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Pakistan introduces chip-based biometric passport and updated fee structure

Pakistan introduces chip-based biometric passport and updated fee structure
 

E-passports, a travel document providing security enhancements over legacy machine-readable documents, are being issued to Pakistani nationals by the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports. A digital signature, a unique identification number, and personal information are just a few of the biometric details covered by an electronic chip integrated into one of the passport pages in these state-of-the-art documents. More than 150 nations worldwide have implemented chip-based passports, which mainly improve operational effectiveness and border security. Since its launch, Pakistani nationals have had access to e-gate facilities at airports throughout the world. In addition to this change, the application procedure will be more efficient and candidates will find it easier to apply online, removing some of the drawbacks of the previous manual method.

New e-passport fee structure (March 2024)

The new e-passport fee system, which came into effect in March 2024, offers various categories like validity periods and page counts. Urgent processing incurs additional fees.

Passports with embedded electronic chips and 36 pages cost 9,000 Pakistani rupees (US$32.25) for 5 years of validity and Rs 13,500 ($48.40) for 10 years. Urgent issuance increases the cost to Rs 15,500 ($55.57) and Rs 22,500 ($80.66) respectively, and the 72-page version costs more.

Steps for new passport application

The new e-passport application process requires applicants to complete several steps at Pakistani Regional Passport Offices. When candidates reach the customer service counter, they are subjected to fee verification, image capturing, and token issuing. The official carries out the  capture of biometric data, such as fingerprints, the data input and verification. The decision is made whenever an assistant director of immigration conducts the applicant’s interview. The delivery or collection of the passport completes the procedure.

The implementation of the chip passport on March 30, 2022, was a major step in improving Pakistan’s delivery of public services. The chip passport, inaugurated by the former Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan, consists of an integrated electronic chip storing biometric data to improve digital identification verification. Strong security features protect against the impersonation of travelers, including infrared radiation (IR) and ultraviolet radiation (UV) as well as compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations.

Key salient features of e-passport

Pakistan introduced modern biometric passports in 2022, the “e-passports.” These contemporary travel documents have a data sheet with an embedded electronic chip made of robust polycarbonate. With the holder’s picture, biometric information, personal information, a unique identification number, and a digital signature, this chip secures biometric data and guarantees accurate identity verification. Following ICAO guidelines set by the United Nations, Pakistani nationals can travel more efficiently by using e-gates at international airports, thanks to the inclusion of a contactless, near-field communication (NFC) chip in their e-passports. The important aspects of e-passports are laser engraving for authenticity and anti-tampering, along with chip-based data storage. An e-gate facility also expedites immigration procedures, guaranteeing rapid and safe border crossings. At airports, real-time matching of individualized data improves security and ensures passport holders have a smooth travel experience.

Benefits of Pakistan e-passport

The Pakistan e-passport provides accessibility and security to Pakistanis living abroad, in addition to its several advantages. Travelers can swiftly navigate airport procedures when they have access to e-gate facilities across the globe. Additionally, the switch from manual to computerized systems expedites procedures, which is advantageous to immigration authorities as well as applicants.

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