Biometric passports issuance progresses in Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe
There has been an increase in biometric passport issuance reported by the governments of Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe, and innovation for passport renewal in Myanmar.
Saudi Arabia issues or renews 500k passports in under a year
Since the launch of an online application on the Absher digital government platform, over 500,000 biometric passports have either been issued or renewed within a period of nine months in Saudi Arabia, Zawya reports.
Saudi Arabia launched the biometric passport in 2022 and the online application platforms in October of the same year.
According to the Kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports, once the passports are issued or renewed, they are sent to the owners via the postal service for pickup.
Saudi citizens require only their national ID card to travel to the other five member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates), while passports are needed to travel to other parts of the world.
Online visa platform launched by Zimbabwe, over 600k passports issued
Zimbabwe’s Civil Registry says a total of 674,200 biometric passports have been issued since the process started in January last year, thanks largely to efforts made by government to decentralize and digitalize the passport application and issuance process and to clear all red tape.
As Sunday News reports, this figure includes a backlog of 200,000 passports uncleared since 2019.
More women have been issued the travel credential than men, according to the civil registry, which has also pledged to continue working to remove all hurdles impeding the smooth issuance of the document.
The Registrar General Henry Machiri said already, the passport production process has been decentralized to seven provincial and six district offices. He said efforts are underway to extend the process to two more district officers and to digitalize 20 sub offices before the year runs out in order to decongest district and provincial offices.
In the meantime, the Zimbabwean government has launched what it calls the Online Border Management System (OBMS), which will allow applications for visas and residence permits to be done digitally.
According to Chronicle, Lithuanian company Garsu Pasaulis will implement the system which is part of Zimbabwe’s efforts to modernize its economy in line with its Vision 2030. The company is also the one running the biometric passport project with technological collaboration from Semlex.
Myanmar introduces tokens for ID verification during passport renewal
The Embassy of Myanmar in Thailand has announced that it will issue ID verification tokens for citizens seeking to renew their passports.
The tokens, the Embassy says, will be given from July 29 and will be used only after the passport holder’s ID has first been verified using facial recognition, writes ElevenMyanmar.
PJ passport (Job passport) holders are expected to begin renewing the credentials from August 2.