https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=pUuXo1IWhd10Ug
logo
Expats raise doubts over Indian passports with no address proof
January 14, 2018 | 9:15 PM
by Staff reporter
One of the recommendations was that the MEA explore the possibility of doing away with the printing of information now found on the last page of the Indian passport. Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
 
Sharelines

Muscat: Indian expats have voiced concern over the announcement that new passports will no longer have a page displaying the address of the citizen.

Currently, Indians only needed a passport to apply for a visa to enter Oman, but it will cease to be a valid address proof once the rule is implemented.

Now, expats are not sure about which document will be accepted as proof of address by Omani authorities. The unique Aadhar identity card does have an address column, and it is not known whether it will be deemed acceptable by the Omani authorities.

T Bhaskaran, the convenor of the Indian Social Club Malayalam wing, said the move was not expat-friendly and called upon the Indian government to



reconsider.

“It’s a bad move. It’ll put citizens in a very, very awkward position. If you apply for an Omani visa with a passport without an address page, the application will be rejected. It will make the passport an incomplete document, in a way. There’s bound to be opposition to this. I hope the government reconsiders,” he stated.

Bhaskaran suggested that the government should consult with Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), before announcing such a move. An Indian expat, who didn’t wish to be named, said the move would cause chaos and confusion.

Valid document

“Right now, the Indian passport serves as a valid proof of address for Omani authorities. What other document can serve this purpose? Is this move designed to promote Aadhar? Probably,” he added.

The decision to keep the last page of its citizens’ passports blank was made following recommendations by a panel set up to look into, among other issues, requests by single mothers that the name of the father not be mentioned in their child’s passport.

Currently, the last page of the Indian passport lists the names of father/legal guardian, mother, spouse, address, and whether the holder is in the ‘Emigration Check Required (ECR)’ category, which is issued if a citizen has not cleared the tenth standard.

“A three-member committee comprising the officials of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Ministry of Women and Child Development was constituted to examine various issues pertaining to passport applications where mother/child had insisted that the name of the father not be mentioned in the passport, and also relating to passports issued to children with a single parent and to adopted children,” MEA announced, adding that the report had been accepted by the ministry.

One of the recommendations was that the MEA explore the possibility of doing away with the printing of information now found on the last page.

“The ministry has examined the recommendation... and decided that the last page of the passport and other travel documents issued under the Passports Act, 1967, and Passport Rules, 1980, would no longer be printed,” the MEA said. Under the changed system, those with ECR status would be issued orange passports, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

The Indian Security Press at Nashik, will design the new passports.

Existing passports remain valid till the date of expiry printed on them. -With inputs from agencies.



STAY UPDATED
Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news