After Production Delays, 40,000 New Passports Arrive In Fiji

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Passport applications from August 2011 will finally be completed

By Nanise Loanakadavu

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, June 24, 2012) – A batch of new Fiji passports has finally arrived.

And members of the public have reasons to smile, following months of waiting for the 40,000 booklets to arrive from Oberthur Technologies that is based in France.

Immigration director Major Nemani Vuniwaqa was a happy man when he was visited by The Fiji Times team in his office yesterday.

"It's a huge relief to all of us and to anyone who has been waiting for these books to arrive," Major Vuniwaqa said.

He said the issuing of books would start tomorrow with people who had applied for passports since August 19-26 of last year.

"The public is requested to take note of the dispatch dates and to produce their original receipts on the day they are scheduled to collect their passports," Major Vuniwaqa said.

However, he said they would be ready to cater for applicants who urgently needed their passports for traveling.

According to Major Vuniwaqa the new passports would enhance tighter control at the border and feature new security measures.

He said the new book had the ultra-violet (UV) features, water marks with additional security features, the inclusion of illustration of indigenous plants and animals like the tagimoucia flower and the kacau bird.

"These additional security features on the visa pages improves technical security," Major Vuniwaqa said.

Currently a photo and signature is affixed to the passport and covered by a laminate on the document which is valid for 10 years.

The issuing of passports will normalize in August 24.

In November last year, the department signed an agreement with Oberthur Technologies, the new supplier of Fijian passports.

[PIR editor's note: Fiji Times reports that Immigration director Major Nemani Vuniwaqa announced prices for new passports in Fiji will increase. The current processing cost for a Fiji passport is almost US$42, and while the director has noted the increase, no dates have been confirmed for its implementation.]

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