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Nepal issues e-passports for 1st time

Kathmandu, Nov 18 (IANS) Nepal has started issuing e-passports for the first time.

Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka inaugurated the e-passport personalization center at the Department of Passport and handed over the country's first-ever e-passport to Satya Mohan Joshi, a 102-year-old historian, the department said in a press statement on Wednesday.

E-passports will ultimately replace the machine-readable passports, which were introduced in 2010 to replace the decades-old handwritten passports in Nepal, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Only limited e-passports will be issued for a few days as the system is still in the testing phase," Sharad Raj Aran, spokesman for the Department of Passport, told Xinhua.

The department plans to issue e-passports in a full manner within three weeks, while District Administration Offices and other offices authorized to issue passports in various parts of the country will start issuing e-passports by December, and Nepali diplomatic missions abroad will issue e-passports in January 2022, according to the press statement.

Aran said all offices would continue to issue machine-readable passports alongside e-passports until necessary infrastructure is ready for e-passports only.

"We plan to fully go into the e-passport regime by January end," he added.