Passports: India

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1914 onwards: the evolution of the Indian passport

1914 – 2018: the evolution of the Indian passport
From January 21, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

1914 - 2018: the evolution of the Indian passport

Indian passports, ECR and ECNR

Why passports are judged by their cover, February 5, 2018: The Times of India

i) The main Emigration Check Required (ECR) destinations, as in 2016; ii) the number of countries that give visa-free/visa on arrival access to Indians
From: Why passports are judged by their cover, February 5, 2018: The Times of India

Since when are passports being issued?


Hebrew Bible mentions a travel document a Persian emperor issued to a person called Nehemiah who was supposed to travel to rebuild Jerusalem. The document requested governors to grant Nehemiah safe passage in areas beyond the emperor’s control. This mention indicates the existence of such documents.


Cut to 1414. The English parliament’s Act of that year talks of a travel paper or ‘safe-conduct’ document issued by the king to English subjects as well as foreign nationals. These were called passports. The word’s origin remains unclear — whether derived from people crossing maritime ports or city walls (portes in French).


With cheaper and faster transport, global travel remained no more restricted to the privileged. Massive working-class migration occurred through the 19th and 20th centuries. With World War I, the concept of closed borders emerged and the first modern passport came into existence. Many argue that it was first proposed by the League of Nations to maintain hegemony of certain western nations in deciding ethnic characteristics of New World countries. Making a passport compulsory for international travel was the most effective tool to achieve this.

How old is India’s passport system?

The first passports in India were issued during WWI under the Defence of India Act, 1914. The Act expired six months after the war. Indian Passport Act, 1920, was enacted and eventually was renamed Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. After Independence, the ministry of external affairs took on the role of issuing passports. The first five offices were in Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Nagpur. Today’s passports are issued under the Indian Passport Act of June 24, 1967.

What are the various types of passports and travel documents?

The government issues three classes of passport – ordinary, official and diplomatic. Under Passport Act, government also issues documents such as emergency certificates (to authorise a person’s entry into India) to Indian citizens whose passports have been lost/stolen or impounded in foreign countries and for those to be repatriated. Certificates of identity are also given to stateless people in India or foreigners whose country is not represented in India.

What are ECR and ECNR passports?

Emigration Check Required (ECR)-category passport holders need emigration clearance from the Protector of Emigrants’ office, Overseas Indian Affairs division in the foreign ministry, to go to 18 countries — the bulk of them in West Asia — and mainly includes those who go to work in these countries. Diplomatic passport-holders, income tax-payers and those with professional degrees etc. are exempt (ECNR category).

Are some passports more powerful than others?

Passport Index, a real-time global ranking of passports, ranks Germany as the world’s most powerful passport — its citizens have visa-free/visa-on-arrival access in 161 countries. It is followed by Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Spain and Sweden — each with similar access in 160 countries. Indians have similar access/admission in 55 countries.

The legal position

Lawsuit no ground for revoking passport: HC


The Times of India 2013/08/07

New Delhi: Even if a criminal case is pending against a person the passport office can’t as a rule revoke his passport, Delhi high court has clarified. The court said a passport can be impounded only in “appropriate cases” where cogent reasons have to be given in writing by the RPO.

Accepting the plea of a man, facing trial in a matrimonial case lodged by his wife, Justice V K Jain directed the passport authority to release his passport which was revoked on the ground of criminal charges against him. The court, however, directed him not to leave the country without its permission and also asked him to attend the ongoing criminal proceedings.

Allowing Manish Kumar Mittal's plea against the passport authority, Justice Jain noted, “The order passed by the Regional Passport Officer directing the petitioner (Mittal) to surrender his passport as well as the order passed by the appellate authority are, hereby, set aside. The respondents (authorities) are directed to release the passport of the petitioner to him forthwith.” The court also asked the RPO to pass an order within eight weeks after giving an opportunity to Mittal to make his stand clear under provisions of the Passports Act.

Only magistrate, not passport authority, can curb travel: HC

Rosy Sequeira, Dec 1, 2016: The Times of India

Passport authority has no power to curb travel: HC

The Bombay high court said that the passport authority did not have the right to decide whether an accused in a criminal case could travel abroad or not. “That right vests with a magistrate who alone can impose conditions if an application is made seeking permission to travel abroad,“ said a bench of Justice Vidyasagar Kanade and Justice Nutan Sardessai.

