E-Passports to Be Issued Next Year

The directorate of Immigration and Passport (I&P) will start issuing e-passports from March 2018, announced Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal here on Wednesday.

Director General I&P Usman Bajwa and representative of French company Gemalto singed a contract for preparation of e-passports at the Ministry of Interior. The French company has been declared successful in the tender issued for e-passport project.

What is an E-Passport

E-passport is a biometric passport that has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of passport holder or traveler.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Iqbal said that e-passports will first be issued for diplomats and officials in March 2018 and then will be available for citizens from June 2018.

“This step will improve image of Pakistani passport across the world,” he remarked.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Wednesday said introduction of E-passport system would boost the country’s credibility at the international level.

Giving details about the new system, Ahsan Iqbal said that in the first phase, E-passports would be issued to government officials, including staff of Pakistanis embassies abroad in March 2018 and in the second phase to common citizens in the month of August.

He added that e-passport was a modern technology that would help overcome the practice of misuse of passports and facilitate the public.

The minister stated that the Interior Ministry had taken several measures during the last two years to improve the passport system, by issuance of online passports, mobile payments and executive passports.

Former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had approved the introduction of e-passports last year. The project was supposed to be fully operational by the current year, but questions had been raised regarding transparency of procurement process which resulted in its delay.