New passport upsets Dutch expats
The introduction of new biometric passports has upset many Dutch nationals living abroad.The Netherlands – The new biometric Dutch passports which will include an electronic chip containing a digitised image of the passport owner’s fingerprint and face scan have irked many Dutch nationals living abroad.
The new passport, which includes a small 72-kilobyte chip which contains a face-scan and two fingerprints of the passport owner, will be implemented as of 21 September 2009. Passports belonging to children under the age of 12 will not contain the chip.
A third biometric characteristic, the iris-scan, will not be used.
The new passport aims to make it more difficult for falsification and fraud.
However, the technical requirements for the new travel documents mean many Dutch nationals living abroad can no longer renew their passports at Dutch consulates overseas. Instead, they will have to go to an embassy, hence incurring additional costs. Many expats will have to travel much longer distances than before to renew their passport.
Gerry Blom, a Dutch expat living in Canada, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) that many immigrants are considering giving up their Dutch nationality because of the problems they will face with the new passports, including the distances they will have to travel to get one in countries such as Canada.
The Dutch opposition Socialist Party (SP) is going to ask questions in parliament about the problems that have risen surrounding the new biometric passport.
SP member Arjan Vliegenthart said the new passport law was meant to make things easier and therefore it would be unacceptable if it were to actually end up complicating matters for so many people.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica