Minister for National Security and Legal Affairs, Rayburn Blackmoore has revealed that over 61,000 ePassports have been printed and issued since its launch in July 2021.
He made the disclosure while addressing a press conference this week.
“For information purposes since the launch of the ePassport in July of 2021, as of the 14th of this month 61,344 ePassports have been printed and issued and we have moved in the past when the system allowed for us to have printed an average of 1000 books under the old system, the machine-readable passport, but now we are averaging 5000 books per month,” he said.
Blackmoore continued, “That is testament to the tremendous work that the staff of the immigration department is doing and the tremendous support that the government has given to this project.”
Furthermore, he said that presently there is a shift system in place to enable more printing.
“At present, we have three shift systems around the clock to enable printing,” he said. “That is to say from 8 o’clock in the morning to 4 PM, from 4 PM to midnight, and from midnight to 8 o’clock the next morning.”
Blackmoore added, “We are thinking of the possibility of maybe a few hours on Saturday to facilitate people living in the countryside.”
Meantime, Blackmoore announced that effective January 31, 2023 Dominicans will not be allowed to travel out of the country using their old passports.
“The Government of Dominica through the Ministry of National Security and Legal Affairs has taken several measures to ensure that Dominicans have all the information needed to enable a smooth transition from the old passport, the machine-readable passport to the new ePassport,” he said. “We are actually having what we call a grace period up to the 31st of this month, January. It means to say therefore as of the 31st of this month you will not be allowed to leave Dominica with the old passport (the machine-readable passport).”
Blackmoore indicated that in keeping with international travel standards, “if you are coming to your country with a passport that has expired you can enter, but you will not be allowed to leave the country with the old passport.”
“You are obligated therefore to apply for a new passport,” he explained.
The new passport, which replaces the machine-readable one, contains both overt and covert security features that are woven into the design as well as a microchip that is used to authenticate the passport holder’s identity, adhering to the highest international standard.
According to the Canadian Bank Note Company Limited which designed and created the new passports, they have incorporated a modern and aesthetic design that reflects the nature of Dominica and displays the country’s landmarks, flora, and fauna.
The application process remains the same as for the machine-readable passport. Applicants are required to download the forms from the government website at www.dominica.gov.dm or pick up a physical copy at the immigration department. Applicants are also required to submit along with the applications, two passport-size photos, an original birth certificate, marriage certificate, certificate of naturalization where applicable, and the current or expired passport.
The cost to apply for an ePassport will remain the same at EC$150 for citizens above the age of 16 years and $75 for those under.