New biometric passports due June 1
Uğur Ergan - ANKARAThe distribution of new biometric passports containing chips, which are necessary to travel to Schengen countries, will start on June 1, with the government working on the necessary legal regulations.
The new passports are among the 72 criteria required by the body for granting visa exemption to Turkish citizens in light of a Turkey-EU migrant deal signed on March 20.
The chip will be added to all passports, including special, service and diplomatic passports, daily Hürriyet reported April 29.
Turkish citizens will not be able to travel to Schengen countries without acquiring visas with their current passports after the distribution of the new passports starts.
The new passports, which will look exactly like the current ones, will contain biometric data, including personal information and fingerprints, which is a condition set by the European Union.
Those wanting to obtain the new passport will have to pay a fee and if the expiration date of the passport is after June 1, then the remaining time will be added to the new one.
Those holding the new passport will not be able to travel to Britain and Ireland visa-free, as the two EU members are not members of the Schengen zone, but will be able to travel to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra and San Marino, which are non-EU Schengen countries.
The Turkish citizens will also be able to travel to Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia visa-free, which are members of the EU, but are not included in the Schengen zone.