Costa Rica switches to biometric passports, Nigeria opens new production center
The list of countries issuing biometric passports to their citizens continues to get longer, as Costa Rica has joined in with an announcement to switch to the biometric travel document, with issuance beginning March 7. Nepal for its part has also announced that its embassy in Doha started issuing biometric passports to applicants early this month. Meanwhile, Nigeria, days ago, also inaugurated a biometric passport production center in the city of Enugu to serve the Southeast geopolitical zone of the country.
Costa Rica switches to biometric passport
The country’s immigration service said the introduction of biometric passports from March 7 is in fulfilment of an announcement made last year, and the move is intended to make the travel document more secure, reports Q Costa Rica.
Authorities say the new passport with cutting-edge features will prevent identity fraud, and ease identity verification and authentication processes for holders at airports.
Per the report, the new passport dubbed the ‘Biometric Bicentennial Passport,’ with a validity period of ten years (up from six for the old version) costs US$75 plus ¢250 colones (equivalent to US$0.39) and will be produced within a period of 48 hours from the time of application.
Immigration authorities have called on citizens not to abandon their old travel documents as they will still be in use until the end of their validity.
“The realization of this project has been an arduous process for our institution, it has been thanks to the perseverance of the officials of the DGME that make up the Bicentennial Biometric Passport Project team, that today, in an emotional moment, we disconnected the system to make way for technological modernization processes with biometrics and digitization,” Raquel Vargas, Costa Rica’s director of Immigration, was quoted as saying.
New biometric passport center for Southeast Nigeria
Nigeria’s Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola recently flagged off an ultra-modern biometric passport production center in the city of Enugu with the goal of checking the many ills plaguing passport issuance in that zone of the country, writes The Nation. Some of such ills include fraudulent practices involving staff of the Nigeria Immigration Service, the report suggests.
Speaking at the inaugural, the Minister explained measures taken by the federal government to facilitate payment and application processes for the passport, saying applicants can carry out payments and pre-enrollment from the comfort of their homes.
Aregbesola cautioned citizens against using third-parties to apply for passports and spoke about the wait time for the travel document – which is six weeks for new applications and three weeks for renewals.
Nepalese in Qatar begin receiving biometric passports
Nepal’s embassy in Doha has become the country’s first diplomatic mission to issue biometric passport to Nepalese living abroad.
According to The Peninsular, the Chargé d’Affaires at the embassy Lakshuman Khanal handed the first copies of the passports to citizens recently, and expressed gratitude to the Nepalese government for making that possible.
Arrangements are said to be underway for all districts and diplomatic missions to begin issuing the new version travel document, the report notes.
Applicants can complete the application process online using the website of the Department of Passport of Nepal, before visiting established capture centers for the collection of their biometrics, The Peninsular mentions.
Biometric passports issuance started in Nepal last November.