If you have a handwritten passport, get it replaced by November 24th with machine readable passports as no country will accept it after the stipulated period.

The Government of India has advised to Indian citizens living in India and abroad to urgently replace their handwritten passports with machine readable passports.

The move is aimed to achieve the objective of globally phasing out of all non-machine Readable Passports (MRPs) by 24th November 2015 set by the The International Civil Aviation Organization (IACO).

Pertinent to mention, the government of India has been issuing Machine Readable Passports since 2001. However,according to the government circular, the passports issued before 2001 and particularly those issued during mid 1990s with a validity of 20 years will fall in the category of non-MRPs.

It is estimated that there are approximately 2.50 lakhs handwritten passports by the end of October 2015 still in circulation out of total 6.20 crore Indians who hold valid passports.

“Indian citizens residing in India and Abroad and holding such passports with validity beyond the 24th November 2015 should apply for re-issue of their passports well before the deadline in order to avoid any inconvenience in obtaining valid visa or international travel,” the notification reads.

The Government of India has advised that all passport issuing authorities in India and abroad have instituted a simple and fast track procedure for renewal of passports, it adds.