India’s Ministry of External Affairs plans to issue chip-enabled e-passports with additional security features. In her 2022 Budget statement on February 1, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman declared that e-passports with integrated chips and future technologies would in FY 2022-23. But, are you wondering how safe it is? The e-passports, on the other hand, will have an electronic microprocessor chip as well as sophisticated security measures. The passport holder’s information saved on a microchip will be entirely secure, preventing fraud.
Sanjay Bhattacharyya, the Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, had indicated that the new electronic passport would safeguard biometric data while also complying with ICAO criteria.
According to the Minister of State for External Affairs, his ministry plans to provide people with chip-enabled e-passports with increased security features.
As he put it, “the front or back cover or page of the passport includes an incorporated Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip.” According to the ministry of transportation, chip’s properties are in accordance with ICAO regulations, which control travel documents.
What are India’s e-passports?
The Indian electronic passport is a chip-enabled passport with a biometric identity card, ensuring total security and transparency. It has a tiny electronic chip that electronically stores all of the information about the passport bearer. The passport holder’s demographic and biometric data are among the data recorded on the microchip. Only diplomatic and official passports have indeed; hence not all Indian passports are now biometric.
Travellers must not only understand what an electronic or biometric passport is but also who invented it. This outstanding breakthrough by the Association of three important technological institutions in India, namely:
- Centre National d’Informatique (NIC)
- Kanpur Indian Institute of Technology
- Officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and the India Security Press attended the event in Delhi.
The advantages of an Indian e-passport
Unlike a standard or traditional passport, an electronic or biometric passport offers various advantages, and both passengers and national authorities benefit from it. The following are some of the distinctive advantages of an e-passport:
- An e-passport will be safeguarded with a biometric record of persons, preventing criminals from creating duplicate passports and performing data piracy.
- Through radio-frequency identification, chip-enabled e-passports will prevent unlawful information transmission (RFID).
- Allow for quicker border crossing while increasing security.
- There’s no need to wait in line since you can scan an e-passport in seconds.
Indian e-passport security features
There are 41 security elements in the E-passport. It is valid for 5 or 10 years, based on the applicant’s age. An e-passport has the following features:
- Under the light, embossed holographic pictures in a laminated film seem to move and change colour.
- The passport holder’s digital signature
- Scan of the passport holder’s iris
- Photograph of the passport bearer in colour
- Passport holder’s demographic information
- The passport holder’s biometric data
- All ten fingers of the passport holder’s hand are fingerprinted.
What are e-passports, and how do they work?
A standard or traditional passport performs the same function as an electronic passport. An electronic chip in an e-passport includes the same data as a regular passport. The applicant’s personal information, such as the passport holder’s name, date of birth, and other relevant information, is stored on the microchip in the passport.
The passport’s inbuilt rectangular antenna-type electronic chip has a storage capacity of 64 kilobytes.
Initially, the electronic chip would save data from up to 30 overseas travels: the microchip stores the passport owner’s picture and biometric information such as fingerprints later. If someone attempts to tamper with the chip, the passport will for verified.
In minutes, physical verification at the immigration desk may scan an electronic or biometric passport. It will expedite immigration procedures and reduce the need to line, saving time for passengers.
The introduction of e-passports will also assist in maintaining a lid on the false passport trade since fraudsters will find it difficult to change the data stored on the chip.
When will the Indian government begin issuing e-passports?
For some years, India has been exploring e-passports. Pratibha Patil, the then-President of India, received the country’s first electronic or biometrically secure passport in 2008. India has issued 20,000 official and diplomatic chip-embedded e-passports as a test. According to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s recent remark, issuing biometric Indian passports to Indian residents would begin shortly. The India Security Press in Nashik has a contract to purchase IATA-compliant electronic contactless inlays and the operating system required for biometric or chip-enabled e-passports. Indian residents will get e-Passports upon the conclusion of this procurement procedure.
- The applicants’ personal information would be digitally signed and kept on the passport booklet’s chip.
- If the chip is tampered with, the passport authentication will fail.
- India Security Press in Nashik will generate the e-passports.
- Passports have traditionally been in the form of customized printed booklets.
- The Indian Passport Authority granted the first e-passport to the then-President of India, Pratibha Patil, on June 25, 2008.
India’s e-passport Advantages
- The following are some of the advantages of the e-passport:
- They will use biometric data to secure the e-passport.
- The e-passport will make it easier to go past immigration checkpoints throughout the globe.
- The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) standards for an e-passport will be met by this document.
- Using radio-frequency identification (RFID), the e-chip passports will prevent illegal data transmission using radio-frequency identification (RFID).
- The e-passport will deter identity theft and forgeries.
Other nations that use e-passports
The notion of an electronic passport is not new, and India follows in the footsteps of numerous other nations that have previously implemented biometric passports. The increased security of the e-Passport has prompted numerous governments to adopt electronic travel papers. The biometric e-passport system is now in use in around 120 nations throughout the globe, including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Individuals may use it as evidence of identification or foreign travel, which is beneficial to both the government and the general public. The passport microchip will improve security and speed up the passport verification procedure when flying.
Starting this year, India will begin issuing e-passports. From 2022 onwards, all Indian citizens will be given an e-passport with increased security features. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, if you apply for a passport renewal or issuance, you will get an e-passport. The infrastructure for issuing Indian e-passports is already in place since the Indian government has provided 20,000 diplomats with e-passports as an experiment. During the pilot program, no glitches were discovered, indicating that the issuing and usage of e-passports was a success.
What makes e-passports unique?
According to FE Online, the Centre thinks that the increased security features of e-passports would prevent fraud while also easing the immigration procedure at airports.
The system will detect attempts to tamper with the chip, resulting in an airport verification failure. India Security Press-ISP, Nashik, has already received authorization from the Centre to buy electronic contactless inlays for e-passports.
Launch of the e-passport in India
India has already issued 20,000 official and diplomatic e-passports with integrated chips on a trial basis. Citizens will get e-passports when India Security Press Nashik completes the procurement procedure.
How can they apply for an e-passport in India?
Getting an electronic passport will remain the same, from filling out an application form on the government’s website to scheduling a time and location for your document verification appointment. The new system will not affect the time to issue a document.
According to External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, Indian nationals would soon be able to get e-passports with sophisticated security features. In terms of application, information, and verification, it is identical to a conventional or machine-readable passport.
Applying for an e-passport will stay the same, from filling out an application form on the government website to picking your location and appointment date for document verification. In the new system, the issuance time will likewise be the same.