Fernandez: Citizens will not pay additional costs for e-passport

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Antiguan and Barbudan citizens applying for the new e-passports will not be required to pay more for the document.
Immigration Minister Charles “Max’ Fernandez said government has made a decision to absorb the total cost of the passports, which is fitted with a computer chip and other updated security features.
However, people applying for the document through the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) will have to pay an unspecified cost.
“Antiguans and Barbudans will be subsidised and spared the expense of the document which we are hoping to roll out in late March. We have added the whole feature
of the fingerprints, so I hope this will not delay the implementation,” Fernandez said.
The new passport is expected to include a number of security features in keeping with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
It will contain a security chip with specific information pertaining to the holder.
“We want to ensure that our travel document is second to none in terms of security features,” Fernandez told OBSERVER media.
The immigration minister also spoke of a check-in kiosk which is to be installed at the VC Bird International Airport some time this year.
While making his presentation to the Budget Debate last week, the minister said the kiosk will ensure that the processing time at the immigration counter is reduced and will provide world class convenience and ease to the travelling public.
Efforts are also under way to eliminate the Immigration embarkation card.
“Initially, the cards will be removed for nationals, and with the introduction of the kiosk, it will reduce the anxiety for passengers who arrive in Antigua & Barbuda without the embarkation cards and this will certainly facilitate greater efficiency in the clearing of passengers, allowing for less time spent at the immigration desk,” Fernandez said.

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