Pakistan had introduced an e-visa system earlier this year as part of digital transformation. Now, the government has announced the launch of a chip-enabled e-passport for added security. With this step ahead, Pakistan has become one of the pioneer countries to launch the concept. This new news had brought positivity in the air and a source of happiness for nationals.
These are traditional passports with an embedded electronic microprocessor chip. This chip will include complete biometric information to authenticate the identity of the passport holder. As per sources from the Department of Immigration and Passport, there are 50 million passport holders, and being the world’s most populated country, Pakistan will be one of the first countries to introduce an electronic passport with an integrated chip into the data page.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed had announced two important changes in this matter. The launch of the new chip-enabled e-passport begins in June 2021 and the extension of the new passport to 10 years instead of 5 years with the same fee.
This system has been declared with a budget of 534 million to make it clean, secure, and fully automated. Further, old passports will run simultaneously, and nationals who possess old passports can keep them running until their passport expires. The whole system development for the introduction of chip-enabled e-passports has been handed over to a German firm. This new digital document will simplify passport control procedures and reduce passenger’s identification time at the airports.
We have seen a drastic change in passports after 2004 when the first computerized passport was introduced. The new changes will be admired by other countries as the data reach will become a lot easier. Possession of a new passport will not be mandatory at first but will become obligatory with the passage of time.
Lastly, some other features were also introduced by the Interior Ministry in collaboration with DGIP. These features include an SMS notification 6 months prior to the passport expiry. Along with that, the new passport will get delivered to everyone’s home. Pakistanis traveling to the Middle East countries can have their 10 years passport made with a fee of 5 years i.e. PKR 3,000.