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e-Passport ready for issuance to Batswana
26/03/10
e-Passport ready for Batswana

The Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has on the 8th of March commenced issuing new passports to the general public. This follows its launch to the high office in December last year.

The e-passport comprises electronic features that are machine-readable and are embedded in a micro-processor chip. The document has secure features which will prove difficult to be easily forged unlike the old passport. Applicants will pay an application fee of P260.00 to get the new passport.

The installation of the e-passport marks a great achievement by Botswana to have successfully produced a document that will see the country complying with the International standards prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and at the same time restoring the integrity of the passport.

The issuance of the e-passport is currently centralized in Gaborone and applicants have to rout their applications to head office. The Ministry has also set a standard turnaround time of 14 days for the issuance of the document. Furthermore, there is an express service which takes up to 24 hours for the passport to be issued and this comes at a cost of P130.00 in addition to the application fee.

The e-passport forms part of the Border Control System project which its installation is still being rolled out to some parts of the country and it is anticipated to have been completed by September 2010. The completion of the passport system is scheduled for eight regions at Tsabong/Ghanzi in April 2010, Maun in May 2010, Gaborone in May 2010, Lobatse in June 2010, Serowe in June/July 2010, Selebi-Phikwe in July 2010, and Francistown in August 2010 while Kasane is scheduled September 2010.

Though the issuance of the e-passport is open to every citizen, the Ministry appeals to those who do not travel out of the country not to apply for it. Currently there is a large number of passports that were not collected and this demonstrates that some people apply for passports when in actual fact they do not need them. People who occasionally travel out of the country and within the region are encouraged to apply for the machine-readable Emergency Travel Document (ETD) which will be issued for a fee of P12.00. The ETD will also be used for emergency travel. Meanwhile, the price for replacement of a lost passport is P1 000, 00 and there is no replacement fee for a lost ETD.
 
The facing off of the old passport will gradually take effect and the previous passport will remain valid for travel up to December 2011.

 

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