An MHK this week questioned the Cabinet Office Minister about the problems Manx passport holders have faced when trying to obtain Indian tourist visas.
His question came after Manx passport holders reported experiencing difficulties in having their passports recognised by Indian consular services, with Mr Moorhouse describing it as ‘a recurring issue over several years that needs resolving’.
Ms Lord-Brennan said that Manx passport holders could visit India on the same terms as standard British ones (or the other British crown dependencies), with ‘their status treated in the same way, in that they all require a visa to visit India’.
However, the minister clarified that: ‘There is a difference in the process available for obtaining an Indian visa.
‘A British citizen holding a standard British passport is able to use the Indian Government’s e-visa system for applying for a visa, whilst this option is not currently available for a British citizen holding an Isle of Man variant passport.
‘This is because the Indian e-visa system is not set up to recognise the variant British passports,’ she added.
Ms Lord-Brennan continued: ‘The Isle of Man as a crown dependency is represented internationally by the United Kingdom, HM Passport office and Home Office are aware of this matter and will continue to work with the relevant UK and Indian authorities to help resolve this matter as quickly as possible.
‘Until such time that the Indian e-visa service is modified to allow British citizens holding an Isle of Man variant passport to apply for an Indian e-visa, then those wishing to apply for an Indian visa are advised that they make their application in the traditional way, direct with the Indian High Commission’.
Mr Moorhouse, an Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK, told the Manx Independent: ‘What appears to be an administrative oversight has caused tremendous issues to several local people.
‘I am aware of a woman who had issues in 2020 when travel was already difficult and again several local residents who were planning to visit India for a wedding are very frustrated, especially when those being affected are aware of partners and others with British passports who have had no issues.’
Isle of Man passports are issued by the island’s Lieutenant Governor, rather than the British monarch.
They do not have ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ on the cover, because the Isle of Man is not part of the UK.
Before Britain left the EU, there was a functional difference in that Manx passport holders did not enjoy the immediate right to live and work in EU member states, as the Isle of Man itself was never part of the EU.