An original deadline given by the government of Dominica to replace the machine readable passport to the new E-passport has now been revised from July 30, 2023, to now August 30, 2022.
The new passport which was launched in July 2021 replaces the machine-readable one and contains both overt and covert security features that are woven into the design.
The E-passport also holds 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.
Minister for National Security and Home Affairs, Rayburn Blackmoore made the announcement at a year in review press conference for his ministry on Wednesday.
According to Blackmoore, the initial date given for the migration period of two years and three months was changed because his government understood the need for Dominica to join global efforts in ensuring more secure travel.
“Given the pace at which the world is currently moving and the emphasis internationally for improved security systems as well as the demand for safer and more secure systems. There’s also a universal demand for more efficient and secure travel documents that are acceptable by all and that are in keeping with relevant international standards and protocols,” the Minister stated.
In an effort to mitigate against any level of panic which may arise with the revised date, he made known that his ministry has developed plans to guide Dominicans during the transition in the upcoming months.
Blackmoore revealed that additional space has been created at the immigration and passport office in Roseau to ensure that there is additional staff for the smooth transition. The immigration department will also receive additional equipment which he says will enable quicker processing of applications.
“I want to also give the public the assurance and confidence that a shift system will be put in place to ensure that there are no delays in passport issuance,” he added.
He further disclosed that two mobile kits which have the capacity for recognition and data capture from any location will be deployed initially in major communities around Dominica to include Portsmouth, Mahaut, St Joseph, Vielle Case, La Plaine and Grand Bay.
The immigration team will be available for two days at each of the locations to afford everyone ample time to get the necessary documents for submission for the new E-passport in the upcoming weeks.
Blackmoore also said that passport application forms will be available at all police stations on island and are also available on the government’s website.
With regard to Dominicans residing overseas, they too will be given the opportunity to renew their passport abroad.
“There is a current procedure in place in relation to application through the various Dominican consulates; that process still remains and people can avail themselves of this process if they so wish.”
He said permanent offices will be established in New York, the United Arab Emirates and London, fully equipped to facilitate all application processes including data and image capture.
According to the Minister, the installation of the overseas passport stations will take five months before they become operational and the issuing department will remain centralized until such time.
During those five months, mobile kits will be deployed overseas to undertake registration, data and image capture of persons living abroad who require these services.
“A teams consisting of police officers have already been selected to travel to the various locations across the globe to ensure that as many Dominicans as possible can be given access to registration for the new E-passports.”
The locations that the mobile kit will be deployed to will include Canada, Texas and Florida as well as certain Caribbean countries during a Caribbean tour.
To date 7,000 E-passports have been issued which Blackmoore says is an indication that the new passport has been met with some degree of enthusiasm.