By: Latifa Yusuf Masai
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Pilgrims to the annual Hajj in the Holy City of Mecca in Saudi Arabia will utilized the newly procured e-passport.
This was informed by the Somaliland minister of interior Ali Mohamed Waran’ade during a briefing to the Guurti, the country’s upper chamber of parliament.
“The e-passports are already in the country where the immigration department is processing applications” Waran’ade told the Guurti Elders.
The Saudis acceptance of allowing persons bearing Somaliland passports into their country especially for the pilgrimage is a diplomatic coup since the kingdom had refused the same only hosting Somalilanders traveling with the pre-1991 Somali passport.
The interior minister who revealed that the shift from the conventional travel document in use currently to the now world accept e-passport cost the central coffers $1m said,
“Despite the hefty amount utilized and greatly required in other sectors the government is intent on providing the world with the accepted travel document that facilities ease of identification and negates forgeries”
Though Somaliland is not yet recognized as sovereign country by the International community a few countries in which the country maintains permanent foreign missions while most of them have either representatives or full diplomatic missions in the country, namely
1- South Africa
5- United Kingdom
6 – France
7- South Sudan
Plans by the government to assume an E-passport were first revealed by the interior minister Waran’ade in October 2013 when he also revealed that the e-passport of neighbouring Somalia was banned as a valid travel document in Somaliland because it was not issued properly being a document that whoever had cash for bribery could get one without any verifications or screening online.
Regular briefings to both chambers of the Somaliland parliament by Senior government officials is a constitutional stipulation that facilitates the grilling of policy makers on issues relevant to ongoing or planned activities by the Elders and Members of Guurti and the house of representatives.
Meanwhile it is hoped that government officials and national politicians who travel abroad regular on various purposes will adapt the country’s passport as their travel document as opposed to prevalent status where most of them apart from President Silanyo and first lady Amina Weris utilize foreign passports issued by European or North American Countries.
On the other hand foreigners wishing to visit Somaliland can acquire visas electronically within 48 hours from the various foreign missions the country maintains abroad or major hotels like Ambassador
For more Somaliland travel information and Government Regulations
Somaliland: Only First Gentleman and Lady Use National Passport
Somaliland: Saudis Accept pre-1991 Somali Passport