Latvijas Republikas Iekšlietu Ministrijas
Pilsonības un Migrācijas Lietu Pārvalde
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

What is the e- passport?

The e-passport (so-called EU passport) complies with requirements set by Latvia and the European Union (EU) institutions as well as with international standards. The e-passport is a personal identification and travel document holding a non-touch microchip that contains individual biometric information.

When the e-passports are introduced?

The e-passports that comply with the requirements of the European Union and international standards are issued starting with 20 November 2007.

Why are the e-passports necessary?

  • Holders of the e-passports will be able to cross borders more easily as the passports will be checked by automated systems;
  • Introduction of passports containing individual biometric information is one of the pre-requisites for a visa-free agreement with the United States of America;
  • Forgery, illegal emigration and identity theft risks will be diminished;
  • Latvia will comply with the legislative requirements of the European Union;
  • International standards and trends in the area of personal identification and travel documents will be observed.

What documents determine introduction of the e-passports?

  1. Council Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 (13 December 2004) on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by member states.
  2. Resolution of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 8 June 2004 supplementary to the resolutions of 23 June 1981, 30 June 1982, 14 July 1986 and 10 July 1995 concerning the introduction of a passport of uniform pattern.
  3. The European Commission Decision 2005/II/28 laying down the technical specifications for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by member states.
  4. International Civil Aviation Organization - ICAO Standards Doc.– 9303 “Machine Readable Travel Documents”, Six Edition – 2005, Part 1, “Machine Readable Passports”, Volume 1, Machine Readable Passports without additional data storage” un Part 1 Volume 2 “Machine Readable Passports, Specifications for Electronically Enabled Passports with Biometric Identification Capability”.

Do I have to exchange my passport right away?

Citizens’ passports and non-citizens’ passports at person’s disposal in Latvia are valid until the end of their validity period. It is not necessary to hurry with their exchange. 

After 1 July 2008 citizens’ passports, which have been issued until 30 June 2002 (with the glued in photos), will not be valid for travelling. 

All other passports will be valid for travelling until the end of their validity period. 

What does the new passport look like?

The citizen passport cover is burgundy, and the information on the cover is presented in this order:

  • European Union;
  • Republic of Latvia;
  • State Coat of Arms;
  • Passport;
  • Electronic passport symbol

What languages are used in the e-passports?

  • The words “European Union”, “Republic of Latvia” and “Passport” on the first page are written in all languages of the European Union member states;
  • On the personal information page, the names of the information fields appear in Latvian, English and French, while the information itself is presented in Latvian;
  • Translation of the personal information fields appear in all official languages of the European Union member states.

What information does the passport microchip contain?

It contains:

  • Information on the bearer and the document in a letter-number format showing name, last name, passport expiry date, etc.
  • Individual biometric information: 
    – the bearer’s photo, 
    – the bearer’s fingerprints (index fingers of the right and left hand) (beginning in the middle of 2008).

The information embedded on the microchip is protected by a security mechanism and a unique electronic signature of the issuing institution that verifies the authenticity of the information. This information is accessed by special document reading equipment when crossing borders, for example.

Why is the microchip containing biometric information necessary?

The microchip containing the biometric information is a secure link between the passport and its bearer; and as such, it contributes to eliminating the attempts of illegal use of passports.

How will the biometric information contained on the microchip be used?

The biometric information, unique to each individual, will be used only to:

  • verify the authenticity of the document, and
  • verify the identity of the bearer of the document by comparing the information on the microchip with the information collected from the bearer during the process of verification.

Are microchips containing biometric information incorporated in all types of passports?

Yes. The microchips are incorporated in all 7 types of passports:

  • citizen passport;
  • non-citizen passport;
  • diplomatic passport;
  • service passport;
  • travel document for a stateless individual;
  • travel document for a refugee;
  • travel document for an individual having been granted alternative status.

As at present, different types of passports are distinguishable by different colour covers.

What fee is charged for issuing a passport?

  • 28.46 euro for issuing a passport based on a standard procedure;
  • 14.23 euro for issuing a passport to seniors, individuals with group 1 and group 2 disability, and individuals under 20 years of age.

Where and how the new passport is issued?

Individuals are able to apply for and receive the new passport at any regional office of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, irrespective of their officially declared place of residence, as well as at Consular or Diplomatic Missions of the Republic of Latvia abroad, if the individual happens to be outside Latvia. Photos are not required to be included(Except for children under the age of five) with the application when applying for the new passport as pictures will be taken during the process of issuing the passport. Optical fingerprint scanners will be used for taking fingerprints. When receiving the passport the individual is able to find out exactly what information is embedded on the microchip.

For more information about passports read here. 

State fees for issuance of a passport.

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