New Zealand High Commission Port Vila, Vanuatu

Vanuatu Passport to be Upgraded to International Standard

Vanuatu’s passport is to be upgraded to a machine readable document, meeting international standards and guaranteeing Ni-Vanuatu maintain access to international travel.

Friday, 17/7/09. On Thursday afternoon, DG of Internal Affairs George Bogiri signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with New Zealand High Commissioner Jeff Langley. The MoA established the project to upgrade Vanuatu’s passport using New Zealand Government funding and expertise.

DG Bogiri said: “our hand-written passport no longer complies with international standards. Upgrading it to be machine readable is an urgent priority. In order to have a passport that we can be confident will maintain our open access to international travel, we need to establish a new system backed by the latest technology that is recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.”

The recently passed Passport Act provides the legislative basis for upgrading the Vanuatu passport. “The Act is an example of best practice. The key with any passport system is to ensure it is internationally recognised as having integrity,” said Bogiri.

Passport experts from New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs will be working in Vanuatu over the next several months assisting with the establishment of the new system. This will involve the procurement of new technology which will be tailored to Vanuatu’s requirements. A new passport book will be designed, and the new printers will be installed in upgraded passport premises.

New Zealand High Commissioner, Jeff Langley, said: “with the success Vanuatu is having in the RSE scheme the number of Ni-Vanuatu travelling to New Zealand to work has grown rapidly. Assisting Vanuatu to upgrade its passport to machine readable standard will be of great benefit to Vanuatu. It will also be appreciated by New Zealand Customs and Immigration who now have to deal with hundreds of currently hand-written passports. This project will have benefits for both countries.”

Langley also noted that the project will have wider benefits. “This project will establish an institutional, agency to agency, relationship that will assist both Vanuatu and New Zealand in the area of immigration and border security. The Passport Project is a positive first step in what we hope will be a much closer and deeper relationship in this important field.”

Officials said the new passport system is being worked on by Vanuatu and New Zealand experts, with the new machine readable passports being issued to Ni-Vanuatu citizens in the middle of 2010.
 

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