Namibia switches to electronic passports


Namibia has ceased the issuing of machine-readable passports and will start issuing biometric or electronic passports as from Monday 08 January 2018.

This was announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration's Director for Immigration and Border Control, Nehemia Nghishekwa, on Friday at a media briefing here.

Nghishekwa explained the electronic passport is a highly secure travel document with a chip which enhances security purposes.

"The drive is to maintain the integrity of the Namibian travelling documents and to render it difficult for forging," said Nghishekwa.

He emphasised the decision was as per the United Nations (UN) body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements which urged for all UN member countries to implement the electronic passports.

Nghishekwa explained that Namibia had an untainted reputation internationally, making it an ideal target for international travel document fraudsters.

Nghishekwa noted that the electronic passports come with general security features compared to the previous passports, adding that the electronic passports contain 40 pages compared to the 32 pages of the previous passports.

The electronic passport features include the Namibian map on the inside of the cover page, images of the Namibian Parliament, the national Welwitschia plant and a watermark on all pages.

He noted that the machine-readable passports currently in circulation, which include ordinary, diplomatic and official passports, will run concurrently with the new electronic passports until they outlive their lifespan of up to five years.

"The current machine-readable passports are still accepted in the international world, however, they are phasing out," he said.

The electronic passports will cost N.dollars 160 and the waiting period will remain the same.

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