Victoria – Seychelles – Seychellois citizens living abroad will soon be able to obtain their biometric passports without needing to travel back to Seychelles, as announced by the Minister for Internal Affairs and Immigration, Errol Fonseka. The statement came during a response to a National Assembly member’s question about the ministry’s budget. This initiative represents the first step in a broader plan to make passport services more accessible to the Seychellois diaspora.
According to Seychelles News Agency, the current process requires citizens to return to Seychelles for biometric passport enrolment. However, with the new initiative, enrolment stations will be established in various countries, eliminating this necessity. The first of these stations will be set up in Paris, chosen due to cost efficiency and the location of Groupe Imprimerie Nationale in France. This company, specializing in identity and secure digital services, partnered with Seychelles’ Internal Affairs department to create the e-passports, signing a contract on December 17, 2021.
The Seychelles biometric passport, introduced in November 2022, incorporates advanced security features, including a microchip with data such as fingerprints, facial recognition, and digital signature elements, along with personal information. The installation of additional enrolment stations in other countries is planned, following the Paris launch.
During the National Assembly session, Principal Secretary for Immigration, Alain Volcere, outlined the criteria for choosing the countries for these stations. Factors will include the size of the Seychellois diaspora, the student population, and the resources available at Seychelles’ consular missions in those countries. Volcere explained that citizens in these countries would provide their information at the enrolment stations, which will then be sent to Seychelles for passport completion and delivery via courier.
The department is still deciding whether passports will be sent directly to clients or to the consular mission in the respective country. Currently, Seychellois living abroad must return to Seychelles to renew their passports, a requirement that this new initiative aims to eliminate.