President Mnangagwa is expected to launch the Electronic Passport (e-passport) today in Harare as part of efforts to safeguard immigration security.
The launch of the e-passport will mark the migration from the traditional passport to the e-passport which conforms to the need to implement technology aided improvements which safeguard immigration.
Despite the introduction of the new passport, all valid traditional passports remain in use.
In a statement the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage noted that the launch of the launch of the new generation e-passport constitutes an important milestone for the country as the nation adopts the e-passport which bears more robust security features.
And upon expiry of the traditional non-electronic passports, everyone will be required to get e-passports on renewal of their travel documents in line with international guidelines.
“The e-passport will protect the privacy of our citizens given the embedded features which protect against identity theft and counterfeiting of travel documents.
According to HID, an American manufacturer of secure identity products, an e-passport is essentially an enhanced version of the traditional passport.
The main difference to a classic Machine Readable Travel Document/Passport (MRTD/MRP) is the inclusion of a chip or integrated circuit (IC).
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage said the Government was working with Garsu Pasaulis (GP) as the implementing partner for the e-passport and production of other vital civil registration documents.
“As a State party to regional and international conventions, protocols and treaties relating to issuance of civil and travel documents, Zimbabwe’s introduction of the e-passport resonates with global best practices,” reads part of the statement.
“The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which is the specialised United Nations agency on aviation security and standards for international travel, prescribes member States to adopt measures that safeguard the integrity and security of travel and identity documents.
“Zimbabwe’s migration from the traditional passport to the e-passport conforms to the need to implement technology-aided improvements which safeguard immigration.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs said the e-passport will protect the privacy of citizens given the embedded features.
“Apart from reasserting individual right to privacy, the introduction of the e-passport will also provide enhanced security standards at our various ports of entry and exit.
“The historic introduction of the e-passport therefore reflects an adoption of smart technology by the civil registry department, which is mandated to provide vital civil registration documents.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, through the Civil Registry Department, will keep the nation informed about any further developments surrounding the implementation of the e-passport programme as the nation transitions from the use of the traditional non electronic passports.”
The development means that though the traditional passport remains in use, upon expiry of the non-electronic passport, citizens will require to get e-passports on renewal of travel documents in line with ICAO standards.