This article on handwritten passports was updated on June 6, 2023.
Residents holding handwritten and 20-year duration passports with validity beyond November 2015 have been asked to reapply for its’ reissuance, to avoid any inconvenience in obtaining visas or problems related to immigration formalities.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has set a deadline of the 24th November, 2015 for globally phasing out of all non-Machine Readable Passports (MRPs). Machine readable zones are the area on passports which can be scanned by passport scanners. From the 25th November, 2015 onwards, foreign Governments may deny Visa or entry to any person traveling on a non-Machine Readable Passport.
All of these passports with pasted photographs are also considered non-MRPs.
Indian citizens residing in India and abroad and holding such passports with validity beyond the 24th November, 2015 are advised to apply for re-issue of their passports well before the deadline in order to avoid any inconvenience in obtaining valid visa or international travel. Although the Indian government has been issuing machine readable passports since 2001, these passports with 20-years of validity were issued as late as 2000. As of 2016, it was estimated that there were approximately 210,000 handwritten Indian passports left in circulation.
Countries who may have valid, handwritten passports in circulation
- Bangladesh. “Bangladesh has been issuing machine readable passport for many years. We have almost phased out the handwritten passports, a few might have been left”, a senior official of the Bangladesh embassy told The Peninsula.
- Nepal. “We cannot say exactly how many Nepalese expatriates still hold handwritten passports but I assure you that there will be very few,” said an official from Nepal embassy.
- Pakistan. An official of the Pakistan embassy also said that there are only few of these passports still existing, especially those having 10 year validity.
Can passport scanners read handwritten passports?
No. Even sophisticated OCR software is not capable of reading or parsing these passports. Learn more about passport scanning.