Indians in Qatar advised to upgrade passports

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Indian citizens with handwritten passports and 20-year passports with validity beyond November 24, 2015, should get their passports re-issued and obtain machine readable ones, the Indian embassy said in a statement yesterday.

International Civil Aviation Organisation has set a deadline of November 24, 2015 for globally phasing out of all non-machine readable passports.

From November 25 onwards, countries may deny visa or entry to any person travelling on a non-machine readable passport.

The Indian government has been issuing machine readable passports since 2001. The passports, however, issued before 2001 and particularly those issued during mid-1990s with a validity of 20 years will fall in the category of non-MRPs. All handwritten passports with pasted photographs are also considered non-MRPs.

“All handwritten passports with pasted photographs are also considered non-MRPs,” the statement said.

Indians living in Qatar holding handwritten passports, with validity beyond November 25, 2015, have been advised to get their passports reissued well before the deadline to avoid any inconvenience in obtaining valid visa for international travel.

Many international travellers may not realise that having a passport with short validity remaining is sometimes not good enough to obtain visas or to enter certain foreign countries.

Indian citizens travelling on passports which may expire in less than six months, should renew their passports before any upcoming international travel.

It is especially important to check the passports needs of any minor who may be accompanying their parents as passports for minors have a shorter validity period (five years) than passports for adults (10 years).

Moreover, some countries do not accept passports which may have fewer than two pages remaining.

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By the end of November 2014, it was estimated that there were about 286,000 handwritten Indian passports in circulation.

Details related to passport services are available on the website www.passportindia.gov.in

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