The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) says it will begin issuing e-passports on Monday, April 3.
The high-security electronic document, PICA said in a news release, is part of its efforts to secure the identity of Jamaicans and the Jamaican travel document. At the same time, the agency said that the passports that have been previously issued are still valid until the date of expiration and there is no need to change them. Also, there will be no increase in fees.
An e-passport is an electronic machine-readable passport with an embedded microchip that stores a digital version of the holder’s biographical data. The chip has a unique digital signature, specific to each issuing country and is activated once the chip is encoded.
“The e-passport is a robust biometric document with added layers of security that can aid in the fight against new and emerging threats to identity theft and national security,” PICA explained.
“The introduction of the e-passports in Jamaica will see the nation joining more than 150 countries that use e-passports, including 11 of our Caricom neighbours,” PICA said, adding that its decision to issue the new document is aimed at facilitating greater confidence and acceptance in travel facilitation globally of the Jamaican passport.
“This will now ensure that the country’s passport is aligned with the growing number of countries using e-passports. The new document will bear the e-passports logo that’s used by all e-passports-issuing countries around the world,” PICA said.
According to PICA’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Wynter, the introduction of e-passports at this time is necessary to bring Jamaica in line with emerging trends globally.
“Over the years, PICA has been infusing state-of-the-art technology into its operations to equip the agency to effectively undertake its mandate of securing Jamaica’s borders and safeguarding its sovereignty by providing quality service and products to its citizen,” Wynter said.
He added that the initiative is aligned with PICA’s strategic objective of enhancing travel facilitation through risk-based and data-driven inspection and pointed out that this will help to support the country’s realisation of its vision 2030 objectives.
Photo: WYNTER… the introduction of e-passports at this time is necessary to bring Jamaica in line with emerging trends globally