If you are a regular overseas traveler, then this is for you. Indian citizens with regular passports will soon get the next generation e-passport in which the secure biometric data of the passport holder will be stored.
This was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs Secretary Sanjay Bhattacharya in a tweet on Thursday.
Ministry of External Affairs response
Responding to a query by Financial Express Online, the official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “It has been the endeavour of the Ministry to enhance passport services and introduce new features.”
This project was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the MEA has been working towards implementing it.
What is special about the e-passport?
In an effort to ensure that there is no forgery and also to facilitate the process of immigration of passengers at the airport.
This is a special passport which is chip enabled and cannot be tampered with and it has advanced security features.
If anyone tries to tamper with the chip in the passport, the system will detect it. Once detected the verification of the passport at the airport will fail.
All the personal details of the traveler will be digitally signed and stored in a chip and this will be embedded in the passport.
For the procurement of electronic contactless inlays for e-passport, the Central government gave its approval to India Security Press-ISP, Nashik for procurement of electronic contactless inlays for e-passport.
It has been awarded the contract for purchase of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) compliant electronic contactless inlays along with its operating system required for chip-enabled e-passport.
The new e-passport is ICAO-compliant.
The ICAO has not issued any specific norms to be followed for the safety features of the e-passports.
Once that process is completed, then the issuance of the e-passport will be announced.
As reported earlier in Financial Express Online, the software being used has been developed by IIT-Kanpur along with National Informatics Centre (NIC).
The new version of the passport will have better paper quality, advanced security features as well as better printing.
The information stored on the chip is protected in such a way that it cannot be accessed without physical touch.
In 2017 the concept of e-passport was rolled out. And once the process starts for the issuance the first ones to get these will be the diplomats and government officials.
Time is of essence when you are traveling and more so in a crowded airport. The e-passports are expected to take a few seconds.
These passport prototypes have undergone intense tests in a laboratory which was identified by the US government.
Thicker front and back covers.
With 64 Kilobytes memory space, the silicon chip will be the size of a stamp and an embedded rectangular antenna.
It can store up to 30 visits and international movements.