Technical issue with some Dutch passports | THE DAILY HERALD

THE HAGUE–A small batch of Dutch passports produced in the Netherlands and distributed in the Dutch Caribbean in April, May and June this year may have a technical problem with the electronic safety feature, the chip.

In that period some 6,500 passports were produced for the six Dutch Caribbean islands. Based on a random check, Dutch authorities are estimating that of this number some one per cent of the printed passports may contain a faulty chip. This means that some 65 passports may have been affected, but it is hard to say whether this is indeed the number, The Daily Herald was informed.

State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops informed the Dutch Parliament on Thursday of the technical problem with the production of Dutch passports over a period of seven weeks. He announced that measures had been taken to mitigate the issue.

Persons in the Netherlands who may have received one of the affected passports will receive an informative letter with instructions from the Dutch government this week. The address of Dutch citizens living in the Dutch Caribbean or abroad who may have received a faulty passport is not always available, so these persons will be contacted through the Census Offices and the Cabinets of the Governor. This exercise is being carried out together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In his letter to the Parliament on Thursday, the state secretary explained that the firm that produces the Dutch passports reported on June 29 a technical issue with the production in the past three months. Of an estimated 5,000 passports it is possible that the chip doesn’t work.

“Even though this technical problem doesn’t hamper the integrity of the travel documents concerned, I am taking this matter seriously because of the great inconvenience that this might cause for the passport holder,” stated Knops.

A preliminary investigation has confirmed that the integrity and security of the passports is not at stake. The information in the passport is still very well secured, even if there is a technical problem with it. It merely concerns an electronic control mechanism that provides additional security about the passport’s authenticity. “Everybody can travel at ease,” stated Knops.

According to international standards, the lacking or defectiveness of one of the safety features should not hamper a person’s travel when the other authenticity marks are working or present. The state secretary noted that up to now, he hadn’t received any reports from the Royal Dutch Marechaussee that the technical issue had caused problems at the border.

Knops said he couldn’t rule out that citizens would encounter trouble when using their passport at the airport, harbour or another border crossing. It is possible that at an airport, a gate might not open and a manual check will have to be performed by border control personnel.

Citizens who have received a new passport from April up to June can check the chip for themselves with an Android telephone that has an NFC-reader. The free app is available in the Google Play Store as of Thursday. Telephones without an NFC-reader or with the iOS operating system cannot be used.

People can also have their passports checked at the Census Offices and at the offices of the Dutch Representation on the islands as of July 16. A passport with this technical problem will be replaced free of charge.

The state secretary has informed all foreign authorities in charge of border control of the problem that may arise with some Dutch passports. In the Netherlands, the production issue has also affected a number of ID cards.

Source: The Daily Herald