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What is ePassport? All about the Government of India’s initiative

An ePassport is a new feature introduced by the Government of India, designed to make your travel experience more hassle-free.

The new biometric passports will contain an electronic chip that will contain all your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, address, and related biographic information. The chips will also contain the passport holder’s relevant biometric information.

VK Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, said,

“The government has plans to issue e-passports to the citizens. The government has given its approval for procurement of electronic contactless inlays for manufacturing of e-passports to India Security Press (ISP) Nasik.

The Hindu

How will an ePassport help?

ePassports are designed to increase security. The addition of chips makes fraud difficult, since the holder’s data cannot be changed at whim. Additionally, it will not be easy to fake passports with this new method. 

The ePassports will have the digital signature of the holder, making it easier for officials to identify whether the passport has been tampered with at any stage.

Moreover, the check-in and screening process at airports will become much easier, especially for those who frequently travel internationally.

Applying for ePassports

All citizens of India are eligible to apply for ePassports. However, as of now, there is no stipulated change in the process. Holders will have to undergo the same method stipulated for the issuance/re-issuance of a passport.

Features of ePassport

The new passports will undoubtedly have better security features, alongside better quality of paper and printing. The main features of the passport are listed below:

  • The new passport will be heavier and bulkier. However, it will be more secure.
  • The need for Border Security to conduct manual checks will be negated, as scanners will be able to read information directly off the electronic chip.
  • The chip will be of 64 kilobytes and can store information on 30 international travels.
  • The chip will hold the passport holder’s biometric information, including their fingerprints and photograph.

So far, ePassports were under the trial phase. Till date, in India, only 20,000 passports with electronic chips have been issues to officials and diplomats. Ex-President Pratibha Patil was the first holder of an ePassport, in 2008.

Alongside ePassports, the Government of India is also mulling on the introduction of digital passports, which can remain of the holder’s smartphone.

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