Get machine readable passports!


Welcome this holiday season not with jingle bells but warning bells. The ICAO is waving the red flag to all travelers carrying non machine readable passports and you may have to stop short in your tracks on your way to a happy new year. So take out your passport and take a good look at it and see if you got to run to the passport office before you fly off to your holiday.

What are machine readable passports?

Machine readable passports are passports recognized by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation). Unlike their prior counterparts, the non machine readable passports, these are more reliable as they are machine read. The ICAO introduced these somewhere in the 1980s and has been phasing out the non machine readable ones since.

How do I know whether my passport is machine readable?

If your passport is handwritten or has a pasted photo or has a validity of 20 years then it is not valid 24th November 2015 on-wards. The machine readable passports are printed and have a validity of not more than 10 years. Without getting too technical, the machine readable passports have data on the identity page encoded in optical character recognition format which are standardized by the ICAO. Hence can be read by a machine.

What will happen if I do travel carrying a non machine readable passport?

Foreign governments will deny visa or entry to persons travelling with non machine readable passports.I have a non machine readable passport.. What should I do?

Apply for a new passport at the earliest. Nothing special needs to be done. Just log on to and follow the usual passport application procedure.So what are you waiting for? Hop to it and get your passports renewed before you head out to your destination this new year.

Bon voyage!