26 Aug 2019

Further delay for Fijian passports

3:53 pm on 26 August 2019

Nine thousand Fijians who have applied for a new passport have not received their travel documents as scheduled today.

Fiji Passport

Fiji Passport Photo: Fiji Department of Immigration

In February the Immigration Department stopped issuing passports because of a shortage.

Director Nemani Vuniwaqa said only 5000 e-passports are ready and they will arrive in the country next month.

He said once the equipment and the passports arrive, officials will need to undergo training before the books are issued.

Mr Vuniwaqa called on the public to be patient.

"A new system is coming. The books have been projected with security features and a chip is implanted in every book to have biometrics. We have a plan in place."

Mr Vuniwaqa said people who need new passports for urgent travel will not be affected.

According to the immigration department, the e-Passport is a bio-metric passport and are being produced in Germany.

Mr Vuniwaqa said a chip is used at the automated e-Passport gates instead of having the physical passports checked by border force officers.

He did not want to reveal how much the new passports would cost the government.

But he said the new travel documents are designed to increase security and this will make it more difficult for people to change the data recorded on the passport which will also limit the chances of fraud.