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Nov 18, 2021

Nepal joins world with e-passport

Foreign Affairs News Desk
Getty image: GadgetByteNepal
Getty image: GadgetByteNepal

Nepal government has begun the e-passport system by providing a biometric passport to 102-year-old historian Satya Mohan Joshi on Wednesday at a function organized in the capital.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Narayan Khadka handed over the e-passport to historian and cultural expert Joshi.

An Electronic Passport or ePassport also known as a digital or biometric passport is a passport with an added integrated circuit or chip embedded in one of the passport pages that contains biometric information of a person which helps authenticate the identity of the passport holder.

The contactless chip technology allows the information stored in an ePassport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance.

Few years before Nepal jumps into the Machine Readable Passport (MRP age meeting the instruction of ICAO’s deadline.

Before that it was a handwritten passport which has been badly misused in many areas.

But when MRP is introduced in Nepal more or less the misuse of the passport has been under control. But now as the epassport system came into force now the misuse of Nepali passports will be totally controlled.

It uses contactless smart card technology, including a microprocessor chip (computer chip) and antenna (for both power to the chip and communication) embedded in the front or back cover, or centre page, of the passport. The passport’s critical information is printed on the data page of the passport,

Many countries are moving towards issuing biometric passports to their citizens. 

Malaysia was the first country to issue biometric passports in 1998. After that, in December 2008, 60 countries were issuing such passports, which increased to over 150 by mid-2019.

So far, Nepal has been issuing only machine-readable passports.

The Department of Passports said that the department will distribute limited e-passports for a few days.

General public has to wait for a few weeks to get the e-passports, it said.

The Department of Passports on December 20, 2020 had made an agreement with French firm IDEMIA and Security for the printing of e-passports at a cost of Rs 2.48 billion.

With the issuance of an e-passport the third generation passport has officially come into use in Nepal.

The new e-passport embodied the various attractive pictures of Nepal ranging from Sheetal Niwas, the Presidential Palace to tea estate in Ilam district.

Nepal issues four type so passports.

The Ordinary Passport with Green colour is for general citizens. The Blue colour passport is for Official purpose whereas the Red Colour is for Diplomatic related people. The Black colour is issued as a Travel Document passport.