BY MEMORY CHATONDA
Immigration Department and Citizenship Services Deputy Public Relations Officer, Wellington Chiponde says over 3,000 travel documents have been issued to its clients using the newly introduced e-passport system.
The department launched electronic passport system in December, last year (2019) which replaces Machine Readable Zone passports.
The new system was introduced to meet international Civil Aviation Organisation requirement to enhance security on the country’s passports.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency on Wednesday, Chiponde said the exercise has made progress as within a space of one month, over 3000 E-passports have been issued to the public.
“This new system has excited and simplified our clientele as it has eliminated various requirements including getting [and filling] passport application forms endorsed by District Commissioner of applicant’s home village.
“The new system uses the Malawi National Identity card as the major document required in the application of the Malawi Passport.
“Suffice to mention that, from January 15th to date, we have managed to issue over 3,000 Electronic Passports,” he said.
Chiponde further said the department has also revised the issuance period of passports from 20 to 10 days to meet the needs and aspirations of Malawians.
Meanwhile, a random interview which MANA conducted at Immigration headquarters in Blantyre with some of the Passport applicants has revealed that the new system has lessened the burden the applicants face in processing passports.
Yunus Mongani, a Chigumula based businessman said:“Much as the immigration department raised passport fee from K48,500 to K90,000 for ordinary passport, this initiative has reduced travelling hassles to our respective home villages to have our application forms endorsed by District Commissioner and also time to have the document issued.”