Barbados moves to biometric passports, considers biometric verification at ports of entry
Following the recommendation of the ICAA on travel document standards, Barbados’ Immigration Department has begun to phase out machine-readable passport in favour of ePassports, Caribbean360 reports. First time applicants and renewals are now being issued the new biometric passport.
“It would be more difficult to replace an e-passport because there is a chip in the actual cover,” explained Chief Immigration Officer Wayne Marshall. “Anyone seeking to replicate the passport would have to remove the chip and ensure that it has the same information as on the biodata page.”
Marshall stressed that the more security features a passport had, the more accepted it was by countries around the world. “Barbados is moving towards it because of the security features and to maintain the high standard of the Barbados passport.”
It is recommended that persons wait until their passports expire before applying for a new one. The machine readable passport will still be accepted.
Biometric verification at ports of entry
Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson said the government is considering introducing legislation to make biometric verification of international visitors mandatory at the country’s ports of entry, according to a report by Barbados Today.
The government is currently testing prototype kiosks for facial recognition at the Grantley Adams Airport. Hinkson said any decision to introduce further components – such as fingerprints – to the security process would be made after the government does a thorough analysis of the pilot project. “We are still at the pilot project phase and clearly this something that will require legislation.”
Hinkson added that these efforts will significantly improve the efficiency of the Immigration Department in the processing of visitors to the island.
“We are working on bringing the legislation to Parliament. The Cabinet of Barbados agreed in principle to pilot project, there is a model CARICOM legislation, which includes kiosk and advance passenger information, which we in Barbados are behind on. So we are going to be working on that to make it mandatory,” said Hinkson.