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What is E-Passport?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 06/02/2023

The pervasive nature of technology has set its eyes on transforming the aged passport into an electronic passport. As intimated in the 2022 budget by FM Nirmala Sitharaman, the government has already set forth on its journey to issue e-passports. This means that every traveller, who is looking to renew their passport or is applying for a new one from 2021 onwards, will be receiving an e-passport in India.

This biometric passport of India, paired with highly recommended travel insurance, will enhance security and ensure a better travelling experience for citizens. Just as a travel policy imparts financial security when you are away from home, the e-passport of India will ensure that the data of the traveller remains secure. Before delving into the e-passport benefits, let us begin with understanding what exactly an electronic passport is.

What is an Electronic Passport?

Essentially, the electronic passport or e-passport will perform the same function as the traditional passport does. However, the e-passport comes with an integrated chip that looks similar to that on the driver’s licence. The integrated chip passport of India will contain all the relevant information about the passport holder, such as the details of the passport, name, nationality, date of birth, etc.

The chip passport of India makes use of biometrics and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID). The unauthorised transfer of data can be prevented through RFID. The chip will have an internationally recognised logo containing important information about the passport holder. The biometric passport of India can store the data of up to 30 international travels. E-passports will strengthen security features and provide a better travel experience for citizens.

The concept of the electronic passport is not new, and more than 100 countries already offer e-passports. Some of these e-passport countries include Pakistan, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Nepal, and more.

What are The Benefits of E-Passport?

The e-passport benefits can be linked to the higher level of automation that comes with digitisation. The change was verified and experienced as gradually all KYC documents had their respective electronic versions, which afforded greater convenience.

Here are some of the primary e-passport benefits that will excite travellers:

Time-Saving: It only takes a few seconds to review an e-passport which means that travellers will no longer have to stand in a long queue to have their information verified.

Hassle-Free Tracking: Since the e-passport holds the biometric information of an individual, it becomes much easier for the officials to track the relevant information. This also means that breaches of data and forging fake passports can be largely prevented.

Authentic: Any tampering with an electronic passport will automatically result in failure to authenticate the information. The e-passport contains several levels of protection to prevent any redundancy.

Safe: With an e-passport, the level of safety elevates as the information in the passport cannot be wiped. This is another important measure to curb the making of fake passports.

The government claims that the aforementioned benefits are all going to enhance the experience of citizens and improve public delivery. Following the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, this futuristic step aligns with the need to strengthen the security protocols for the passport.

What are Some of the E-Passport Benefits for Travellers?

While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic adversely impacted several sectors, its effect on the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors was perhaps the most hard-hitting. The uncertainty that the travellers faced reiterated the importance of travel insurance. Now, as the situation gradually improves, international travel is expected to soon pick pace.

In this context, innovative technological solutions such as e-passports will not only enhance security but also ensure a hassle-free travelling experience as it quickens the verification of data at security checkpoints. This will reduce the dreaded long queue at the airports. Additionally, in the post-pandemic world, where contactless innovations are encouraged, the e-passport holds a major advantage. It will eliminate the need to physically verify the credentials.

In a more generalised context, this will also help quicken the recovery of international tourism after the pandemic’s tough blow. Finally, as digitisation increases the security feature of the e-passport, the likelihood of travelling visa-free increases for Indians.

What the Future Looks Like for E-Passports

The issuing method and the process of applying for a new passport remain the same. All 36 passport offices in India that fall under the Ministry of External Affairs have initiated the issuance of e-passports. The e-passport model, which comprises biometric e-passport infrastructure, has been previously accepted by more than 120 countries, including the U.K., the U.S., and even Germany.

The e-passport integrated with the chip is a step closer to a digitised future however, while the processing will become significantly more feasible, this does not mean that the procedure will become entirely paperless. Requirements such as stamping the visa will continue.

The biometric passport will also help boost the Indian travel and tourism sector by enabling easier international travel. This, in turn, will encourage more individuals to travel overseas, which improves the influx of travellers within the country as well. The strengthened element of security is an important aspect of protection from identity thefts and the use of forged passports.

In Conclusion

The transition from traditional to electronic passports is an important step that ensures seamless international travel with an added layer of security for Indian citizens. To further fortify this safety, every traveller is advised to invest in a travel policy.

Travel insurance from renowned insurers like the Tata AIG takes care of all the unforeseen scenarios that can afflict travellers. When you are away from home, a travel policy becomes the financial safety net that protects you from unpleasant situations such as flight cancellations, accidental injury, loss of passport, and more.

However, before investing in a travel policy, it is recommended to adequately compare travel insurance plans on Tata AIG’s website. The insurance requirement for every traveller might differ, so it is important to find a plan that meets your distinct requirements. Besides, when you compare travel insurance plans, you can find a suitable policy for a reasonable price.

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