Mumbai, Jan 12, 2018 : Passports may no longer be valid proof of address for a simple reason: they may not have the current last page with the address of the passport holder if the ministry of external affairs goes ahead with a proposal it is considering.
An MEA spokesperson did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment but Surendera Kumar, under-secretary of policy and legal matters at the consular, passport and visa division of the ministry, confirmed that the change could happen when the “next series” of passports is being issued. “The decision to keep the last page of the passport blank has been taken” to protect the details contained, he explained.
JD Vaishampayan at the regional passport office in Pune would only say that “some changes may happen soon”.
Currently, the first page of the passport has the photograph as well as other details of the passport holder; the address is printed on the last page.
The fact that this last page will not be there doesn’t affect the passport office and the immigration department (or security agencies) because they have all the details of the passport holder in the back-end. Since 2012, all passports have had a barcode and by simply scanning them, this information can be accessed.
As has always been the case when a new series is issued, all existing passports will remain valid till their expiry date.
The MEA is also considering some changes in the colour of passports. Currently, passports are issued in three colours: white for government officers or to those people who visit other countries for the official work of the government; red for diplomats; and blue for all others across two categories — those who require emigration check (ECR) and those who do not (ECNR).
Soon, however, those in the ECR category will have orange passports, Kumar said. This will increase the speed of the process of emigration as the colour of the passport will make it clear whether the emigration check is required or not. The printing of the new ECR passports will be done at the India Security Press at Nashik. In this case too, existing ECR passports will be valid.