Pope Francis has chosen to renew his Argentinian passport and national identity card, but also continue to hold a Vatican passport which grants him the same privileges as a head of state.
To renew his documents, the Holy Father had to have his photo taken, his fingerprints scanned and his signature recorded. And like other Argentinian citizens, he has to wait several days to receive the passport while his request is processed.
The Pope opted out of receiving any privileges and even insisted on paying for the passport and identity card himself, Argentinian ambassador Juan Pablo Cafiero told the Associated Press.
Renewing Argentinian passports and identity cards usually costs about $55 at the official exchange rate. Ambassador Cafiero said the Pope wanted the passport renewed for his future travels.
The government released pictures of the Holy Father’s new identification card on Monday. The image shows him dressed in his papal cassock with a serious expression on his face. The document is valid from 14th February 2014 until 14th February 2029, and is issued with his baptismal name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
The Argentinian government is reportedly delighted with the Pope’s gesture. Since popes automatically adopt Vatican citizenship, interior minister Florencio Randazzo said the passport renewal “fills us with pride”.
He added: “Francis specifically asked not to enjoy any privileges so his new identification card and passport have been processed through the usual administrative channels.”
Randazzo said the passport will be sent to his residence in the Casa Santa Marta “in the coming days.”