January 15, 2015 -
Ukraine began issuing biometric passports this week, as Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk unveiled plans to issue 2.5 million passports every year, according to a report by Interfax Ukraine.
The move has been a long time coming, with the Ukraine State Migration Service announcing back in early 2013 its plans to complete all the work required to issue biometric passports by 2016.
“Ukraine is currently at the second stage of preparations for the introduction of a visa-free regime with the EU,” Yatseniuk said while opening a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers in Kyiv last week.
“The main element that needs to be done is to introduce biometric passports. Biometric passports will be issued in Ukraine from January 12. They meet the basic European standards and are one of the key requirements for Ukrainians to be able to travel to EU countries without visas.”
According to Yatseniuk, the Ukraine government has set up 35 terminals capable of issuing over 2,000 biometric passports per month and expects to have 606 points for issuing these biometric passports fully operational by February 15.
“In 2015, we will reach the figure of 2.5 million passports per year. Now we issue 1.5 million [passports per year], and then we will issue 2.5 [million passports per year],” said.
All current passports held by Ukrainians will continue to be valid until their expiry date or until the individual replaces the passport with a biometric passport.