Must-Know Facts About the Indian Passport

Indian Passport

Indian Passport

For any world traveler, the passport is the key to international adventures. This little booklet is their constant companion, their gateway to experiencing different cultures and creating lasting memories. The same holds true for Indian citizens—the Indian passport is their ticket to exploring the world beyond their borders.

From its history to its relevance in today’s world, here are some facts you need to know about the Indian passport.

The Indian passport is ranked 80th strongest

How strong is the Indian passport? The Indian passport is currently ranked 80th place on the Guide Passport Index out of the 105 countries ranked. 

The Indian passport provides visa-free access to 60 destinations, such as Malaysia, Macau, and Thailand. Indian passport holders can also enjoy visas upon arrival and perks on visits to countries such as Indonesia, Qatar, and Jordan. 

However, Indian citizens require a pre-approved visa to enter 169 destinations such as China, Japan, Russia, the United States, and the entire European Union. A pre-approved visa means a visa that you must apply before departing to the country of the visa. 

The passport application process is partly digitized

Nowadays, long lines to apply for travel documents are a thing of the past, as the Indian passport application process is now partly digitized. Sure, you will need to come to a passport office to get your biometric data recorded, but the bulk of data input is done online. 

The general steps to apply for an Indian passport online are the following:

  1. Gather the required documents. These usually relate to your identity, citizenship, and place of residence;

  2. Fill out the application form online on the Seva Portal;

  3. Upload the required documents;

  4. Pay the application fee;

  5. Schedule an appointment at a Passport Office;

  6. Attend the appointment to record your data;

  7. Wait and receive your passport.

Indian passport photo parameters

Did you know that Indian passport photos have uniform parameters? This is due to biometric technology, where your features can be recognized by machines, which can help along with human recognition.

The parameters for Indian passport photos start with a set proportion of the face relative to the overall photo frame. Furthermore, the photo must show a full frontal view of the face with open eyes, the head centered in the frame, and both edges of the face visible. If you’re formatting your portrait to the Indian passport photo parameters, but are unfamiliar with the proportions, then this online professional passport photo tool can help you.

Now onto requirements relating to your appearance. Note that head coverings are not permitted except for religious reasons, and the facial features from the bottom of the chin to the top of the forehead and both edges of the face must be clearly shown. The facial expression should look natural, and the photograph should not be retouched or enhanced or softened.

Different types of Indian passports

Did you know that there are several types of Indian passports? There are four main types: blue, white, maroon, and orange. 

The average Indian citizen holds the blue passport, the most common type, issued for personal, business, or leisure travel abroad. Then there’s the white passport, issued to Indian government officials, including IAS and IPS officers, for official travel outside the country. 

There’s another type of passport for Indian officials: the maroon passport. It is issued to Indian foreign service officials, Ministry of External Affairs officers, and their dependents. Dependents may include parents, spouses, children, and official hostesses.

The latest, probably less known one is the orange passport, which was launched in 2018. It was designed for individuals who have not completed their education beyond the 10th standard and falls under the ECR (Emigration Check Required) category.

When to reapply for a passport

There are several obvious cases when you need to renew or reapply for a passport. One such case is when your passport is about to expire. Did you know that you don’t need to wait until it is only days away from expiring? You can apply to renew as early as one year before the passport expires. Another obvious case is if your passport gets lost, stolen, or damaged.

Another case may happen if you travel often. If your passport has not run out of its validity, but you have run out of passport pages and need to travel still, you can apply to renew your passport.

The Indian passport is issued by the Ministry of External Affairs as per the 1967 Passports Act

Indian passports are issued as per the 1967 Passports Act. The act describes the procedures relating to the Indian passport, which replaced the British Indian passport and the Passport Act of 1920. 

The Act does not allow dual citizenship, and a person must surrender their passport if they have acquired the citizenship of a foreign country.

While you may think that the Passport Act is “so last century”, it has actually gone through several changes. The Passports Act has been amended over time to reflect technical improvements and conform to global norms, such as the introduction of machine-readable passports, biometric features, and e-passports

Emergency certificate for emergency travel

You may know that while the passport application process is now more efficient, it still takes time. Then what about emergency cases?

For Indians outside India whose passport validity has run out, there is the Emergency Certificate. It is a one-way travel document valid for the return to India. It is issued when the applicant's Indian passport has expired and they have no other valid travel documents. The emergency certificate is valid for a limited period, typically between 12 months and 72 hours, depending on the country and the specific circumstances.

Armed with knowledge about your own passport, you can embark on international journeys more easily. Remember, this is just the start: there’s still so much more to find out, and your travels will add to your knowledge. In any case, enjoy the journeys ahead, and may your travels be filled with unforgettable experiences!

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