World

E-passport to premiere
in January, government
says

Indonesians will have two passport options starting in January of next year – the existing passport and a new version with a chip that contains the passport holder’s information.

The passport with the chip, dubbed the e-passport, will be mandatory by 2015 as required by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) following its implementation in a number of ICAO member countries for security reasons, a government official says.

Indonesia is one of 190 ICAO member countries.

A spokesman from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry’s directorate general for immigration, Maroloan Baringbing, said Wednesday the chip in the e-passport would provide more security than the current passport, preventing people from using forged passports or visas and committing transnational crimes.

All the e-passport holder’s information will be kept in the chip and a barcode on the data page, Maroloan said.

“The electronic passports will have chips embedded in the front or back cover or the center page. [The chip] will be covered with layers to protect it,” he said.

“For the time being, not everyone is required to get an e-passport, but they will when the system is fully operational by 2015.”

Baringbang said the ministry would officially launch the e-passport on Jan. 26, 2010, in conjunction with the immigration office’s anniversary. Immigration offices in Central Jakarta, West Jakarta and the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport would then begin implementing the new passport system.

Initially, the ministry will issue 20,000 48-page e-passports for a trial period in 2011 in order to evaluate its operation, and would later issue 24-page e-passports, he said.

Despite the trial project in the three immigration offices, he said offices already have an e-passport system in place at 43 immigration checkpoints, including a number of major air and seaports.

According to a 2009 government regulation, for an Indonesian citizen, a 48-page e-passport costs Rp 600,000 (US$66.6) and a 24-page e-passport is Rp 350,000.

A regular 24-page passport costs Rp 50,000 and a regular 48-page passport is Rp 200,000, the regulation stipulates.

All types of passports will be valid for five years.

Baringbing said there would be additional costs of Rp 55,000 for biometrics and Rp 15,000 for fingerprints, regardless of the type or the amount of pages in the passport.

However, Pramono, an official at the ministry’s equipment bureau, said they required Rp 184,000 to produce one e-passport book.

In this year’s state budget, the ministry’s secretariat general allocated Rp 216 billion for 3 million regular passports and Rp 3.5 billion to issue 16,000 blank e-passports, Pramono said.

He said in 2011 the ministry’s secretariat general set aside Rp 150 billion for 3 million regular passports, but had yet to allocate a budget for the 20,000 planned e-passports.

The immigration office would also contribute to the cost of regular passports from its 2011 budget, he added.

The ministry set aside Rp 11.5 billion for a system to support e-passport applications, Pramono said.

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