its advanced features are. You will be able to understand how an e-passport check ensures better security and more degree of vigilance.

What is Electronic Passport?

An electronic passport or e-Passport is a biometric chip-based passport that serves as an automatic gateway to verify the traveller's details.

An E-Passport is a passport that has a chip embedded on it that encodes all the personal information of the traveller in digital format. An e-passport check online facilitates digital validation of vital information of a passport holder, i.e. his/her name, residence, date of birth, etc.

The electronic passports have been upgraded over the past two years in India.

When was the E-passport first issued in India?

The Indian Government had issued such a chip-enabled electronic official (white) passport in 2008 to then President of India Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil. The Electronic Biometric passports or e-Passports were officially issued for the first time for an ordinary citizen in 2021 in India. Since then, the government has issued more than 20,000 official and diplomatic passports in electronic format.

Do Ordinary Citizens have access to the e-passport?

No, the chip-enabled biometric e-Passports are not yet available to the ordinary civilians of India. The government has till date issued such biometric e-passports only to the diplomats and government officials.

What is the use of the Chip embedded on the e-Passport?

The new e-passports will be compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and will have an electronic chip embedded in them. These chips along with other digital inlays have been embedded for speeding up the immigration checks and ensuring advanced security.

 

When will Ordinary Indian Citizens get e-Passports?

The Union Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the Union Budget 2022 to roll out e-passports along the lines of global standards for the general Indian civilians.

Subsequently, the Union External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had announced the launch of these updated e-passports on the occasion of Passport Seva Divas, i.e. on 24th June 2023.

However, the government is now set to roll out the first biometric e-passport for the ordinary citizens in Bengaluru by the end of FY 2023-24. Accordingly, two Passport Seva Kendras (PSK) and a Regional Passport Office (RPO) of Bengaluru are currently undergoing software upgradation for the e-passport as per the ICAO benchmark.

What will be the Procedure to Obtain the Biometric e-Passport?

Currently, the application procedure for a new biometric passport has not begun officially for ordinary citizens. However, the process will be similar to the issuance of diplomatic/official passports. The application procedure is explained below:

  • Visit the Passport Seva Online Portal. On the Home Page, select the "Register Now" link.
  • If you already have a passport, you can now easily login to the Passport Seva Portal using your login credentials.
  • On the next window, click the "Re-issue of Passport" link.Note: You can't file a fresh application for the same category of passport that you already have. In this case, you need to apply for reissue of your passport.
  • On the application form, enter all your valid details and click submit.
  • Select the "Pay and Schedule Appointment" link atop the "View Saved/Submitted Applications" window for scheduling your appointment with the passport officer. You can pay your application fee using Credit/Debit Card or net-banking.
  • You will receive an SMS on your registered mobile number showing your appointment details. You need to show this as the proof of appointment when you visit the Passport Office.
  • Finally, visit the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) or the Regional Passport Office (RPO) in your district for which your appointment has been scheduled. You must carry your original documents only.
  • On successful completion of appointment and verification of documents, you will be issued a new passport having a biometric signature in an electronic chip.

What if I lose my E-passport during my Abroad Trip?

For such unforeseen events, you must have the best travel insurance ready for you. So, before you plan your trip abroad, you must buy the travel insurance plan from Care Health Insurance. With that, you can be assured of timely coverage for the loss of important travel documents such as your e-passport. Besides, the Care Assistance Provider in India will provide you the much needed access to the Consulate or Embassy of your destination country for assistance in reissuance of new e-passport.

Disclaimer: All plan features, benefits, cover;age, and claims underwriting are subject to policy terms and conditions. Kindly refer to the brochure, sales prospectus, and policy documents carefully.

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