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Call for bids on Dominican Republic biometric passport deal closes today

Call for bids on Dominican Republic biometric passport deal closes today

The Dominican Republic’s General Directorate of Passports (DGP) is seeking digital identity service providers to acquire, install and maintain new infrastructure that will allow the issuance of electronically readable passports to Dominican citizens, says a report in Dominica al Dia.

Per the report, interested parties could present a letter of expression of interest, a professional summary and a copy of the State Supplier Registry to apply. The window, however, appears to have been brief: it closed on May 27 at 4:00pm.

Those who met the deadline will be judged on their capacity to “participate in the issuance of travel documents with biometric data and higher levels of security.” Last July, President Luis Abinader issued Decree 282-23, which declared the biometric passport initiative a matter of national security. That means the contracting process is being carried out under an “exception” modality for National Security, applied when the “Executive Branch needs to obtain goods, contract works or receive services to face or prevent threats, violation of freedom and the general interest.”

But the push to implement biometric passports for citizens of the Dominican Republic goes back further than Abinader’s security decree. The president signed a decree authorizing the e-passport project to hit the ground running in September 2022. Per an article in Dominican Today, its initial origins precede that statement by at least a year: “discussion surrounding the implementation of electronic passports in the Dominican Republic began in 2021 when the former head of the DGP, Néstor Julio Cruz Pichardo, announced the hiring of an international advisor to guide the authorities on the adoption of this technology.”

That said, the DGP appears to be more or less keeping with a timeline for biometric passports established in the wake of the national security declaration, having estimated that design, equipment and maintenance contracts would be signed in about a year. The contracts are set to last for five years.

The Dominican Republic’s e-passports are to have a biometric chip and an ultraviolet-light watermark for enhanced security measures. A related goal is to facilitate easier international travel for DR citizens, enabling “visa-free” travel to select countries.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, more than 140 “states and non-state entities (e.g. United Nations, European Union)” currently issue biometric or chipped electronic passports, and over one billion such digital ID documents in circulation.

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