|A new Vietnamese passport with the navy blue cover. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Spain is now recognising Việt Nam’s new-style passports (with navy blue covers), reversing an earlier decision to temporarily not accept them due to the omission of a place of birth (province/city) on the documents.
The Spanish Embassy in Việt Nam made the announcement on Monday.
“After completing the mandatory technical consultations with the competent authorities in Spain, they have decided to recognise the new Vietnamese passport (navy blue), since it includes the essential characteristics required by international regulations,” the announcement said.
However, since the place of birth is required information for Schengen visas, all applications with the new navy blue cover passports must present valid identification cards to prove their place of birth, the embassy noted.
“Therefore, starting from today, the embassy will resume processing visa applications from people with new passports and valid identification cards.”
However, applicants with a navy blue passport must take into account, when organising their trips to Spain/Europe, that those with visas issued in these passports would still not be able to enter Schengen territories that do not recognise the new passports, the embassy said.
The embassy recommended in the case of tours of several countries, people should consult the respective embassies of the countries they wish to visit before beginning preparations.
The old passports, with green covers, which include the place of birth and whose validity has not been excluded by any Schengen State, may continue to be processed normally, the embassy noted.
The lack of a place of birth made it difficult, or even impossible, to properly verify the identity of the passport holder, they claimed.
The immigration department has insisted that the new passports fully meet international standards, especially the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
ICAO’s Doc 9303 on Machine Readable Travel Documents states that on the passport’s ‘visual inspection zone’, a specific place of birth is an optional field of information, unlike mandatory fields such as State/organisation, document code, passport number, name, nationality, etc.
France and the UK have also stated their recognition of Việt Nam’s new passports but warned holders to continually keep up with any developments.
The Schengen Area is a zone made up of 26 European countries that have abolished their internal borders to allow for the free and unrestricted movement of people, in harmony with common rules for controlling external borders and fighting criminality by strengthening the common judicial system and police cooperation.
The 26 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. — VNS