Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Newborns need passport too

Published:Tuesday | February 9, 2016 | 2:01 AM

My son was born in May and I have applied for his birth certificate from the Registrar General's Department (RGD). However, I have not received it and we have to travel within another two weeks as I teach overseas and have to return there urgently.

I paid for the RGD's express service; however, upon calling them, they advised it was not ready because they have not received the information from the hospital. My question is, can my baby travel on my passport temporarily, considering my situation?

A: We understand your position, but, unfortunately, you will not be able to have your son travel on your passport. He must travel on his own document.

Note that prior to 2001 when the agency introduced the machine-readable passport, it was possible for parents to add their children to their passport for the purpose of travel. This arrangement was only permissible for children below the age of two (2) years. In such instances, a dedicated page within the parent's passport would be used to capture information on the child - name, age, sex and date of birth.

However, heightened global security concerns after 2001 brought about several changes to our air-travel arrangements, including this practice, which was soon abandoned.

As such, each traveller, even newborns, must travel on their own document. Given the nature of your situation, however, you could take advantage of our expedited service as soon as you receive your son's birth certificate from the RGD. We have recently introduced a same-day service which you can obtain at a cost of $9,000.

You must submit your application by 10 a.m. to benefit from same the day service. We also offer next-day and three-day service for $7,000 and $6,000, respectively. Note that all three expedited services are available at our head office in Kingston only. Our regional offices offer five-day and seven-day expedited services only.

You do not have to take your child with you as only children three years and older are required to appear in person when applying for their passport. Additionally, you must take along your ID. You may complete the application form online at www.pica.gov.jm. However, you will need to print the application form and take it to a certifying official before submission to one of our offices.

To ensure that there are no setbacks in the process, take careful note of the following:

* Ensure that the spelling of your name on your son's birth certificate is consistent with the spelling on your ID and your birth certificate. Please use a reputable photographer who will ensure your son's passport picture is consistent with the photo standards for machine-readable passports.

* Only one of the two required passport photographs should be signed by a JP or notary public. (A list of persons who are authorised to sign is captured on your application form.)

* Do not neglect to complete and sign sections C and E of the passport application form.

For further information, visit our website at: www.pica.gov.jm. For enquiries please write to: info@pica.gov.jm.