The court heard a petition filed by Samip Rajani (28), a flight purser with Jet Airways, who challenged the renewal of his passport only for a year as opposed to 10 years. His petition said as a result he cannot get his flight schedule for overseas travel and will lose considerable remuneration.

Rajani was booked for assaulting a traffic policeman and for criminal intimidation and driving dangerously . Rajani, in turn, filed a counter-complaint against the cop for allegedly demanding a bribe and physically assaulting him on refusal. Rajani was released on bail.

On his plea, the Mulund magistrate had directed that his passport be renewed. Instead of 10 years, though, it was renewed for a year. Rajani then moved high court. The judges said whenever a criminal complaint is pending against an applicant who wishes to go abroad, the magistrate alone has the jurisdiction to impose the condition regarding his right to travel.

Also, if a magistrate is satisfied that an applicant should not be permitted, he can reject the application.However, when an application is made for renewal, the passport authority has to adhere to provisions of the Passport Act.

The judges said the Centre's notification which allows passports to be renewed for a year was earlier held by the high court as ambiguous.

The bench said it is common knowledge that some countries do not grant visa unless a passport is valid for more than six months.

It said the Supreme Court has already held that the right to travel for business or service is a part of one's fundamental rights subject to reasonable restrictions imposed under the Passport Act and Rules.

“In the present case, the applicant as a flight purser has to travel abroad and there is no possibility of him absconding since he has to return along with the flight,“ the bench said.

The judges directed the regional passport office to renew his passport for 10 years expeditiously and within three weeks.

The judges also clarified that Rajani will have to apply to the magistrate in order to obtain permission to travel and the magistrate may impose conditions deemed fit and proper.


2019/ Lotus symbol

Lotus on passports as part of security features, other national symbols to be used on rotation: MEA, December 12, 2019: The Times of India

NEW DELHI: A day after opposition members in Lok Sabha raised the issue of lotus being printed on new passports, the ministry of external affairs said it was part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports and involves using other national symbols as well on rotation.

Raising this issue of lotus being printed on new passports brought for distribution in Kozhikode in Kerala during the Zero Hour, MK Raghavan of the Congress said the matter has been highlighted by one of the newspapers and alleged that this was "further saffronisation" of the government establishment with the lotus being the election symbol of the BJP.

Asked about the issue, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "This symbol is our national flower and is part of the enhanced security features to identify fake passports."

These security features have been introduced as part of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines, he said.

"Apart from the Lotus, other national symbols will be used on rotation. Right now it is lotus and then next month there will be something else. These are symbols connected with India such as national flower or national animal," he said.

Demand for and issuance of passports

Demand for passports: region-wise

Passport demand highest from backward UP districts

The Times of India

Kartikeya | TNN

Mumbai: The largest demand for passports in the country is coming not from metros like Mumbai or Delhi but from 48 of India’s most backward districts in eastern and central Uttar Pradesh.

In 2009, the regional passport office (RPO) at Lucknow — which caters to districts like Gonda, Faizabad, Azamgarh and Jaunpur — received an average 1,403 applications daily for fresh passports. The staggering figure put it ahead of RPOs in Kerala, Gujarat, Punjab and the metros which have traditionally been the hubs of passport demand.

Immigrant workers from UP’s districts like Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Gorakhpur, Ballia etc are known to flock to more developed states in search of livelihood. In states like Maharashtra some regional parties have even violently opposed the migration. But the huge demand for passports from the same poorer districts indicates that they are looking for jobs abroad as well.

In 2009, Uttar Pradesh also overtook Kerala and sent maximum number of workers abroad. This would also explain why the officials at Lucknow RPO find themselves buried under a huge heap of passport applications.

Data maintained by union ministry of overseas Indian affairs shows that until a few years ago barely a few thousand workers from UP sought emigration clearance each year to work overseas. In 2005, the number stood at just 22,558 workers. But thanks to a growing demand for construction workers in the Middle East, the numbers started going up dramatically since 2007.

