Jamaicans Urged to Renew Passports


Persons holding blue Jamaican passports, which expire up to 2008, are being encouraged to apply for machine readable passports, as part of the continued phasing in of the new format.
“Those whose passports expire up to 2008, which means 2006, 2007, 2008; we’re going to ask that you use this opportunity to come in and have your passports renewed,” Director of Passport Services, Hugh Thomas said.
Mr. Thomas was speaking at a recently held JIS ‘Think Tank’, at the agency’s head office on Half-Way-Tree Road in Kingston.
The Director explained that the original phasing in schedule had been adjusted, to deal with the public’s need for greater understanding of the process.
Mr. Thomas explained that the schedule did not represent a deadline, after which persons could no longer use their passports, but rather a guide for when various passports might be brought in for renewal. The passports, he noted, were valid until their expiry date.
Addressing the issue of passports expiring beyond 2008, he said that, “we have had concerns from the public, as it relates to when we will be dealing with the 2009, 2010 and 2011 passports. That we are currently looking at, and shortly we will be able to make an announcement”.
Mr. Thomas noted, however, that this directive did not apply to passports coming from overseas. He explained that the overseas Jamaican Missions have not experienced a rush in regard to changing passports, and were therefore able to accept passports based on the previous schedule.
He informed that since the phasing in of the machine readable passports in September 2001, “we have produced somewhere around 512,000 passports”.
“Of this figure, a quarter relates to minor [children’s] passports. So we have just over 100,000 being minor passports, and we have just over 400,000 being adult passports,” he added. He estimated that one third of these were first-time applicants.
The Director pointed out that on average, the Immigration, Citizenship and Passport Division handled over 8,000 applications per week, including submissions from overseas Jamaicans.
The cost of applying for an adult passport is $2,500, while the cost of a minor’s passport is $1,500.

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