Pune, January 12: Passports may no longer be valid proof of address as the Ministry of External Affairs is considering a proposal to do away with the current last page having address of the passport holder.
According to a report in the Hindustan Times, 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.
Currently, the first page of the passport has the photograph and other details of the passport holder and the address is printed on the last page.
But the missing of the last page will not affect the passport office and the immigration department (or security agencies) because all the information of the passport holder is in the back-end. Since 2012, all passports have had a barcode and the information can be accessed by simply scanning it.
Even when the new series will be issued, all existing passports will remain valid till their expiry date.
The ministry 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).
Kumar said those in the ECR category will have orange passports. It will not only increase the speed of the process of emigration but 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 and the existing ECR passports will be valid too.