|Việt Nam's new passport with navy blue cover beside the old passport with the green cover. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Public Security has directed the Việt Nam Immigration Department and other agencies abroad to print 'place of birth' (province/city) information in the annotation section of new passports from September 15.
The move aims to facilitate Vietnamese citizens' entry into other countries as several suspended the issuance of visas to holders of new Vietnamese passports due to the omission of this information. The new-style passports, which have navy blue covers, began being issued in July this year.
The public security ministry will submit to the government and the National Assembly's Standing Committee a report on issuing a resolution to include the 'place of birth' information in the main inspection zone of the new passports, in the same way as the old green ones.
The United States was the latest country to require the supplementation of birthplace information on the new passports of all visa applicants from Việt Nam, starting from September 29.
Applicants who do not have a place of birth information in their blue cover passports will not be permitted to attend an interview and will need to reschedule their appointments, the US Embassy in Việt Nam said in an announcement on Monday.
Previously, some European countries – starting with Germany in late July, followed by Czech and Spain in the following weeks – also rejected the new passports due to the omission of the birthplace information, which they said causes difficulties in properly verifying the identity of the holder.
They later accepted the new passports on the condition that the birthplace information is added to the passports in the appendix section.
The Benelux countries (Belgium – The Netherlands – Luxembourg) earlier this month have also agreed to recognise the new 'blue' Vietnamese passport, provided that a stamp indicating the place of birth is applied in the passport, according to the Embassy of Belgium in Việt Nam.
The embassy said that this stamp can only be applied by Vietnamese immigration authorities or Vietnamese diplomatic representative agencies abroad.
However, a few countries, like France and the United Kingdom, have stated that they would accept the new passports as it is but urged people to follow announcements for any possible changes or policy updates closely.
The Immigration Department has insisted the passports comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, which doesn't require the place of birth as a mandatory field of information in the passport's visual inspection area. — VNS