Some interesting details about passports and applying for them
According to the American State Department, only about 30% of the American population has a passport implying that a majority of them do not. India is no different with only 5.15% of Indians having passports. Out of 132 crores of people, only 6.8 crores of them have valid passports to their name. Overall, India does generate a very large number of passports only surpassed by two countries, America and China.
Passports are an important document to facilitate the travel of individuals out of the country. Depending on the nationality of the passport holder, there are certain countries they can travel to without visas, but a passport is mandatory.
Here are some interesting facts about them.
- Passports have to be renewed six months before their expiration if they are to be used to travel. Passport holders cannot apply for a visa with less than 6 months on their passport so they have to be renewed sooner.
- Some countries make passport holders update their passport pictures if they put on or lose weight. Additionally, if a passport holder gets tattoos on their face or surgery, they have to apply to change their picture.
- Passports from various countries have different security features to prevent them from being forged. These have kept increasing over the years to what they are now. There was a time when family photos, as well as beach backdrops and long robes, were used in pictures when applying for a passport.
- Most passports have some feature of the country in their print or design, other than having the country mentioned as well. Even the application process asks for more information than other Government authorised documents.
- As of last year, Germany has the most powerful passport in the world. People holding
German passports can travel to 178 out of 218 countries while people from Britain can
travel to a close 173. Syrians have the least powerful passport allowing them to travel to only 30 countries.
- Most countries with a Muslim majority have a green passport since the colour is symbolic to the religion.
- Passports from Norway and Canada have some interesting features and details on them that can only be seen under a UV light.
- Various countries have different passport stamps and their own style of using them.
- One of the first proper passports originated in England with a letter from a King. Until the second world war, passports didn’t have photographs. Furthermore, changes and amendments were handwritten.
What is the process to apply for a passport?
Nowadays, the entire passport application process can be handled through an online platform. Applicants have to fill out the right forms and can submit them directly which is a blessing in times of quarantine and lockdown. They will then be given a date when they have to visit the passport office to provide their fingerprints, eye scans and their pictures which will be taken there.
Based on the current situation, this might only happen post lockdown.