The upcoming mobile app will enable users to fill up the application, pay the fee and take an appointment at the nearest Passport Seva Kendra

Very soon, the general public can apply for passports through smartphones.

The mobile app, which is still a few months away from being available for download, will enable users to fill up the passport application, pay the application fee using credit/debit cards and take an appointment with the passport officer at the nearest Passport Seva Kendra (PSK).

“Instead of laptops, which are now used to fill up online passport applications, the public can now use smartphones to complete tasks like applying for a passport etc. We are hoping to launch this product all over India in few months. Our partners, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), are providing us the technical support,” said Chief Passport Officer (CPO) Muktesh K. Pardeshi. The Central Passport Organisation (CPO) under the Ministry of External Affairs, is already offering mPassport Seva, a mobile application for Android users. The app, however, only allows users to track the passport application status, locate the nearest PSK and gather general information on different procedures of the application.

The CPO told reporters here on Wednesday that the upcoming mobile passport app was a major technical upgrade for the department and even for general public.

“We used to issue handwritten passports. Gradually, we introduced the e-passport, enabling users to apply online. Now, we are taking our services further ahead by targeting the mobile population,” he said.

Aadhaar linkage

The CPO, who was on a one-day visit to Hyderabad to participate in an e-commerce conference, said that in future, passports issued would be integrated with the Aadhaar cards.

“The Aadhaar card integration with passport applications is a long-term goal. It will take a while to complete that process because not everyone has an Aadhaar card,” he said.

Plugging fakes

The top passport official also pointed out that the recent decision to print passports with Letter Screen Image (LSI), popularly known as Ghost Images and double lamination of the main sheet of the passport has helped counter fake passports. Earlier this year, the MEA introduced strong counterfeit features like the LSI — replication of the photograph of the applicant in the form of a ghost image.

“We have used European technology to come up with double lamination and GI techniques. It would be very difficult to counterfeit such passports. The personal data of the applicant such as name, address, date of birth and passport registration number is embedded in tiny fonts on the ghost image. This will make counterfeiting impossible,” Mr. Pardeshi claimed.

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