2.48 PM Tuesday, 23 July 2024
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 04:15 05:38 12:28 15:52 19:12 20:35
23 July 2024

No visas for non-machine readable passports from November

By Waheed Abbas

Come November 24, and your hand-written or non-machine readable passport will no longer be acceptable in other countries for visas; hence, restricting your ability to travel.

International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) has alerted about the impending deadline when all non-machine readable passports would be out of circulation.

The deadline of non-Machine Readable Passports (MRPs) expiring on November 24, 2015, applies to all types of passports: ordinary, diplomatic and service.

However, it does not apply to temporary travel documents in cases of emergency, which usually have a short validity period and are issued by consulates to distressed nationals so that they can return to their home country.

Icao has asked countries to encourage their citizens to renew any non-compliant passports before the November deadline for people holding hand-written or non-MRP passports could face denial or lengthy processes when it comes to visa issuances by other countries after the cut-off date.

“After November 24, 2015, member states may, for instance, refuse admittance to holders of non-MRPs or make visa processing more onerous and costly because of associated risks.

"If such sanctions are introduced and applied after the deadline, they would bring costs and inconvenience to holders of non-MRPs. Consequences might include financial losses, increased costs, delays, refused entries, cancelled trips and disappointment,” Icao said in its latest report.

A human resources executive in Sharjah told Emirates 24l7 that nationals from Bangladesh, Sudan and some other Asian and African countries still possess the hand-written passports.

Pakistani missions in the UAE earlier this month announced that they would no longer issue manual passports – even in emergency cases – from November 2015.

Over 120 countries claim that they are currently issuing ePassports. There are nearly half a billion ePassports in circulation and these numbers continue to increase.

Currently, 45 states are members of Icao’s Public Key Directory, the global broker for ePassport public key infrastructure verification.

Some 70 states send or receive Advance Passenger Information and an additional 30 have indicated their intention to use it in the future.

An estimated 3.2 billion passengers flew on scheduled international air services and there were an estimated, record number, 33 million aircraft departures in 2014.