The new model passports to be introduced already in November 2007

It has been planned to introduce the passports complying with the requirements of the European Union and international standards in Latvia already in November 2007, in the press conference organised by the Ministry of the Interior informed Head of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA) Vilnis Jēkabsons.

He stressed that the introduction of the new passports would not influence the validity of alien’s passports of the model of year 1997 and passports of all types of the model of year 2002 – they would be usable till the date of expiration of the passport.

However, citizen’s passports of the model of year 1992 will not be valid for travelling from approximately mid-2008, since their security requirements do not comply with the international standards. „The passports of this model will be usable only as personal identification documents in Latvia,” V.Jēkabsons stressed.

Telling about the necessity to introduce the new model passports V.Jēkabsons said: „It will be easier for the passport holders to cross the borders in future, since automatic document control systems will be used. Moreover, introduction of the passports with biometrics is one of the preconditions for visa-free regime with the United States of America. It is important that the risks related to counterfeiting of documents, illegal migration and identity thefts will be also decreased”.

A no-contact chip will be elaborated in the new model passports that will include the data about person’s name, surname, identification code, date of expiration, etc., as well as biometric information – facial image and later also fingerprints. The Head of OCMA stressed that the data stored in the passport’s chip would be used only for document authenticity and control of personal identification.

„Several innovations in the procedure of completion of passport applications have been provided for. For example, pictures do not have to be submitted anymore – picture will be taken during the completion of passport application. It is also planned that one will be able to apply and receive a new model passport in any territorial branch of OCMA irrespective of declared place of residence,” he continued. Upon the moment of passport application, as well as before receipt the person will be able on place in the branch to get acquainted with the information stored in the chip to make sure about the correctness.

It is planned that the model passports will be issued for 5 years in order to guarantee preciseness of biometrics and complete functionality of the chip.

Also the amount of stamp duty will change. It is planned that a person should pay 15 lats for the issuing of the passport in usual order; for pensioners, disabled persons and persons younger than 20 – 5 lats, however children younger than 15 during the transition period till the introduction of identification cards should pay two lats for the production of passports.

Prepared by:
Diana Bogdanova
Head of OCMA Press and Public Relations Division
phone: 67219185,