Kyrgyzstan has announced plans to replace all passports in the country with new biometric versions in 2021, a move that promises to improve regional security.
Kyrgyzstan has faced problems with criminals counterfeiting its passports to travel within the Central Asian region and beyond. According to the Kyrgyz parliament, criminal groups in Russia have turned the sale of fake Kyrgyz passports into a profitable business.
In addition to the standard photographs and owners’ names, biometric passports contain special microcircuits holding relevant identification data that includes fingerprints. The new biometric passports will contain 30 security features, making them more difficult to forge.
In May 2020, Kyrgyzstan made a three-year agreement with German company Mühlbauer ID Services GmbH to produce 1.5 million passports for Kyrgyz citizens.
Until the new type of passport is widely issued in 2021, Kyrgyz authorities will provide biometric identification cards for use within the country.
Biometric passports promise to protect citizens from being wrongfully identified as criminals and give them more opportunities to travel and live abroad. Until 2021, Kyrgyzstan was one of the few countries still using the older, less sophisticated types of passports. Sources: Azattyk, Gezitter, Eurasianet