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Finally, the most awaited E-passport is at last here.
The Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has announced that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is now receiving applications for issuance of the new machine readable electronic passport in Gaborone.
Letso Mpho, Acting Assistant Manager, Communications at the Ministry, said application for the e-passports commences on Monday 8th March 2010 at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Headquarters, Block 8, Government Enclave, Gaborone.
He said the application fee for the new passport is P260. For emergency travel within the region a machine readable Emergency Travel Document (ETD) has been introduced and is also available for a fee of P12 and the replacement fee for lost passports is P1 000.
He said setting up process of the electronic passport system will be rolled out to the rest of the country by region. The process is expected to be complete by September 2010.
In Tsabong and Ghanzi the setting up process is expected to be complete by the end of April. Whilst in Maun and Gaborone the system will be fixed by the end of May.
In Lobatse installation is scheduled to end by the end of June. Also in Serowe the process will start in June but is expected to end by end of July, same applies for Selebi Phikwe.
In Francistown region the setting up process will be done by the end of August and, in Kasane, the installation process will be complete by the end of September.
Following installation of the system in the respective regions, applications will be made at the nearest District or Regional Immigration Office.
Mpho said the “e-passport is a milestone achievement for Batswana because the e-passport is more secure because it is machine readable. The new passport has eliminated all the illegal things that have been accustomed with the current passport like forgery, altering the pages and pictures.”
However, the Ministry is appealing to all Batswana to know that the passport is a travelling document and is issued out for that purpose only. Batswana should know every Motswana has a right to apply but the passport is not a must have document; people should apply for the passport to use it and not to keep it. Members of the public are further informed that the current or old passport will remain valid for travel up to December 2011.