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Border biometrics ramp up in the Caribbean

Jamaica tenders contract, increased Costa Rican passport issuance
Border biometrics ramp up in the Caribbean

Jamaica is planning a major upgrade to its border control system, including the deployment of biometrics to air and sea ports.

The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) seeks an integrated border management system that can be implemented this year with biometrics “such as but not limited to fingerprints, and facial recognition,” reports the Jamaica Gleaner.

Sangster International Airport, Jamaica’s largest, has half-a-dozen e-gates with face biometrics already in operation. The last country-wide border security upgrade, however, was carried out in 2004. The new upgrades are planned for implementation first at Sangster, Norman Manley International, and Montego Bay cruise port Freeport.

Travelers will be able to pass through the new system more quickly, officials hope, due to the use of automated gates with biometric passports.

The tender consists of a pre-qualification exercise, and then a two-round bidding process. Applications to bid must be filed by May 10, 2024 at 2pm local time.

Biometric passport demand rises in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s immigration service has ordered and received 700,000 booklets for biometric passports in response to significant growth in demand for the travel document, Q Costa Rica reports.

Authorities report that nearly 118,000 passport applications were processed in the first quarter of 2024, twenty thousand more than the same quarter a year earlier. Immigration officials anticipate issuing 550,000 biometric passports with electronic chips this year.

Non-biometric passports held by Costa Ricans remain valid until expiry.

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