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164 emergency passports

Mary Rauto
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

AS of yesterday 164 emergency passports were issued by the Immigration Department.

Director Nemani Vuniwaqa said the shortage of passport meant that Fijians could be issued emergency passports.

He also stressed that the Certificate of Identity that could be used for travel were only recognised in Pacific island countries and Australia.

This would leave many in a dilemma.

Mr Vuniwaqa said even New Zealand would not allow anyone with a Certificate of Identity into the country.

He said the Passport Act Sect 9 (1) says "if it is not reasonably practicable to issue a Fiji Islands passport to a person who applies for and is entitled to one, a passport officer may issue an emergency passport or other travel document in the approved form".

"Currently it is known to everyone that we do not have normal passport books in stock, therefore we are faced with a situation whereby those that are entitled (citizens) to Fiji passports have been deprived of the opportunity to be issued with one," Mr Vuniwaqa said.

"The law clearly states that a passport officer can therefore issue an emergency passport to such individuals.

"The cost is same as the normal passports whereby an urgent issuance fee is $190."

Mr Vuniwaqa said emergency passports were valid for 12 months only.

"The law states that Emergency will be issued for a period not exceeding 12 months and under no circumstances the emergency passport shall be renewed," he said.

"Therefore it is very clear that for those that have been issued with an emergency passport, they can use this travel document for up to 12 months whether it be a single trip or numerous trips within the period of time but will have to apply for a normal passport which has a validity of 10 years after that."

According to the Immigration Department, there are 6 types of travel documents:

* Passport

* Emergency Passport

* Certificate of Identity

* Military ID & Movement Order

* UN Passport

* Diplomatic Passport





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