Afghanistan Rolls Out ICAO-Compliant Machine-Readable Passports and Visas

Report
from International Organization for Migration
Published on 05 Mar 2013

IOM will today formally hand over a Central Passport Office complete with Afghanistan's first-ever machine-readable passport and visa-issuing system to the country's Ministry of Interior.

Funded by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), IOM's assistance to the Government of Afghanistan has included the construction and refurbishment of the Ministry of Interior premises, the purchase of the passport and visa-issuing equipment, and the hiring and training of the Central Passport Office staff across the country.

In addition, IOM has also trained the consular staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in all 60 overseas consulates on how to use the new computerized system.

"Some 1,200 machine-readable ordinary passports and 500 machine-readable visas have been printed in this pilot phase," said General Sayed Naser Hashimi, Head of the Passport Office at the Ministry of Interior. "We hope to be able to print 500 passports daily," he added.

The project will bring Afghanistan in line with international standards in travel document security, making the new Afghan travel document a reliable source of identity, thus facilitating international travel for Afghan citizens.

"Improved travel document security and identity verification will contribute to enhanced international security as well as help curb undocumented migration," says Marco Boasso, IOM's Chief of Mission in Afghanistan

Prior to the full-scale rollout of ordinary passports at the Ministry of Interior, IOM first established a similar system aimed at printing diplomatic and service passports exclusively at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The office has been fully operational since August 2011 and has so far issued 1,500 diplomatic passports and 25,000 service passports.

As a result, all Afghan consulates abroad are now issuing machine-readable visas to foreign nationals. These visas are fully compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommendations and global best practices.

For more information, please contact Aanchal Khurana at IOM Kabul, Tel. +93 (0)7 93 20 60 76, Email: akhurana@iom.int.

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