The government has announced that Antiguan and Barbudan citizens applying for the new e-passports will not be required to pay additional monies.
In July, the Government announced that they will begin issuing new electronic passports to residents in January 2017; however the initial date for the implementation of new and improved passports was pushed back.
The decision as to whether or not the cost of the new passports would be increased was yet to be concretized but according to recent reports coming out of cabinet, the cost remains unchanged.
According to notes distributed by the Government’s Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst on Saturday noted that this decision was taken despite the high cost of production of the advanced passports.
It was revealed that a staggered program for the issuance of the new travel and identification document will be announced in due course—making it available to everyone entitled to a passport in an orderly fashion in as short a time as possible.
According to Hurst, the new passport, fitted with a computer chip which makes it tamper-proof, and which can be read by machines at the ports of entry of every major receiving state, will become available in late March 2017.
In April of last year, the government of Antigua and signed a $3.5 million dollars agreement with Canadian Bank Note, a security printing company, which is assisting with the implementation of the new e-passport system.
The government anticipates that the project will provide in the region of 80,000 passports to Antigua and Barbuda over a ten year period.