Hand Written Passports Must Be Changed by November 24, 2015
ICAO or International Civil Aviation Organization has rolled out the final dates within which, every hand-written passport holder needs to get a machine-readable passport within November 24, 2015. This will be the final date for getting a passport that machines can read. Anyone who fails to comply will face troubles while travelling.
All hand-written passports will be deemed as invalid once the aforementioned date passes. This notification has been enforced because foreign countries have all started using machine-friendly passports and they don’t accept passports that machines cannot read.
In India, machine-friendly passports were introduced back in 2001. All passports issued since then are in safe zone and do not require any further actions. However, prior to that, the Indian Government used to issue hand-written passports. Those passports which were issued during the 1990s have a validity period of 20 years and hence, they are all considered as non-machine-friendly passports.
Holders of those passports need to make sure that they get new machine-readable passports within the mentioned time frame. As of date, it is estimated that there are nearly 2.86 lakh such passports that were being used by Indians. Hand-written passports cannot be properly scanned by automated machines, making it extremely difficult and time-consuming affair when it comes to verification of the passport and the passport holder. No wonder, ICAO has come up with this notification.
However, the final date is quite pressing because the date is applicable for every Indian who lives in India or outside India. Things are specifically difficult for non-resident Indians because getting the passport changed within time will be quite challenging. Anyway, ICAO doesn’t seem to be bothered about this problem. So, if you have a passport that machines cannot read, it is better that you get it changed right away and avoid any future trouble.