Afghan passport
Front cover of an Afghan passport. New passports continue to carry this design despite the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2021.
TypePassport
Issued byGeneral Directorate of Passports[1]
First issued1880
PurposeIdentification; international travel[2]
EligibilityAfghan nationality
Expiration5-10 years[3]
Cost5,000-10,000 afghanis (AFN)[4]

Afghan passports are international travel documents issued by the General Directorate of Passports to nationals and citizens of Afghanistan.[1] Every person with a valid Afghan identity card (Tazkira) can apply for and receive an Afghan passport,[5][6][7] which is renewable every 5–10 years.[3]

The Afghan passport was introduced by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan in 1880. It recently became a biometric passport.[8][9] Abdul Karim Hasib is the current director of the General Directorate of Passports.[1] His predecessor was Alam Gul Haqqani.[10][11]

The cost of a new 5-year Afghan passport is 5,000 afghanis (AFN). A 10-year passport requires a fee of 10,000 AFN.[4][12] Currently, up to 10,000 Afghan passports can be issued daily.[13] This number is expected to reach up to 15,000.[14]

The Afghan passport has been labelled by the Henley Passport Index as the least powerful passport in the world, with its holders only able to visit 26 destinations visa-free.[15]

History

The Afghan passport was introduced by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan in 1880.

In September 2011, Afghanistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs began issuing two types of biometric passports (e-passports) for Afghan diplomats and public servants. These were produced in the United Kingdom.[8][16] The standard e-passports began being issued to the general public in March 2013.[17][9] According to then-spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Janan Musazai, "on the photo page, there are 16 security codes."[8] Issuance of national computerized e-ID cards (e-Tazkiras) were also discussed.[18] These changes were intended to prevent fraud in future elections and government corruption as well as to improve the overall security of Afghanistan.

In 2017, a new five-year Afghan e-passport was reported to cost 5,000 AFN.[4] Previously, passports had been hand written based on information found on paper Afghan ID cards, which are no longer accepted.[19] A ten-year passport later became available for 10,000 AFN. By January 2016, nearly one million of the new computerized Afghan passports have been issued.[20]

Passport distribution centers exist in many provinces of Afghanistan,[21][22][23] with the main ones located in Kabul Province.[24] A total of four different locations within Kabul are believed to be distributing passports.[25] The General Directorate of Passports stated that it issued 500,000 passports in one year and collected over 4.2 billion AFN in processing fees.[1][13][26] In addition to being a travel document, the passport can also be used to purchase a SIM card, send or receive money through Western Union, open bank accounts, rent a house, or stay in hotels.[2]

The Afghan embassies and consulates also issue Afghan passports to the Afghan diaspora.[27][28][29][30] After a pause following the Taliban takeover of the government in August 2021,[31] issuing of passports resumed before the end of that year.[32] Though it was reported in March 2022 that the Taliban had introduced a new design bearing the name "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan",[33] Shirshah Quarishi, deputy director of the Passport Department, said in August 2022 that newly issued passports would not carry a new design, which was likely a practical decision taken to ensure they would be accepted for travel by other countries, all of which continue to recognize the previous regime.[34]

Visa requirements

Main article: Visa requirements for Afghan citizens

Visa requirements for Afghan citizens for holders of regular Afghan passports
  Afghanistan
  Visa free access
  Visa on arrival
  eVisa
  Both visa on arrival and eVisa available
  Visa required

As of October 2021, Afghan citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 26 countries and territories,[35] ranking the passport 116th and worst in the world according to the Henley Passport Index.[15][36] Because the ruling Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is not internationally recognized, it is continuing to issue passports bearing the name of the former, internationally-recognized government, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which are accepted for international travel. However, obtaining foreign visas from within Afghanistan is difficult as many embassies in Afghanistan have closed in the wake of the Fall of Kabul on 15 August 2021.[32]

