New Zealand accelerates move to 10-year passports

Wellington, Aug 24 (IANS) New Zealand travellers will be able to go abroad on an internationally-standard 10-year passport from the end of November as the government does away with the five-year adult passport.

Citizens would be able to apply for a 10-year passport from November 30, a full month sooner than the government anticipated when it announced the move in May, Xinhua quoted Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne as saying on Monday.

“Ten year validity gives greater convenience to most adult passport holders, as they will need to renew their passport less frequently,” Dunne said.

“Because a child’s appearance can change significantly over time, the child passport will remain valid for five years as is international convention,” he said.

The government switched from 10-year to five-year passports in 2005.

However, 10-year passports remained the international norm and critics argued the introduction of biometric passports lessened the risk of fraud and counterfeiting.

Travellers have also complained about the inconvenience of having to renew passports more frequently and that the government has used five-year passports to collect extra revenue.

New Zealand passport-holders can travel to about 170 countries without applying in advance for a visa.

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