This article on ‘Passport Laws in India: All You Need to Know’ was written by Anukriti Prakash, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
India’s passport regulations govern the issuance, renewal, and use of passports. The process, which is overseen by the Ministry of External Affairs, involves submitting applications online or through Passport Seva Kendras. Regular, diplomatic, and official passports with varied validity periods are issued. Address verification and police clearance are possible requirements.
Certain tourists with ECNR status may be excluded from emigration checks. For those who require a passport quickly, the Tatkal scheme is available. It is critical to stay up to date on changes in regulations and requirements by visiting the official Passport Seva website or visiting the nearest Passport Seva Kendra for accurate and up-to-date information.
PASSPORTS IN INDIA: TYPES AND VALIDITY
- Regular Passport: It is issued to ordinary citizens for ordinary travel, such as vacation and business trips.
- Diplomatic Passport: It is issued to individuals representing the Indian government on official business.
- Official Passport: It is issued to government officials for travel associated with their jobs.
Validity: The validity of an Indian passport depends on the applicant’s age at the time of issuance. For individuals above 18 years, the passport is usually valid for 10 years. For minors (below 18), it is valid for 5 years.
The Passport Laws in India: Legal Framework
PASSPORT ACT, 1967
The Passports Act, 1967 is a crucial legislation in India that regulates the issuance, renewal, and usage of passports. It defines different classes of passports, designates Passport Authorities, and empowers them to issue and impound passports. The Act outlines the application process, grounds for refusal, and appeal procedures. It emphasizes that passports are the property of the government.
The Act also lists offenses related to passports and prescribes penalties for violations. Under this Act, the Central Government is granted the authority to make rules and delegate powers. It plays a vital role in ensuring proper documentation for international travel and maintaining national security.
The Passports Act, 1967 is a comprehensive legislation governing passports in India. Below are some key provisions of the Act along with the corresponding sections:
- Section 3 – Classes of Passports and Travel Documents: Different classes of passports, such as ordinary, diplomatic, and official passports, are defined.
- Section 4 – Passport Authorities: Officials, including the President, Vice President, and Governor of a state, are designated as Passport Authorities with the power to issue passports.
- Section 5 – Power to Impound Passport or Travel Document: Passport Authorities have the authority to impound or revoke passports under certain circumstances.
- Section 6 – Applications for Passports, Travel Documents, and Visas: The procedure for applying for passports, travel documents, and visas is outlined.
- Section 7 – Issue of Passports and Travel Documents: Grounds for issuing or refusing passports are specified.
- Section 10 – Appeals: Applicants have the right to appeal against an order of refusal to issue or renew a passport.
- Section 12 – Passport to be Property of Government: Passports and travel documents are declared as the property of the Government of India.
PASSPORT RULES, 1980
The Passport Rules, 1980, supplement the Passports Act, 1967, and provide detailed guidelines for the implementation of passport provisions in India. These rules cover various aspects of passport issuance and usage. They specify the procedures for passport application, address verification, police clearance, and the Tatkal scheme for expedited issuance.
The rules define the conditions for granting Emigration Check Not Required (ECNR) status and outline the grounds for impounding or revoking passports. They also detail the process for reporting and obtaining a replacement for lost or damaged passports. Adhering to these rules is crucial for ensuring proper documentation and lawful international travel for Indian citizens.
- Tatkal Scheme is an expedited passport issuance process for urgent travel needs.
- Applicants under Tatkal need to pay additional fees for faster processing.
- Tatkal passports are generally issued within a shorter time frame compared to regular passport applications.
- ECNR (Emigration Check Not Required) status exempts certain travellers from emigration clearance for specific countries.
- Eligibility for ECNR status is based on factors like educational qualifications and age.
- Holders of ECNR passports can travel to designated countries without requiring emigration checks.
PASSPORT SEVA KENDRAS (PSKs)
- PSKs are centres where passport-related services are provided to the public.
- They offer services like application submission, document verification, and biometric data capture.
- PSKs are part of the initiative to simplify and streamline the passport issuance process for Indian citizens.
PASSPORT (ENTRY INTO INDIA) ACT, 1920
The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 is an Indian legislation that empowers the government to regulate the entry of foreigners into India. It allows the central government to issue orders specifying the conditions under which foreigners may enter and stay in India. According to the Act, authorities have the right to deny entry to any foreigner they determine to be a security or public interest risk. Additionally, it gives the government the power to establish guidelines for the issuing and revocation of passports and other travel papers to foreign nationals. To protect national security and control foreign immigration, the Passport (immigration into India) Act, 1920 is essential.
- Know the validity period of your passport and the rules for its renewal.
- Abide by the rules and regulations related to passports and avoid any fraudulent practices.
- Understand the offenses related to passports, such as providing false information, and be aware of the corresponding penalties.
- Know your right to appeal if your passport application is refused.
Understanding the provisions of the Passports Act, 1967, and the Passport Rules, 1980, is essential for every Indian citizen seeking to obtain a passport or travel internationally. Knowledge of the Tatkal Scheme can help individuals with urgent travel needs avail faster passport processing, while awareness of ECNR status allows eligible travellers to bypass emigration checks for specific countries.
Moreover, the presence of Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) simplifies the application process, ensuring efficient and convenient passport services. By being familiar with these aspects, citizens can comply with regulations, make informed decisions, and ensure a smooth and lawful travel experience.
- Passport Act, 1967
- Passport Rules, 1980
- The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920
- ‘Passport Seva’, Passport India, available at: https://passportindia.gov.in/AppOnlineProject/online/PassportAct (Last Visited: 28 July 2023).
- ‘The Passport (Entry in india) act 1920’, Ministry of Home Affairs, available at: https://www.mha.gov.in/PDF_Other/act1920_17042017.pdf (Last Visited: 28 July 2023).