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Vietnamese government unveils draft bill for biometric passports


Vietnam will roll out biometric e-passports by 2020 to make border crossing more convenient and secure, according to a draft law from the public security ministry reported by Viet Nam News.

The ministry is seeking public feedback for the bill, which proposes storing fingerprint scans, a photo, and a digital signature from the issuing agency, along with personal information on a microchip embedded in the passport. The microchip would be compatible with most e-passport readers around the world, according to Viet Nam News. A project to produce and issue e-passports has already been approved by the government, and just awaits legal footing. If the current bill is passed, it is expected to take effect in July 2020.

The number of Vietnamese citizens travelling internationally has grown from 6.1 million in 2013 to 9.2 million in 2017.

The 39-article draft law would also replace current travel documents with passports expiring after one year in certain conditions, which the government says is proof of its focus on protecting citizens should they be unable to meet the requirements for long-term passports.

Barbados joined the growing ranks of countries issuing biometric passports last year, and research from IATA shows nearly half of air travel passengers would replace their passports with biometric scans if they could.

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