All About an e-passport

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These smart passports will be embedded with chips to be rolled out in 2022

Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has finally put a date to it. The long-awaited e-passports will start rolling out later this year and be available to all in 2023. Will it replace the old passport, as some claim? Will the passport itself be replaced by a card? Or will everything just collapse into your phone? The details are hazy, but here’s what we can know so far:

What is an e-passport?

An electronic passport (also known as a digital passport or biometric passport) has data stored on a chip. In its most basic form, the chip is a way to ensure the passport is legitimate and has not been tampered with. In many cases, the chip also carries additional biometric information, like fingerprints and iris scans, about the passport holder. At several airports, the e-passport allows quick access through security gates. As many as 100 states and non-state entities (i.e. United Nations) have introduced e-passports for their citizens, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

When will Indians get their e-passports?

The wait has been long. In 2008, the first-ever contactless e-passport was issued to then President Pratibha Patil. The chip held information such as facial biometrics, signature, name, nationality, and date of birth of the passport holder. The plan was then to issue it to diplomats, followed by government officials. By 2010, 8,00,000 e-passports were to be issued. However, that never happened.

In 2017, the government finally approved the manufacturing of e-passports. The rollout was planned to start with diplomats first in the queue. In the next phase—whenever that is—the government will replace the paper booklet with a completely paperless passport—one that you carry in your phone, quite likely through the DigiLocker app.

But now we have a date: the new e-passports for all citizens will be available in 2022-2023. 

Devendra Grover
Devender was born in the year when the Beatles Group was formed. He holds two master’s degrees in English Literature and Public Administration. He also has an Honors degree in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. He ventured into business, forming his own Media House, Profiles Media Network Private Limited, a twenty-year-old company. Excelling as an editor, Marketing, PR, Anchor, and Advertising specialist, he is now expertly navigating the world of social media. A widely traveled professional internationally, Devender has a deep understanding of Travel and Tourism, Fashion and Lifestyle, Aviation, and Hospitality Industry. Connect with Devender Grover @ [email protected]