ABU DHABI - The Ministry of Interior on Sunday unveiled the new and smart electronic travel document for the UAE nationals.
The new 64-page machine-readable passport (MRP) with a new design was unveiled by Major-General Nasser Al Awadi Al Minhali, Assistant Undersecretary of the General Directorate of Naturalisation and Residency and Ports at the ministry. “The UAE nationals have long been waiting for this smart electronic passport. Today, they have good news. They can get the new smart passport upon renewal,” Al Minhali said while displaying the MRP to the media at the Directorate in the Capital.
During the first trial, 17 passports were successfully printed, issued and tested on reading machines installed at all entry and exit points of the country. By Sunday evening, 218 passports were printed and issued.
About the features of the new travel document, Al Minhali said: “The passport has a barcode storing all data of the holder, including iris scan results and fingerprints. Once the passport’s barcode is scanned, all details of the holder will appear on the immigration computer screen. This will ease the immigration desk’s work at airports and other entry and exit ports across the country. The new system will also provide faster immigration services to save time and labour.”
Issued with a validity of five years, the new design includes symbols that depict the country’s cultural traditions and the interior of the Zayed Grand Mosque. He also assured that the new passport has been designed to comply with international standards with full emphasis on its security features.
All data of the passport holders will be stored in a central database at the directorate and will be linked to all exit and entry points. “For the issuance of the new electronic passports, 33 offices have been opened at the naturalisation and immigratiwon departments across the country that will send the passport renewal and issuance of new passport (requests) to the central office in Abu Dhabi where the new passports are printed and issued within 24 hours,” he explained.
In the initial stage, there will be a week-long experimental period of processing transactions. By 2014, as per the deadline
Machine-readable passports for Emiratis given by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), all UAE citizens’ passports will be replaced with the new smart travel document, he added.
There will be no deadline forcing people to replace their passports. However, he added, people can replace their passports upon renewal. He also said that from now all new passport will be issued as the machine-readable passport.
“The technology and machines we have can print and produce 100 passports in 10 minutes,” Al Minhali said. “We have acquired the best and fastest technologies for the project.”