Immigration and Passports Authority: ‘We need a lot of support to carry our duty properly’ Trying to Control Fake Yemeni IDs [Archives:1999/38/Reportage]

September 20 1999

Jamal Al-Awadhi,
Yemen Times
It is very easy to any person, who has a Yemeni father and a foreign mother to get an identification card or passport. The complicated process which was practiced before, never exists any more. The one who wants to get a passport has just to show the possible proof, and then get it easily. I have seen this process being practiced in the passport authority, in spite of the humility of authority facilities. Most of the employees try to do the best in their work. Therefore, a number of foreigners got Yemeni passports to use them in travel or in any other areas of the Republic to improve their affairs. The new passport is a big achievement for the Authority Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Najad and his employees. In addition to this, the accurate investigations which being done in some doubtful cases is one of these good achievements.
Yemen Times did an exploration to Passport and Immigration Authority to know the fact of what is happening there. It also supervised the process of getting passports, talked with the employees and did the following interviews:
Abdulhamed Saleh Ali, an engineer: ” The process of getting passports became better than before concerning the half-breed persons. Most of the immigrants or refugees who came from the neighboring countries went to get passports. They arrive in the country in an illegal way, and get the Yemeni passport as means of travelling abroad. Before it was very easy to get the Yemeni passport, which caused a bad reputation to Yemen because those people did many problems in different countries, and after long investigations with them, it was clear that they have Yemeni passports. We can say that these faults is caused by some employees in the authority”.
Abdulrahman Basheir, Somalian: “I am a Somalian refugee, for the time being I am studying at Sana’a University. I have been in Yemen three and a half years. I renew my passport without any difficulty, except some difficulties while giving the residency for other nationalities, but I have learnt that they do this in response to security requirements. We have a nationality card given to us by the United Nations Association for Refugees Affairs. It simplifies the residence in Yemen for us, but we can not travel to any country. Indeed, we are treated respectively by the passports authority because we give them the true information.

Ali Honaish, Vice-Chairman of Sana’a passports authority: “The special treatments of passports is implemented in a normal way.
“The citizen has to fill the application according to the information of the identification card. As we interview with him, he should clarify to us if he is Yemeni or if he was just born in another country or lived there for a long period. Some half-breed persons do not give us the true information. For example, he writes in the application that he was born in Sana’a, but as we make our investigation, we discover that his father’s nationality is Yemeni while his mother’s is not. They need the passport just to travel out of Yemen. So, we discover that this problem is being in the personal status authority, the place where they can get identification cards. This fault is reflected negatively upon the country. When we discover something like this, we refer them to investigation and then to prosecution. Thereupon, any wrong which may happen in the passport authority, we regard it as a responsibility of all. I ask everyone who would like to get a passport that he must give us the true information to avoid any difficulties. We arrested some Iraqi people who speak the Yemeni Dialect well. They bring with them Yemenis, to show they are their brothers, but after a strict investigation, it is being clear that they are not Yemenis. However, every day, we face many cases like this, but it is difficult to forge a passport like the new one. Finally I ask the personal status authority to make an accurate investigation”.

Fa’eq Ahmed Al-Adani, director of the computer department: ” After we faced lots of problems, and as a number of different nationalities got Yemeni nationality in an illegal way, we began to make a strict treatments before issuing any passport. So, the new passport was issued in 1997. It is too difficult to forge a passport now. We use computer to stored information instead of putting them in archives. The computer webs are linked in eight governorates. Any one who get a passport from Sana’a for example, can not get it from Aden. We in the computer department get the information of the citizen before he can get the passport. We first make sure if the citizen never got a passport before. We also linked the passports web with the Yemeni Embassies. They also make sure of the information that come to them from the ones who want to get a passport. The new passport has been distinguished, which is being difficult to forge. In addition to this, Yemen is a member of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), so any member of this organization can discover in the airport if passports are legal or illegal. Regarding the half-breed Yemenis, they have to give us the right information about themselves”.
Colonel, Mohammed Abdulqader Al-Ramli, vice-chairman of immigration authority: ” The Yemeni passport is given to citizens according to accurate and clear conditions of the identification card. So, it is not a complicated problem if the citizens give their true information. This strict investigation is being done in response to security requirements. Now, we simplify the process by deleting the guarantee. In spite of the personal activity of the authority, the bonus authority employees is very simple, they need more than what they are getting because they do a heavy work”.
Dr. Mohammed Najad, Authority Chairman has affirmed to Yemen Times that the employees of the authority are taking special courses in the Computer and English language because it is necessary in this sector. Finally, he added “we welcome any support to the authority, and any new qualifications for the employees”.