The revolution of the Maldivian passport
The first Travel Document to a Maldivian was issued on 1950s, by the Ministry of External Affairs. It was named as the Maldivian Pass, which was only valid to travel between Maldives and Ceylon. It is said that the reason for introducing this travel document was for trade purposes, mainly for fish exporting.
The first passport to a Maldivian was issued from the High Commission of the United Kingdom, based at Colombo. This series was known as the British Passport, and it enabled the Maldivians to travel to all foreign countries as a ‘British protected person of the Maldive islands’.
British Passport was replaced by the Maldivian Passport on 20th April 1964, which was the first passport issued from an authority of the Maldivian government, the Ministry of External Affairs, as a result of the independence demands from a British protectorate, by the then Prime Minister of Maldives, Ibrahim Nasir.
Passport was again transformed on 12th December 1965, soon after the Maldives reclaimed independence on 26th July 1965. This series was issued by the newly inaugurated Passport Office of Maldives, the office designated for immigration control of Maldives. The cost of this passport was MVR4.
The second series of the passport after the independence, the ‘A’ series, was introduced on 1975. This was replaced by the 2nd issue of ‘A’ series of passport on 1980, which was the first issue after the Passport Office was reformed as the Department of Immigration & Emigration. The 3rd and 4th issue of the ‘A’ series was issued on 1990 and 2003 respectively.
The first electronic passport, the 1st generation e-passport (also known as biometric passport or digital passport) was introduced on the 42nd anniversary of the Maldives independence, which was on 26th July 2007. E-passport has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information. This information can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.
The current passport, the 2nd generation e-passport, was launched on 25th January 2016, by the then President of the Maldives, His Excellency Abdulla Yamin Abdul Gayyoom. This passport contain a highly secured polycarbonate data page with laser engraved photo and data. Each visa page of the passport has a different design, with numerous illustrations by the Maldivian local artist, Hussain Ali Manik. It is one of the most secure biometric passports in the world with 34 visible and invisible security features and full compliance to the highest security passport standards.
The Maldives is the first country in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to introduce such a sophisticated biometric passport.
Passport Card is a unique bio-metric multipurpose electronic card introduced by Maldives Immigration. Passport Card will be the broadest platform for multiple service inclusion in Maldives. It can be used for multiple purposes allowing it to be used in a wide range of purposes and services. Primarily Passport Card is an identity travel document complying with the ICAO data standards. Additionally, Passport Card is equipped with MasterCard services complying with the EMV standards for financial transactions. In addition to this Passport Card can be used for insurance purposes of Allied Insurance. The flexibility of the Passport Card allows additional services such as Drivers’ License and other e-services like e-Transport to be incorporated to Passport Card.
Passport Card is produced with exceptional level of technology and with the highest levels of security, quality, durability and reliability. Passport Card is designed for durability and long service life with both quality and sophisticated physical and electronic security features. It is produced from polycarbonate materials and meets the highest requirements for security and quality standards. Passport Card can withstand high-level of stress, ranging from attempts at physical alteration, to years of inconsiderate handling in a variety of environments and weather conditions. Passport Card is also equipped with an electronic chip module for the storage of the personal and biometric data of the card holder as well as keys, certificates and other data for the use of the various e-services and applications.