President Abdulla Yameen launched last night the new biometric Maldivian e-passport and automated e-gate service at the international airport.
The new polycarbonate passport was designed by German company Dermalog with 34 security features. According to the immigration department, the design reflects the “tradition, religion, and beauty of the Maldives”.
The passport features illustrations by local artist Hussain Ali Manik depicting Maldivian culture and traditions. The regular electronic and non-electronic passport has red covers whilst the diplomatic passport has a black cover page.
The diplomatic passport issued to senior state officials was previously red.
The cover page of the official passport was meanwhile changed from green to blue. A grey emergency passport will be issued for temporary use.
At last night’s unveiling ceremony held at the Hotel Jen in Malé, the department of immigration and emigration was also rebranded “Maldives Immigration.”
The electronic gate passport service is meanwhile available now for Maldivian citizens at the arrival terminal. The auto gate was also installed by Dermalog, Germany’s largest biometrics company.
The Maldives is the first country in South Asia to introduce biometric e-passports and e-gate services. Passports of locals will no longer be stamped upon exit or arrival by immigration officials, the department said.
Immigration Controller Mohamed Anwar said the new passport is among “one of the most secure” in the world. Fees for replacing old passports will remain changed, he added.
The fees for issuing passport were doubled in November 2014.
New uniforms for immigration staff were also unveiled at last night’s ceremony.