Relevant authorities in Antigua & Barbuda have ad- vised citizens of a recall of machine-readable passports which they aim to fully re- place with e-passports by January 1st next year.
Yesterday, the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office issued an advisory concerning the commencement of a recall of all machine-readable Antigua and Barbuda passports as a result of a decision by the Cabinet to dis- continue the dual use of machine-readable and e-passports.
The phasing out process will take effect from June 1st 2019.
The Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel “Max” Hurst, said a recall of the country’s passports will keep Antigua and Barbuda up-to-date with the latest technology, and this move by the government will facilitate international compliance.
“The machine-readable passports were introduced around 10 years ago and these e-passports follow an improved schedule that causes Antigua and Barbuda to be in compliance, given the need to keep Antigua and Barbuda current,” Hurst told OBSERVER media yesterday.
He further explained the difference between the recalled machine-read- able passport and the e-pass- port.
“To the ordinary eye, you wouldn’t see significant difference. That [difference] would be on the cover of the e-passport; there is a little symbol on the cover which indicates that a chip is in the passport. There is also a note on the inside which says ‘please do not bend’. That is the only difference you will notice because they contain the same information,” Hurst said.
The machine-readable document will become in- valid on December 31st 2019 to facilitate the phasing-out process. Only e-passports will be valid for travel as of January 1st 2020.
E-passport application forms are available at the Passport Office on Queen Elizabeth Highway; the Antigua and Barbuda Missions in the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom; or from the government’s website at www.ab.gov.ag. More information is available from the Passport Office in Antigua and Barbuda via telephone at 462- 0092.