By Sami Zaptia.
London, 23 February 2016:
The Ministry of Interior has today announced that a shipment of 571,000 new blue e-passports will start arriving as of next Sunday 6th March.
There will also be 150 cameras, printers and other accessories arriving as part of the shipment which will be distributed across the various passport offices.
The Ministry also announced that there will be a new procedure put in place to help speed up passport applications for the ill and elderly.
Online applications for new passports, which are currently halted, will commence as soon as the new shipment arrives, the Ministry of Interior statement said.
The statement made no mention of previously announced plans for the start of issuing the new e-passports at Libyan embassies abroad for the diaspora.
The matter of the issuing of new biometric passports has caused much uproar in Libya as queues at passport issuing offices have formed partly due to lack of capacity in human resource as well as raw material and equipment.
But the blockages are also caused by corruption as new passports are made available at prices of LD 1,500 and as high as LD 3,000 – as opposed to the official LD 55 cost.
The right and access to a new electronic passport in Libya is beyond just the principle of the right to having a passport, but is more of a practical necessity.
Beyond holidays and business trips, a valid passport is a necessity for healthcare abroad in countries like Tunisia and Jordan for most ordinary Libyans and Europe for the better off.
The details on the old Qaddafi-era Libyan passports were written by hand.
Equally, many countries are now imposing conditions on letting in Libyans with the old non-electronic handwritten green passports that are very old and beyond certain dates due to security fears. [/restrict]