Tue | Dec 5, 2023

PICA reports significant take-up of e-passports

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2023 | 6:39 PM
CEO of PICA, Andrew Wynter

There has been significant take-up of the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) e-passport since its introduction in April.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for PICA, Andrew Wynter, said that the agency is pleased with the public's response.

“Since we have introduced the e-passport, I think we have probably issued maybe close to 100,000 passports; people have taken… to it,” he said.

Wynter noted that the e-passports do not exist in virtual reality.

“For clarification, it's an electronic passport, and by electronic we mean a passport that has a chip inside of it which now contains the same information that is found on what we call the biodata page of the passport or the page with your picture on it. It is not a virtual passport or a virtual travel document,” he explained.

Wynter pointed out that there are many advantages to utilising an e-passport.

“Well, certainly, one of the advantages is that it provides a far more secure document as it relates to the identity of the holder. The information that you see on the biodata page, it is not just there, but it is also on the chip,” he informed.

The CEO explained that if someone tries to compromise the passport, once the chip is read and there is a difference in the stored information and the biometric data page, it will show that the document has been tampered with.

Wynter said that the e-passport is consistent with international aviation trends.

“We are now a part of the 150 countries that have migrated to e-passports, and these are part of the trends by the International Civil Aviation Organization in terms of strength in travel documents. So the identity of the holder of the passport is significantly improved,” he indicated.

 “Many countries are now putting in automated processes, and these processes will be able to read the chip and read the information. It will assist, certainly in the speedier processing of persons, and once persons see that you have an e-passport, it is saying to the overseas border agent that this person's identity, or the country that has issued this passport, is a country that we can be confident in,” Wynter added.

The e-passport can be issued to all citizens either applying for, renewing or replacing a passport.

Applications may be submitted to PICA via its website at www.pica.gov.jm, or in person at the agency's offices.

These will be subject to the same procedure that obtains for regular passport applications.

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