Consequently, in 2009 more than 1,25,000 workers from UP received emigration clearance from the government, edging ahead of Kerala’s 1,19,000 workers. Apart from the Lucknow RPO, passport offices at Hyderabad (1,330 applications every day), Bangalore (1,226) and Ahmedabad (1,220) saw a huge demand. Overall 37 RPOs across the country received more than five million passport applications in 2009 at an average of 21,089 each day.

Issuance of passports:region-wise

2013:Number of passports issued by regional passport offices

The Times of India

Feb 06 2015

It's not any of the Regional Passport Offices in India's four largest metros -Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai -that issued the highest number of passports in 2013. The Hyderabad RTO topped with 5.9 lakh passports issued. It was followed by Bangalore and Lucknow. This trend might be linked to the higher number of IT companies in the south than in the north of the country.Lucknow, being the capital of India's most populous state, would be catering to a much larger population than other RTOs. In 2013, passport offices across the country received 69.7 lakh applications and issued 68.1 lakh passports

Passports issued: 2013-15

The Times of India, Jan 18 2016

A demographic profile of those who applied for Indian passports in 2015: by age, gender and education; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Jan 18 2016

1.14cr passports issued since 13 but verification the bane

While 6.33 crore Indians now hold valid passports, up considerably from 5.19 crore in 2013, the issuance of passport continues to suffer from delay in police verification, latest figures compiled by the foreign ministry show. In fact, the average allIndia time taken for police verification has now reduced to 34 days (it was 49 in 2013), but that's still way above the ministry's desired period of 21 days.

According to foreign ministry joint secretary and chief passport officer Muktesh Pardeshi, 61% of all passport verifications were completed within 21 days.

“Today , on a pan-India basis, 68% of normal passports which require police verification are issued within a month. If police verification period is excluded, then 94% of normal passports are issued within 21 days,“ he said. Interestingly , the newly created state of Telangana has emerged as the best-performing state by completing police verification in eight days. It is followed by Andhra Pradesh (12 days), Chandigarh (12 days), Goa (12 days) and Delhi (14 days).

Accord ing to the official, in the case of Tatkal applications, 34% passports were issued on the day of submission of papers. Overall, 87% were issued passports within three days.

In addition to the 77 Pass port Seva Kendras (PSKs) currently operational in public private partnership PPP) mode, the ministry has set up eight additional PSKs in Agartala, Aizawl, Gangtok, Imphal, Kalaburagi, Karimnagar, Darbhanga and Shillong, providing extended reach to passport applicants in the northeast. Ten more PSKs are likely to come up in 2016.

The data compiled by the ministry also reveals that Uttar Pradesh now accounts for the maximum number of passport applications. It is followed by Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Together they account for more than 51% of the applications.

Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Ahmedabad receive the maximum number of applications in that order.Malappuram, Pune, Thane and Khozhikode are on top among the smaller towns and cities. The maximum number of Indian passport applications received abroad were in the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, the US, Kuwait and Qatar.

Passport power, India and the world: visa-free access to other countries


See graphic, The number of countries that holders of Indian and Pakistani passports can visit without a visa

The number of countries that holders of Indian and Pakistani passports can visit without a visa ; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, November 8, 2015

Countries Indians can travel to without Visa

See graphic, Country-wise list of passports, with number of visa-free destinations

Country-wise list of passports, with number of visa-free destinations; The Times of India, Feb 5, 2017

March 19, 2017: The Times of India

This is the list of 30 beautiful countries including Fiji, Jamaica, Jordan, Ecuador and Hong Kong where Indians can travel to without a visa.

1. Fiji is the perfect holiday destination, blessed with 333 tropical islands in the heart of the South Pacific. You can choose to relax and unwind in one of Fiji’s world-class spas and beaches.

2. Saint Lucia’s coast is home to volcanic beaches, reef-diving sites, luxury resorts and fishing villages. You can spend a good time in Saint Lucia.

3. Dominica: It’s a mountainous Caribbean island nation with natural hot springs and rainforests. You can spend the winters to escape colder climates and enjoy the island’s stunning natural splendors.

4. Seychelles - The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. It is a home to rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Seychelles issues visitor’s permit on arrival.

5. Nepal: Possessing eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, Nepal is a hotspot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers and people seeking adventure.

