The Ministry of External Affairs is considering a proposal to issue new passports without the last page that contains the residential address of the holder. This means the passport may not serve as an address proof in the near future. The Passport Office and Immigration Department will still store the addresses in their systems alone. “The decision to keep the last page of the passport blank was made to protect the citizens’ details,” Surendra Kumar, the undersecretary of policy and legal matters at the Consular, Passport and Visa Division of the ministry, told the Hindustan Times. Kumar said the change may reflect in the “next series” of passports that will be issued.
However, the missing of the last page will not affect the passport office and the immigration department (or security agencies) because all the information of the passport holder will be present in the back-end. Since 2012, all passports have had a barcode and the information can be accessed by simply scanning it. Even when the new series will be issued, all existing passports will remain valid till their expiry date. The ministry is also considering some changes in the colour of passports. Currently, passports are issued in three colours: white for government officers or to those people who visit other countries for the official work of the government; red for diplomats; and blue for all others – the first where emigration checks are required and the second where they are not.
The ministry is considering making the passports of those in the emigration check category orange. The changes will not affect people holding the old passports, which will continue to remain valid till they expire.