Complete guide on diplomatic passport in India

“What is a diplomatic passport?” and “Difference between diplomatic and official passport” are the most common types of question people come across. A diplomatic passport is given to some civil servants who are involved in representing and negotiating for the government. The people represent governmental issues in other countries.  

Eligibility criteria for a diplomatic passport

A diplomatic passport in India is issues to the people falling under these categories:

  • All officers belonging to the Indian Foreign Services (Branch A) while traveling abroad on official business.
  • Selected officers from Indian Foreign Services (Branch B) as well as officers in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and other Ministries travelling abroad on official business as decided by the Foreign Services Board in MEA.
  • Wife/Official Hostess/Husband/Dependent Son/Dependent Daughter/Dependent Parents of an eligible official as per (a) and (b) above, when they are travelling abroad with the official and their dependent status is recognized by the Ministry.
  • Person having/being granted diplomatic status because of his position or nature of the foreign mission may be issued a diplomatic passport by the Central Government.
  • Spouse of an official as defined in (a) above.

Diplomatic Passport Benefits

Listed below are some of the benefits of having a diplomatic passport. This also helps people to tell a difference between diplomatic and official passport:

  • Red carpet treatment and diplomatic lounge use at many airports
  • No tax liability on several income sources
  • No counting the days for immigration purposes
  • Easier visa restrictions
  • Use of CC or CD or Consul license plates on cars
  • Access to salon d’honneur government lounges
  • Prestige internationally
  • Instant door opener in political or business environments
  • Meeting top ranking government officials in any country
  • Sovereign inviolable status of your home and residence
  • Free visas to any country and visa free travel in many cases
  • Never pay airport departure tax
  • Volvo and BMW diplomatic cars at 20-40% discount (max 2 cars per year)
  • Travel upgrades on airlines and hotels.

Difference between Diplomatic and Official Passport

The official passport: This passport is typically issued to Govt. employees who are travelling on national duty, typically to represent the country. Kindly note, such passports are not issued to individuals traveling for overseas assignments, only to people who travel on internationally for official state Business.

The diplomatic passport: The Diplomatic Passport is given to top ranking govt. officials, consuls, top officials of the Indian Foreign Service travelling on duty, their dependents and essentially, anyone anointed with the status of a Diplomat.

Documents required to apply for a passport

If the applicant clears the eligibility criteria and is approved by the Central Government for diplomatic passport, the applicant will be required to submit the following documents to apply for a diplomatic passport:

  • Form P-1
  • Form P-1(A)
  • 2 photos with white background (The photos must be pasted on 1st and 2nd pages and attested across by head of office)
  • Political/PMO clearance
  • Copy of ID of applicant or head of office
  • Safe Custody Certificate
  • Existing Official/diplomatic passport (original)
  • If official/diplomatic passport already cancelled under section PV-II, then cancellation certificate in original.