The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has recently announced new passport rules in India. The MEA or the Foreign Ministry is a government agency, which is in charge of carrying out the foreign relations in India. The major changes that are already in effect and a few that will soon come into effect are listed below.
New Passport Rules in India
The committee is all set to bring new rules this year and will come into effect from June 2018. Here is an overview of the proposed passport changes in 2018:
1. Passport’s last page will not include residential information
According to the recent updates, the MEA is planning to eliminate printing the last page of the passport. The residential information of the person will not be printed but will remain in the government database. Since 2012, passports have a clear barcode, which upon scanning gives the details to the immigration officials. It is a measure taken to not to reveal much information than required. However, the existing passports will be the same until the expiry date.
2. Change in colour of the passport
Currently, the passports in India are issued in three different colours:
- “Red” for the diplomats
- “White” for the government officials
- “Blue” for two categories of citizens: ECR (Emigration Check Required) & ECNR (Emigration Check Not Required)
Instead of blue, the ECR type will soon have passports issued in orange colour so that it makes it efficient and easy during the immigration checks.
3. Parents name will not be printed
According to the proposed changes, even the parent's name will not be printed on the last page of the passport. The MEA has been assessing submissions that in case of “names of estranged mother/father” and “kids of single parents” need not be printed on the passport. However, clarity is expected if both the parents’ names would be collected at the time of application procedure or not.
4. Physical police verification might change to online verification
The CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project) will be associated with the MEA and will replace the traditional physical police verification to online verification this year for passport applicants. This measure is taken to lessen the time for processing the passports.
Passport Rules that are already in effect
The major changes done by the MEA that are already in effect are as follows:
1. Ordinary passport applicants can go for post-police verification
With the facility of post-police verification, the MEA has simplified the entire procedure. Earlier, this option was available only for applicants who applied for their passports under the Tatkal scheme. But now, even regular applicants can use this option without paying any extra cost.
With this, the applicants will get their respective passports 1 week from the appointment date. The police verification, application process, and the passport issuance take 21 days. However, with this rule, the passports will be given first and the police verification can be done post-issuance.
2. Substitute for Birth Certificate
Earlier, it was mandatory for the applicants who were born after 1 January 1989 to submit their birth certificates. However, as per the recent changes, applicants can submit any one of the following documents as a substitute for a birth certificate:
- PAN card
- Voter’s ID
- Aadhaar card
- Driving license
- Life insurance policy that mentions the birth date of the applicant
- Transfer certificate/matriculation certificate/school leaving certificate
3. Name of any one of legal Guardian/Parent
As per the new passport rules implemented by the MEA, it is not mandatory for applicants to give names of both the parents during the time of application process. Now, applicants can give one name of either a legal guardian or a parent so that it makes it easy for orphans and children with single parents to apply for a passport.
Besides this, there are provisions for spiritually oriented individuals (Sadhus/Sanyasis). They can mention their spiritual leader’s name rather than the name of their biological parent.
4. Annexes are Reduced
Earlier, 15 annexes have to be submitted but as of now, only 9 are required. The annexes A, C, D, E, J, and K are removed and a few have been merged. This reduces the trouble of collating the documents.
5. Attestation is no more required for Annexes
The annexes required attestation from an Executive Magistrate/Notary/First Class Judicial Magistrate. However, the current rule has been changed and all the annexes are now a self-declaration form. This measure is taken to save the time of running from one place to the other for an attestation.
6. Divorced/Married individuals
A marriage certificate is no longer required while applying for a passport (along with the annexure K) for a married individual. In addition, the applicant doesn’t have to provide his/her spouse name. This is an interesting rule implemented after considering the changing communal norms.
7. Job-related urgent passports
If a government employee is not able to acquire his/her identity certificate or NOC (no objection certificate) for an urgent passport from his/her employers, then a self-declaration can be submitted. This form is given to the passport issuing authority stating that the applicant has given an intimation letter in prior to the employer notifying that he/she is applying for a normal passport.