The relentless march of technology is significantly altering the landscape of public services in Indonesia, and one area that exemplifies this transformation is immigration services. The Directorate General of Immigration (Ditjen Imigrasi) has embarked on a noteworthy expansion initiative for electronic passport (e-passports).
Under the aegis of Decision Number IMI-0235.GR.01.01 in 2023, the Directorate General of Immigration has taken a decisive step by incorporating an additional 50 immigration offices situated in various provinces into the purview of technical immigration service units (UPT keimigrasian). These units have been entrusted with the task of providing electronic passport services, effectively broadening the accessibility of e-passport services.
As a consequence of this strategic move, a grand total of 102 immigration offices have been strategically positioned across the expansive Indonesian archipelago to cater to the burgeoning demand for electronic passports.
Director General of Immigration, Silmy Karim, articulates the rationale behind this expansion, emphasizing its vital role in accommodating the heightened interest exhibited by communities residing in diverse regions of Indonesia regarding electronic passports. Remarkably, this augmentation signifies a twofold increase compared to the previous count of 52 immigration offices offering such services.
Silmy Karim elucidates that, at their core, regular passports and electronic passports serve a common function – both serve as internationally recognized proof of identity and serve as the key that unlocks global travel opportunities. However, electronic passports bring an added dimension to this identity verification process.
They incorporate a wealth of biometric data, encompassing facial recognition and fingerprint information, meticulously stored within a microchip that can be swiftly and securely scanned. In contrast, regular passports primarily contain essential personal particulars and a photograph of the passport holder.
Yet, it’s the additional benefits that electronic passports bring to the fore. For instance, they extend the privilege of visa-free entry to Japan for short visits, provided that travelers engage in pre-registration. Furthermore, Indonesian citizens desiring to obtain visas for European countries stand to gain an advantage in the form of extended visa validity periods when utilizing electronic passports, in contrast to their regular counterparts.
The statistics reinforce the significance of this initiative. From the commencement of the year until the early days of September 2023, an impressive total of 522,065 electronic passports have been issued. This noteworthy achievement underscores the responsiveness and efficiency of the system, with an average monthly issuance rate hovering around 58,000.
By contrast, during the same period, the issuance of regular passports has tallied up to 2,823,801, with a monthly average issuance rate of approximately 314,000. This comparison underscores the notable surge in demand for electronic passports and underscores their growing popularity among the Indonesian populace.
Silmy Karim’s emphasis on the expansion of e-passport services underscores Immigration’s unwavering commitment to address the challenges faced by prospective passport applicants, especially those residing in geographically remote regions. This expansion initiative is essentially a move towards democratizing access to electronic passport services, ensuring that they are accessible to all, regardless of their geographical location.
Looking forward, a grand vision takes shape. By the close of the calendar year 2023, the aspiration is for every technical immigration service unit in Indonesia to be fully equipped and empowered to efficiently process electronic passport applications. This ambitious endeavor seeks to eliminate any geographic barriers that may have impeded access to e-passport services in the past.
At present, Indonesia boasts a comprehensive network of immigration offices, totaling 126 across the nation. This network encompasses seven special-class Immigration Offices, 44 first-class Immigration Offices, 61 second-class Immigration Offices, and 14 third-class Immigration Offices. Additionally, it encompasses 22 Immigration Technical Work Units (Unit Kerja Keimigrasian) distributed strategically across Indonesia, effectively acting as extensions of immigration offices, further augmenting accessibility.
In essence, Indonesia’s dynamic pursuit of technological advancement and efficiency enhancement in public services is profoundly exemplified by the expansion of electronic passport facilities. This initiative signifies a transformative leap forward in accessibility, ensuring that electronic passports become not just a convenience but an accessible reality for Indonesians across the nation, regardless of where they call home.