Cameroon: Biometric Passport - New Version From July 1st

The announcement was made by the Secretary General of the General Delegation of National Security yesterday June 8, 2021.

Due to difficulties encountered in the issuance of passports in Cameroon, particularly the Ordinary Passport, coupled with the multiple shortcomings observed in the production process, on the instruction of the Head of State, the General Delegation for National Security (DGSN), on September 17, 2020, signed a contract with INCM-Augentic Consortium for the implementation of a new Biometric Passport Production System. In three weeks, ordinary Cameroonians will begin to enjoy the fruits of the contract. In a press conference on June 8, 2021 in Yaounde, the Secretary General of the General Delegation for National Security, Dominique Baye, announced that the effective commissioning of the production system for the new biometric passport is set for July 1, 2021. Consequently, Cameroonians will begin online enrolment on the said date at all Emi-Immigration Police Stations, as well as in some 45 Diplomatic Missions of Cameroon. While answering questions from the press, Dominique Baye did not just point out the various technical and administrative advantages, but also the issuance procedure.

Particularities Of The New Passport

The new passport complies with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Some aesthetic changes have been on some aspect such as the Cameroonian coat of arms. There are several innovations through new functionalities developed by the Service provider. Some of the innovations include the establishment of an online pre-registration module combined with an electronic payment system. Also, the passport will be produced with the polycarbonate data page which is the latest technology in area of travel documents. The new biometric passport also carries the personalisation of images through laser engraving, the reconfiguration of various aspects related to the design of various passports, the integration of new security elements in accordance with current international standards and the possibility of interfacing the new system with other state computer application systems. One aspect that Cameroonians will be proud of are the visa pages, which are all different. Each of the ten regions is represented on a visa page. For added security, the passport has integrated the image of the lion visible via UV.

Procedure (Online/physical enrolment)

The issuance procedure for any passport is now broken down into four main stages. There is the online pre-enrolment, the enrolment in a centre chosen by the applicant, the production procedure and the withdrawal process. The online pre-enrolment is done from an android phone or in an internet site by opening an online passport application file through a website designed for that purpose by DGSN. The individual is also required to do an electronic payment of FCFA 110,000 as the cost for an Ordinary Passport via mobile money or by credit card. At this stage, the individual takes an appointment for a physical enrolment in any centre. The duration of the appointment varies and will depend on the centre chosen. During the physical enrolment by the applicant, his/her documents submitted online are verified. As such, the applicant is required to come along with the original of the documents submitted online. Also the applicants' picture, fingerprints and signature are taken at this stage. After the approval of the information to appear on the passport by the applicant, he/she is given a receipt.

Production/Withdrawal Time

Dominique Baye explained that the system is dematerialised. The data of the passport, wherever the city or the country the applicant has enlisted will be transmitted in real time and in a secured manner to the processing server of the production centre. Any request that is not rejected will be processed and the related document produced within 48 hours after physical enrolment. Once the passport has been produced, an email or text message is automatically sent to the applicant to notify him/her of the availability of the passport for withdrawal. In case of extreme necessity, a passport can be withdrawn by a third party under the required circumstances. In case of rejection, an email and an SMS specifying the reason and the action to be taken will be sent instantly to the applicant's address provided during the pre-enrolment.

Transition From The Current System

The Secretary General of the DGSN, Dominique Baye says in view of the entry into service of the new biometric passport production system, all the Emi-Immigration Police Stations in the country will have to stop enrolment of those who need passports on June 23, 2021 and June 15, 2021 in all Diplomatic missions, taking into account the delays in forwarding the files received and their processing in the current system. According to Dominique Baye, there will be no interruption in the passport production services before these dates.

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