By Jami Prentis.
Tunis, 5 February 2017:
New passport equipment has arrived at the Libyan Embassy in Tunis which will allow it to process biometric passport applications.
The equipment allows for an applicant’s photo and signature to be scanned and processed and the information sent to Tripoli where the passport is then issued. It will then sent to Tunis for delivery to the applicant. The system is expected to start operating within the next week.
Currently, Libyans residing abroad can apply for passports in Berlin, Marseille, Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Washington and now Tunis. An estimate a few months ago put the number of Libyans in Tunisia at around 750,000, though that figure is believed to have declined in recent weeks.
The London embassy still lacks the ability to issue the documents, despite the UK having the largest permanent resident expat Libyan community in the world.
Many countries no longer accept the old ‘green’ passports from the time of Qaddafi. These are filled in by hand and are seen as a high counterfeit risk.