NRIs asked to secure MR passports
The Indian Embassy has asked citizens living in the Kingdom to have machine-readable passports issued as soon as possible.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will phase out non-machine-readable passports by Nov. 24, 2015, Surinder Bhagat, Indian Embassy spokesman, told Arab News on Saturday.
“Foreign governments may deny visas or even entry on old passports,” he said. “This is why Indian citizens living across the Kingdom are advised to change their passports as soon as they can.”
Passports with pasted photos and handwritten details or a 20-year validity period are considered non-machine-readable.
“The government has been issuing electronic passports since 2001,” he said. “In fact, all new passports are ICAO-compliant and are printed in Riyadh.”
Applicants must submit an application for a new passport, a self-attested copy of their existing passport and a copy of their iqama, along with a fee, in order to get their new passports issued.
The Indian government has also decided to recall 60-page passport booklets bearing codes Z-000001 to Z-073000 with immediate effect due to administrative and technical problems in their usage.
The holders of passports with these numbers can return them to their embassies to have them canceled and re-apply for a new passport free of charge.