Passports may soon no longer work as valid proof of address in India, migrant workers to have Orange Passports
Passports may soon stop serving as valid proof of address in India, with the Indian Foreign Ministry announcing that the last page will no longer be printed in the new passports issued.
The last page of the passport includes the father or legal guardian’s name, along with the names of the holder’s mother, spouse and their address.
Spokesperson for the Indian foreign ministry, Raveesh Kumar, said that the decision was taken based on the recommendations of a three-member committee – comprising officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, and the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
He also said that the last page of the passport will be blank in the new version.
“As the last page of the passport would not be printed now, the passport holders with Emigration Check Required (ECR) status would be issued a passport with orange colour passport jacket and those with non-ECR status would continue to get a blue passport,” said the MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Friday.
While Indian passports have a blue cover, diplomatic and official passports have white and red jackets, respectively.
Applicants who haven’t cleared 10th standard are given a passport with ECR category. This means if they want to travel abroad for work to a group of 18 countries, most of them in Gulf, they would only be allowed to leave India after obtaining an ‘Emigration clearance’ certificate from the office of Protector of Emigrants.
After examining International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO)guidelines regarding machine-readable travel documents, MEA decided that the last page of the passport booklet will no longer be printed. This would mean that the new passports will no longer be useful as a proof of address for various applications.
Under ICAO guidelines, only certain categories are mandatory on the passport. These are all included in the first page of the passport booklet. Officials point out that India had been the only country to have an additional page at the end of the passport booklet with information.
No date has been given for the start of issuing of the new passports. The existing passports would remain valid till their date of expiry.
“The Indian Security Press (ISP), Nasik, would be designing the new passport booklets in due course. Till such time the new passport booklets are designed, manufactured and made available to the ministry, the passports and other travel documents would continue to be printed with the last page,” said Kumar.