6. Maldives: It has become a favorite tourist destination among Bollywood celebrities. The capital of Maldives, Male boasts an array of scenic sites. Maldives offers visa on arrival.

7. Saint Kitts and Nevis is a dual-island nation situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It's known for cloud-shrouded mountains and beaches.

8. Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island Caribbean nation near Venezuela. Trinidad’s capital hosts a boisterous carnical featuring calypso and soca music. While Tobago is known for its beaches and Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve.

9. Thailand is much popular among tourists. It is known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. Thailand offers visa on arrival.

10. Tanzania is known for its vast wilderness areas. Serengeti National Park and Kilimanjaro National Park are the famous tourist destinations of Tanzania.

11. Samoa: It’s is a country comprising the westernmost group of the Samoan Islands, in Polynesia. Robert Louis Stevenson Museum & Mt Vaea National Reserve are the best places to visit in Samoa. One needs to take entry permit on arrival.

12. Mauritius is known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. You can visit Champs de Mars horse track, Eureka plantation house and 18th-century Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens.

13. Madagascar: Huge island nation Madagascar is a home to thousands of animal species, such as lemurs, found nowhere else, plus rainforests, beaches and reefs. It offers visa on arrival for Indians.

14. Macau: It is an autonomous region on the south coast of China. Being a Portuguese territory until 1999, Macau reflects a mix of cultural influences. Macau earned the nickname, “Las Vegas of Asia” for its giant casinos and malls.

15. Laos: It’s is known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. Laos issues visa on arrival for Indians.

16. Kenya: This East Africa country encompasses savannah, lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands. It's also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos. Kenya offers visa on arrival for Indians.

17. Jordan is an Arab Kingdom in West Asia. It is a home to around 100,000 archaeological and tourist sites. Petra and Jerash are well preserved historical cities which have become Jordan’s most popular tourist attraction.

18. Jamaica: The Caribbean island nation offers you a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches. You can explore natural beauty in affordable prices. Jamaica is also famed as the birthplace of reggae music.

19. Indonesia: It’s a Southeast Asian nation made up of thousands of volcanic islands. There are hundreds of ethnic groups speaking many different languages. Beaches of Bali are most popular among tourists. Indonesia offers visa on arrival for Indians.

20. Hong Kong: It is a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market. Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in southeastern China. It is also a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market.

21. Grenada: It is an island country consisting of Grenada itself and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Swimming, diving, snorkeling and fishing are all popular activities in Grenada's turquoise waters.

22. Ecuador is the home to volcanic mountains, lush jungle and beautiful Pacific coastline. Cotopaxi, Quilotoa, The Basilica of the National Vow and El Panecillo are popular places to visit in Ecuador.

23. El Salvador: It is a small Central American nation. The capital, San Salvador has numerous museums and the National Theater. Surf spots are also popular among tourists.

24. Uganda is a landlocked country which encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria. It offers visa on arrivals for Indians.

25. The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand. Rarotonga island is known as the best destination for beaches and scuba diving.

26. Cape Verde: It’s known for its Creole Portuguese-African culture, traditional morna music and numerous beaches. Praia de Santa Maria, Praia de Chaves, Santa Monica State Beach and Pedra Lume Salt Crater are best places to visit in Cape Verde. You can get visa on arrival.

27. Cambodia: According to reports, more than 2 million tourists visit Cambodia every year. The tourists destinations include Sihanoukville, sleepy riverside town of Battambang and Bokor Hill Station.

28. British Virgin Islands: It is a British oversees territory comprising 4 main islands and many smaller ones. This territory is known for its reef-lined beaches and as a yachting destination.

29. Bolivia is one of the highest and most remote countries on earth. For tourists, Bolivia offers a diverse mix of multi-ethnic cultural experiences, magnificent natural landscapes and extreme adventures. You can get visa on arrival for this beautiful country.

30. Bhutan

Neighbouring country Bhutan is known for its monasteries, fortresses, steep mountains and valleys. Bhutan’s most famous tourist place is The Tiger’s Nest Monastery which hangs on a cliff and stands above enchanting forest of blue pines and rhododendrons.

