The E-passport is in the news after the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman mentioned the term in her Union Budget Speech of 2022. We know Budget Speech is difficult to understand and most probably, you would have skipped the Budget Speech but still, we all want to know more about it. So, here we are, to help you understand everything about e-passports.
What is an e-passport?
It’s nothing new; the concept of e-passports has already been introduced in over 120 countries that have biometric e-passport systems.
Serving the same purpose, it is introduced to make a more secure passport than the traditional machine-readable passports (MRP). The new e-passport will have an electronic microchip that will carry the same personal information of the passport holder as the printed passport. Information includes the passport holder’s name, date of birth, and other details.
The chip which will be placed on the back of the passport will come with 64 kilobytes (KB) of storage space and an embedded rectangular antenna. The chip will contain data of up to 30 international trips initially. However, with time, the chip is also expected to store the passport holder’s picture and biometric data such as fingerprints. If anybody tries to tamper with the chip, it will result in failure of passport authentication, as per reports.
Here is an example of an e-passport of the country of the Philippines.
Advantages of e-Passport?
Let’s talk about your benefits first. If you are a regular traveler, you know the pain of standing in a queue at the immigration counter for verification. The e-passport solves this problem. It will be extremely useful for travelers like you as it would eliminate the need to stand in long queues in front of the immigration counter. The process will be quicker for the physical verification at the immigration counter.
And for officials, this will make the process more efficient and will improve the productivity of the airports. Moreover, it will help curb the fake passport business as the scammers would find it hard to fiddle with the data recorded on the microchip.
According to talks on social media, there will be an e-gate installed at airports. The traveler will have to pass through the gate, and the gate will be equipped with a verification system.
How to apply for e-Passport in India?
You will have to follow the same current process to get an ePassport. Register on the Passport portal, schedule a date for document verification, visit Passport Seva Kenra submit your application and follow, as they say, then there will be police verification and if the police approve your passport will be delivered to your doorstep.
Cost of e-Passport fee?
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman didn’t mention anything about the cost of e-passports in her Union Budget Speech of 2022. In addition, nothing is disclosed on the official government website of the Passport Department of India. However, it is expected that the fee would be slightly higher in the case of e-Passports.
Validity of e-Passport?
This is also undisclosed yet, but the age of the passport holders will determine the term of the e-passport.
What will happen to the MRP passport?
According to reports, the current passport system will continue to work, but no newer MRP passports will be issued to anyone. If MRP passport holders renew their existing passport, they will receive an e-Passport.