Namibia introduces biometric passports

Namibia will from Jan. 8, 2018 issue biometric or electronic passports, an official in the home affairs ministry said Friday.

A biometric passport is a highly secure travel document or e-passport that has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.

The announcement was made in Windhoek by the acting permanent secretary Nehemia Nghishekwa.

He said the ministry will issue ordinary, diplomatic and official biometric passports at the same cost of 200 Namibian dollars (about 16 U.S. dollars).

Nghishekwa said the move to introduce biometric passports was in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s requirements.

“However, the current machine-readable passports – diplomatic and official – will run concurrently until they outlive their lifespan of up to five years,” Nghishekwa said.

Namibia joins 120 other countries that had by July 2017 introduced the e-passport.

There are about 13 African countries among them Botswana and Zimbabwe that introduced the e-passport in 2017.