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Diplomatic Passport Overview


Recently, embroiled in a sex abuse case, one of the Indian political Party’s Member of Parliament (MP) fled to Germany on a diplomatic passport.


Facts for Prelims

Diplomatic Passport Overview

  • Appearance and Validity:
    • Maroon cover.
    • Valid for five years or less.
  • Privileges and Immunities:
    • Holders entitled to privileges and immunities under international law.
    • Includes immunity from arrest, detention, and certain legal proceedings in host country.
Issuing Authority
  • Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Consular, Passport & Visa Division
    • Issues diplomatic passports (‘Type D’ passports) to individuals falling into five categories:
    • Diplomatic status holders.
    • Government-appointed individuals for official business.
    • Officers of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) branches A and B, typically Joint Secretary rank and above.
    • Relatives and immediate family of IFS and MEA officers.
    • Select individuals authorized for official government travel.
Revocation of Passport
  • Passport Act 1967 governs revocation.
  • Passport authority may cancel passport with Central government approval.
  • Grounds for revocation include wrongful possession, suppression of information, court orders prohibiting departure from India, or criminal court proceedings.
Operational Visa Exemption Agreement

India’s Agreements:

  • Operational visa exemption agreements for diplomatic passport holders with 34 countries, including Germany.
  • Reciprocal deal with Germany since 2011 exempts Indian diplomatic passport holders from visa requirement for stays up to 90 days.

Similar Agreements:

  • India has similar agreements with countries like France, Austria, Afghanistan, Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, Iran, and Switzerland.
  • Additionally, agreements with 99 other countries provide visa exemption for stays up to 90 days for diplomatic, service, and official passport holders.

-Source: Indian Express

May 2024