‘Travel easier, safer’

Prabhav Lal, Rosalie Fulford, Salailagi Kolinisau, Xavier Mcgoon, Osea Bainivalu assisting Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in the cake cutting ceremony , during the launch of the E -Passport at Walu Bay yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

GOVERNMENT is setting Fiji up for wider visa-free status access around the world through the introduction of ePassport, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Speaking during the launch of the ePassport at the Fiji Immigration Department office in Suva yesterday, Mr Bainimarama said the introduction of ePassports would bring about benefits to all Fijian citizens, both at home and those travelling abroad, as they would consolidate security requirements at Fiji’s borders and ease travel at ports of entry around the globe.

The newly-introduced ePassports contain a new range of security features and will make it difficult for people to enter the country illegally.

“Establishing a more secure Fijian passport, bringing greater integrity to our immigration system,” he said.

“So, we’re not only making Fiji safer, we’re making travelling easier.

“We’re also setting Fiji up for wider visa-free status access around the world, and I hope to have updates and announcements about this in the future as we continue to actively push nations of the world to allow Fijian travellers to move freely to work, play and visit their families abroad.”

He said Fijian ePassport holders would also be protected against forgery, identity theft, and passport tampering and reproduction.

“With the rollout of our new ePassports, Fiji officially joins the ranks of 54 other countries from around the globe that have already engrained such technology within their passports.”

Within the next 10 weeks, six passport stations will be set up within post offices throughout the country.

This is to allow Fijians who live outside of the major population centres to lodge applications and have their ePassports processed.

“And for those in our Fijian diaspora family living abroad, our offshore missions –– starting with those in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom –– will be able to process ePassport applications on their own,” Mr Bainimarama said.

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