Recently, the Department of National Security announced that the transition period from readable passports to e-passports has been brought forward to August 30, 2022 from the original deadline of July 2023.
The machine-readable passport from 2007 to present would have served Dominica well, but as the government strives to build a vibrant country to be part of the global state of excellence, it must conform to international standards and travel best practices. documents are concerned, more particularly passports.
“The pace at which the world is changing right now and the requirement for Member States to have more secure passports, that time has passed and we would not want the situation in which any Dominican traveling with a passport that is considered outdated can find themselves be denied entry into the United States or Canada or any other country in the world,” National Security and Home Affairs Minister Rayburn Blackmoore said while speaking as a guest of the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Annou Pale’s talk show Sunday night.
Blackmoore continued: “It’s something we have to do, so it’s a very ambitious project, but I’m convinced that if we keep doing what we do with the utmost precision, we can actually do it. “
According to him, an e-passport is an e-passport with an electronic chip that contains the same information that the passport data page contains.
“It also contains a biometric ID and that biometric ID contains certain biometric information about the holder of that passport,” Blackmoore explained. “In our case, we are using facial recognition and so the emission system that we have has a scanner. This scanner is able to scan the particular facial features of an individual.
He added that an electronic passport is much more secure than the machine-readable passport and is difficult to duplicate.
Blackmoore said the government has improved space at the Immigration Department in Roseau to help with the issuance of new passports.
“We have improved the space in the immigration department, a new building has been built upstairs for more space,” he said. “We have also recruited additional personnel in this section, namely 5 new very bright civilians who have been recruited.”
He continued: “We have also recruited 4 additional people, recently retired senior police officers, because we are going to need additional coaching.
Blackmoore went on to say that there are also mobile kits available with the same capability as that of the Immigration Service system in Roseau, which is equipped with a camera and the applicant’s photo can be captured instantly, “and all your bio data information can be captured.
He revealed that 91 applications using the mobile kits have already been carried out in Vieille Case and 148 in Portsmouth.
He said the service was launched in early February this year and the government intends to bring the service to the doorsteps of Dominicans in various locations across the country.
This week the team will travel to Mahaut and Grandbay, followed by Marigot and Wesley on March 7and then to Grandbay and Castle Bruce.
He added that the government also intends to bring a similar service to Dominicans living abroad, outside the United Arab Emirates (UAE), New York or London.
“In addition to the service that is offered at the moment in our mission offices, we have always thought of the future, we have already ordered what we call passport workstations which will be permanent desks in the mission offices in the 3 places mentioned, which therefore means that Dominicans living abroad who wish to apply for a passport will be able to physically go to an office in the same way as to say that this person has come to the immigration department in Roseau “, did he declare.
He also said that the applicant will be able to have their photo taken if they do not have one and physically and instantly apply your information will be transmitted to the central office in Roseau for final verification and issuance.
“Each passport will be issued by a central issuance system which is located in Roseau, Dominica, and this for the specific purpose of ensuring that the security of this passport and the integrity of these elements can be maintained at the highest level,” noted Blackmoore.
He said the Department of National Security is working with the Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure that all logistics are in place to facilitate this process, “when we move to Canada, Texas (Houston).”
“Where we don’t have mission offices, we will provide opportunities for Dominicans and we will also bring the mobile kits to their doorsteps,” he revealed.
Regarding the Caribbean, he said the government hopes to complete its local outreach program through mobile kits on March 18, 2022, “and after that we will move to the Caribbean region.”
He mentioned the French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique with a significant Dominican presence, mainly in Guadeloupe. The government is also considering St Maarten, St Thomas, St Croix, Tortola (BVI), Antigua & Barbuda and St Kitts & Nevis.
Meanwhile, Inspector in Charge of Immigration Deryck St Rose said the use of the mobile kits has helped ease congestion at Roseau’s main office and has also helped individuals save money .
“They won’t have to pay a bus fare from any community to the city and also with the cameras they will get the photos for free,” he said.
He said the application process remains the same as for the machine-readable passport.
Applicants are required to submit with applications, two passport size photos, original birth certificate, marriage certificate, naturalization certificate if applicable and current or expired passport. A recommender is required to recommend the form indicating that they have known you for a certain number of years and, in the case of an infant, the recommender must have known the parent for a certain number of years. The recommender must also certify on the back of one of the photographs.
St Rose said all payments are made to the Treasury.
“We are on the road with the mobile kits, we have an agent there, people in rural areas could pay and get a receipt and that receipt will be attached to their treatment request,” he explained.
People can also apply online, download the forms from the government website www.dominica.gov.dm or get a physical copy from the immigration department in Roseau.
An e-passport takes 2-3 weeks to be issued after applicants apply.
The department can print up to 300 passports per day.