Global Power Index 2017/ India ranked 75th

Indian passport ranked 75 in Global Power Index 2017, October 26, 2017: India Today

The Passport Index's Global Passport Power Rank 2017 has ranked India at 75th position. Singapore, for the first time, has topped the Index.

The passports of 193 United Nations member countries and six territories were considered.

What is the ranking based on?

The ranking is based on the score that the countries get after an analysis is made of the access that the different passports allow to countries around the world. The 'Visa-free score' represents the number of countries its holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival. India's position

India has a 'Visa-free score' of 51, which in effect means that 24 countries allow Indian passport holders visa-free entry and 27 provide them with the visa on arrival.

In the immediate neighbourhood, India fared better than Bangladesh that was ranked at 90 with a VFS score of 35, Nepal and Sri Lanka were both ranked at 89 with a VFS score of 36, Bhutan was placed at 76 spot with a VFS score of 50, Myanmar was ranked at 84 with a score of 41, and Pakistan that was ranked at 93 with a score of 26.

November 2017/ Most/least powerful passports

World's most and least powerful passports, country-wise, November 2017
From: November 21, 2017: The Times of India

See graphic:

World's most and least powerful passports, country-wise, November 2017

2019: India drops from 81 to 82

The ranks of the Indian Passport in the world, 2014-19
The ranks of Pakistani and Sri Lankan Passport in 2019
From: October 11, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

The ranks of the Indian Passport in the world, 2014-19
The ranks of Pakistani and Sri Lankan Passport in 2019

2020: India drops from 82 to 84

Indian passport ranked 84th in the world, Japan’s on top, January 16, 2020: The Indian Express

Indian passport over the years, 2006- 2020; Source- Henley Passport Index
From: Indian passport ranked 84th in the world, Japan’s on top, January 16, 2020: The Indian Express

The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations, the publisher of the rankings said. The data are updated in real time as and when visa policy changes come into effect.

Japan has the world’s strongest passport; Afghanistan, at rank 107, the weakest. The Indian passport is closer to the bottom, ranked 84th in the world, according to the latest edition of the Henley Passport Index, widely acknowledged to be the most reliable of such rankings.

According to Henley & Partners, the residence and citizenship planning firm that publishes the ranking, the Index lists the world’s passports “according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa”. The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association of some 290 airlines, including all major carriers.

The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations, the publisher of the rankings said in a press release last week. The data are updated in real time as and when visa policy changes come into effect, the release said.

Japan has been topping the Index for three straight years; according to the 2020 index, its citizens are able to access 191 destinations without having to obtain a visa in advance.

Singapore, in second place (same as in 2019), has a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 190. Germany is No. 3 (same position as in 2019), with access to 189 destinations; it shares this position with South Korea, which dropped from the second place it held a year ago, the release said.

The US and the UK have been falling consistently over successive Indices. Both countries are in eighth place in 2020; a significant decline from the No. 1 spot they jointly held in 2015.

“The Index’s historic success story remains the steady ascent of the UAE, which has climbed a remarkable 47 places over the past 10 years and now sits in 18th place, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 171,” the release said.

Since the index began in 2006, the Indian passport has ranked in a band of 71st to 88th. (The number of passports ranked has, however, varied from year to year.) The Indian passport’s 2020 ranking of 84th translates into visa-free access to 58 destinations, including 33 which give Indians visas on arrival. The Indian passport ranked higher in both 2019 (82, with visa-free access to 59 destinations) and 2018 (81, with visa-free access to 60 destinations).

Twenty of the 58 visa-free access destinations in the 2020 list are in Africa, and 11 each in Asia and the Caribbean. Serbia is the only European country to which Indian passport holders can travel visa-free. There is no major or developed country to which Indian passport holders have visa-free access.

The top 10 most powerful passports this year are ranked in this order: Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg and Denmark.

Simplification of procedures

2016: See graphic

2016: Simplification of procedures; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, January 28, 2016

Name on passport

Father's name not needed: HC

The Times of India, May 21 2016

Dad's name not needed for passport: HC

Siding with a divorcee who was abandoned by her husband on the birth of their daughter, the Delhi high court said the mother's name was sufficient for a child to apply for a passport, reports Abhinav Garg. Only in case of a legal necessity can the father's name be sought, Justice Manmohan said. By citing the father's name in the application form, the petitioner argued, her daughter would be forced “to alter not only her name, but also her identity that she had been using since her birth ie as daughter of the petitioner No.1 rather than her biological father who had abandoned her at the time of her birth“.

