Ministry of Home affairs is set to extend time for the return of traditional machine readable passports from end of this month until February 2020, the Ministry confirmed.
The passports are being returned to the department after the government requested that the old passports be returned so that people can be issued with the new electronic passports for free.
The electronic passports, also known as biometric passport were introduced to the country in 2013. They look like a normal passport but has an electronic chip that contains the particulars of the holder.
They bears the biometric details of the bearer, including their fingerprints or the iris, which are all features unique to an individual. The chip also contains the person’s photo and the information in the chip is only visible under ultraviolet light.
According to a statement by the department’s Minister, Mokoto Hloaele, the Ministry came to the decision to expend time because of current problems and challenges it is facing.
“The Ministry called on members of the public to stop the usage of machine readable passport last year, which begin with the number RA, RB, SA and DA,” read the statement.
Reports suggest that over 40 000 people in the country have received services for e-passports since the Ministry requested those who were using traditional machine readable passports to return them.