NEWS

Suva Rush For New ePassports Keeps Immigration Non-Stop Busy

"However, no one is yet to be is­sued with the new ePassports, which contain an electronic chip holding biometric information of the passport holder."
14 Sep 2019 16:12
Suva Rush For New ePassports Keeps Immigration Non-Stop Busy
An Immigration office staff helps a customer with her Passport in Suva on September 13, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The influx of customers want­ing to secure passports has resulted in the Department of Immigration office being full throughout the day.

However, no one is yet to be is­sued with the new ePassports, which contain an electronic chip holding biometric information of the passport holder.

Director Immigration Nemani Vuniwaqa said this was because of the fake reports of exorbitant new prices.

“Many people have rushed in to get passports for the old prices,” he said.

Mr Vuniwaqa said the new prices were yet to come into effect. He said people have also realised that they could get the new passports for the old price.

He said the Immigration Depart­ment was more than equipped to deal with the influx in the custom­ers.

On the speculations about the prices, Mr Vuniwaqa said new prices would not be as much as speculated.

“The Immigration Department is yet to release the new price sched­ule as we are still awaiting Cabinet approval,” Mr Vuniwaqa said.

“I can assure the public that it will not cost as much as speculated by some people. There will be an increment, but not a significant one.

“For now, prices for renewal and new ordinary passports remain the same. Once the change hap­pens, the public will be advised.”

The Immigration Department has 5000 new e-passports for which the public will pay the normal $72 for now. More passports have been ordered.

Mr Vuniwaqa also clarified that the Immigration Department was on track to install the new pass­port printing machines at the four major centres in Suva, Labasa, Lautoka and Nadi.

Immigration staff spent the long weekend training with consult­ants from Germany.

According to Mr Vuniwaqa, the public should only accept informa­tion coming from verified and gen­uine sources and, in this case, from the Immigration Department.

New ordinary passports and re­newals are $72 while for an urgent issue an additional $108 is to be paid.

Edited by Percy Kean

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