ISLAMABAD - The federal government on Wednesday extended validity of all expired passports for a further period of one year as part of its measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Interior through a notification said that Directorate General of Immigration & Passports has been stopped from issuing new passports to avoid the spread of virus through biometric capturing while processing machine readable passports (MRPs) and public gathering.

The notification said that all expired MRPs may be extended manually by giving a physical endorsement/observation on these for a further period of one year. However, this extension would be made on submission of “proportionate fee” equivalent to Rs 1000 along with application, on plain paper, and copes of passport and CNIC (computerized national identity card).

The copy of the notification has been sent to Passport office, Foreign Office and National database and Registration Authority (NADRA). The Ministry directed that all passport issuing authorities at home and abroad are advised to entertain expired CNICs up to June 30, 2020 and until further orders as NADRA has discontinued renewal of national identity cards.

It said that manual endorsement regarding new born babies may be made in MRP of either of the parents subject to realization of prescribed endorsement fee equivalent to Rs 800 and completion of all other formalities. “The foreign missions may be advised that the passport applicants may refer to apply through online service,” the notification said and added, “In case, passport is not received by the applicant through online service due to suspension of operations of international flights, a manual extension may be granted on their existing passports.”