INTERIOR Minister Robert Kaliňák and director of the National Security Office (NBÚ) František Blanárik, are the first Slovak citizens to hold new passports with a biometric security feature. They got the passport with a digitised black and white facial image on January 15, the SITA newswire wrote. The second biometric feature, fingerprints, will appear in Slovak passports next year.
“These passports mean a further step toward addressing security and potentially also simplicity of our citizens’ travel,” said the minister. Many politicians say that passports with biometric security features are one of the basic requirements for entry into the United States. “One US senator called the biometric passport a ticket to the United States,” said Kaliňák. Both holders of the new passports underwent scanning two hours prior to receiving their passports, based on their applications for expedited passport issuance.
Kaliňák said he does not yet know on what foreign trip he will use his new passport for the first time, but he thinks it could be Bulgaria.
Slovakia launched the issuing of passports with the digitizsed facial image on January 15. The interior ministry hopes the new technology will speed up the issuing process for passports. The regular waiting period for getting a passport is 30 days.