Mother’s name is sufficient in some cases: HC

The Times of India, May 21 2016

Abhinav Garg

Single woman can be a natural guardian as well as a parent

The Delhi high court has held that in certain cases, mother's name is sufficient for a child to apply for a passport, especially because a single woman can be a natural guardian as well as a parent.

Justice Manmohan directed the Regional Passport Office to accept the application form of the girl child of a single parent without insisting upon mentioning her father's name.

The court ruled that authorities “can insist upon the name of the biological father in the passport only if it is a requirement in law, like standing instructions, manuals, etc. In the absence of any provision making it mandatory to mention the name of one's biological father in the passport, the respondents cannot insist upon the same“.

Justice Manmohan observed, “This court also takes judicial notice of the fact that families of single parents are on the increase due to various reasons like unwed mothers, sex workers, surrogate mothers, rape survivors, children abando ned by father and also children born through IVF technology .“

He said just because the software of the passport office didn't accept a single parent's applications, it cannot become a legal requirement.

The HC also pointed out that on two previous occasions, in 2005 and 2011, the girl was issued a passport without her father's name, which “makes it evident that the said requirement is not a legal necessity , but only a procedural formality , which cannot be the basis of rejecting her case“.

The court saw merit in the argument of the petitioner that if the authorities didn't alter their stand, her daughter would be compelled “to alter not only her name, but also her identity that she had been using since her birth--i.e. as the daughter of the petitioner No.1 rather than her biological father who had abandoned her at the time of her birth“. The father had refused to accept the child because he did not want a girl, the petition added.

In her plea, the woman sought a reissue of her daughter's passport without her father's name being mentioned in the application. She informed the HC that being a divorcee, she had raised the child as a single parent since her birth after the biological father completely abdicated his responsibilities towards the child.

Saying she was forced to move court after passport authorities insisted on the father's name, the woman argued it violated her daughter's rights to determine her name and identity . She also pointed out that the entire record of her daughter, including her educational certificates and the Aadhaar card did not bear the name of her father.

Defending its format, the RPO said the computerised passport application form had a column with regard to father's name under the heading “family details“. The government's lawyer said the format makes it compulsory for the girl applicant to fill the form and mention these details. The RPO cited a clause in the rule book that said “parents' name not to be deleted from passport as a consequence of divorce“ and argued it is a well-recognised principle of law that the relationship between parents and children does not get dissolved, except in cases of valid adoption.

Women can retain maiden names

Women can keep maiden names in passport: Modi, April 14, 2017: The Times of India  Indian women will not have to change their names on passports after marriage. Also, they don't have to produce a marriage or divorce certificate to get a passport. In addition, they can give either their father's or mother's name on the passport, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, addressing businesswomen at an event in Mumbai. “From now onwards, women will not have to change their names in the passport after their marriage,“ Modi told the Indian Merchants Chambers' ladies wing over video conferencing. TNN

Passport papers can be self-attested: 2016

The Times of India, Dec 24 2016 

The government made it easier for single mothers, adopted children and sadhussanyasis to apply for passports while reducing the paperwork and documentation required for several categories of applicants.

The new rules were announced by MoS for external affairs Gen V K Singh (retd) after he inaugurated the ministry's `Twitter Sewa' on Friday . The ministry said that Aadhaare-Aadhaar cards would now be accepted as proof of date of birth and digitally signed marriage certificates as proof of marriage. This would override Passport Rules, 1980, which says applicants born on or after January 26, 1989 have to submit birth certificates.

The list of documents accepted as birth date proof also includes PAN card, voter ID, school leaving certificate and driving licence. Getting a passport will be easier for single parents too.The MEA says, “The online passport application form requires the applicant to provide the name of father or mother or legal guardian, i.e. only one parent... This would enable single parents to apply ...for their children and to issue passports where name of father or mother is not required to be printed at the request of the applicant“. Separated or divorced applicants will not have to mention the name of herhis spouse in the application form either.Divorced applicants would not have to provide even the divorce decree.

