The Immigration Department will later this year issue electronic passports.
That’s according to Home Affairs Minister Dr. Virginia Albert-Poyotte, who said the transitioning stage has already commenced.
“We are looking at some time maybe in August because we have to bring in kiosks. That’s the system that we’ll be using for our passports when people come into the country or (are) leaving,” she explained.
The Immigration Department, which issues passports to citizens, was recently closed for about two weeks as certain issues needed to be addressed. Albert-Poyotte told reporters “air quality” in the building was a major problem.
“We have asked the landlord to do the necessary clean up so we can continue the work. In the event that everything is not up to date, we have to make some alternative arrangement in order to continue to process passports for persons. Right now we are actually in the process of transitioning the existing passport to the electronic system which should come into effect later this year,” the minister said earlier this week.
“We are not going to issue a lot of the old passports because we would have these on our hands so right now the Immigration Department has agreed to issue only emergency passports and those for medical purposes,” Albert-Poyotte added.
“Some people just want (their passport) renewed (because it has expired), not that they have any intention of travelling in a hurry. Those who have intentions to travel we deal with them and we give them priority at this time,” Albert-Poyotte told reporters, later adding that “there are a number of government services that we are going to put online.”
But a day or so after the minister’s comments, the Immigration Department opened its doors to the public in full functional mode.