The Government of Dominica has extended the timeline for the adoption of the electronic passport to December 31st, 2022.

Dominica’s electronic passport was launched on July 29th, 2021, as a replacement for the machine-readable passport (MRP).

The machine-readable passport is a travel document that can be scanned with a special reader through optical character recognition technology. This technology has been applied to travel documents since the 1980s. Now, the Government of Dominica wants to shift to the biometric passports that are being used in the rest of the world.

One of the reasons for this is that an electronic passport is more secure, as it contains a microchip that validates the holder’s identity quickly and safely. “This would lead to improved security processes and building of resilience on all levels”, said Dominica’s Minister for National Security and Home Affairs, Hon Rayburn Blackmoore.

First, the timeline for the adoption of the electronic passport was set to two years after launch. That would have been in July 2023. Then, the Government of Dominica asserted the need for the e-passport adoption and set the transition period to end on August 31st, 2022.

But now, the transition period has been set to conclude at the end of 2022, “having considered the number of issues and being mindful of the challenges which we all must be aware of, as well as the many requests from the public who have been applying for the new e-passport”, explained Hon Blackmoore in a piece of news on the Government of Dominica’s official website. “You have been asking for an extension of the date for the transitioning from the machine-readable passport to the new e-passport, it is therefore important that your government gives you consideration for an extension”.

“I must add, therefore, notwithstanding the continued need to migrate to the new e-passport as soon as possible, it is also important to ensure that Dominica is compliant with international standards,” Hon Blackmoore clarified.

To speed up the transition, the Government of Dominica incorporated additional personnel and additional equipment to process the new electronic passports in the immigration and passport office of Roseau, but also launched a mobile kit initiative for people who can’t travel to Roseau.

The mobile kits are fully equipped to gather all the information needed to accelerate the registration for the new electronic passport.

The mobile kit initiative has already issued electronic passports in Saint Maarteen, Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, and Saint John. According to Hon Blackmoore, “290 passport applications were processed for Saint Maarteen, 191 passport applications were processed for Saint Thomas, and 161 passport applications were processed for Saint Croix and Saint John.”

“The tremendous success of this venture is owning to the hard-working police officers who traveled to these islands and the tremendous outpouring of support from Dominicans resident in those islands,” the Minister added.

As of Tuesday, 5 July 2022, more than 30,000 electronic passports have been issued in the whole country.