Soon, machine-readable passports will be a thing of the past in Namibia as the country immigration office prepare for the launch of electronic passports tomorrow Monday, January 8th, 2018.
The announcement was made by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Nehemia Nghishekwa, the Director for Immigration and Border Control, made the announcement during a media briefing in Windhoek.
Ngishekwa said the high-tech passports are fitted with highly secured chips that will enhance travelers peace of mind.
“The drive is to maintain the integrity of the Namibian travel document and to render it difficult to forge.”
Ngishekwa further explained that the rollout of electronic passport was in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements. The ICAO urges all UN member states to phase out the older machine-readable passport and replace them with the electronic passport.
He further said that although Namibia has an untainted image across the globe and that has made Namibian passports a target for fraudsters in the international travel documents. With the electronic passports, comes enhanced security features compared to the machine-readable ones. Thus it makes it much harder for fraudsters to forge it. Additionally, the electronic passports holds 40 pages, while the old one holds 32 pages.
The Namibian electronic passport will include the images of the map of Namibia inside the cover page, the national parliament, the official Namibian flow, the Welwitschia mirabilis, and of course watermarks throughout the pages.
Ngishekwa further explained that the machine-readable passports that are currently in circulation will still be valid and run concurrently with the new electronic passports up to the point they outlive their lifespan. Once they have reached the maximum five years, and the holder is required to renew their passport; they will be issued with an electronic passport upon expiry.
“The current machine-readable passports are still accepted in internationally. However, they are phasing out.”
The new passport will cost N$60, and the waiting period will remain as usual.