Malta’s new-look passport has officially been launched.
A number of new features have been introduced – including intricate images of famous Maltese landmarks, customs and traditions, which pay tribute to Malta’s history and culture.
The pictures include The Citadel in Victoria, Maltese Carnival celebrations and the Manoel Theatre in Valletta.
The encrypted imagery, combined with a highly sophisticated layer of security features, is printed in secure ink.
Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli said: ‘In the face of the global threat of document forgery and identity theft, the Maltese government is taking a proactive stand in protecting its citizens’ identity.
‘Maltese citizens can now make use of a technologically advanced new ePassport which will combine travel with culture.
‘Personal details will be safely captured on a polycarbonate biodata page, which will make it extremely difficult to forge or tamper with, without leaving signs of attack.’
She said a new-look ID card would be introduced next year.
What is a ePassport?
Also known as a biometric passport, an ePassport is a traditional paper passport with an embedded microchip that holds your personal information, as well as your photograph.
They were introduced in Malta during the last decade because of the increasing threat of identity theft and terrorism, encouraging many countries to improve the security of their borders.
What does an ePassport look like?
The simplest way to tell if your Maltese passport is biometric is by looking at the cover. If there’s a small, gold camera logo at the bottom, then it’s biometric.
Otherwise, the technology held within a biometric passport has become so advanced and the components so small that you can’t feel any lumps or ridges at all.
What are its advantages?
The main advantages of a biometric passport are greater security and faster entry into Malta through border control.
The chip and the data held on it inside the passport is much more difficult to replicate than information on a printed page, making it tough for fraudsters and criminals to use your passport or identity.
In addition, having this type of passport means you can use the ePassport gate at border control in the UK.
A machine at the gate will scan your passport and match the data on it with your face using facial recognition technology, making the process quick and easy.