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Explained: What is microchip-based e-Passport? How To Apply?

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The Indian Government will soon come out with a chip-bassed top-notch security feature in its passport. This added security will curb the forgery of passport documents, and ensure a swift verification process for travellers.

 

- Updated: 13th Jan 2023, 12:07 IST
  • 1
    What is an e-passport?
  • 2
    What is the difference between the microchip-based e-passport and a regular passport?
  • 3
    How to Apply for e-Passport?

The Ministry of External Affairs of India talks about introducing a new microchip-based e-passport. The new Indian passport will come with additional security features and ensure the maximum security of passport information. In addition, it will also reduce the hassle in passport verification by the airport authority, curb any passport forgery activity.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the upcoming microchip-based e-passport.

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What is an e-passport?

First thing first, the microchip-based e-passport is not a digital passport. It’s merely an extension of the physical passport we all have. Quite simply, the upcoming e-passport will have a microchip; this microchip will contain all the necessary information of the passport holder, such as name, address, date of birth and biometrics.

What is the difference between the microchip-based e-passport and a regular passport?

Regular Passport vs e-Passport

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We all have our regular or traditional passports, and they all consist of our information. However, for added security and counter forgery, all our passports have added security features that distinguish them from any other passport.

Passport paper: Indian passport uses high-quality paper; these paper are 100 gsm or gram per square meter paper.

Gothic/punched Number: The dotted passport number you see at the end of the passport is Gothic numbering. This high-security feature is added to avoid tempering in passports.

Biographical/Biodata Page: The shiny biodata page that our passport has, is a polycarbonate-based thermoplastic polymer coating. This ensures that our details don’t get fade after a few years.

Letter Screen Image: The Ministry introduced this security feature back in 2013. Letter Screen Image (LSI) is an image construct (Ghost image) in tiny fonts. The small fonts are nothing but the personal details of the passport holder.

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Barcode: On the last page of the passport, you’ll be able to see a barcode that consists of your passport number. You can scan the code with your smartphone camera and match the number easily.

Micro Printing: These are minuscule fonts prints, smaller than 0.25 mm or 0.7 pica points. In the Indian passport, microprinting is present as “Government of India” or “Bharat Sarkar” (in Devanagari font). These are mainly present at the border of the page.

However, more security features make our passport much secure and hard to forge, such as UV light identification, Flusorent Ink, Fine line pattern, Hauv/laminated film, Fugitive Ink Fibers, Watermark and Dicuts.

In the case of the microchip-based e-passport, it will have all the security features of the regular passport. In addition, however, it will come with an added microchip that will include the passport holder’s information and travel details.

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How to Apply for e-Passport?

According to EconomicsTimes, the Indian government has already issued more than 20,000 official and diplomatic microchip-based e-passports since 2017. After three years of the trial run, it is time to implement the security feature in all the passports. However, there is no information if the current passports that do not have the microchip will become invalid.

At present, there is no option for you to choose the e-passport if you’re going to apply for a passport today. However, it is very much clear from the Ministry of External affairs that e-passport will not be an option for the citizen since it is an added security measure that has been in practice by several other countries. The Indian Government will consider it as upgraded security for future passports.

According to an article published by IndiaToday, the new microchip-based e-passport will be International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) compliant. Although the Indian government is currently facing issues in verifying passports manually, with a microchip installed, the entire process can become swift and contactless.

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Highlights of the Story

  • The Government of India is going to come out with a new set of Indian passports.
  • This new passport will come with embedded microchips, that will consist many security features. And in this article, we have explained all the new features that are coming with microchip-based e-passports.

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