Categorized | National News

Passport Renewal Expedited

Launched in January of this year, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the new Polycarbonate E-Passport supersedes the electronic passport introduced in 2007, making room for a quick turnaround time, according to Chief Passport Officer, Clarence Russell.

Speaking at a Rotary Club Of Southeast Nassau meeting, Mr. Russell said that long gone are the days when application, process and collection of passports take weeks, sometimes up to eight months.

“The Bahamian passport today, we are only second in the world to Switzerland, with the new technology that we have.

“In August 2015, I came here [from Freeport] on a two year contract to fix the problem [at the Passport Office]. I think we all knew that at that time it took you eight to ten months unfortunately to get a passport, because of extreme congestion, and not so much because of equipment and personnel, but because there was no concerted effort administratively to bring things together,” Mr. Russell said.

Suggesting that most persons are still in possession of the e-passport that was introduced since 2007, Mr. Russell said that the new e-passport is necessary, especially when applying for an American travel Visa.

“Most of you may have your legacy e-passport, legacy passports came into existence in December 2007.

“It’s a ten year program, five years for children. Most people have the old legacy passport. Some people took the initiative to go ahead, come to the Passport Office after they saw what was launched in January and they now have possession of the new Polycarbonate E-Passport,” Mr. Russell said.

Mr. Russell further noted that although there is no deadline for obtaining the new e-passport, he indicated that if an individual’s US visa expires before their old e-passport does, they will not be able to obtain a new visa.

“The US Embassy would prefer you to have the new Polycarbonate E-Passport, before they put a new visa in it. They will refuse to put it in the old one.

“We encourage persons to come and take advantage of the opportunity. You don’t have to wait until your passports expires, you can call the VIP office at the Passport Office and you can make an appointment for you and your family.

“You can come down and be ushered in, in fifteen minutes; it’s a twenty minutes process. Get yourself registered!

“If you are not paying the $200 fee, you get your passport in one to two weeks maximum. If you’re paying the $200 fee, the people in the room can say to you, you can wait for the issue of your new e-passport,” Mr. Russell said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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