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New UAE electronic passports issued

posted on 05/12/2011: 2161 views

New UAE electronic passports (e-passport) were launched yesterday, an official said at a press conference.

"One hundred and seventeen UAE electronic passports were issued so far in the few hours that preceded the press conference," said Major-General Nasser Al Awadi Al Menhali, Assistant Undersecretary of Naturalisation, Residency and Exits Affairs.

Thirty-three offices have started issuing the new passport. The same formalities, fee and necessary documents (for the previous passport) apply to the new passport, which can be issued within 24 hours after applying for it. "The new passport has high security specifications that would foil any fraud attempt, and conforms to the international guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)," Al Menhali added.

The e-passport has a microchip in the last page that contains encrypted biometric data to prevent forgery. The passport photograph, signature and fingerprint are printed and cannot be modified.

Shape factor

The first and last pages are made of hard paper thicker than that of the old passport — a measure that allows it to remain in good shape until the passport expires.

The first page contains a watercolour outline of the outer frame of Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the last page contains a drawing of the actual mosque with domes and columns.

"This is a one-week trial in case of any technical problem or delay but our employees have been highly trained to carry out the new procedures smoothly," Al Menhali said.

The new passports contain data to resolve name duplication, which is one of the biggest issues that existed with old passports. The ICAO gives all countries until 2014 to issue the electronic passports.

The UAE is the second country after Qatar to issue the electronic passport with more sophisticated technology.

"All international airports have been informed of the new passports so that UAE nationals can start using their new passports in their travel abroad," Al Menhali said.

Priority levels

"Priority will be given to those citizens whose passports have expired or those in need of a passport and don't have one," he said.

"Eventually all citizens wishing to get the new passport can apply at a later stage. We have the potential to issue 100 passports every ten minutes," he added.

The renewal of the electronic passport should be done in the UAE.

Citizens resident abroad can apply for the new passport through the UAE embassies in their respective countries.

The embassies will send their passports to the UAE for renewal.

"The project of the new passport started a year ago but the launch date was meant to be on the first day of work after the National Day as a present from the Ministry of Interior to Emirati citizens," Al Menhali said. â€" Gulf News


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