For the first time, the Government of India introduced e-passports for Indian nationals in 2008. But not much work has been done on it since. Following its mention by the Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, in February 2022, the Indian e-passport is back in focus once again.
Speaking of the concept of the Indian e-passport, the Government of India has already introduced it in 2008. By this logic, it is not a new thing for Indian nationals. But at present, the majority of them are not fully aware of its usefulness. If you are wondering how to use it, you will get to know about it in this post.
E-Passport: What is it All About?
A passport contains the identity of a country’s citizen. The country’s government remains responsible for issuing it. An e-passport is the RFID version of a traditional passport. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification – a technology that makes use of the frequency of radio waves for tracing the identity of an individual. In an e-passport, this technology is present in the form of a chip that contains the data or information about an Individual’s identity and other details.
All the vital data concerning an individual’s identity remains in electronic form in an e-passport. Generally, it contains the following details:
- The name of the passport holder
- Place of birth
- Date of birth
- The date when the passport was issued
- The expiration date of the passport
Technological development or transition has touched a new high over the last few years. This has prompted the Government of India to switch over to e-passports from its traditional version. Along with the government, it also offers convenience to those who hold it.
Due to the presence of a chip, an e-passport is sometimes also referred to as a biometric passport. The latter itself suggests that it entails the biometric information or details of an individual’s identity. These include the following:
- Digital photograph
- Iris scan
- Unique Identification Number (UIN)
- Digital signature
By and large, it is the imprint of digital technology that makes an e-passport safe and secure. It assures a passport holder that there will be no damage to the information stored in their e-passport due to tampering. This apart, the basics of the e-passport, such as the submission of the e-passport India application form and the other aspects, are the same as that of a traditional passport.
Features of the Indian e-Passport
An Indian e-passport differs from its traditional variant in many ways. Some features that draw a line of distinction between both the versions include the following:
- The paper quality of an Indian e-passport is higher than that of its traditional variant. As a result, it is less likely to get damaged due to tampering.
- The software of the Indian e-passport is designed by leading institutions in India. These include IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Kanpur and NIC) National Informatics Centre).
- The government laboratories of the United States of America conducted prototype testing for the manufacturing of e-passports in India.
- The chip used in an Indian e-passport consists of all the vital data. To make it highly safe and secure for its holders, a special kind of printer is used. It has dedicated digital keys as well as signatures. Both aspects help make e-passports for Indian nationals safe and secure.
Advantages of Holding an Indian e-Passport
You will have certain undeniable benefits after receiving an Indian e-passport. These include the following:
- It serves as an automatic and powerful tool for your data verification. As a result, you would not need to wait for a long time at distinct check-up points at the time of immigration.
- After receiving an India e-passport, you do not need to worry about its duplication. Its security features make its duplication next to impossible.
- The introduction of chip-based passports is a new trend and offers protection against tampering. The authentication of a tampered passport fails. Such passports are identified as fake, and they get removed from the system.
- Indian e-passports are created keeping in mind the common security risks. The prominent one among them is the protection against online deletion of its data. Top-notch security features make it next to impossible.
How to Apply for an e-Passport in India?
The process to get an e-passport resembles that of its traditional variant. At the initial stage, you will get a traditional passport. After that, you will receive an e-passport six months later. Your e-passport will be manufactured within this duration. You will receive it following the completion of its manufacturing process.
As regards the submission of the documents for your e-passport application, they are the same as that of a traditional passport. If you are a first-time applicant, you will need to provide documents in support of your address proof and your date of birth. In addition, you may also need to furnish a few additional documents. Generally, the submission of additional documents varies on a case-to-case basis.
If you wish to get a re-issued unit of your old passport, you will need to submit copies of its first and last pages. You will also need to submit the page that corresponds to the ECR/non-ECR status.
What is the Cost of Applying for an Indian e-Passport?
If you wish to apply for an e-passport in India, you might want to know about its charges. It is the same as that of a traditional passport. Getting a new passport or reissuing an old one does not affect the overall amount of money you need to pay for an e-passport.
However, the price depends on the pages in the booklet. The 30-page-booklet version costs INR 1500, whereas the charge for the 60-page-booklet version, is INR 2000.
An e-passport for Indian nationals acts the same way as its traditional variant. Whether you wish to apply for a Dubai tourist visa or a visa to any other country, you can use it in the same way as you use a traditional passport. The e-passport is a chip version with more security features than the regular passport. However, the process to apply for it is the same as that of a standard passport.