Slovenia issues biometric passports

Although Slovenia will start issuing new

biometric passports on 28 August, Slovenian citizens will not have to

replace their passports with the new ones until their old passports

expire, Interior Minister Dragutin Mate told the press on Wednesday.

Slovenia is introducing biometric passports in line with the EU Council

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Regulation on standards for security features and biometrics in passports

and travel documents.

The new passports, which will be designed by printing company Cetis, will

allow Slovenian citizens to continue travelling to the US visa-free,

Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel meanwhile said.

Biometric elements are designed in a way that prevents abuse and are

locked with a special key, Mate explained, adding that the procedure of

issuing the passports will remain unchanged.

However, Mate continued, special standards for the photographs will be

set, with the photographers receiving all the necessary instructions in

time.

Furthermore, new passports with numbers from one to one hundred will be

given free of charge to randomly chosen citizens, Mate added.

Slovenian citizens will be able to file a request for a new passport at

all Slovenian diplomatic representation offices, Rupel also said.

He sees the new documents as a new generation of passports with very high

safety standards. However, he warned that the Slovenian passports are “a

much wanted trophy” among those who would like to use it in an illegal

way, and called on passport holders to be careful.

Meanwhile, Bojan Trnovsek, director general of the Interior Ministry’s

Internal Administrative Affairs Directorate, stressed that the new

passport will include electronic elements, which is why it should not be

exposed to chemicals, electromagnetic waves or high pressure.

According to him, the price for the new passports, which have successfully

passed tests in Italy and Germany, will stand at SIT 6,000 (EUR 24.94) for

a 32-page document, and SIT 6,500 (EUR 27.02) for a 48-page passport.

As Trnovsek explained, the final deadline for upgrading new passports by

including two fingerprints of the bearer has been set for the end of June

2009.
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