Machine readable passports must for Indians


Photo - Times

Muscat: Indian citizens holding handwritten and 20-year passports with validity beyond November 24, 2015 will have to apply for Machine Readable Passports (MRPs).

"From November 25, 2015 onwards, foreign governments may deny visa or entry to any person travelling on a non-MRP passport," a Ministry of External Affairs release said.

The Central Government has announced phasing out of all non-MRPs from November 24, 2015, complying with the deadline by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as part of its global drive. "The Indian Embassy is far ahead in this matter. We have crossed the struggling stage of issuing MRP passports. There are only a few and rare cases of citizens holding handwritten passports. We are moving towards a more advanced passport system," a senior official from the Indian Embassy in Muscat said.

All handwritten passports with pasted photos issued by the Government of India are considered non-MRP passports.

All 20-year validity passports will also fall in this category.

The government has started issuing MRP passports, which are ICAO-compliant, since 2001.

ICAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations created in 1944 to promote safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.

ICAO sets the standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection.

The organisation serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 191-member states.

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