Vietnam will issue electronic chip passports (E-passports) with a view to ensuring security for its citizens, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
This is a new change in the ministry's recent circular, which will take effect from August 14.
Under the new circular, E-passports, including official, diplomatic and ordinary passports, will be embedded with a microchip that stores the holder’s personal information, fingerprint scans, identification photo, and a digital signature from the issuing agency.
The electronic chip is attached to the back cover of the passport. Languages used in the passport include Vietnamese and English.
Vietnamese ordinary passports. Photo: Nguyen Ngan
The circular stipulates that diplomatic passports have a sepia cover, the official passport has a dark green cover, and the cover page of the ordinary passport is blue and purple.
The software system for making E-passports has been completed but machines and equipment for printing have not been available, according to the Immigration Division under the Ministry of Public Security.
The Law on Exit and Entry of Vietnamese citizens takes effect on July 1, stipulating two types of passports with and without electronic chips.
The Immigration Division also recommends the use of E-passport instead of the ordinary ones, as many countries around the world have given priority to considering granting visas for E-passport users.
Vietnamese citizens will enjoy faster, more convenient, and more secure border crossings with E-passports that can be rolled out in late 2021, the Immigration Division said.
Citizens who are at least 14 years old are eligible to apply for a passport with or without the electronic chip. The passports are valid for 10 years.
Persons could apply for ordinary passports or e-passport at the Immigration Division of the provincial police where they permanently or temporarily reside.
People need to prepare a portrait photo, identification document, and proof of permanent or temporary residence. The passport renewal fee is VND200,000 (US$8.72). Re-issuance of passport due to damage or loss is VND400,000 (US$17.43).
Previous generation passports are still valid until their expiration indicated on the passport, meaning that both types of passports co-exist.
E-passports are deemed much more secure and harder to forge compared to previous generation passports, and the microchip would be compatible with E-passport readers in most countries around the world. Over 15 countries had already migrated to this new type of passport by mid-2018.