Our story was then based on a close source to the government that had informed MiyVue.com out of concern that it seems like an effort was being made to “sneak” the new charges at a time when citizens were preoccupied with the carnival celebrations.
However, government has now confirmed those reports and in a release on Thursday, 5th January, 2012, they informed the public that the fees have in fact been increased. As MiyVue.com reported recently, the new fees will be $250.00 for persons over 16 years and $150.00 for persons under 16 years. Previously adults paid only $85 and children $50.00. The government release stated, “As customary the application fees must be paid via the purchase of stamps. The passport will be valid for 10 years.”
Passports that are lost or stolen and are being replaced will now cost EC$500, up from EC$250, according our source. However, this information was not included in the release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Labour and Social Security
The release noted that “the introduction of the new passport has become necessary given regional and international efforts to improve security.”
As such, the new E-Passport’s design entails specific imbedded features intended to enhance the integrity of the document and will facilitate a more seamless travel by citizens of the twin-island Federation. This includes a microchip which carries relevant information on the bearer of the passport to protect against illegal duplication.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Homeland Security, Elvis Newton, has indicated that St. Kitts and Nevis is one of the first countries in the Caribbean Region to incorporate this new technology into passports. Biometric passports are already being issued to citizens in several countries including the United States. In other cases, such privileges are reserved for diplomats.
“We are proud to be once again be leading the way in ensuring that citizens of our twin-island Federation are given an added layer of protection whenever they travel,” Mr. Newton said. “The new passports do cost more, but we are confident that nationals will understand the added cost of producing these digital passports, and will appreciate the expedited processing at various ports where they travel, when compared to those persons who do not have upgraded passports.”
A recent release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Labour and Social Security indicated that Biometric or E-Passports are now available for citizens applying for the travel document for the first time or those requesting replacements.
The previously issued machine readable passports that bear the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) logo are still valid and persons need not apply for a new E-Passport unless they have expired, are lost or damaged in any way.