CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Poor and uneducated Egyptian women will no longer have to get a vice squad clearance proving they are not involved in immoral activities in order to obtain a passport, officials said Monday.

Although the law did not require it, Egyptian police have for decades demanded that poor women seeking a passport get proof from the vice squad that they were not involved in prostitution or other immoral activities.

Interior Minister Habib el-Adly, whose ministry is in charge of issuing passports, told police to stop the practice, saying a passport was every citizen's ``constitutional right,'' ministry officials said.

Women with at least a high school education or employed by the government were not required to get the vice squad clearance.

But millions of illiterate or poor women were required to undergo a vice squad investigation, considered shameful for women in this conservative, Muslim country.

``It is embarrassing that such a procedure even existed,'' said Mohammed Abdel-Aal, who researches laws concerning women in the Egyptian Organization for Human rights.

The decision is part of an administrative overhaul in the police ordered by el-Adly after he took over the ministry in November 1997.