JAMMU, Feb 11: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has decided to inform passport holders about the expiry date of their passports well in advance as a citizen friendly proactive service delivery measure.
The Ministry has introduced a new SMS alert facility for renewal for the benefit of the valid passport holders. Now, passport holders will receive 2 SMSs to their registered mobile number one at 9 months and other at 7 months before the due date of expiry. Further, the message will contain the passport number and expiry date of the passport.
While informing this, N K Shil, Regional Passport Officer said that the message will also have the authorized link of website on which passport holders can submit their application online for renewal. It will help applicants in avoiding them falling prey to the fake websites in the cyber space.
As per rule, on normal course, a passport holder can apply online for renewal of his existing passport from one year before the expiry of its final validity. Again, a passport has to ordinarily have at least six months’ validity left beyond the duration of stay in many countries abroad on visa or date of return journey of the passport holder.
However, it has been observed that at times, many passport holders either fail or forget to renew their passports on time or they wait the validity of their passports to expire before submission of application online thereby resulting avertable inconveniences. In case, they are required to travel abroad at short notices on an emergent situation, they face problem for want of valid passport ready with them.
Last year, MEA started reaching out to the people whose passports were about to expire. Now, Shil iterated that the newly introduced citizen friendly approach of “SMS Alert Facility” will immensely benefit the extant passport holders for having their passports renewed well in time as per the applicable rules. He has appealed all eligible existing passport holders to avail the benefit of reminders optimally to avoid last minute rush.