The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has launched online live enrollment system to collect forms to acquire Machine Readable Passports (MRP) from the applicants in Kathmandu and Nepali migrant workers in various countries.
The system was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa at the ministry on Monday by producing a passport for Thapa himself amidst the same inauguration function.
Officials from the Department of Passport took picture of Thapa, filled up the online form based on the live enrollment system and issued him a new diplomatic passport within 10 minutes in Thapa's presence.
With the introduction of the new system, the waiting time for MPR applicants has decreased significantly, said officials.
Officials said the department will receive forms through both live enrollment and manual system for the next one month and a half and will start accepting all applications through online system from mid-January.
The new system, as shown during the function, confirms the approval or rejection of application within five minutes.
Describing introduction of the new system as a milestone in the history of passport distribution in Nepal, Thapa said that it will help the government to phase out the remaining hand-written passports soon.
Nepal began issuing MRPs from December 26, 2010. So far, the department has issued altogether over 3.8 millions of MRPs. Of them, over 1.7 million MRPs replaced hand-written passports. Still around 50,000 hand-written passports have yet to be replaced even as the deadline given by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to replace all hand-written passports expires Tuesday.
Thapa said the government has taken some immediate measures to avoid hassles for those who have failed to replace their passports with MRPs.