February 25, 2024

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Vietnam Passports to Have Electronic Chips

The Ministry of Public Security’s Immigration Department has announced that ordinary passports with electronic chips will be issued for Vietnamese citizens from 1 March. The passports with an e-chip attached to the back cover store encrypted information of the passport holder and the signature of the issuer.

The electronic chip aims to facilitate easier travel processes, raise the efficiency of state management in immigration activities, and meet the country’s requirements for international integration. Apart from the holder’s written information such as name, date of birth, and nationality, the passport also carries biometric information like fingerprint and face scans and blood type. This helps to accelerate customs procedures.

Moreover, those with the passports will be prioritised by foreign agencies in visa granting. More than 100 countries and territories worldwide have used e-passports. Notably, the Visa Waiver Programme of the US, which has been applied for 39 countries and territories, requires e-passports. Ordinary passports with and without e-chips will be used simultaneously. Vietnamese citizens above 14 years of age are free to choose either passport on their application forms.

In 2022, e-passports were issued free of charge to all citizens, according to officials. Citizens were not required to go through any additional procedures except to check that their data is correct and complete. The vaccine passports were rolled out on a trial basis in late March 2022 for those vaccinated against COVID-19 at Ha Noi’s three major hospitals.

As OpenGov Asia reported, e-passports are available on the government’s mobile application, PC COVID-19, which is available on both iOS and Android stores or Digital Health (So suc khoe dien tu) apps. By providing a secure and easy-to-use digital mechanism to verify vaccination statuses, governments were able to accelerate the re-opening of the economy, enabling the creation of a trusted foundation for further digital healthcare initiatives in the future.

The vaccine passports have 11 fields of information: name, date of birth, nationality, the targeted disease, doses of vaccines received, date of vaccination, lot number of the vaccine batch, type of vaccine, vaccine product received, the vaccine manufacturer, and a code for the certification.

The digital passports display all vaccine data in both Vietnamese and English. Data has been encoded into a QR code, which expires after 12 months. Following their expiry, people will be notified, and a new QR code will be created.

Electronic chip-based services are increasingly widespread as the government works to comply with the Prime Minister’s Decision 06, which approved the use of population data and electronic identity and authentication for the national digital transformation.

This April, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam plans to pilot the use of chip-based ID cards to quicken check-in procedures for some domestic flights. The scheme will be carried out at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport and will be applied to several domestic flights for six months before a final decision is made.

Under the project, there will be an exclusive lane in the check-in and security control areas for passengers using chip-based ID cards, where devices using facial recognition screening technology will verify the identity of passengers instead of airport staff.

More recently, Vietnam Social Security (VSS) agency said that around 11.8 million people in Vietnam have used their chip-based ID cards to access healthcare services. 12,270 medical units have accepted the chip-based ID cards, which are integrated with health insurance cards for their services. This accounts for 96% of the total units across the country.

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