President Mnangagwa is expected to launch the Electronic Passport (e-passport) today in Harare as part of efforts to safeguard immigration security.
Despite the introduction of the new passport, all valid traditional passports remain in use.
And upon expiry of the traditional non-electronic passports, everyone will be required to get e-passports on renewal of their travel documents in line with international guidelines.
According to HID, an American manufacturer of secure identity products, an e-passport is essentially an enhanced version of the traditional passport.
The main difference to a classic Machine Readable Travel Document/Passport (MRTD/MRP) is the inclusion of a chip or integrated circuit (IC).
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage said the Government was working with Garsu Pasaulis (GP) as the implementing partner for the e-passport and production of other vital civil registration documents.
“As a State party to regional and international conventions, protocols and treaties relating to issuance of civil and travel documents, Zimbabwe’s introduction of the e-passport resonates with global best practices,” reads part of the statement.
“The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which is the specialised United Nations agency on aviation security and standards for international travel, prescribes member States to adopt measures that safeguard the integrity and security of travel and identity documents.
“Zimbabwe’s migration from the traditional passport to the e-passport conforms to the need to implement technology-aided improvements which safeguard immigration.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs said the e-passport will protect the privacy of citizens given the embedded features.
“Apart from reasserting individual right to privacy, the introduction of the e-passport will also provide enhanced security standards at our various ports of entry and exit.
“The historic introduction
of the e-passport therefore reflects an adoption of smart technology by the civil registry department, which is mandated to provide vital civil registration documents.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, through the Civil Registry Department, will keep the nation informed about any further developments surrounding the implementation of the e-passport programme as the nation transitions from the use of the traditional non electronic passports.”