Indians told to replace handwritten passports
Indian expatriates in the UAE, who still hold handwritten passports are advised to urgently replace their handwritten passports with machine-readable passports.
The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Sunday released a public advisory issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in India regarding the phasing out of handwritten Indian passports.
The handwritten passports had to be replaced by Machine Readable Passports by November 25, 2015 as per a previous international deadline set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
However, an official from the Indian Embassy said, some 200,000 hand written Indian passports are yet to be made machine readable globally.
The rule mainly applies to handwritten passports issued during mid-1990s with a validity of 20 years.
The Government of India has been issuing Machine Readable Passports since 2001 and the facility was made available in the UAE missions in March 2006. It is not immediately known how many passport holders in the UAE still fall in the category requiring replacement of hand written passports.
“Indian citizens residing in the UAE and holding handwritten passports are advised to immediately apply for Machine Readable Passports to avoid any inconvenience in obtaining valid visa or for international travel. Holders of the Machine Readable Passports do not need to take any action on this Advisory,” the advisory stated.
Travel on machine readable passports will facilitate hassle-free and safe journey, it added.
Indian citizens living in the UAE may visit the following websites to know the passport replacement procedures: