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Passports are the gateways for entrance into a country. It is considered as the basic element to be owned by a traveler to travel abroad. However, there are several revolutions made in the field of issuing and maintaining passports. Several countries have adopted new technologies in the field of issuing passports. And India is no less. Unlike in the past, the online passport application has become quite simple and reliable. This makes the issue of passport easy and quick. In recent days your passport may be processed and issued in just a week. This is indeed a noteworthy development. The next step in this revolution is the issue of E-Passport. yes, you read it right, the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, is taking efforts to issue E-passports which will be soon reaching the Indian citizens.
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What is an E-passport?
E-passport or the biometric passport is in the recent trend. The salient feature of this passport is that it contains a microchip that can store information on the travel. This also has another important feature which is the storage of biometrics of the passport holder. This means that only the owner of the passport can travel using it, thereby reducing the crime of forgery rates.
The minister of External Affairs, in his recent meeting with the press on the Passport Seva Diwas, mentioned regarding this new plan. The E-passport is coming soon with salient features. The microchip would contain the information of the passport holder and would be sealed within the front or back cover of the passport. In case the cover or the chip has tampered, the passport becomes invalid. This is designed to give additional security to the passport holders.
Changes to be expected
With e-passport in the pipeline, a few newer changes could be expected. For instance, due to the chip, the front and back cover may be additionally thickened to avoid any tamper to the microchip. Because of the presence of the chip, it becomes difficult to produce counterfeit passports, thereby protecting the passport holder. The biometric chip will contain the basic information of the passport holder. In addition to this, it can also store information on the travel that the individual has made. This is possible with 64 kilobytes of data that is present on the chip. The information up to 30 visits could be stored with ease in the cup itself. This again makes it easy to travel. Like the normal passports that take an extended time to scan or read and process, E-passports will reduce the waiting time of passengers and quicken the queue. This isn’t just planned in India. Over 120 countries around the globe are planning to take up E-passports for their citizens. The chip would be less than the size of a postage stamp containing all the necessary information.
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The production and manufacture of these passports are in the pipeline. The inlays have been given to the Indian Security Press located in Nashik. The first phase of this is believed to have 22 million passports to be delivered. Currently, about 8 countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Portugal, New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, and Germany have issued an E-passports and are utilizing them successfully. In the future, there are perspectives that this may be adopted all around the world. E-passports are not just for security reasons. They enhance the mode of travel by reducing the queuing time for immigration and emigration. One can simply swipe the E-passport containing the chip to shoe the entry or exit to a particular country.
However, some updates are yet to occur. These passports must be protected from tampering, unlike the regular passports. In case, it is done, replacement would be another major task to the individual. Replacing the older passports with chip-based ones requires more time. This has to be managed, as the transition phase containing both the passports would be a bit difficult to handle ash the airports and may cause chaos. The acceptance by the people is also important. In the future, Indians are also expected to have a chip-based passport for easy travel. Now traveling could also turn simple!