Here’s what’ll be different about the Indian passport

By Eudore R. Chand

DUBAI 4 March 2018: India’s External Affairs Ministry has decided to issue orange and blue passports and stop printing the last page of passports.

The External Affairs Ministry, in a statement, said it has decided not to print the last page of the travel document with the address of the holder, and also to issue an orange jacket passport to holders with ECR (Emigration Check Required) status. Those will non-ECR status will continue to be issued the blue passport, according to Moneycontrol News.

“As the last page of the passport would not be printed now, the passport holders with ECR (Emigration Check Required) status would be issued a passport with orange passport jacket and those with non-ECR status would continue to get a blue passport,” the MEA said.

The different couloured passports would ease the ECR verification process, thereby, enabling quick emigration and avoiding long queues.

All the Indian passports are either endorsed with an ‘Emigration Check Required (ECR)’ status or with ‘Emigration Check Not Required (ECNR)’ status. In cases where an Indian citizen leaves the country with an intent of taking up employment in certain foreign countries, the passport holders with ECR status require to provide additional documents for verification.

Emigration Clearance

As per the Emigration Act, 1983, certain categories of Indian passport holders require obtaining an ‘Emigration Clearance’ from the office of the Protector of Emigrants (POE) for going to certain countries including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, the United Arab emirates and Yemen.

The removal of the last page that includes the father or legal guardian’s name, the names of the holder’s mother, spouse and their address, would mean that passports may no longer serve as a valid proof of address.

The move also helps resolve various issues “pertaining to passport applications including examination of where mother/child had insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport and also relating to passport issues to children with single parent and to adopted children”, according to the statement.

The Indian Security Press (ISP), Nasik, would be designing the new passport booklets in due course.

“Till such time the new passport booklets are designed, manufactured and made available to the ministry by ISP, Nashik, the passports and other travel documents would continue to be printed with the last page,” the MEA said.