E-passport from English New Year
From the coming English New Year, e-passport (electronic passport) will be formally introduced in Nepal. The Passport Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that preparations are being made to test the electronic passport before it is introduced.
Dornath Aryal, director general of the department, said that the department has put forward a plan to start a three-month trial period from the last week of October. It is being prepared to introduce electronic passport from the first week of January 2022 after the end of the trial period.
Aryal of the department informed that the work of production of electronic passport has been expedited by signing an agreement with the French company Idemia Identity and Security France SAS in September last year. On December 23 last year, an agreement was reached for the production of electronic passports at a cost of around Rs 2.5 billion.
According to him, 2 million electronic passports will be printed in the first phase. As the government of Nepal has already approved the design of the passport, only the formality of printing is left. Necessary technical preparations are being made to print it in Nepal.
The electronic passport is known as the third generation of ISO 1903 recognized passports in the world. Secure chips are attached to the polycarbonate sheet of this passport. In which various details of the person are stored. Due to which, electronic passport is considered to be very secure and reliable, pointed out Director General Aryal.
According to him, the existing machine readable passport can be updated until the electronic passport is introduced. For which there is still a stock of three lakh passports. The department has urged to make electronic passport if necessary rather than in a hurry.
He said, “The number of beneficiaries who have come to ask for an electronic passport has increased. It is not necessary to make it until the expiration date.”
Earlier, citizenship number was mandatory for everyone when applying for a passport. The number of national identity card has also been made mandatory to discourage misuse of electronic passport.
The Government of Nepal has not distributed national identity cards to all Nepali citizens. So far, only about 3 million people have been issued national identity cards.
He said, “National identity card is a very personal identity number, which does not match each other and is also very secure in terms of digital security.”
That is why when the registration number of the identity card is linked with the electronic passport, there is no possibility of anyone committing mischief. The department has stressed on the need to start the distribution by setting up a separate desk at the registration department and the district administration office. The department is preparing to issue information for that.
In 2020, out of the total stock, 243,314 passports were issued. Rajendra Pandey, director of the department, said that the department was facing the challenge of completing the MRP passport as soon as possible and issuing the electronic passport on time.
He clarified that electronic passports will be introduced to reduce the government’s deficit by combining the old inventory and the introduction of new passports.
According to him, if you do not have a physical identity card, you can easily make an electronic passport even if you bring only the registered identity card number.
Ease of world travel
The electronic passport that will replace the MRP passport will make it easier for ordinary Nepali citizens to travel the world. According to the department, after the distribution of electronic passport, the passengers of Nepal will get the facility of international standard transportation. Nepali citizens will be relieved from the hassle of waiting in line for hours like Arubela.
After touching the electronic passport machine, the hassle of repeated testing will also be removed. Similarly, in some international airports with electronic gates, Nepali citizens will be able to move easily through the door when the door is opened for traffic by looking at the face sensor of the carrier.
Electronic passports will put an end to the situation where Nepali citizens carrying MRP passports have to wait in line for hours on various machines and undergo administrative procedures.
Identity card number is mandatory
The department has stated that the national identity card has been made mandatory for Nepali citizens living in Nepal to get an electronic passport.
Director General Aryal informed that the citizenship number will remain the same for Nepali citizens living abroad. Gorkhapatra