EAM Sushma Swaraj launched Passport Seva app

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched Mobile Passport Application on the occasion of 6th Passport Seva Divas on 26 June 2018 in New Delhi. Through mPassportSeva app, people can apply for a passport from any part of the country. Police verification will be done on the address, provided by the applicant on the app, another step towards simplification of passport service to people.

First all-woman POPSK starts operations

In a first, a Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) run by an all-woman team has started operations on 14th May in Phagwara, Punjab. It was 192nd POPSK in the country, but the first one to be operated by an all-woman team. The Seva Kendra was inaugurated by Union Minister Vijay Sampla in the local head Post Office.

E-Gates to give immigration clearance

From January 2019, low-risk foreign travelers will not have to wait in long queues at airport immigration counters. The Indian government plans to install special automated kiosks — e-Gates — for speedy document and identity verification. At the e-Gates, foreigners can present their machine-readable passports, place their fingerprints on the scanner and complete a customs declaration.

India, Panama signed two agreements

India and Panama have signed two agreements on the exemption of Visas for holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports and in the field of Agriculture. Two centres for Biodiversity and Innovation will be set up by India in Panama. Both the countries have agreed to strengthen cooperation in tax information, air services, traditional medicines, culture and space.

PNB impounds passports of wilful defaulters

Punjab National Bank has impounded passports of 150 wilful loan defaulters who are not repaying loans.This is the first such revelation made by any bank, following govt’s instructions to banks on seeking passport copies of all those who have borrowed more than ` 50 crore. PNB has already declared 1,084 wilful defaulters & has published photos of 260 such defaulters in newspapers.

India, Swaziland signed 2 agreements

India and Swaziland have signed two agreements in the field of Health and Medicine and Visa department on 9th April.One agreement deals with granting of the visa waiver for the diplomats and officials holding relevant passports. The other agreement is to ensure cooperation in the field of health and medicine. The agreements were signed in the presence of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.

India, Azerbaijan ink two documents

India and Azerbaijan have inked two documents for the visa waiver for diplomatic, official and service passports holders and cooperation between diplomatic training institutes.The agreements were signed during the ongoing visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to that country. Mrs Swaraj is there to be part of 18th NAM Ministerial Conference in Baku.

India, Iran sign nine MoUs

India & Iran have signed 9 Memorandums of Understanding following the delegation-level talks b/w PM Modi & Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.The agreements were signed in areas like double taxation avoidance, extradition, agricultural cooperation, port lease, medicine & others. Both the countries also signed an agreement on exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic passports.

Puducherry’s 1st POPSK at Karaikal

The first Post Office Passport Seva Kendra (POPSK) of Puducherry was inaugurated by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs at Karaikal.The POPSK at Karaikal is the 60th POPSK to have become functional since the launch of the scheme in January 2017. It is the first POPSK to become operational in the UT of Puducherry.

Migrant Workers to Have Orange Passports

New passports for citizens who have Emigration Check Required (ECR) status will have orange cover jackets, instead of the traditional dark blue.Indian passports have a blue cover, diplomatic and official passports have white and red jackets, respectively. Applicants who haven’t cleared 10th standard are given a passport with ECR category.

Passport not a valid address proof

Passports may not serve as a valid proof of address anymore.Govt. has decided not to print the last page of the document with the address of the holder. Currently, the last page of the passport includes the father or legal guardian’s name, the names of the holder’s mother, spouse and their address. The Indian Security Press (ISP), Nasik, would be designing the new passports in due course.

Children exempt from passport biometrics

The government has exempted children up to the age of five years from giving their biometrics to the passport issuing authority.Union minister of state for External Affairs General (retd.) V. K. Singh, made this announcement.However, they will have to be physically present at the Passport Seva Kendra for their photographs to be taken for the passport.

‘Most powerful’ passport: Singapore

As per ‘Global Passport Power Rank 2017’, compiled by international financial advisory firm Arton Capital, passport of Singapore is now the “most powerful” passport in the world. The index ranks national passports on basis of Visa-Free Score. VFS is number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival. Higher ranking indicates better global mobility.

Reliance Foundation awarded

Reliance Foundation was awarded the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Award for its contribution to promotion of sports during the national sports awards ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Foundation focuses on using sports as a medium to encourage learning & breed leadership among youth in rural areas. The foundation also backs Indian Super League, which has now become India’s premier football tournament.

Canada to allow gender-neutral passports

Canadian citizens who do not identify as male or female will soon be able to mark “X” on their passports and other identity documents. The step has been taken so that Canadians are able to better reflect their gender identity. This measure will advance equality for all Canadian citizens irrespective of their gender identity and expression.

First Videsh Bhavan in Mumbai

Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate country’s first Videsh Bhavan, assimilating all Regional Passport Offices under one roof, at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. As a first pilot project, 4 offices of MEA – RPO, PoE, Branch Secretariat & Regional Office of ICCR have been assimilated & brought under one roof. It is expected to cut costs besides improving efficiency & hastening delivery of services

Physical Police verification to end

Govt is planning to end physical police verification for passports by replacing it with a connection to national database of crimes & criminals that will keep track of background of a passport applicant. CCTNS is expected to be linked with passport service allowing online police verification for passports within a year. It will minimise contact with police & reduce time.

First transgender passport issued by Pak

Pakistan has issued its first ever third-gender passport to Farzana Riaz, a transgender activist. The passport issued to Farzana mentions gender as X and not as a male or female. The activist said the new passport would help her campaign globally on behalf of her community. In 2009, Pakistan became one of the first countries in the world to legally recognise a third sex.

Passports to be in English and Hindi

23 : While addressing an event to mark 50 years of the Passport Act, 1967, External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj announced that passports will now be in both Hindi and English, and not just in English. Personal details in passports are now printed only in English. She also announced 10 per cent reduction in passport fee for applicants who are under eight and over 60 years of age.

Govt announces 149 new POPSK

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has announced that the govt. will soon open 149 new Post Office Passport Seva Kendra. These will be in addition to 86 POPSKs announced by MEA in the first phase. Govt. has set up a target that no one has to travel more than a radius of 50 kms to get a passport. NDA govt has altogether opened or announced 251 PSKs and POPSKs since coming to power.

Passports at PO from next month

From next month, people in select cities will be able to apply for passports in post offices under an ambitious initiative of the External Affairs Ministry. This is aimed at making the passport issuance process hassle-free and ease burden on passport offices. Initially they will be available in select post offices in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jharkhand.

Putin Gives Russian Passport to Steven

President Vladimir Putin has presented US action film star Steven Seagal with a Russian passport. Putin called the gesture a sign of a thaw in relations with the United States. It comes after he awarded Seagal Russian citizenship through a presidential decree earlier this month. Seagal has vocally defended Putin’s policies in recent years and become a regular visitor to Russia.