Passport application process improved

A newly implemented passport data capturing system rolled out to all regional offices will significantly improve the security features of such documents_

30 October 2019 | Ministries

Etienne Maritz; Home Affairs; “This will improve passport security features.”

Swakopmund • Adolf Kaure

The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration launched the pilot of a new passport data capturing system at the Erongo regional office in Swakopmund on Friday.

At the launch, the executive director of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, Etienne Maritz who spoke on behalf of the minister, said that the system will provide improved processes in the application of passports at the Erongo regional office.

“The public will no longer have to bring passport photos when applying. It will be taken at offices where applications are made. This will improve the passport’s security features.”

Maritz said that applicants will be given an electronic receipt with a unique number as well as an SMS code for enquiries.

According to him, the ministry is in the process of rolling out the same system to other offices, of which the programme will be shared with the public in due course.

He added that the validity of passports will be ten years.

“This will lessen the demand for new passports. However, the validity of passports for applicants under 21 will remain five years because of changes in their facial features.”

Maritz said that the government is committed to facilitating lawful travel by Namibians in and outside its territory.

“It is on this basis that passports and other travel documents are essential and issued to enable citizens to travel outside the country and identify themselves to any authority at points of entry and exit.”

Namibia’s first passports and other travel documents were issued after independence in 1990. At that time travel documents were issued manually (handwritten). This progressed in 1999, to machine-readable travel documents which addressed forgery and other security concerns.

In January 2018, Namibia joined other international communities by issuing biometric or e-travel documents which are a secure new generation of travel documents with a chip designed to provide maximum protection.
The e-passports consist of Namibian ordinary, diplomatic and official passports.

The core mandate of the ministry is the management of the national population register, the facilitation of lawful migration as well as the provision of international protection and support to asylum seekers and refugees. It is also the ministry’s task to ensure that government has the demographic statistics it needs for planning purposes.