Kathmandu, September 14

The Department of Passport is all set to start online application process for Machine Readable Passports from early next month.

The DoP performed its demo last Thursday and planned to execute it from the first week of October, said Lok Bahadur Thapa, director general of DoP.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey witnessed the demonstration performed by technicians deployed by the French-security firm — Oberthur Technologies — with whom Nepal had signed a deal to install at least 50 Live Enrollment Centres (LECs) to start online application in July. The LECs are being set up in eight countries — Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as well as in Hong Kong, China — where there is huge presence of Nepalis.

Now, the infrastructure is being set up in Nepali missions based in these eight countries as well as DoP Headquarters in Kathmandu. Staffers at DoP are also being trained to impart knowledge on online application process and to receive the data for passport, according to Director General Thapa.

Once the system is introduced, passport applicants living in these countries can visit LECs, fill up their forms online and send them directly to the Kathmandu-based DoP for further processing. Installation of LECs will help avoid the weeks — or even months — of travel time to receive passport forms from these countries, ultimately reducing the passport issuance duration significantly.