After a nearly three-year delay, the Algerian government has finally launched its biometric passport program.
Magharebia reports that the biometric passports, which contain a contactless smart card chip that holds a digitized photo, fingerprints and signature, were supposed to be released in 2009. But the documents were delayed due to complexities with the operation of the project and the need to thoroughly research and analyze other countries’ experiences with biometric passports.
The National Centre for the Production of Secure Documents will produce the new passports and will begin rolling out throughout 2012. The current passport will still be issued, but it will only be valid through Nov. 24, 2015, which is the last day non-machine readable travel documents can be used.
The Algerian government invested two billion dinars to set up the secure document center. The center can produce 6,000 biometric passports daily and is able to issue a passport within 15 to 20 days.
The Algerian government intends for the biometric passport to eliminate passport falsification, which is a problem in Algeria.
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