Sadhus and sanyasis -who have renounced their families and recognise only their spiritual gurus as family -will now be able to apply for passports with the name of their spiritual guru in place of their biological parents' names. The caveat here is they should have at least one one public document such as election photo identity card issued by the Election Commission of India, PAN card, Aadhaar card etc wherein the name of the guru has been recorded against the column for parents' names.

Orphaned children or those born out of wedlock -who do not have proof of date of birth -can now give a declaration from the head of the orphanage or child care home instead. For children adopted within the country , there is no longer a need to get an adopted certificate, just an undertaking from the parent would do.Documents now would only need self-attestation, and on plain paper.

Annexures in passport applications have been brought down from 15 to 9.

The new rules have been formulated based on the report of a three-member committee comprising MEA and ministry of women and child development, which was set up to examine various issues pertaining to passport applications where motherchild has insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport and also relating to passport issues to children with single parent and to adopted children.

Birth certificatenot needed

Birth cert no more a must for passport|Jul 24 2017 : The Times of India (Delhi)

You no longer need to show your birth certificate to get a passport.Continuing the process of simplifying passports for citizens, the government informed Parliament this week that Aadhaar or PAN card among a host of documents could be used to establish proof of birth.

According to the Passport Rules, 1980, all applicants Rules, 1980, all applicants born on or after January 26, 1989, had to submit a birth certificate, a mandatory provision. Now they can submit any one of these -transfer school leavingmatriculation certificate issued by the school last attendedrecognised educational board con taining the date of birth of the applicant; PAN card; Aadhaar cardE-Aadhaar; driving licence, voter ID cards, even LIC policy bonds.

Government servants can give extracts of service record, pension records etc.The aim is to make passports easily available to millions more, minister of state for external affairs V K Singh said.

As has been reported earlier by TOI, neither divorce decrees, nor adoption certificates need to be submitted.

New passports will have personal details printed in Hindi and English. Those above 60 and below 8 years of age will get a 10% discount on passport fees. Online applicants need only provide the name of one parent or guardian. 

Problems at airport

Information mismatch between passport and visa

Passport- visa tips

Saurabh Sinha, Spouse's name not on passport? Carry proof of marriage, Oct 13 2016 : The Times of India

Their bags are packed, they're ready to go.But they can't leave on a jet plane just yet. Indian travellers often commit mistakes while planning international trips, due to which they are not allowed to board flights or deported from their destination.

A Delhi couple heading to Dubai on honeymoon were not allowed to board the plane at IGI airport on Wednesday as the woman's visa identified her as “wife of “ x, while her passport, issued before marriage, had her name alone. The couple managed to fly out later, but travel industry veterans said, in such cases, it's best to carry proof of the marriage. If you are married and the name of your partner is not on the passport, remember to carry a marriage certificate along. In case you don't have it, carry an affidavit or marriage photographs along with some other proof,“ said Sharat Dhall, president of travel portal “If someone's passport has an emigration clearance required (ECR) stamp, they need to get emigration check done prior to departure,“ he added.

According to leading travel agents, this is just one of several mistakes that result in last-minute heartbreaks for travellers. “Almost on a daily basis, we have people returning from airports or being deported due to common mistakes,“ Anil Kalsi of Delhibased Ambey Travels said.

One of them, he said, was not checking the transit visa requirements before booking flights with layovers. “People look for lowest fares and end up buying tickets without keeping in mind transit visa requirements. For example, people flying from India to the US via Canada, or India to Canada via the US, buy tickets without realising that they would require a transit visa for Canada and the US,“ he said, “Such people are sent back from origin airports.“

If you're flying from India to New Zealand or Fiji via Australia, you will need an Australian transit visa, Kalsi added.

Another mistake is ignoring the validity of passports, especially while travelling to countries that offer visa on arrival. “It is common to see tourists being deported from Bali (Indonesia offers visa on arrival) as they land with passports due to expire in less than six months (from date of return) and are denied visa,“ Kalsi said.

Dhall of added, “Passengers must ensure their visa and passport details match in terms of name, passport validity , details and date etc. Travel dates and visa dates should be matched particularly for Schengen visa.“

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