Affordable but weak: More Indians apply for passports, and more give it up too

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Affordable but weak: More Indians apply for passports, and more give it up too

Indian passport is definitely not among the more powerful ones globally. The Henley Passport Index data has been reiterating this for years. Yet it remains affordable among larger countries, according to a recent study. This could explain the growing demand for it over the years.

From 1.1 crore in 2019, the number of Indian passports issued. plunged to 0.54 crore in 2020, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since 2021, however, the number has increased steadily — from 0.74 crore to 1.17 crore in 2022, and peaking at 1.37 crore in 2023.

Cheaper by a margin

A regular 36-page Indian passport costs ₹1,500 and is valid for a decade. This makes it among the cheapest in developed and emerging markets, according to a recent 24-country study by the price comparison website Comparethemarket.

The cheapest of all is the UAE passport, at $17.7 (about ₹1,478). The added bonus is that holders can travel to 184 countries without a visa.

Following India in second placeis Hungary, where a passport costs $20.75 (about ₹1,733) and enables visa-free travel to 189 countries, making it the sixth strongest in the world.

Stamp of power

As of April 2024, the Indian passport ranks 82nd globally — enabling visa-free travel to 61 countries (including those that provide visas on arrival), and necessitating a visa for close to 70 per cent of countries. Indian passport ranks alongside those of São Tomé and Príncipe, Gabon, and Tajikistan.

The passport rank is also dependent on each country’s foreign relations and economic status. Some passports derive more power from factors such as political relations, reciprocity, and the strength of the legal system that controls illegal immigration. Additionally, some countries provide immigration pre-clearance for outbound passengers.

Switching citizenship

The passports at the top are from France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, and Spain, which enable visa-free travel to 194 countries.

The perceived “weakness” of the Indian passport could explain why more and more people are giving it up . Until the first half of 2023, 87,026 people renounced their Indian citizenship, compared with 2.25 lakh in 2022. 



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