|The new passports of Việt Nam with navy blue cover. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Czech Republic announced on Tuesday that it would not recognise Việt Nam’s new-style passports and the decision is effective immediately.
The initial reason was because of “the passports' non-compliance with technical standards of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Therefore, Czech Republic agrees with other member states of the European Union (EU) and stops recognising the new passports. The decision is effective from this moment,” according to the notice posted on the website of the Czech Embassy in Việt Nam Tuesday morning.
The notice at first did not specify exactly what technical parameters Việt Nam’s new passports, which have a navy blue cover and began being issued from July this year, are not fulfilling.
However, in a later updated version of the notice posted later in the afternoon, the embassy noted the reason for the non-recognition was the lack of place of birth (province or city), making it impossible to properly verify the identification of the passport holder. The part about Vietnamese passports not meeting ICAO standards was also removed.
"The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Hà Nội is unfortunately unable to accept the visa/stay permit application from the holders of the new passports. The Czech Republic is actively working with other EU member states and Việt Nam to resolve this issue," it said in the updated notice.
The Vietnamese Embassy in the Czech Republic on Tuesday said it is seeking instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on how to handle problems arising from the Czech Republic's decision, including granting place-of-birth certificates for holders of the new-style passports. The embassy will soon provide updates on the measures adopted.
Earlier, Germany has said it would for the time being not recognise the new-style Vietnamese passports for the same reason, which the German embassy said would cause difficulties for immigration authorities.
On Monday, Spain announced that it too cannot accept Schengen visa applications from Vietnamese citizens using new-style passports until further notice.
The notice posted on the Facebook page of the Embassy of Spain in Việt Nam stated that new-style passports granted to Vietnamese citizens from July 1 do not show information about the place of birth of passport holders. This is important information for personal identification and is also required for processing Schengen visa applications.
Current regulations do not allow the issuance of a Schengen visa to Vietnamese nationals holding the new-style passports, it said.
The Spanish authorities, in collaboration with other Schengen member states, are conducting technical analysis, it added.
France earlier said they would continue to recognise the new-style Vietnamese passports, but urged people to closely follow updates and change their itinerary if they intended to transit through or stay in Germany.
According to ICAO’s Document 9303 (Document on Machine Readable Travel Documents), of the 20 fields/zones on a passport's “visual inspection zone”, the place of birth is optional.
Information such as state/organisation, document code, passport number, name, sex, nationality, etc. is mandatory. — VNS