On March 27th, Jamaica’s Passport Immigration & Citizenship Agency, commonly referred to as PICA, announced their new roll out of the e-passport. Joining 150+ other countries including 11 of their fellow CARICOM nationals. Since then, many have questioned whether the fees are going to increase, if their current passport is still valid and more. After contacting Kauna McKenzie, (assigned) Director of Business Development, Communication & Corporate Planning at PICA, McKenzie provides some clarity to burning inquiries and skepticism regarding Jamaica’s new e-passport for Jamaicans at home and abroad.
What is an e-passport?
An ePassport is an Electronic Machine Readable Passport (a physical book) that has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip that contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder. Standards for the ePassport have been established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and are followed by all countries implementing ePassports.
When does this take effect?
On Monday, April 3, 2023.
Why is it important for Jamaica to issue an e-passport?
PICA’s decision to issue the document is aimed at facilitating greater confidence and acceptance in travel facilitation globally of the Jamaican passport. This will now ensure that the country’s passport is aligned with the growing number of countries using E-passports. The introduction of the E-passports in Jamaica will see the nation joining more than 150 countries that use E-passports, including 11 of our CARICOM neighbors.
Are current passports still valid?
Yes, passports that have been previously issued are still valid until the date of expiration and there is no need to change them.
Do patrons have to ‘turn in’ or ‘upgrade’ their current passports?
No. passports that have been previously issued are still valid until the date of expiration and there is no need to change them.
Will the price go up?
No, there is no increase in fees at this time.
Will any details on the information page change? (ex: any add-ons, take-offs, etc)
Yes, the ‘nee’ which shows a female’s last name before marriage will be removed. The passport holder’s profession will also be removed.
Will there be any differences in any part of the application process both physical and online?
Will people who recently applied within the past month (30 days) or less get the new e-passport?
If your application was received and your new passport was printed on or before March 31, 2023, you will receive the previous book.
Will the e-passports apply to minors as well?
Will the same rules apply to overseas and Diaspora members?
Is there any other information you’d like to share & clarify that was not mentioned above?
There will be a question-and-answer section on our website relating to the subject under discussion.
Disclaimer – questions were emailed to Kauna McKenzie (Jamaica) to answer. Very light editing was done to follow the style of this site, American English spelling and to add additional hyperlinks for reference.