Corruption

In 2015, Afghanistan's TOLOnews reported that a number of citizens of Iran and Pakistan have fraudulently obtained Afghan passports.[37][32] It was reported recently "that a number of counterfeiters abroad had prepared passport booklets, smuggled them into the country and distributed them to the public."[38][39][40] It was also reported that some people pay hundreds of US dollars for fake emergency medical documents, which allows them to obtain Afghan passports expeditiously.[41]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Passport Dept Chief Says 3 New Centers to Open in Kabul". TOLOnews. 9 August 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  2. ^ a b "Only e-IDs or passports accepted for SIM card purchases". Ariana News. July 19, 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  3. ^ a b "Applicants above 15 to get 10-year passports". Pajhwok Afghan News. April 18, 2022. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  4. ^ a b c "Afghanistan: Requirements and procedures to obtain, renew, and replace a biometric passport, both within and outside the country; validity period of passport; whether the 'place of birth' noted in the passport is the same as the one listed on the tazkira, and whether it refers to the place of birth of the owner of the passport or their father's (2015-January 2017)". Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. February 20, 2017. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  5. ^ "Passport office to verify paper ID cards of applicants". Pajhwok Afghan News. 10 August 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  6. ^ "Online Application for Passport Resumes in Kabul". Khaama Press. April 9, 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  7. ^ "Passports to be issued only on e-ID cards". Pajhwok Afghan News. 10 March 2021. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  8. ^ a b c Meer Agha Nasrat Samimi, ed. (September 17, 2011). "Foreign ministry issues computerised passports". Pajhwok Afghan News. Archived from the original on 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
  9. ^ a b "Modernising the Afghan Passport Office". Khaama Press. November 5, 2014. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  10. ^ "Alam Gul Haqqani appointed Passport Department head". Pajhwok Afghan News. September 20, 2021. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  11. ^ "Taliban govt resumes issuing Afghan passports in Kabul". Agence France-Presse. France 24. 18 December 2021. Retrieved 2022-04-21.
  12. ^ "Requirement for obtaining Afghan passport". Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Canberra, Australia. 2018. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  13. ^ a b "Over 500,000 Passports Issued Last Solar Year: Officials". TOLOnews. 2 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-07.
  14. ^ "15,000 Passports Distributed Each Day: Spokesman". TOLOnews. 9 April 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  15. ^ a b "Afghanistan ranks lowest in Henley Passport Index 2023". Ariana News. July 19, 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-12.
  16. ^ "Foreign ministry issues computerised passports (Video)". Pajhwok Afghan News. September 18, 2011. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  17. ^ "Machine-readable passport system put in place". Pajhwok Afghan News. March 24, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  18. ^ "14m Afghans to get computerised ID cards in a year". Pajhwok Afghan News. February 24, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  19. ^ "Gov't initiates distributing passports on electrical IDs". Khaama Press. March 10, 2021. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  20. ^ "Afghanistan Launches Online Passport Application Service". TOLOnews. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  21. ^ "Thousands of People Rush Passport Department in Herat". TOLOnews. August 25, 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-26.
  22. ^ "Passport offices to open in another 14 provinces: IEA". Ariana News. December 5, 2021. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  23. ^ "Passport distribution begins in Baghlan as well". Pajhwok Afghan News. December 6, 2021. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  24. ^ "Passport Distribution Begins in Kabul, Other Provinces". TOLOnews. 2 March 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  25. ^ "Officials Say 4 Passport Distribution Centers Will Be Opened in Kabul". TOLOnews. 23 August 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  26. ^ "Passport Office generates over 4b afs revenue in a year". Pajhwok Afghan News. August 23, 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  27. ^ "Afghanistan embassy in Pakistan starts distributing passports to refugees". Ariana News. September 20, 2023. Retrieved 2023-10-12.
  28. ^ "Passport Distribution for Afghan Citizens Begins in Three Countries". TOLOnews. 23 August 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-23.
  29. ^ "Passport distribution to Afghans in Termez begins". TOLOnews. 11 October 2023. Retrieved 2023-08-23.
  30. ^ Afghan Embassy in Ottawa, Canada. "Passport: Requirements For Obtaining Afghan Passport". Embassy of Afghanistan in Ottawa. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  31. ^ "Current National IDs, passports valid, will change in future: Taliban". Khaama Press. September 25, 2021. Retrieved 2022-08-25.
  32. ^ a b c Amy Cheng; Haq Nawaz Khan (6 October 2021). "Hundreds of Afghans gather outside passport office as Taliban resumes issuing travel documents". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  33. ^ "Afghan diplomats under pressure from Taliban regime". Agence France-Presse. France 24. 14 March 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2022. New passports issued in Kabul now refer to the country by the Taliban's name, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
  34. ^ Dawi, Akmal (August 24, 2022). "Taliban Make Millions From Passports Issued to Fleeing Afghans". Voice of America. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
  35. ^ "Afghanistan at bottom of global passport index". Pajhwok Afghan News. 13 January 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  36. ^ Henley & Partners (5 October 2021). "The Henley Passport Index: Q4 2021 Global Ranking" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  37. ^ "Fraud in Passport Office Revealed After Iranian National Got Afghan Passport". TOLOnews. 22 August 2015. Retrieved 2021-07-28. It is now said many Iranians and Pakistanis seek out Afghan passports in order to get easier access to the UAE.
  38. ^ "Officials: 3 Million Passport Booklets to Arrive in 2 Weeks". TOLOnews. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 2022-05-23.
  39. ^ "Group involved in printing fake passports arrested". Pajhwok Afghan News. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 2022-05-23.
  40. ^ "Afghan passports up for grabs in black market". Pajhwok Afghan News. 17 September 2021. Retrieved 2022-08-23.
  41. ^ "Some people get passports on fake illness documents". Pajhwok Afghan News. 2 January 2022. Retrieved 2023-03-02.