Maldives has become the first South Asian nation to issue for its citizens e-passports, compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization specifications.
The new passport follows a completely new design, and features the passport holder's facial and fingerprint information as biometric identifiers, according to a statement from the Maldives immigration department.
It is designed to enable easier passage for Maldivian nationals when they travel abroad.
One of the first holders of the e-passport, Ibrahim Shaheeb, first secretary in the Maldivian high commission in New Delhi, told IANS that he had a smooth passage when he transited in Sri Lanka while on his way to New Delhi recently.
According to the press release, the new passport is printed by Austrian State Printing House, Osterreichische Staatsdruckerei, with IRIS Corp of Malaysia supplying the inlays for the microchip that is embedded on the back cover.
Despite the introduction of this new generation passports, passports issued on or before July 25 can be used until their expiry. And it is not compulsory for anyone to switch to the new passport, according to the Maldivian authorities.
Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was presented with the first such e-passport at a ceremony in Male on July 26, Maldives' Independence Day.
Source: News Post India