India’s ePassport — What it is and how to apply

India’s ePassport — What it is and how to apply
Representational image.Sanjay Bhattacharyya / Twitter
  • India has announced the introduction of ePassport.
  • The ePassport will be based on secure biometric data.
  • An electronic chip containing the holder’s biometric information.
The government of India has announced that it will soon start issuing ePassports to citizens applying for a new passport or renewing their expiring passport.

India had announced ePassports last year and had claimed that they are compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and would be harder to destroy.

"India to soon introduce next-gen ePassports for citizens," Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary of the Consular, Passport and Visa Division at the Ministry of External Affairs, said in a Tweet.

What is an ePassport?

ePassport is an upgrade to the traditional passport and is aimed at making it more secure and ensuring smooth passage through immigration posts globally.


The ePassports will be embedded with a chip that will include personal details of the holder including biographical information visible on page 2 of the passport. The passport will also come with a digital signature that is unique to each country and can be easily verified using a certificate.

The software for the ePassport has been developed by IIT Kanpur and the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The government has given approval to the India Security Press, Nashik for procuring electronic contactless inlays for manufacturing ePassports.

The ePassports have been under trial and the government has issued 20,000 official and diplomatic ePassports. The first ePassport in India was issued to the then President of India, Pratibha Patil in 2008.

According to officials, if the ePassport is tampered with, the system will be able to identify this, and the passport will not be authenticated.

In addition to ePassports, the government is also considering issuing digital passports that the holder will be able to store on their smartphone.


How to apply for an ePassport?

There will be no change in the application process for passports. Applicants will have to follow the current process for obtaining a ePassport. Once the process for issuance of ePassports is complete, applicants will start receiving ePassports. Until then, applicants will continue receiving traditional passports.

Indians will soon be able to carry e-passports while travelling

If you are looking to travel to UK, US or France, these are the restrictions you need to know